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Denmark Immigration Information Work Permit


Depending on your citizenship, different rules and procedures apply if you want to obtain a work and residence permit in Denmark:

  • Citizens of the Nordic countries may enter and work in Denmark without any permit for an unlimited period;
  • Nationals from countries in the EU and EEA (Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland) as well as Switzerland may enter and work in Denmark without permits for up to three months. However, special transitional rules apply to eight of the new EU countries;
  • Non-EU nationals must acquire both a residence and a work permit prior to arrival in Denmark.

As resident in Denmark you must register with the National Register (Folkeregisteret). Once registered, you will automatically join the National Health Service. You will receive a CPR number and a health insurance certificate (sygesikringsbevis), which gives you access to free medical treatment and other public services.

EU/ EEA Nationals

EU/ EEA nationals should apply for an EU/EEA residence certificate before expiry of the three months residence period. The residence permit is also a work permit. It is the supreme administrative authority of the county (statsamtet) who issues the residence permit.

Note that special transitional rules apply to workers from eight of the new EU countries, namely: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Details about these requirements can be found on the website of the Danish Immigration Service (

Non-EU/ EEA Nationals

For non-EU or EEA nationals, residence and work permits are granted only in those cases where important employment or business interests make it desirable. Residence and work permit must be obtained before entry into Denmark.

The application must be submitted through a Danish mission in the country of origin. Application forms can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( An application can only exceptionally be submitted in Denmark, and only if the applicant is already lawfully staying in Denmark. Normally, the permit can be issued 30 days after receipt of the application provided that all relevant documentation is submitted together with the application.

A distinction is made between salaried work and self-employment. As a rule, however, a foreign national must have a residence and work permit in order to engage in either activity. This rule also applies to unpaid work.

Foreign nationals hired within professional areas where there is a lack of specially qualified manpower have easier access to residence and work permits according to the job card scheme. Professional areas where this condition applies are described in the positive list. Furthermore foreign researchers have easier access to residence and work permits.

Furthermore, foreign nationals intending to work in Denmark as members of the clergy, missionaries, etc. may be granted residence permits in Denmark.

It is important to note that the responsibility to acquire a work permit rests with the applicant. If a foreign national works illegally in Denmark, he or she can be deported from the country. Both the employee and his or her employer can also be punished with fines or imprisonment.

Rules for Expatriate and Family

The Danish Immigration Service decides whether the requirements for residence and work permit are fulfilled.

Only people with special qualifications may expect to obtain residence and work permits, e.g. researchers, artists, managers, certain consultants and instructors, specialists (engineers, doctors, nurses, athletes/ coaches and architects) as well as persons establishing new businesses in Denmark.

Typically, spouses and other family members who are moving to Denmark together with the expat will obtain a non-work permit. Non-work permits can be granted to family members of people working in Denmark, for au pairs, and in the case of educational or training activities.

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