What to do before moving?

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 offers an overview of the most important things to do and 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 countries and 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.

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.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can reside in Denmark according to special regulations and should apply for an 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.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

You are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you can apply for a residence and work permit under the 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.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

As an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you can apply for an EU residence document as a self-employed person.

Nordic citizen or EU/EEA citizens

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 Workindenmark, 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 to 2 months from the time you send the application and the required documentation.

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 4 weeks.

For more information, please consult a real estate agent or read more about the rules about purchasing real property. 

Find a study programme

Danish higher education institutions offer a range of opportunities for international students. More than 600 programmes are taught in English – all internationally recognised and of high quality. 

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?

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!

Your family

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.

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, daycare 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 6 years old. This primary and lower secondary education consists of a 1-year pre-school class, 9 years of primary and lower secondary education, and an optional 10th form. Most Danish children attend municipal primary and lower secondary school, which is free of charge.

How to bring your personal belongings, your pet and your car

Bring your personal belongings

If you move to Denmark, get married or acquire personal belongings by inheritance, your personal belongings may be introduced duty-free. You are not liable to pay VAT if you meet the conditions that apply.

Bring your pet

Depending on the species of the pet and where you move from there are certain requirements that you and your pet must meet.

Bring 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.

Graphic showing a person sitting in front of her pc thinking about moving

Visual guide for settling down in Denmark 

What to do – step by step

It can be challenging for any international citizen thinking of moving to Denmark to get an overview of the many steps you have to go through when settling down in Denmark. In this overview you will find the typical steps you will go through as a professional. If you have come to Denmark as an accompanying partner or as a student, you may also find the guide useful.

Check out the visual guide: