Health For Members

Can foreigners in Denmark access free health care?

The Local Denmark
The Local Denmark - [email protected]
Can foreigners in Denmark access free health care?
Hillerød sygehus

People who move to or reside in Denmark have the right to access the country’s public health system, while different rules apply to those in the country on a more temporary basis.


All persons who are registered as resident in Denmark and have been issued with a personal registration number are entitled to all public health services.

The rights to public health services are stated on the yellow health card itself, which is issued by the municipality in which you reside.

Denmark’s health services included under the public health system provide you with a family doctor or GP as well as free specialist consultations and treatments under the national health system, should you be referred for these.


You can also receive subsidies for medicine and medical services including some dental treatment, physiotherapy, chiropractor treatment and psychological consultations.

It should be noted that, as previously reported by The Local, foreign nationals can experience extended waiting times on residence applications in Denmark. Since they may not have automatic access to the public health system during this time, some decide to take out private health insurance to cover the waiting period.

READ ALSO: Applying for residency in Denmark: Why you might need health insurance during processing period

In some cases, you can also use Denmark’s public health system if you are not a permanent or temporary resident of the country.

This includes people who work in Denmark but live in another EU or EEA country (the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, who may be entitled to a special health card which provides access to the health system on the same footing as residents.

The card can be issued to persons who do not live in Denmark but are “socially insured” in the country due to one of a number of reasons, including:

  • Working in Denmark while resident in another EU, EEA country or Switzerland
  • Employed by a Danish company and stationed to work in another EU, EEA country or Switzerland
  • Receiving early retirement pay (efterløn) from the Danish state
  • Are employed on an EU contract and have selected Danish social insurance
  • Work on a ship which sails under the Danish flag
  • Are a family member of someone in one of the above categories and are not covered by the public health system in your home country.

It’s also possible to apply for and be granted the special health card if you are staying in Denmark without a personal registration (CPR) number, in some cases. These can include:

  • EU, EEA or Swiss nationals who work for Nato, the WHO or another international organisation in Denmark
  • People who work at EU, EEA or Swiss embassies or consulates in Denmark
  • Non- EU, EEA or Swiss nationals who work for Nato, the WHO or another international organisation in Denmark may also be encompassed by Danish or Nordic law in some cases
  • Family members of people in the above categories who do not have social health insurance in their home countries.


The card is also issued to people who normally live in Denmark but are residing outside of the country for up to one year, and are therefore removed from the Danish personal registration system. Examples of such a situation include students on international programmes, people visiting families, or au pairs or volunteers who work abroad for a limited period.

The special health card is issued for up to two years at a time and does not cost anything. It can be applied for here.

It should also be noted that people from EU countries may be able to use the EU’s European Health Insurance (EHIC) card in Denmark.

British nationals who moved to Denmark after 1st January 2021 are not covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and so cannot use the EHIC in Denmark.

However, Britons can use the UK’s new Global Health Insurance card (GHIC) to access emergency healthcare in Denmark.

Sources: (1), (2), (3)



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