Residency permits For Members

How long can you leave Denmark for and not risk your residency?

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
How long can you leave Denmark for and not risk your residency?
Tourists on the beach in Side, Turkey. Photo: STAFF/Scanpix 2016

How long can you leave Denmark as a residence permit holder without losing your right to stay? We set out the rules.


The are different rules for staying away from Denmark, depending on your residency permit.

The only type of residence document that cannot be revoked, however long you are away from Denmark, is Danish citizenship. Every other type of residence expires if you are out of the country for long enough.

When do I have to leave the CPR system?

You have to tell the Civil Registration System (CPR) if you will be out of the country for more than six months. if you go to Denmark on holiday during your stay abroad, this will not interrupt the 6-month period.

You are also obliged to tell CPR if you are away for less than six months but sublet your residence while you are away. 

Staying in Greenland or the Faroe Islands is considered time away from Denmark.


What do I do on my return to Denmark?

You must inform The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) on your return after a long period away from Denmark. 

If you are only abroad for a holiday and your address is not removed from the CPR system, you do not need the confirmation from SIRI about your right to residence on your return.

However for longer lengths of stay, which may include you no longer having a Danish address or CPR number, you first need to apply for your residence permit to remain valid.  SIRI will also confirm your right to residency on your return.

If you leave Denmark for more than agreed on your permit, you will have to revoke your residency. You then have to reapply for residency, based on new circumstances.


Temporary residence as EU/EEA/Swiss citizen

Under the EU Free Movement Directive, an EU citizen (or their non-EU family member) may leave Denmark for up to six months each year without losing residence status.

Temporary residence as non EU/EEA/Swiss citizen

This is more complicated and depends on the circumstances under which temporary residency was granted. These various circumstances are outline below.

Residency based on a work permit or study 

You may leave Denmark for up to six successive months without losing residence status. More than this and you will automatically lose your residency.


Your residence permit will always state whether you are exempt from the rules and the following work permits mean time away from Denmark will not affect residency:

  • the Fast-track Scheme, or an accompanying family member to a person with a permit based on the Fast-track Scheme.
  • a researcher
  • the ESS Scheme (the research facility European Spallation Source)
  • if you are enrolled in a full PhD programme in Denmark or if you are an accompanying family member to a PhD
  • a student on a joint degree

What if you need to be abroad for more than six months on work or study permit residence?

You can be granted a dispensation for up to three years, although you can't get longer than the duration of your residence permit.

For this, you need to show your purpose abroad, such as work; studies; stationing by a Danish authority; institution, organisation or company; stationing by an international institution, organisation or company based in Denmark; tending of near family with serious illness; taking parental leave; serving in the military as a conscript or performing required community service.

You must apply before you have been outside of Denmark for more than six successive months and before you give up your Danish residence.

Residency based on family reunification or asylum

If you have this type of residence permit in Denmark with the possibility of permanent residence and you have lived in Denmark for less than two years, you may leave Denmark for a maximum of six successive months.

If you have a residence permit in Denmark with the possibility of permanent residence and you have lived in Denmark for more than two years, you can leave Denmark for a maximum of twelve successive months.

Time spent outside of Denmark due to military conscription or other types of involuntary service do not affect residency. 

If you have refugee status in Denmark, your residence permit can only lapse if you have chosen to return to your home country, or if you have been offered protection in a third-country.


What if you need to be abroad for more than six or twelve months on family reunification residence?

You can be granted a dispensation for up to four years if you can show a well-documented purpose for being abroad with the intention to return to Denmark. 

For example: foreign employment or posting for a Danish or international authority, institution, organisation; education; au pair stay; caring for a seriously ill close family member.

UK citizens with post-Brexit residence status

The UK withdrawal agreement largely gives Britons living in Denmark with post-Brexit residence status similar rights when it comes to residence as when they were EU citizens.

Britons arriving in Denmark after this date are subject to the non-EU rules listed above. This means that British citizens with post-Brexit residence status can leave Denmark for up to six or twelve months each year without losing their post-Brexit residence status. 

Will time abroad affect my application for permanent residency?

As an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you can become a permanent resident after you have lived in Denmark for at least five consecutive years. 

According to SIRI, temporary residence abroad for a total of less than six months per year will not prevent you from obtaining permanent residence.

The same applies to time abroad of up to one year’s duration due to extraordinary reasons, or long-term residence abroad due to conscription.

For non EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, permanent residency is granted after living and working in Denmark for eight continuous years, or four years in certain circumstances. You have to fulfil a number of requirements to get permanent residency as a non EU citizen.

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.  

Depending on what temporary residence you have before applying for permanent residence, time away during this period can affect your application.

Will time abroad affect my application for citizenship?

When applying for Danish citizenship, the condition is that you have continuously been a resident in Denmark for nine years.

Interruptions of residence may affect whether you fulfill the residence requirement so this needs to be checked. For example, a long stint abroad could be subtracted from the period residence.

There are certain exceptions to the rules for refugees, Nordic citizens, spouses of Danish citizens and those who received an education in Denmark.

READ ALSO:  How to apply for citizenship in Denmark


Permanent residence

Permanent residency rights are broadly the same for both EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and non EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, but there is a difference in how long you can spend abroad without your permanent residence permit lapsing.

As a permanent resident who is an EU citizen or a family member to an EU citizen, you can leave Denmark for up to two years, without it affecting your residency. You do not lose your permanent right to residence if you reside outside Denmark for less than two years.

Your municipality of residence will ask for confirmation from SIRI of your continued right to residence when, after your return to Denmark, you seek to register your address with the Civil Registration System (CPR).

People who hold permanent residence permits based on former permits issued by SIRI (in other words, non-EU citizens who did not move to Denmark using the EU's guarantee of free movement) cannot live outside of Denmark for more than 12 months because their residence permits will lapse automatically if you they up your Danish address or stay abroad for more than 12 successive months, SIRI states on its website. This applies even if that person remains registered at a Danish address on the personal registration (CPR) database.

Abroad for extended spells as a permanent resident

As a permanent resident, if you plan to live outside Denmark for more than one or two years (depending in the conditions your permanent residency allows) and you intend to return to Denmark subsequently, you can in special cases receive dispensation. You have to apply for this via SIRI's website, telling the agency the reason and length of your residence outside Denmark.

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


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Christopher 2023/04/15 07:40
How long can I remain outside Denmark if I have an Arcticle 50 residence permit ( pre-Brexit residency permit)?

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