You are considering Denmark as a place to live. Perhaps you have a lot of questions about actually moving to Denmark. What do you need to do in advance and what are your options? This guide provides you with an overview of the most important things to do and to consider.
Find out if you need to apply for a residence permit
A residence permit allows you to reside in Denmark.
Before you move to Denmark and start working, you need to find out whether you are required to apply for a residence and work permit or not. The conditions for a permit vary according to the purpose of your stay.
If you are coming to work in Denmark, it is important that you apply for a residence and work permit before you begin working. Be aware that voluntary or unpaid work may also require a work permit.
Please note that special EU regulations apply to citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland and their families.
Find a job
Workindenmark.dk has approximately 1,500 vacancies that do not require command of Danish, so that you will get a good overview of current job openings.
At workindenmark.dk, you also have a possibility to create a CV that will be accessible to Danish employers and Workindenmark’s recruitment consultants who regularly match candidates from the CV-bank with regular jobs.
You can improve your chances of getting a job in Denmark by completing Workindenmark’s online course on job search in Denmark “Make It Work in Denmark”.
Besides Workindenmark, your municipality may offer services to help you find a job. Please note, this only applies if you are already in Denmark.
Nordic citizens are free to enter, live, study and work in Denmark. You do not need a visa or residence permit.
EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can reside in Denmark according to special regulations and should apply for EU residence document upon arrival to Denmark.
Non EU/EEA/Swiss citizens must apply for a residence permit to stay in Denmark. Many residence permits include a work permit but it is important that you have the correct permit for the job you are going to do. You may need to apply for a specific work permit, if you are going to do unpaid work or seek sideline employment.
There are regulated professions in Denmark, for example healthcare professionals. If your profession is regulated, you need an authorisation or similar recognition by the competent public authority.
For example, foreign trained doctors must apply to be registered with a Danish authorisation and permission to work independently as a medical doctor by the Danish Patient Safety Authority.
You are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss-citizen, you can apply for a residence and work permit under Start-up Denmark scheme. The scheme for foreign entrepreneurs gives you the opportunity to be granted a Danish residence permit in order to establish and run an innovative growth company.
As an EU/EEA/Swiss-citizen, you can apply for an EU residence document as a self-employed person.
Many municipalities and local business organisations offer help to start your own business. Search using “start business” at your municipality’s website.
Searching for a job – particularly in another country – can be challenging. Workindenmark’s online course on job search in Denmark “Make It Work in Denmark”. is designed to provide insight, knowledge, and tips related to finding a job in Denmark and includes real-life stories from international individuals who found work in Denmark, interactive exercise, videos about different subjects, and practical tasks.
Besides Workindeenmark, your municipality may offer services to help you find a job.
Sometimes Danish employers find non-Danish qualifications difficult to understand. The Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education can offer a written assessment that explains what your qualifications correspond to in the Danish context. The service is free of charge and takes 1-2 months from the time you send the application and the required documentation.
Learn about Danish culture
Denmark often comes out near the top of global surveys on liveability and happiness. How can a small country with difficult weather be such a wonderful place to live?
Find a home
The internet is by far the most useful method for searching for housing in Denmark. It also provides the advantage of allowing you to begin your search for housing before you arrive in Denmark.
There are numerous of free as well as fee-based websites and portals that mediate housing. Often the websites are structured so that you can search for housing based on various criteria, for example rental period, location, price and size. At certain websites it is also possible to create a search profile, so that you can receive automatic updates by email when a new housing fulfilling your criteria is found.
At the free websites in particular, there is often high demand for the housing offered. For that reason, it is recommended that you contact the housing provider as soon as you are given an interesting offer.
Rents in Denmark vary widely, depending on the location, size, and general condition of the specific dwelling. You can rent a room, a flat or a single-family house.
In small towns and in the countryside, it is usually easy to find rented accommodation at a reasonable price, whereas in the capital of Copenhagen and in the second-largest city of Aarhus, affordable accommodation can be somewhat harder to find.
You can rent either from a private landlord or a housing association.
In general it is difficult as a foreigner to buy real estate in Denmark. Depending on where you come from there are certain rules.
If you are a national of an EU/EEA Member State, you may buy real estate in Denmark without applying for permission as long as the property is to be used as your all-year dwelling, or the property is necessary for you in order to operate as a self-employed person.
If you are a national of another country than an EU/EEA Member State, you must apply to the Ministry of Justice for permission to buy real estate in Denmark. When the Ministry of Justice has received all the information necessary for considering an application for permission to acquire an all-year dwelling, the expected processing time is usually about four weeks.
For more information, please consult a real estate agent or read more about the rules on the website of the Ministry of Justice.
Bring your family
Your spouse, cohabiting partner, child or other family members in Denmark can apply for a residence permit as an accompanying family member.
Please note that special EU regulations apply if you are an EU citizen and want to bring your family members to Denmark.
If your family members are Nordic citizens, they are free to enter, live, study and work in Denmark. They do not need a visa or residence permit.
Your local library, Citizen Service (Borgerservice) and municipality websites are good places to find out what associations, clubs and events there are in your vicinity - otherwise ask your Danish colleagues and friends - you will find, that they are very helpful.
Other ways to find inspiration for leisure activities and networks:
Depending on the species of the pet and where you move from there are certain requirements that you and your pet must meet.
Sign up for childcare
All children in Denmark are guaranteed a place in a childcare institution. Almost all Danish families use child daycare. Options for childcare consist of day nurseries for children 0-3 years old, kindergartens for children 3-6 years old, and pre-school/after school centres for children 6-10 years old. In addition, there is the option of local childcare, in which children are cared for in private homes.
Children in Denmark receive 10 years of compulsory education starting in August in the year in which the child turn six years old. This primary and lower secondary education consists of a one-year pre-school class, nine years of primary and lower secondary education, and an optional tenth form. Most Danish children attend municipal primary and lower secondary school, which is free of charge.
When you arrive
You have arrived to Denmark. What do you need to get up and running and what are your options? Whether you are from a Nordic country, an EU country or a non EU country, there are a couple of things you need to attend to and consider.
Becoming a citizen - what you need to do
You can obtain an EU residence document, if you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland. You can also obtain an EU residence document, if you are a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who has already obtained an EU residence document or who is applying for it at the same time.
Please note, if you are a citizen of a Nordic country (Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden), you are free to live, study and work in Denmark. You do not need an EU residence document.
The EU residence document (also known as an registration certificate) confirms your right to live in Denmark.
You will need the EU residence document when registering your Danish address with the local municipality where you will be residing. When you register an address at the local municipality, you will also be given a Danish CPR number. You therefore need an EU residence document before you can register an address and receive a Danish CPR number.
A permanent address is mandatory in order to be able to apply for a CPR number. The minimum residing period needed for a permanent address varies in municipalities, but usually 1-3 months.
In Denmark each person has a personal registration number, which is called a CPR number. CPR stands for Central Person Register.
The CPR number is essential in relation to any contact with the Danish authorities and especially in connection to tax and social security issues.
If you intend to stay for a period of 3 months or more (6 months if within EU/EEA or Nordic countries) you must notify the municipal authorities (Folkeregistret).
Note that a permanent address is mandatory to obtain a CPR number.
Documents you need to apply for a CPR number:
- Work and residence permit (relevant if you are a citizen outside the EU/EEA, the Nordic region or Switzerland)
- Assignment/employment contract
- Passport or personal ID
- Proof of your address in Denmark (e.g., rental contract)
- If applicable, documentation for changes of name (marriage/divorce certificate, etc.)
- If applicable, birth certificates for your children
- If applicable, a marriage certificate.
There are many things to take care of when you arrive in Denmark as an international newcomer.
You can get help at International Citizen Service centres (ICS) located in Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg. All the public authorities you typically need in relation to your entry to Denmark are represented at these four International Citizen Service centres. So in most cases, you will only need to visit an ICS center to take care of paperwork and find answers to your questions.
The four municipalities who host International Citizen Service centres also provide relevant information at their websites.
NemID is your personal secure login for digital contact with Danish public authorities, for your Digital Post, for netbanking and a wide range of online self-service solutions.
There are several ways to obtain NemID. You can:
- Obtain NemID via citizen services
- Obtain NemID via online banking
- Order NemID online (requires Danish passport or Danish Driver's licence).
Obtain NemID via citizen services
You can obtain NemID through personal appearance at a citizen service centre or a tax centre.
NemID via online banking:
If you make an online banking agreement with your bank, you can obtain NemID via the bank. For more information, please contact your bank.
Order NemID online
If you have a Danish driver’s licence or a Danish passport as well as an address listed in the national register, you can order NemID on the NemID website.
After a few days, you will receive two letters, one with your code card and one with an Activation Password which you must use when you activate NemID.
If you have a Danish CPR number you receive Digital Post from public authorities. That means that you receive most post from public authorities digitally.
Digital Post from public authorities is the same type of letters that you already receive from the authorities. Digital Post includes any letters from hospital, pension statements, information about state education support (SU), changes to housing benefits, replies to applications for childcare, letters from the Danish Tax and Customs Administration (SKAT), etc.
Please note that not all post from public authorities can be sent digitally. Therefore, you still need to check your paper-based letters (letters in your physical letter box).
The health insurance card is documentation that you are entitled to the services offered under the national health insurance scheme. In Danish, it’s called “sundhedskort”.
The health insurance card is issued when you register for a CPR number with Citizen Service in your municipality or in one of the International Citizen Service centres.
Approximately two weeks after you have registered for your CPR-number, your national health insurance card will be sent to your Danish address. The card will show your name and address, your CPR number and the name and address of your doctor (general practioner).
It is advisable always to carry this card with you as it is required whenever you need to see a doctor, a dentist or go to hospital – or when you want to take out books from the library.
When you come to Denmark to work, you will need a tax card. In Danish, tax card is called “skattekort”.
In order for your employer to know how much tax to deduct from your salary, you will need a tax card.
A tax card contains information about your withholding tax rate, tax deductions and allowances. Please note that the tax card is in electronic form.
To get a tax card you need a civil registration number (CPR number) or a tax number. If you are working here for three months or less, you will get a tax number instead of a civil registration number.
When you receive salary from your employer it is useful to have a bank account. To open a bank account, you just need to contact a bank of your own choice.
Remember to bring photo ID (e.g. your passport) and address information.
You can only open a bank account with a Danish bank once you have obtained your tax card. As you are not a registered citizen in Denmark, the bank will want to see your:
- Tax card
- Contract of employment and payslip.
In Denmark three insurances are mandatory by law:
- Liability insurance if you own a motor vehicle
- A dog insurance if you have a dog
- Insurance against fire if you own real estate.
All other private insurances are voluntary.
Only applicable when you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and come to Denmark to look for work and continue to receive your unemployment benefits from the country where you became unemployed.
When you arrive at Denmark, you'll need to:
- register as a jobseeker at Workindenmark-centres within 7 days from the date stated on the front page of the PDU2 form you have received from either the employment services or the unemployment insurance fund in the country you left. If you move to North Jutland, you have a possibility to register at International Citizen Service North.
- submit your PDU2 form (formerly E 303) when you register.
- agree to any checks made on unemployment benefit claimants in Denmark as if you were receiving unemployment benefits there.
Before appearing at Workindenmark-centres or International Citizen Service North, please create a CV and published it at workindenmark.dk, the official Danish website for international recruitment managed by The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment. The registration process will be easier, if you bring your CV-number at workindenmark.dk.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss Citizen, who have been working in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you have a possibility to transfer your rights to receive unemployment benefits. It is important that you apply for membership of a Danish insurance fund within 8 weeks after you have terminated your employment in the country you lived before moving to Denmark.
Health insurance card
When you are covered by the national health insurance, you can register with a general practitioner (GP) and receive a yellow health insurance card. The health insurance card is documentation that you are entitled to the services offered under the national health insurance scheme.
GP - Your family doctor
Once you are registered in the Civil Registration System, you are entitled to choose a general practitioner (GP) you can contact if you fall ill. Your GP will also handle prescriptions, vaccinations, and certain types of contraception, and will also assist you with regard to disease prevention. You will need to make an appointment before going to see your GP. Contacting and seeing your GP is free of charge. Please note that seeing a physiotherapist or a chiropractor is not entirely free of charge even if your GP has made a referral. The same goes for prescribed medicine.
If you need to be examined or treated at a hospital, you must first obtain a referral from your own GP, a specialist doctor or from the out-of-hours medical service. You will receive an appointment from the hospital, which will send information on where and when you need to come. It is free of charge. You will receive the appointment in your Digital Post / e-Boks.
In Denmark, there is a partial charge for dental care. You have to pay for check-ups and treatment, but part of the bill is government funded. This amount is automatically deducted from your bill. You are free to choose any dentist. Children and young people below 18 years of age are entitled to free dental treatment.
Importing your car
You can bring your car when moving to Denmark, but you might need Danish number plates. If you move to Denmark and have a car with foreign number plates, you need to register your car in Denmark no later than 30 days after having moved to the country.
Foreign driving licences
You will in some cases need to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Danish driving licence.
Maternity benefits are benefits that you have the possibility of getting as compensation for the income, which you do not get when you are on maternity or paternity leave.
Find more information about maternity/paternity benefits:
When you have children in Denmark, you may qualify for various grants for your children. These grants are called family benefits.
Experience shows that your partner feels more settled in Denmark, if he/she has a job. A job can give your partner a sense of belonging to Denmark, as well as help them build his/her own local social networks.
Before your spouse or partner begins to work in Denmark, it is important to make sure that he or she is allowed to work.
If your spouse or partner is an EU/EEA/Swiss-citizen, he or she can begin to work immediately. This is the case even if he or she has not yet applied for an EU residence document.
If your spouse or partner is a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and meets the conditions for residence as a family member to an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, he or she has the same rights to reside and work in Denmark as the EU citizen.
If your spouse or partner is a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and has been granted a residence permit as an accompanying family member to a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, he or she has already been granted the right to work in Denmark. Your spouse or partner therefore does not need to apply for a separate work permit. As an accompanying family member your spouse or partner is also allowed to run his or her own business.
If your spouse or partner is a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and has been granted a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification, he or she has already been granted the right to work in Denmark. Your spouse or partner therefore does not need to apply for a separate work permit. Your spouse or partner is also allowed to run his or her own business.
Please note, if your spouse or partner is non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and has applied for, but has not yet been granted a residence permit as an accompanying family member, he or she is not allowed to work.
If you have any doubts or questions, please contact The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) for more information on the right to work for your spouse or partner.
Workindenmark under the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment offers a wide range of online resources that help your spouse/partner find a job in Denmark. By using these resources, your spouse/partner can improve his/her job opportunities in Denmark.
Besides Workindenmark, your municipality may offer services to help you find a job.
Your spouse or partner might choose start his or her own business. Many municipalities, local business organisations offer help to start your own business.
There are many study programmes taught in English at universities, university colleges, business academies and Artistic Higher Education Institutions.
Please check eligibility and possible cost by contacting the education institutions.
Being an employee
The Danish labour market is, to a great extent, regulated by the various players in the labour market themselves, in contrast to regulation by legislation. Under the Danish Model, employers and employees reach voluntary collective agreements on pay and working conditions. The trade unions play a pivotal role in the Danish labour market, and there is a high level of union membership among Danish workers.
Trade unions assist with cases regarding pay and working conditions and can help in connection with work-related injury cases, rehabilitation, etc. Some trade unions also offer personal consultancy and career planning or offer discount schemes on petrol, shopping centres, insurance, etc. These offers vary according to the industry with which the trade union is associated.
When you work in Denmark for a Danish employer, you have the right to holiday allowance.
Danish workplace culture is characterised by among others flat hierarchy, working in a team, flexible working hours, acting proactive and informal tone of communication and can be very different from what you are used to from home. Understanding Danish workplace culture will make it easier for you to adjust to your new workplace and interact with your new colleagues.
Workindenmark’s e-learning course “Make It Work in Denmark” has a module: An “Introduction to Danish Working Culture” that explains how to navigate in a Danish workplace and how to navigate a Danish workplace and deal with situations that may be unfamiliar.
Not applicable to non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens possessing a temporary residence and work permit based on a specific job with a specific employer.
In contrast to other forms of social security in Denmark, the Danish unemployment insurance system is a voluntary insurance scheme. It means that you are not automatically insured against unemployment.
If you want to be insured against unemployment when working in Denmark, you have to join a Danish unemployment insurance fund. Once you have joined an unemployment insurance fund, you must pay contributions.
If you become unemployed as a member of an unemployment insurance fund, you will under certain conditions receive unemployment benefits. You can contact an unemployment insurance fund within your field of work and get more information about membership and your rights.
You are first eligible to receive unemployment benefits when you have been member of an unemployment insurance fund for at least 12 months.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss Citizen, who have been working in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you have a possibility transfer your rights to receive unemployment benefits.
A sickness benefit is paid by the employer from the first full day lost. However, you should note that different rules apply for the different collective bargaining agreements. Please contact your Danish union, your employer or your municipality for further information.
Start learning Danish
We recommend you start practising Danish as it will often be much easier for you to Network, private and professionally, if you speak and understand basic Danish - Held og lykke!
Job change and unemployment
There are several important things to remember, if you against expectation lose your job.
If you have an EU residence document or a temporary residence and work permit:
It is very important that you contact The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) concerning your residence status.
If you are a member of a Danish unemployment insurance fund:
- Register yourself as a user of “Jobnet” - online or in person at the Jobcenter on the first day as unemployed - www.jobnet.dk. You will need your NemID to sign up.
- Upload your CV on www.jobnet.dk no later than two weeks after your first day of unemployment. You must continuously record your job search in the job log on Jobnet and keep contact to the Jobcenter.
Contact your unemployment insurance fund immediately after you have become unemployed.
Only applicable to non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen possessing temporary residence and work permit based on a specific job with a specific employer.
You have stayed and worked in Denmark for a while, you would like to have a new career challenge or are offered a new job from another company.
Before starting a job hunt or saying yes to a new job, it is always a good idea to study your residence status, especially when you have a residence permit, especially if have a residence and work permit. It may be necessary to apply for a new residence and work permit.
If you change your functions in your current company and significant changes to your terms of employment are made, it may also be necessary to apply for a new residence and work permit.
Not applicable to Nordic citizens as you are free to enter, live, study and work in Denmark.
When you change or lose job, you must be aware that it may have consequences to your residence and work permit/EU residence document.
EU/EEA/Swiss citizens – No consequences when you change a job. If you lose your job and have been granted a residence document based on your status as a paid worker, regardless of whether you were fired or quit, your right of residence has as a rule been terminated. If you would like to remain in Denmark after losing your job, you must contact SIRI for clarification of your grounds for residence.
Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens – If you have a residence permit based on a specific job with a specific employer and significant changes to your terms of employment are made, you must apply for a new residence and work permit.
If you lose your job, you may have a possibility to apply for a jobseeking permit and remain in Denmark for up to six months.
You can get compensation for wages, holiday pay, pension etc. if the company is declared bankrupt.
You must notify LG (Lønmodtagernes Garantifond = Employees' Guarantee Fund) if you have not received your wages etc.
Please note, that all libraries are currently closed due to the Coronavirus/Covid19 situation. Going to the library is a popular cultural activity in Denmark, and the local library is a good entry to cultural events in Denmark. You can obtain a library card and use library facilities free of charge. The libraries lend out books in Danish and in other languages, magazines, audio books, CDs and films on DVD. You can also log on to the Internet via the library’s PCs free of charge, read newspapers and borrow books from other libraries.
Clubs and associations
There are a vast number of clubs and associations in Denmark that cater to different interests: from sports clubs and political or religious societies to hunting clubs and hobby societies.Everyone living in Denmark can join a club or an association. Two thirds of all voluntary associations are sports clubs. Both outdoor and indoor sporting activities offer excellent opportunities for making friends and establishing networks – in addition to getting fit.
In Denmark, there are a great number of voluntary clubs, associations and events for expats living in Denmark. Expat families can meet to network with others in the same situation and to get introduced to Danish working life and Danish culture through professional and social events. Some initiatives are run by municipalities or companies with foreign employees, others by cultural associations on the basis of the expat environments themselves.
If you choose to leave Denmark, there are a number of practical matters you must pay attention to
Important to remember
You have to report that you leave if to the Civil Registration System (CPR):
You must report to the Civil Registration System that you are leaving Denmark, if:
- you will be gone for more than 6 months. Please note that if you go to Denmark on holiday during your stay abroad, this will not interrupt the 6-month period.
- you are gone for less than 6 months and you sublet or hire out your residence while you are gone. That is also called giving up the right of disposal.
Report your exit from Denmark here using your NemID.
You can report that you are leaving Denmark up to four weeks before leaving and you must report your exit no later than 5 days after leaving Denmark. If you do not have a NemID please contact Citizen Service (Borgerservice) in your municipality to get help reporting your exit in the CPR.
Moving to Greenland
If you are moving to Greenland, this is not considered as moving abroad. Simply report the change of address to your new municipality in Greenland.
Inform Post Nord about your future address and the date you leave. Your post will then be redirected to you new post address abroad for 6 months - free of charge.PostNord does not, however, redirect papers, magazines, and parcels to your new address abroad.
When moving, you must report this to the Civil Registration System - "Folkeregisteret”.
When you leave Denmark, it is your job and your place of residence that determine to which country you have to pay tax.
You are recommended to call the Tax Agency on +45 72 22 27 80 once you have left Denmark and deregistered from the Danish National Register (Folkeregisteret).
If possible, the Tax Agency will determine your tax liability instantly and let you know which documents you need to submit to the Tax Agency in connection with leaving Denmark.
If you leave Denmark and stop working for a Danish employer, you can have all your holiday allowance disbursed without taking a holiday.
When you export your vehicle and deregister it from the Danish Register of Motor Vehicles, you may be entitled to a tax refund of part of the original registration tax. Processing time for vehicle valuation is approx. 9 weeks.
Upon your departure, you have to hand over your license plates to SKAT, and you must notify one of the four Central Motor Registry Offices (“Motorcentre”) in Denmark. Your notice must include a copy of the vehicle’s original registration certificate (Part I and Part II) and registration form 21.044.Please note that the authorities may demand a vehicle inspection of the car.For further guidance on car deregistration and registration duty refund, please contact SKAT:
You can have your pension paid out abroad if you do not live in Denmark any longer.
Please contact your pension company, your pension fund or your financial institution if you want to learn more about your individual pensions.
You can not have your ATP Livslang Pension paid out if you leave Denmark. Read more what to do with your ATP Livslang Pension when you leave Denmark.
When you leave Denmark, there are a number of other practical matters you must pay attention to.