Denmark is EU’s second most expensive country for residency application

Denmark is second in a survey which compares the costs of applying for permanent residency in EU countries, as the UK prepares to begin negotiations to leave the bloc.

Denmark is EU's second most expensive country for residency application
Photo: Iris/Scanpix

For citizens of countries outside the EU, application fees for permanent residency for EU countries can represent a significant outlay when starting out in a new country.

A survey carried out by internet group CupoNation shows that Denmark is the second-most expensive country for work or study-based permanent residence applications, with fees of 5,760 kroner (772 euros) second only to Lithuania.

In comparison to its Scandinavian neighbours, Denmark is noticeably more expensive. Permanent residence fees are 1,000 Swedish kronor (102 euros) and 2,100 Norwegian kroner (222 euros) in Sweden and Norway respectively.

Criteria for permanent residency also vary significantly between each country, with various minimum periods of living and working required before non-nationals become eligible for permanent residency.

Earlier this year, the Danish parliament passed an unpopular proposal further tightening requirements for residency, with the eight-year period now required making it one of Europe’s strictest countries on the issue.

READ ALSO: Danish parliament rejects campaign to soften residence bill

Danish residency requirements also include provisions on age, employment, language, and criminal records.

The cost of applying for permanent residency in EU countries is a relevant issue in light of the expected start of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU on the former’s withdrawal to leave the union, CupoNation’s digital marketing manager Jeppe Jepsen told The Local.

With the UK’s future relationship with the EU uncertain, and other countries having raised the idea of leaving the EU, the economic outlook for those who may suddenly find themselves without EU citizenship is an issue that deserves accessible data, Jepsen wrote in an email.

The extent to which the UK will retain free movement and trade with EU countries has arguably become less certain after last week’s general election in the country, in which Prime Minister Theresa May, who has advocated a “Hard Brexit”, lost her parliamentary majority, leaving her future as PM in doubt.

READ ALSO: Denmark passes dual citizenship bill

A Hard Brexit would prioritise giving Britain full control over its borders, making new trade deals and applying laws within its own territory, at the possible expense of access to the EU single market.

The negotiations, which were scheduled to begin next week, may yet be delayed by the election result in the UK.

Should Britain exclude itself from the EU completely, fees for permanent residence applications could become an unwanted side effect for UK citizens basing themselves abroad.

Graphic: CupoNation

Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously stated in one paragraph that the 5,760 DKK fee was related to citizenship applications. It applies only to work or study-based residency applications.


Denmark could make change to permanent residency employment rule

New Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek says he wants to change one of the criteria for permanent residency in Denmark.

Denmark could make change to permanent residency employment rule

In an interview with newspaper Politiken on Thursday, Bek said that people on paid internships should enable nationals of non-EU countries to meet the overall criteria for permanent residency.

Bek told Politiken he wanted to “tidy up things that make no sense” in permanent residency rules.

He also told the newspaper he wanted Denmark’s immigration rules to be “tight, but not crazy”.

Specifically, the minister said paid internships and trainee programs should count toward the work requirement — applicants for permanent residency must have worked for at least three years and six months of the previous four years.

Before 2016, education could also be used to satisfy the work requirement. Bek is not keen to restore that particular policy, telling Politiken that working people should considered first.

“We believe that people become well integrated by being at a place of work. That could be having responsibility for senior citizens, a checkout at Netto or laying bricks. By being around colleagues every single day you will get a very good idea of what Danish society is generally about,” Bek said to Politiken.

No specific detail was given as to specific sectors which might be encompassed by a change in the rules. But students or interns who are paid for positions with companies could benefit, according to the report.

Bek named social care workers and construction site apprentices as possible examples of jobs that could be accounted for.

Danish permanent residence rules were changed in 2016 under the previous centre-right government.

Prior to the 2016 change, education counted as employment in a requirement stating a person must have been employed for three and a half of the last four years in order to meet permanent residency criteria.

After 2016, any time spent in education does not count towards the employment criteria.

Bek’s Social Democratic party, then in opposition, supported the change.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Denmark must treat international students equally on permanent residency

The new immigration minister denied he would roll back the 2016 changes in their entirety and said people working should be given priority over students.

He also stressed to Politiken that the government had no plans to ease immigration rules but had always held the same position with regard to internships and residency rules.

Permanent residence means that a person is allowed to stay in Denmark and does not need to apply for residence again. 

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens have the right to apply for permanent residency when they have lived in Denmark for at least five consecutive years. Once it is granted, the holder can live in Denmark without having to meet the original requirements of their temporary EU residency (i.e. being employed, self-employed, a student, or through having sufficient funds). 

Non-EU citizens can be granted permanent residence once they have had a temporary residence permit for eight uninterrupted years (in some cases four).

There are certain requirements for the previous temporary residence, however. These include current employment, and paid internships do not fulfil this employment requirement currently.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between getting Danish citizenship and becoming a permanent resident?