- Download our Moving to Denmark Guide (PDF)
Expats looking to move to the Land of the Vikings will find that securing a visa for Denmark is fairly quick and easy.
The approval process for a Danish visa typically takes approximately two weeks. Most expats will also need to write a cover letter stating the reason for their visit. Documents that are not in English or Danish must be translated into either of the languages.
Moving to Denmark as an employee, intern, student, au pair or on a working holiday cannot be done on a visa alone, and will usually require residence and work permits.
Visitor visas for Denmark
Denmark is part of the Schengen Area and issues Schengen visas for short-term visits. The Schengen visa covers travel to Denmark for multiple purposes, including tourism, business and private visits to family or friends.
Those looking to apply for a tourist visa for Denmark should book an appointment at their local embassy or consulate to complete a visa application form. This must be accompanied by supporting documents, such as a cover letter, valid passport, proof of funds, travel insurance, a return ticket and their travel itinerary. Processing time for a Schengen visa can be anywhere between 15 and 80 days, depending on where an individual submits their application.
If applying for a Schengen visa for business, applicants must also submit an invitation letter from a Danish company. Businesspeople, family members of EU citizens and family members of those legally living in Denmark or other EU states are eligible for multi-entry Schengen visas. These can be valid for anywhere between six months and five years, but holders must ensure they only stay in the country for 90 days in a 180-day period at all times.
Citizens of certain countries, and those who've already been granted a valid and current visa to enter another Schengen country, may enter Denmark without a visa. EU citizens and holders of American, Australian and New Zealand passports are included in those who may freely enter Denmark without a visa for up to 90 days.
Long stay visas for Denmark
Long stay visas or Type-D visas allow holders to live and work in Denmark for up to 12 months, and these allow expats to apply for residence permits. When expats apply for residence permits, they are automatically granted a visa, so they will only have to make one application for both the long-stay visa and the residence permit.
Long stay visas include work visas, student visas and working holiday visas, among others. Student and work visas are typically granted for the duration of the study period or employment contract.
Registration, residence and work permits for Denmark
Many foreigners are free to live and work in Denmark and do not need to apply for work or residence permits, including citizens of EU/EEA states, Nordic citizens and citizens of Switzerland.
That said, anyone intending to stay in Denmark for more than three months needs to register with the authorities and obtain an identification number (CPR number). Without a CPR number, normal life in Denmark is impossible – one can't open a bank account, register with a doctor, get help from public authorities or even buy a registered mobile phone.
Expats who aren’t from one of the exempt countries will need to apply for a residence and work permit. To apply, expats will need to have a written job offer that specifies salary and employment conditions. Even if expats have this, they may not be granted a residence and work permit if their prospective job can be filled by available labour in Denmark.
In addition to general work and residence permits, there are several special schemes that make it possible for expats in particular sectors to live and work in Denmark, such as those with specialised skills, researchers and holders of Master's or PhD degrees from a Danish university.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats are advised to contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
What do expats say about visa processes in Denmark?
"For me, getting a residence permit and visa was pretty easy since I also have Swedish nationality, and I’m European. But the city of Copenhagen takes very good care of foreigners and if you go to the 'International House' they’ll advise you and help you out with all the paperwork." Learn more about moving to Denmark in our interview with Spanish expat Astrid.
►For information on the Danish working world, see Working in Denmark
Are you an expat living in Denmark?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Denmark. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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