Permanent Residency For Members

What counts as 'active citizenship' for Danish permanent residency?

The Local Denmark
The Local Denmark - [email protected]
What counts as 'active citizenship' for Danish permanent residency?
A volunteer from the organisation Kids News gives homework help at a school in Copenhagen. Photo: Anne Bæk/Ritzau Scanpix

Foreigners living in Denmark can receive permanent residency after four years, rather than the usual eight, if they can prove "active citizenship", and meet three other criteria. What counts towards this?


When applying for Danish permanent residency, you need to meet at least two of the four so-called "supplementary criteria", and if you meet all four of them you can apply for a permanent right to stay in the country after just four years. 

The requirements are: being employed for at least four years, passing Danish language 3, and having an average income above a certain threshold (309,824.37 kroner in 2023) in the two years before your application is decided on. 

One way of showing "active citizenship" is by passing the Active Citizen Exam, or Medborgerskabsprøven, which is held twice a year (you can find study material here). But you can also meet the requirement by "displaying active citizenship for at least a year". 

What counts as 'displaying active citizenship'? 

According to the the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI)'s website, displaying active citizenship involves "participation in a board, organization, or similar that... supports the fundamental democratic values and legal principles in Danish society".

You need to have been involved in the organisation for at least one year, but that period can be split over several years. 

This might be membership of the following:

A parents’ committee, or forældrebestyrelse. Every vuggestue (kindergarten up to 3 years old), or børnehave (3-6) (or sometimes a cluster of them)will have a parent's committee, which can take decisions on the institution's priorities and influence how money is spent. To apply to join the committee, simply ask the manager of your child's daycare institution.  

A school board, or skolebestyrelse. Every folkeskole (municipal school), and friskole (free school) in Denmark, has a school board, bringing together representatives of parents, teachers and students, which typically meets once a month. The parent members of the school board are typically elected by the parents. 

The board of a non-profit housing organization, or almennyttig boligorganisation. Many rential properties in Denmark are owned by non-profit housing organisations, for instance Bo-Vest in Copenhagen, which brings together residents of four big non-profit housing organisations. Each housing block, or group of blocks, will typically have its own board, which you can join by putting yourself forward at an annual residents' meeting.  


An integration council, or integrationsråd. Every municipality in Denmark will have an integration council, which advises municipal politicians on refugees, immigrants and integration. The council normally consists roughly half of immigrants living in the municipality, and half of representatives from schools, daycare, sports groups, and the municipality itself. You can join by putting your name forward before the council's annual constituent meeting and being elected.  

A senior council, or ældreråd. Most municipalities in Denmark will have a senior council, which represents over 60s in the municipality. The councils are normally chosen in elections held every four years. 

Participation in children's or youth work. You can also fulfil the conditions of 'active citizenship' if you have participatede in youth work for at least a year, for example by training children or acting as a referee at a sports club, organising school leisure activities or help with homework. 

Training as a referee or coach. If you go through training to be a volunteer sports referree or trainer, this can count towards your year of "active citizenship".  


Participation in other non-profit organisations. 

You can also fulfil the criterion by working for a suitable non-profit organisation. As a rule of thumb, a non-profit organisation is deemed suitable if it qualifies for subisides under the Non-formal Education Act (folkeoplysningsloven). 

How do you prove your participation? 

You can enclose a statement from the daycare centre, municipal school, housing organisation, municipality, or club with which you have been involved with your application for permanent residency. 


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