Brief Summary of Immigration Law
Substance of Immigration Eligibility
Nationals from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Swi t-
zerland are comprised of the EU/EEA rules on free movement of workers and services.
Nationals from outside this region will only be entitled to work in Denmark, if they
have been granted a work and residence permit.
Family based Sponsorship
Pursuant to the Danish Aliens Act, residence permits can be granted to family me m-
bers of foreign nationals, who have obtained residence and work permit pursuant to
the procedures mentioned below. A certificate of marriage or proof of long-term co-
habitation must be presented to the Danish Immigration Service. Furthermore, certain
requirements relating to residence and support of the accompanying family apply.
If a foreign enterprise is expatriating employees to Denmark for a temporary period
the worker could be classified as a posted employee, if the foreign enterprise either
pays the employee's expenses and instructs the employee with respect to the provi-
sion of services to the party in Denmark for whom the services are intended , or that
the enterprise posts the employee in a company division or affiliated company in
Posted employees will normally be able to work under their normal terms of contract
with a few exception of mandatory Danish legislation. Posted employees must apply
for work and residence permit on the same terms as other employees and furthermore
comply with a general requirement of registration to the Danish Companies Register
under the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency.
Employment based Sponsorship
If the employee is going to be employed in a company in Denmark, he or she will be
regarded as an ordinary Danish employee. Accordingly, the employment relationship
will normally be governed in all aspects by mandatory Danish employment law.
Certain "fast track" procedures can be used for both posted employees and other em-
ployees when applying for a work and residency permit:
The "Pay Limit" scheme ("beløbsordningen"). The only requirement is
that the applicant earns an annual pay of more than DKK 375,000.00.
The definition of "pay" is relatively broad as it also includes, inter alia
pension contribution, bonus, board and lodging.
The "Positive List" scheme ("positivlisten"). This procedure can be used
by employees, who have been offered jobs, which are listed on the Posi-
tive List covering certain professions and fields that are currently e x-
periencing a shortage of qualified professionals. The list contains more
than 100 different professions and is available at the webpage of the
Danish Immigration Service.
The "Corporate" scheme ("koncernordningen") only applies for posted
employees and is used for foreign groups of companies, who wish to ex-
patriate employees to Denmark. This procedure is also relevant for
companies employing employees, who alternate between working in
Denmark and abroad and consequently are frequently travelling in and
out of Denmark. Although the corporate structure of the foreign group
of companies is immaterial, the foreign group of companies must meet
certain criteria inter alia, the work in Denmark shall be of an innovative,
projected or educational character.
The "Green Card" scheme applies in the event that the applicant is a for-
eign national who has completed a further and higher education inside
or outside Denmark and provided that the education in question obtains
a minimum of 100 points under a special point system which is based on
educational level, language skills, work experience, adaptability and age.
Furthermore, it is required that the applicant is able to support himself
during the first year of his stay in Denmark.
If the work and residence permit cannot be granted under the fast-track procedures,
the Danish Immigration Service may also issue work and residence permits on basis of
the merits of each individual case if the Danish Immigration Service finds that impo r-
tant employment or business considerations are involved. However, such work and
residence permit procedure may take up to two months. However, this timeframe only
applies, if the Danish Immigration Service finds that the case has been fully disclosed.
Exemptions to the Work Permit Requirement
Some groups can work in Denmark without a residence and work permit due to their
nationality, professional field or specific situation. These exemptions are, however,
only applicable if the duration of the stay does not exceed three consecutive months.
The exemptions are:
Researchers and lecturers invited to teach or lecture in Denmark.
Artists, including musicians and other entertainers, whose participation
constitutes a substantial or essential part of a noteworthy artistic event.
Representatives of foreign companies or organisations which do not
have a branch office in Denmark, who are on business trips in Denmark.
Fitters, consultants or instructors hired to fit, install, inspect or repair
machines, equipment, computer programmes or similar items, or pr o-
vide information on the use of such items, provided the person is em-
ployed by the firm that manufactured the equipment.
Individuals employed in the household of foreign nationals visiting
Denmark for up to three months.
Professional athletes and coaches who are to participate in individual
major athletic events or participate in a tryout for a Danish sports club.
Training after an employment contract is signed is considered work, and
therefore requires a residence and work permit.
It should be held in mind that these exemptions do not waive the requirement for a
visa. If the person is a citizen of a country with a visa requirement to enter Denmark,
he or she must always hold a visa in order to stay or work in Denmark.
Process for Immigration Approval
Application for a work and residence permit must be filed with the Danish Immigration
Service. Application forms (in Danish and English) can be found on the webpage:
www.nyidanmark.dk. The application is normally filed via the local Danish Embassies or
Consulates abroad. It is normally required that the employee, at some point of time
during the application process, appears in person, either at the Danish Embassy or
Consulate abroad or at the Danish Immigration Service in Copenhagen, in ord er to
identify him or herself properly. Both the Danish Immigration Service and the Embas-
sies or Consulates charge a fee of variable size for processing the application.
It is a basic requirement for all of the procedures mentioned above that the salary a nd
terms and conditions of employment must be customary according to Danish sta n-
dards. Thus, the Danish Immigration Service is legally bound to examine the conditions
of the individual employment relationship.
If the work and residence permit is granted by the Danish Immigration Service, it will
be limited to either the length of the work contract or, if the contract is not time li m-
ited, for a maximum of 4 years, depending on the legal basis of the permit, with a pos-
sibility of getting the work and residency permit renewed. However, a permit will al-
ways be limited in time to 3 months before the expiry of the applicant's passport. It is
important to apply for a renewal of the work and residency permit before the existing
If a foreign national employee is employed or posted in Denmark for more than three
months, he or she is entitled to a civil registration number. This personal identification
number can be of importance, for instance, in the event that the employee needs
health services, if the employee's children are to attend a Danish school, etc. Civil reg-
istration numbers cannot be issued until a work and residence permit has been o b-
tained. To obtain a civil registration number the employee must register in the Na-
tional Register of Persons ("Folkeregisteret"). This registration should be reported to
the local Citizen Service Centre ("Borgerservice") within five days after the occupation
of a residence in Denmark. When the employee is registered in the National Register of
Persons a civil registration number will be assigned to the employee by the Central
Register of Persons.
Time required for Approval
Pursuant to Section 9a of the Danish Aliens Act, permits are granted exclusively at the
discretion of the Danish Immigration Service, but under normal circumstances the
processing should take no longer than 2 months. However, the Danish Aliens Act oper-
ates with a number of different categories according to which the employee can make
use of a "fast track" application process to obtain a work and residence permit, usually
within one month cf. above. Employees are entitled to take their family with them to
Denmark; in this case it is important to also apply for a residency permit for the family
It is important to keep in mind, that these timeframes are merely guidelines and can
be considerably longer at times. Furthermore, it must be kept in mind that the tim e-
frames only apply if the Danish Immigration Service finds that the case has been fully
For immigration-related questions in Denmark, please contact:
Sussi Lillia Skovgaard-Holm
Amerika Plads 37
P: +45 36 94 13 67