Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the Pay Limit Scheme. For details on non-typical categories not listed below (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.

  • The Positive List: For professions on Denmark’s skills shortage list.
  • The Pay Limit Scheme: For positions which meet a minimum salary level.
  • The “Fast-track” Scheme: Allows pre-certified companies to hire foreign nationals for up to four (4) years. The employee can start working immediately after submitting a work permit application, without waiting for approval, with a temporary work permit. Employees may also work alternately in Denmark and abroad without their work permit lapsing. In order to apply using the “fast-track” scheme, the Danish company must first apply for a company certification.
  • The Green Card Scheme: For individual applications from highly skilled migrants, based on a points system.

Typical Process Overview

Non-European Union Nationals

The following process overview is applicable to the Pay Limit Scheme. The approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Denmark is four (4) to six (6) weeks. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. See the Application Materials section below for further details. Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Step One: Work and Residence Permit Application
Processing Time:
Four (4) to six (6) weeks

Our representatives in Denmark can submit the application to the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) for in-country approval.

Note:    The above processing time begins from the completion of Step Two.

Step Two: Biometric Authentication – Danish Embassy/Consulate
Processing Time: Same day [one (1) to two (2) hours]

Once the application has been submitted in Step One, the assignee must undertake the biometric authentication within fourteen (14) days of the application submission date. The biometric features consist of a photo, digital fingerprints and signature.

Note:    The Danish Immigration Authorities will start processing the work and residence permit application in Step One only once the biometrics authentication has been completed.

Step Three: Long Stay Visa (visa nationals only)
Processing Time: Three (3) to ten (10) days

Once the work and residence permit application has been approved, the Danish Immigration Service will send a copy of the ruling to the local Danish Embassy/ Consulate. Non-visa-exempt nationals will be able to submit his/her original passport to the Embassy/ Consulate to be endorsed with the appropriate long stay visa. The following documents need to be submitted to the Danish Embassy/ Consulate either via post/international courier or in person:

  • Original passports for each applicant.
  • One (1) passport photo for each applicant.

Once the Long Stay visa is obtained, the assignee is permitted to travel to Denmark.

Note:    Visa exempt nationals are not required to obtain the Long Stay Visa.

Step Four: Registration at the Local Town Hall
Processing Time: Same day [one (1) to two (2) hours]

Once the assignee (and family if applicable) has arrived in Denmark, they must be registered at the Local Citizen Service Office (“Borgerservice”) within five (5) days of his/her arrival. Once this registration has been completed, the assignee will be provided his/her CPR number (personal ID). Approximately one (1) to two (2) weeks following the registration, the assignee’s (and family’s) Danish residence permit cards will be sent to their Danish address.

Note:    Once this step has been completed, the assignee can commence their work in Denmark.

European Union Nationals

European Union (EU) nationals are required to register with the Regional State Authority (RSA) upon moving to Denmark if they intend to stay three (3) months or more. They receive a certificate that is granted for an unlimited period of time (as long as one still falls under the standard conditions under which it was granted). EU/European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are able to commence employment upon entering Denmark.

It is necessary to obtain the EU/EEA Registration Certificate before one can register locally to receive the Danish ‘social security number’ or CPR number.

Step One: EU Registration Certificate
Processing Time:
Two (2) to four (4) weeks

The following documentation is required to obtain an EU Registration Certificate:

  • A copy of the signed employment contract or assignment letter
  • A copy of the passport/National ID card information page for each applicant
  • A copy of the spouse’s marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
  • Two (2) studio quality passport photos for each applicant

Step Two: Arrival in Denmark & Collection of EU Registration Certificate
Processing Time: Same day [one (1) to two (2) hours]

Once the EU Registration Certificate has been approved, the RSA will inform us. The certificate must be collected in person. The applicant will need to bring:

  • Original passports/National ID Card
  • Two (2) studio quality passport photos for each applicant

The assignee may commence his/her employment immediately after the arrival in Denmark. It is unnecessary to complete the registration process prior to starting employment. However, the registration process should be completed within five (5) days of the assignee taking up residence in Denmark.

The EU Registration Certificate has an unlimited validity period. However, after five (5) years of consecutive work and residency in Denmark, one can apply for a permanent residence certificate.

Note:    If you leave Denmark permanently, it is necessary to de-register from the RSA, the municipality, and from your records.

Typical Documents Obtained

Following the Pay Limit Scheme process described above will result in the obtention of the following immigration documents. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, Renewal.

  • Work and residence permit (Odholdstilladelse): Up to four (4) years
  • CPR (Det Centrale Personregister) number: No limit on validity

Renewal

Renewal is possible. The entire renewal process usually takes three (3) months. The current processing time for renewal application is one (1) to (2) months; please allow two (2) weeks lead time for document gathering.

Permanent residency may be available after four (4) years of continuous residence on a salaried or self-employed basis in Denmark, and provided certain other criteria can be met.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave Denmark after the expiration of their permission to stay and to keep records on the number of foreign workers in the country, the Danish government requires all applicants to deregister their permits by sending a Letter of Notification for them and their family to the Folkerregisteret. The letter should be signed by all adults, and include the following information:

  • Name and CPR-Number of the employee and all members of the family;
  • The address from which the employee and family are moving from;
  • The address to which the employee and family are moving to abroad; and
  • The departure date.

The social security cards (Sygesikringsbevis) of the employee and all family members should be enclosed with the letter, or alternatively, the letter should confirm that these will be destroyed.

If the assignee and his/her dependents are exiting Denmark at the time their permits expire, there is no need to deregister, as it is automatically done upon the expiry of the work and residence permit (unless a renewal has been submitted). If the assignee’s assignment ends before the expiration of the permit, the employee and family members will be required to complete the Danish deregistration process.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Denmark under the Pay Limit scheme, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): Eighteen (18) years.
  • Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18) years.
  • Unmarried partners: Yes, if partners have lived together for a period of at least eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) months prior to the move.
  • Same sex partners: Yes, as long as the partnership is registered and officially recognised by a public authority.
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Assessed on a case by case basis.
  • Work authorization granted? Yes, for spouse, registered partner, or cohabiting partner.
  • Note: The principal applicant must be able to support the family financially and may be asked to document this. Consequently, the family may not receive public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act (social benefits). Additionally, the dependents must live at the same Danish address as the principal applicant for the duration of the valid permit.

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We can advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials for the Pay Limit scheme are noted below.

  • A duly signed copy of your employment contract
  • A copy of the passport information page for everyone moving to Denmark
    • NOTE: The passports should preferably be valid for a period of at least three (3) years and three (3) months and should contain at least two (2) empty visa pages.
  • A copy of any valid visa and/or work permits in passport
  • A copy of updated resume
  • A copy of university diploma or university transcript
  • If applicable – copy of marriage certificate
  • If applicable – copies of birth certificates of all accompanying children under the age of eighteen (18) years
  • Two (2) original photos for each applicant

All documentation must be submitted in English. We can assist with the necessary translations.

Biometric Residence Cards

New residence permits for third-country citizens will include a computer chip containing the biometric features on the residence cards.

Starting on 20 May, 2012, all third-country citizens (non-EU/EEA, Nordic or Swiss citizens) over eighteen (18) years of age applying for residence must have their biometric features recorded when submitting their applications. These features must also be recorded when seeking an extension.

A residence card serves as proof that you hold residency.

Biometric Features

When the application for residence and work permit is submitted at a Danish embassy/consulate, a police station or the Immigration Services, they will take a passport-type picture and the applicant will be fingerprinted. He/she will also be required to provide a signature.

If the application is submitted on-line, the biometric traits will need to be recorded before an appointed deadline. When appearing to have the biometric traits recorded, the applicant will be required to bring a printout of the confirmation that the application was submitted on-line. The Immigration Services will not start processing the application until they have received the biometric traits.

If the application is submitted at the embassy or consulate of a country authorized to process Danish immigration applications, the application must include passport photos. If the applicant is granted residence, he/she will be required to have his/her biometric traits recorded by a certain date after entering Denmark.

Third-Country Nationals under Eighteen (18)

Individuals under the age of eighteen (18) who live with a parent or other legal guardian are not required to hold proof of residence permit.

A residence card will be issued if applied for. If an application indicates that the child requests a residence card, his/her biometric features will need to be recorded when the application is submitted. Children under six (6) never have their fingerprint recorded.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Schengen Type C
  • Duration of stay: Ninety (90) days out of one hundred eighty (180) days
  • General activities permitted: Orientation, home-finding, business meetings, giving lectures, training activities and other preparation for employment can be conducted under business visitor status.

Change of Status

Change of status is possible in limited situations where the applicant is in Denmark with a residence permit in another category. If the job responsibilities/description and/or salary conditions change significantly, a new application for work permit might be required. For all other non-significant changes to the employee’s employment terms whilst on assignment, the authorities must be notified of the changes in order to ensure compliance and reduce any issues that may arise at the time of renewal. If the company is being sold and/or merged, the Immigration Services need documentation that the new entity takes over the work permit.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Denmark, the Pay Limit Scheme is only available for employees who will be paid over a certain salary, currently 375 000 DKK per year (monthly fixed amount of DKK 31,250), 50% of this salary can be paid as supplements/allowances. For all categories, salary must correspond to what a Danish national would expect to receive. The employment contract should document that the applicant is covered by the terms of the Danish Salaried Employment Act in terms of Holiday, work hours, severance pay etc.. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see an undergraduate or graduate degree. In some situations, particularly for intra-company transfer cases, a strong case may be made for applicants without a degree, provided their level of experience and industry specific qualification is high. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • An absence of a degree, relevant experience, or sufficient compensation can complicate applications.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The government of Denmark takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance may include fines, deportation, and imprisonment.

Employee Penalties:

The employee will be given a deadline to leave Denmark, i.e. he/she will be required to leave Denmark before a specified point in time. After this point, he/she will be considered an illegal resident in Denmark. If one is residing illegally in Denmark the employee is at risk of being expelled from Denmark and formally banned from entering Denmark in the future. The expulsion from Denmark and the ban from entering Denmark can also result in the employee being banned from entering all other EU and/or Schengen countries for a minimum of two (2) years.

Employer Penalties:

The Danish employer may also be affected if their employee is non-compliant. The company can be added to the “black list” of the Danish immigration authorities and then be subject to more frequent and more strict controls. This can include more frequent audits and stricter controls when reviewing and approving future immigration applications.

For more details, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

  • Nordic Passport Union: Denmark is part of the Nordic Passport Union (member countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Nationals of these countries may live and work in Denmark without the need to apply for a work permit, residence permit or any form of registration. A CPR number will be required to move on to Danish payroll, however.
  • European Union: Denmark is a member of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and European Free Trade Area (EFTA). EU member countries, European Economic Area (EEA) member countries, and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries maintain agreements that allow individuals from member states to travel and work freely within the region without prior authorization. For stays of over ninety (90) days, an EU Registration Certificate is required, and for stays of over one hundred eighty (180) days, or stays of any length that require the EU national to be on a Danish payroll, a CPR number is required. Nationals of new EU member countries that are within the two (2) to seven (7) year transition period following accession may still be subject to work permit or other additional requirements. For detailed information on process and requirements for nationals of EU/EEA/EFTA countries traveling to Country, please contact Emigra Worldwide.
  • Schengen Area: Denmark is a member of the Schengen agreement. Short term (type C) visas and residence permits or Denmark will allow travel in the rest of the Schengen zone.