SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

RESIDENCY PERMITS

What’s the difference between temporary and permanent residency in Denmark?

If you are a citizen from outside the Nordic countries and you want to work, live and study in Denmark, you need a residency permit. There are two types of residency permits in Denmark, called temporary residency and permanent residency. Here we explain the difference and how to get them.

copenhagen
Switching from temporary to permanent residency in Denmark may be beneficial once you become eligible. Photo by Kylie Cheung on Unsplash

If you are a citizen of Finland, Norway, Iceland or Sweden then you are able to work, live and study in Denmark without a residence permit. You just need to get a CPR (personal registration) number to register for tax and healthcare.  

For everyone else who isn’t a Nordic citizen and wants to work, live and study in Denmark, a residency permit is required. The rules are different if you are an EU/EEA/Swiss Citizen but there are still two types of residency permits –  temporary and permanent. You can only get a permanent residence permit after holding a temporary residence permit for a certain amount of years, depending on your circumstances. We explain more in this article. 

Temporary residency permit – EU/EEA/Swiss citizen 

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and plan on remaining in Denmark for less than three months, you do not need to apply for an EU residence document.

If you are seeking employment, you can stay in Denmark for up to six months before obtaining a temporary residence document.

If you are a student in Denmark, employed or self-employed in Denmark, or you have sufficient funds and want to stay in Denmark for longer than three months, you can get a temporary EU residency permit. You can also get temporary EU residency as an accompanying partner or child of an EU citizen, however your residency will be dependent on your partner’s or parent’s status. 

To get this type of residency permit, you need to register for a CPR number (Civil Registration Number) with a valid Danish address.

Your CPR number is your social security number, and allows you to access healthcare, childcare, open a bank account, among other things. 

If your grounds for residence are terminated, for example you stop working or studying, you must apply for a new residence document on other grounds such as having sufficient funds.

You apply for residency here through The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

Temporary residency permit – non-EU citizen

The process is more complicated if you’re not in the EU. You can’t get a residence permit in Denmark unless you have a work permit and you need to have this in place before you arrive in Denmark. 

There are various ways to get a work permit, depending on your profession. A list of different types of work sectors and requirements needed, can be found on the website nyidanmark.dk.

These include Fast-track scheme, Pay limit scheme, Positive lists, Researcher, Employed PHD, Guest researcher, Special individual qualifications, Herdsmen and farm managers, Establishment card, Start-up Denmark, Trainee, Certification, ESS Scheme, Authorisation, Labour Market Attachment, Drill rigs and other mobile workplaces, Volunteer, Sideline employment, Employment for adaptation and training purposes, Work permit for accompanying family members.

READ MORE: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national?

How long can I have a temporary residence permit for?

For non EU citizens, work permits and therefore residency permits are granted for no longer than four years but you can apply for an extension three months before your current permit expires. 

In order to extend your permit, your employment must not have changed. This means that you must be employed in the same position, by the same employer and under the same or improved terms of employment.

If you change jobs, you need to apply for a new work permit or if your salary or other employment terms are diminished, you must inform SIRI.

If you have a residence permit based on your partner’s employment (partner is termed ‘sponsor’ by SIRI) and their employment is extended, you must also apply for an extension of your residence permit.

For EU citizens, your temporary residence permit can continue for as long as you meet the requirements. If your circumstances change, you have to apply for a new temporary residency.

However after five consecutive years, you qualify for permanent residency and this gives you some extra benefits.

Permanent residency

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

However if you leave Denmark for more than two years, you will have to revoke your permanent residency. Only by becoming a citizen can you avoid this.

READ MORE: How to apply for citizenship in Denmark

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, then you have the right to apply for permanent residency if you have lived in Denmark for at least 5 consecutive years. 

Once you have obtained your permanent residency, you can live in Denmark without having to meet the original requirements of your temporary EU residency (i.e. being employed, self-employed, a student, or through having sufficient funds). 

If you are a non-EU citizen then you can be granted permanent residence once you have had a temporary residence permit for eight uninterrupted years, or four years in certain circumstances.

However, there are other requirements to fulfil.

You must not have been convicted of certain crimes; you may not have any overdue public debts; you may not have received certain forms of social benefits within four years of applying for a permanent residence permit; you need to pass the Danish language test 2 (Prøve i Dansk 2), or a Danish exam of an equivalent or higher level. You also need to have current employment – working at least three years and six months of the previous four years.

Danish permanent residence rules were changed in 2016 under the previous centre-right government and now any time spent in education, does not count towards the employment criteria of having worked for three and a half of the last four years.

However new Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek recently said he wants paid internships and trainee programs to count towards the work requirement.

READ ALSO: Denmark could make change to permanent residency employment rule

The rules for permanent residency are more lenient if you are between 18-19 years old, if you are a person of Danish descent, a former Danish citizen, or have ties to a Danish minority group.  

You can apply for permanent residency at anytime and it usually takes 10 months to process at a cost of 6,745 kroner.

However, it is important that you submit your application before your current residence permit expires.

If you do not meet all the requirements for a permanent residence permit, you can apply for an extension of your current residence permit instead. If you apply for an extension, you can apply three months prior to the date your current residence permit expires.

If you need any more information or have questions about work permits, you can contact SIRI on their contact page.

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

IMMIGRATION

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

Moving to another country is never easy, as it requires going through cultural changes and administrative formalities. It can be even more complicated when looking for a job.

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

According to new data released by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the knowledge of the national language and the recognition of professional qualifications are the two most common obstacles experienced by foreign-born people in finding a ‘suitable’ job in countries of the European Union.

Overall, about a quarter of people born outside the EU who had experience in working or looking for work in the bloc reported some difficulties getting a ‘suitable’ job for level of education (without considering the field of expertise or previous experience).

The Eurostat analysis shows that the situation is better for EU citizens moving within the bloc. But there are major differences depending on countries and gender.

Life can be more difficult for women

In 2021, 13.2 percent of men and 20.3 percent of women born in another European Union country reported obstacles in getting a suitable job in the EU place of residence.

These proportions however increase to 20.9 percent for men and 27.3 percent for women born in a non-EU country with a high level of development (based on the United Nations’ Human Development Index) and 31.1 percent for men and 35.7 percent for women from non-EU countries with a low or medium level of development.

Finland (42.9 percent), Sweden (41.7 percent), Luxembourg (34.6 percent) and France (32.1 percent) are the countries with the highest shares of people born outside the EU reporting problems. Norway, which is not part of the bloc, has an even higher percentage, 45.2, and Switzerland 34.3 percent.

In contrast, Cyprus (11.2 percent), Malta (10.9 percent), Slovenia (10.2 percent), Latvia (10 percent) and Lithuania (6.7 percent) have the lowest proportion of people born outside the EU reporting difficulties.

Lack of language skills

The lack of skills in the national language is most commonly cited as a hurdle, and it is even more problematic for women.

This issue was reported by 4.2 percent of men born in another EU country, 5.3 percent of those born in a developed country outside the EU and 9.7 percent of those from a non-EU country with a middle or low level of development. The corresponding shares for women, however, were 5.6, 6.7 and 10.5 percent respectively.

The countries where language skills were more likely to be reported by non-EU citizens as an obstacle in getting a relevant job were Finland (22.8 percent), Luxembourg (14.7 percent) and Sweden (13.1 percent).

As regards other countries covered by The Local, the percentage of non-EU citizens citing the language as a problem was 12.4 percent in Austria, 10.2 percent in Denmark, 7.8 percent in France, 5.1 percent in Italy, 2.7 percent in Spain, 11.1 percent on Norway and 10.1 percent in Switzerland. Data is not available for Germany.

Portugal (77.4 percent), Croatia (68.8 percent), Hungary (58.8 percent) and Spain (58.4 percent) have the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving, while more than 70 percent of non-EU citizens residing in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway said they had participated in language courses after arrival.

Lisbon Portugal

Portugal has the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving. (Photo by Aayush Gupta on Unsplash)

Recognition of qualifications

Another hurdle on the way to a relevant job in EU countries is the lack of recognition of a formal qualification obtained abroad. This issue was reported by 2 percent of men and 3.8 percent of women born in another EU country. It was also mentioned by 3.3 percent of men and 5.9 percent of women born in a developed country outside the EU, and 4.8 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Eurostat says this reflects an “unofficial distrust” among employers of qualification obtained abroad and the “low official validation of foreign education”.

The lack of availability of a suitable job was another factor mentioned in the survey. In Croatia, Portugal and Hungary, this was the main obstacle to getting an adequate position.

This issue concerned 3.3 percent of men and 4.5 percent of women born in another EU country, 4.2 percent of men and 5 percent of women born in a developed non-EU country It also worried 3.9 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Restricted right to work due to citizenship or residence permits, as well as plain discrimination on the grounds of origin were also cited as problems.

Discrimination was mostly reported by people born in a less developed non-EU country (3.1 percent for men and 3.3 percent for women) compared to people born in highly developed non-EU countries (1.9 percent for men and 2.2 percent for women).

Citizenship and residence permits issues are unusual for people from within the EU. For people from outside the EU, this is the only area where women seem to have fewer problems than men: 1.6 percent of women from developed non-EU countries reported this issue, against 2.1 percent of men, with the share increasing to 2.8 and 3.3 percent respectively for women and men from less developed non-EU states.

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.

SHOW COMMENTS