You’ve written a great CV, been on some interviews and finally received the call. The job is yours! It’s an exciting period of time but there are some initial practicalities to take care of, especially if this is your first job in Denmark.
1. Your contract
Your employer is generally required to give you a contract, with limited exceptions. The contract will specify the conditions of your employment such as your salary, working hours, and other relevant terms. Before signing it, make sure to review the contract carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand some of the terms. As a general rule, if any of the terms should change in the future, you will receive the amendments in writing within a required notification period.
2. CPR number
Although you can get through the interview and acceptance process, you can’t actually start to work in Denmark until you have permission to do so and a CPR number.
Nordic citizens are allowed to work in Denmark and simply register at their local Citizen’s Centre (Borgerservice) to get a CPR-number.
EU/EEA citizens need to get a registration certificate first and then their CPR-number. This can be done at one of the International Citizen Service Centres.
Non-EU citizens will need a visa that allows you to work in Denmark and be issued a CPR number. If you don’t already have a visa, it’s possible that your employer would be willing to sponsor you, but you will still likely have to deal with some paperwork. You can learn more about visas here if you need to apply for your own. Note that there can be long waiting times to get approved for a visa.
3. Tax card
The tax card isn’t so much a card as it is a form where you fill out your personal information and expected income. The Danish tax authority Skat keeps this information in its database and your employer will also receive this information in order to correctly deduct taxes from your paycheck. It is extremely important to have a tax card on file, because if you don’t, you will automatically be taxed at 55 percent until you get a tax card set up. While taxes are notoriously high in Denmark, most employees have a lower tax rate than that.
If you forget to do this before you get paid, all is not lost, as you just need to get a tax card set up to get back on track, and then your taxes can be reconciled in the following tax year. You can also speak to your company’s payroll department to see if they can do anything to get the money back to you sooner.
You can get your tax card at one of the aforementioned International Citizen Service Centres or contact Skat for information. Skat has also created a tax guide in English which can be found here.
4. Bank account, NemID and e-Boks
Your salary will be deposited into your bank account, generally at the end of the month. But if you still have to open a bank account in Denmark, you need to have your CPR number ready first. You will also want to get a NemID, which is a kind of single sign-on ID that is used for many sites in Denmark, including your bank and Skat.
NemID is also used to set up your account on the e-Boks site, a service some people don’t hear about right away when they move to Denmark. Basically, e-Boks is a digital mailbox where you can receive all your official documents, such as notifications from your municipality. This is also where you will receive your payslips.
If you live in the Copenhagen area, you can get help for most of these services at International House Copenhagen.
Now you should be all set with the first steps! What else do you want to know about being an employee in Denmark? Let us know.
A previous version of this article was originally published on February 24th, 2015 and was written by Nancy Rasmussen, a change management consultant for IT projects with 12 years of experience within large, international companies.
The column was part of a series contributed by Nancy in her free-time in connection with NemCV and was not affiliated with her full-time employment.