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A Guide to Visa Types and Work Permits in Denmark

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Applying for a Danish visa is a relatively quick and easy process in comparison to most other countries. Applying for a visa always requires meeting a long list of requirements, and Denmark is no exception. Expats should be aware that the list of requirements to apply for a Danish visa can get quite detailed and specific. Luckily, the speedy application process makes up for the usual complication of applying for a visa.

Some visa types allow Danish employers to recruit foreign employees within weeks—that is how agile their visa application process is. Others, like self-employment visas, lack information and must be done in person at a diplomatic mission.

Most Danish visas cost around 3,025 DKK (445 USD), and this already includes the residence permit.

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Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas

There are several types of visas that grant you residence in Denmark. The one you apply for depends on your specific situation:

  • work (including separate visas for working holiday, internship, religious workers, au pair)
  • residence in Greenland or the Faroe Islands
  • family reunification
  • study (including a separate PhD visa)
  • asylum, etc.

See a full list of visas in Denmark for more information.

In this section, we focus on work permits and employment-based visas. Read on to know who will need a visa and who is exempt.

Who Needs to Apply for a Danish Visa?

Citizens of Nordic countries (i.e., Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden­) do not need any type of work or residence permit, or even their passport. These can simply enter the country. Their family members can join them just as easily, if they are also nationals of Nordic countries. For these citizens their driver’s license or bank card is enough to prove their identity.

Citizens of the EU and the EEA also don’t need to apply for a visa to live, work, or study in Denmark. However, if they wish to take up employment and residence, EU citizens should still abide by a few immigration rules with SIRI (Danish Immigration Service and The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration).

All other citizens will need to apply for a visa. Keep in mind you cannot apply for work or residence if you enter Denmark with a Schengen Visa. These only allow you to stay in the country for 90 days. You will have to apply for a residence and work permit if you wish to stay longer.

Types of Danish Work Visas

EU citizens do not need a visa to enter the country but they still need to register with SIRI. This is done in person, at one of SIRI’s branches in Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, Aalbord, or Aabenraa. Just make sure to book an appointment in advance.

EU nationals are required to have

  • passport or national ID;
  • accurate passport-size photo;
  • completed copy of the application for OD1;
  • documentation on your grounds for residence as a worker.

Citizens of all other countries will need a visa and residence permit to work in Denmark. There are several types of visas for work:

  • Fast-Track Scheme
  • Pay Limit Scheme
  • Positive List
  • researcher (and guest researcher)
  • employed PhD
  • herdsmen and farm managers
  • trainee
  • others

In this section, we focus on the work visas that apply to the broadest range of employment sectors. That is the Fast-Track Scheme, the Pay Limit Scheme, and the Positive List. You can find more information on other types of specific work visas on SIRI.

You will find that some of these visa types are intertwined. For example, the Fast-Track Visa splits into four different schemes corresponding with other visa types (research, pay limit, etc.), depending on the type of work you will take up.

Danish Work Visas and Permits: Application Process and Requirements

Some requirements are common to all types of work visas. Applications are made online through SIRI.

Step One: Create a Case Order ID

Once you have selected the type of visa that best fits your work situation, you will be asked to create a case order ID. For some types of visas, the application is submitted entirely by your employer. For this, you will need to hand them what is known as power of attorney by filling in the power of attorney form.

Step Two: Pay the Visa Fee

All applications are processed annually. To avoid any issues with your application, make sure you create the case order ID and pay the fee in the same year.

The majority of Danish work visas cost 3,025 DKK (445 USD).

Step Three: Submit the Required Documents

You will be asked to submit the following documents:

  • proof that you have paid the visa fee by attaching the receipt
  • copy of your passport, including all pages, front cover, and back cover
  • form for power of attorney fully completed
  • employment contract or job offer (cannot be more than 30 days old) containing information about you, your salary, terms of employment, and job description
  • educational diplomas and qualifications that prove you are qualified for the position
  • Danish authorization if required for the job position (e.g., for regulated professions such as doctors, lawyers, etc.)

Step Four: Submit the Work Visa Application Form

The type of work visa application form you will need depends on your employment. The most common are:

  • The AR1 online: this electronic form is filled out by both the employee and the employer. For this type of form, your employer must fill in the first part. A password is then generated, which your employer should pass to you so that you can complete the second part of the form.
  • The AR6 online: this form is filled out entirely by an employer who has been given power of attorney.

Step Five: Have your Biometrics Taken

This must be done within 14 days of submitting your application. You must have your photo taken and fingerprints recorded at a Danish diplomatic mission abroad.

Step Six: Wait for a Response

You will be informed of the result of your application usually within 30 days. For some work visa types, like the Fast-Track Visa, this response should take less time, typically around ten days.

Fast-Track Scheme Visa

The Fast-Track visa is for highly qualified employees who have been offered a contract with a certified company in Denmark. It is called Fast-Track because it allows the employer to take care of the entire visa application process on behalf of the employee making the entire process speedy. This permit allows employees to alternate between working in Denmark and abroad.

This visa is divided into four schemes:

  • pay limit track for a minimum yearly salary of 427,000 (63,000 USD)
  • researcher track
  • educational track
  • short-term track

Applying for a Positive List Visa

This type of work visa is specific to job positions which are in shortage in the country. Check a full list of in-demand professions in Denmark to see if you can apply via the Positive List Visa.

Business Visa

If you are coming to Denmark for a short stay and for work purposes only, you can look into a business visa. These visas are valid for a 90 day stay in a 180 day period. You can find more information for the short-term visa for business visits on SIRI.

Family Visa

If you want your family, spouse, or partner to join you in Denmark, you can apply for family reunification. The visa process will vary according to the family member’s relationship with the Danish resident.

On the SIRI portal, you will find all the family and spouse visas and how to apply online. There are visas for spouses or cohabiting partners, children, parents, or siblings of the person who was granted residence in Denmark. There are also different processes for requesting EU residence as a family member of an EU citizen in Denmark, or family reunification with a Danish citizen.

These visas can take up to ten months to process and cost 6,380 DKK (945 USD).

Self-Employment Visas

For expats interested in working for themselves in Denmark, there are two visa options. The first is a self-employment visa, which you can apply for to work independently. The second is the Start-Up Denmark visa. Find out which of the two best suits your needs.

Danish Self-Employment Visa Application Process

The application process and requirements for a self-employment visa are slightly different than for other visas. For starters, you will not find self-employment visas on SIRI.

For this type of permit, you will have to apply through a diplomatic mission in your country of residence. This type of visa and residence permit has the duration of one year.

Danish Self-Employment Visas: Requirements

You will need to follow these steps to apply for this type of work and residence permit:

  • Create a case order ID.
  • Pay the visa fees.
  • Submit the self-employment visa application form AR2, attaching all the necessary documents listed below.
  • Have your biometrics measured and your photograph taken.

Here is a list of the required documents you should attach to the application:

  • copy of your passport (all pages, including front and back cover)
  • proof of payment of the visa fee
  • proof of your registration for a CVR, the Central Business Register Number; done at the central company register of the Danish Business Authority
  • annual report or budget (preferably reviewed by an accountant)
  • documentation for equity interest or company equity
  • business plan (mentioning the type of business, innovative aspects of the company or prospects for growth including the number of facilities or workplaces)
  • documentation for any support or partnerships with other Danish companies
  • documentation for any contracts or other agreements you have entered into
  • documentation for relevant training/education, previous experience as a self-employed person, and/or work experience from the field in question
  • documentation for personal capital (e.g., bank statements)
  • documentation for relevant authorization (only applicable if the job / running of the company requires a Danish authorization)

The Start-Up Denmark Visa

This visa is for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to set up a business in Denmark. For your application to be approved, your business idea must be approved by the Danish Business Authority. You must also be able to support yourself by proving you have:

  • 137,076 DKK (20,300 USD) if only supporting yourself in Denmark;
  • 27,152 DKK (4,000 USD) if coming to Denmark with a spouse;
  • 319,236 DKK (47,300 USD) if coming to Denmark with a spouse and one or more children;
  • 182,160 DKK (27,000 USD) if coming to Denmark with one or more children but no spouse.

The visa fee for the Start-Up visa is less than a regular work visa: 1,900 DKK (280 USD).

Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent

Find out how to apply for a temporary residence permit and how to become a permanent resident in Denmark later on.

Application for a Temporary Residence Permit

When you apply for a residence permit in Denmark, you are automatically granted a visa. In other words, the process of applying for a visa and a residence permit is one and the same. When your temporary residence permit is approved, the entity that has approved it will give you the visa, which is a sticker that goes on your passport.

When you first apply for a permit, these are initially temporary. While a short-term visa will only allow you to stay in the country for 90 days, other visas will grant you residence for one year or more, depending on the visa type.

Work permits for those with employment contracts shorter than four years are only valid for the duration of the employment contract. A work permit cannot be longer than four years, even if your work contract is. Once the four years have passed, you must apply for an extension of your residence permit. The requirements and fees for the temporary resident permit vary by the type of visa and permit you apply for. Most have been covered in the sub-section above.

Applying for an Extension of your Temporary Residence Permit

Some temporary residence permits can be extended, although these are mostly employment-based permits. You must apply for an extension within the last three months of your permit expiring.

In general, you must continue to meet the requirements for your initial permit and work under the same conditions—that is having the same position, the same salary, and the same employer.

You can read more about extending all types of temporary permits.

How To Get Danish Permanent Residency

You can apply for permanent residency in Denmark if you have lived in the country for eight years. Some work permits may allow you permanent residency in a shorter period of time. For example, some work permits can be extended into permanent residency after four years, while others can be extended after only two years if the candidate has had strong ties to Denmark. EU citizens may apply for permanent residence after living in Denmark for five years, according to EU regulation.

Here you will find a complete list of temporary permits that can be made permanent.

Application for Danish Permanent Residency

To apply for a permanent residence permit, you must follow these steps:

  • Create a case order ID.
  • Pay the fee of 3,025 DKK (450 USD).
  • Gather the necessary documents which we have listed below.
  • Fill in the online application form­­ TU1-4.
  • Have your biometrics measured.

Here are the required documents which should be attached to the application:

  • proof of payment of the application fee
  • proof that you meet the housing requirements (if you have been granted a residence permit based on family reunification and you and your partner/spouse live in co-operative housing)
  • language certificate such as the Prøve i Dansk certificate or the folkeskolen completion certificate
  • proof of employment such as tax returns or a contract
  • proof of income (i.e., pay slips, tax return, etc.)
  • proof of active citizenship (this can be an exam certificate or a statement from a board or association)
  • other conditions that might affect your application must also be attested for, such as disability, old age, illness, foreign residence, etc.

Danish Permanent Residence Requirements

There are some basic requirements to apply for permanent residence in Denmark:

  • You must be over 18.
  • You continue to meet the requirements for your current residence permit.
  • You have been living in Denmark for eight years.
  • You have not been convicted of certain crimes.
  • You do not have overdue public debt.
  • You have not received some forms of social benefits.
  • You accepted a declaration of residence and self-support.
  • You are currently employed.
  • You have never worked under a false identity.
  • You have passed the Danish language test 2.
  • You have been employed for at least three years and six months in the previous four years of your application for permanent residence.

You may apply for permanent residence after having lived only for four years in the country, if you meet all the basic requirements and two of these four additional or supplemental requirements.

  • You pass the Danish language test 3.
  • You have been employed for at least four years.
  • You have passed the active citizen exam or have displayed active citizenship.
  • You had an annual average income above 286,525 DKK (42,695 USD).

The application for permanent residence may take up to eight months to process.

Permanent Residence Fees for Denmark

The fee depends on the kind of temporary permit you had. If you were granted a temporary study or work permit, applying for permanent residency costs 6,960 DKK (1,035 USD).

If you were granted a different kind of permit, extending it permanently costs 4,930 DKK (735 USD).

What are the Benefits of Being a Permanent Resident in Denmark?

As a permanent resident in Denmark you have a few benefits besides being able to live in Denmark indefinitely.

  • You can sponsor relatives who meet the eligibility criteria to live in the country.
  • You can buy property and real estate.
  • Children of permanent residents are entitled to free upper education.
  • You will not need to apply for short-term visas to travel within the Schengen area.
  • You may receive grants and aids.

Family and Spouse Visa Process

If you have been granted a residence permit, you may have a family member join you in Denmark if they are:

  • a spouse;
  • a civil partner;
  • a cohabitating partner (if you can prove you have lived with the person for two years);
  • a child under 18 years of age.

The resident already in Denmark is referred as the sponsor. The family member must meet a few requirements:

  • They must hold a valid passport.
  • They can prove that they are married to you, are in a civil partnership, or have been cohabitating with you for at least two years.
  • You have the consent of the other parent for your child to join you in Denmark.
  • They will be living in the same address as you, the sponsor.
  • You can financially support them (they are not allowed to receive social aid).

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