Work permits For Members

EXPLAINED: How to apply for an after studies residence permit in Denmark

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How to apply for an after studies residence permit in Denmark
Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

On April 1st, new rules relating to job-seeking permits came into effect for international students who have completed their studies in Denmark. Here's how the scheme works.


What is the job-seeking permit?

The permit is the next step after a student residence permit and acts as a raft for those seeking employment after graduating. Under the new work permit rules, the job-seeking permit is now valid for three years. The previous rules only allowed six months.

Are you eligible for a job-seeking permit?

This is for students from non-EU countries. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can stay in Denmark under EU free movement rules.


Non-EU students can be granted a three-year permit, if they hold a residence permit as a student in a Danish professional bachelor, bachelor, master or PhD educational programme and have completed their studies.

Students whose study programmes do not fall into one of those four categories may still be able to get a shorter, six-month job seeking permit. This includes educational programmes not approved by a Danish state authority but instead have an advisory statement by the Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA).

Do I need to apply for the job-seeking permit?

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) automatically grants the three-year job seeking period when the study permit is granted, as long as the student’s passport has sufficient validity.

You only need to apply if you were previously granted a six-month permit, or you have completed your studies in Denmark and don't have the automatic permit, or your student residence permit has a shorter validity due to the expiry date of your passport. A residence permit can only be valid until three months before the expiry date of your passport.

The application portal can be found on SIRI’s website.

If you have not completed your studies and your residence permit is about to expire, you can apply for an extension of your residence permit as a student.

What about the old scheme?

The older scheme, called the Establishment Card was abolished as a scheme under the new rules. However existing holders can still apply to have their cards extended under the old rules, or apply for the new job-seeking permit.

What can you do with the permit?

  • The permit allows you to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  • You can have free Danish lessons, as long as you are 18 years old and your address is registered.
  • You have the same right to work that you had during your stay as a student: 20 hours a week and full time in June, July and August.


What can't you do with the permit?

  • You can't work in other Schengen countries.
  • You can't give up your Danish address or stay abroad for more than six consecutive months, otherwise you will lose your right to stay in Denmark. Exceptions to this rule are PhD students or students at an international educational programme under the Erasmus Mundus, Erasmus+ or Nordic Master.
  • You can't receive public benefits. You must be able to support yourself and your family during your stay.

Can my family be included on the permit?

Accompanying family members can have their residence permit extended to the job-seeking permit. There is a fee for this.

What happens when I find a job?

If you are offered a job, in which you must work more hours than the 20 allowed by your job-seeking permit, you can apply for a work permit without limitations. Those who have completed educational programmes with advisory statement by the Danish Evaluation Institute (EVA) are exempt from this.

A work permit without limitations means you can work full-time hours for any employer for the length of your three-year job-seeking permit. You can change jobs without needing to apply for a new permit.

If you want a longer permit, you can apply for a residence and work permit based on the job offered.

There are various work permits, depending on your type of employment. These work permits cannot be granted for longer than four years but can be extended. You can begin to work while SIRI is processing your application.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also