How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Denmark

How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Denmark

Denmark boasts one of the world's highest standards of living, but for foreigners, settling in can be a challenging process. Danish society is known for being relatively insular, and meeting stringent requirements is essential for legal residence. Nevertheless, while not without its challenges, achieving this goal is attainable.

If you plan to stay in Denmark for a period exceeding 90 days, you are required to obtain a residence permit. To initiate this process, you must submit an application to either the Danish Immigration Service or the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

A residence permit in Denmark can be granted to foreigners based on various criteria. The primary categories include employment, entrepreneurship, study, marriage, and family reunification. Let's delve into each of these categories in detail.


Denmark faces a shortage of skilled professionals across diverse sectors, ranging from science and information technology to agriculture and construction. The demand extends beyond individuals with advanced degrees or higher education, as there is also a significant need for mid-level professionals and highly skilled workers.

This is why immigration rules for specialists have recently become more lenient. There are various options available for obtaining work permits and residence permits for different categories of employees, along with lists of professions in high demand. Individuals in these occupations are eligible for temporary residency in the country through a simplified process.

The main peculiarities in obtaining a residence permit in Denmark for work:

  • You must earn at least DKK 375,000 ($55,000) per year.
  • Your salary must be transferred to a Danish bank account.
  • Wages and working conditions should be in line with industry standards.
  • Companies certified in the country can arrange documents for you on an expedited basis.
  • Everyone must obtain a work permit, even if you will be doing unpaid work or looking for a part-time job.

Comprehensive information regarding the various methods and regulations for obtaining a work-related residence permit can be found on the official website of the Danish Immigration Service.

Camp Adventure, Rønnede, Denmark. Photo: Robby McCullough (Unsplash)


Denmark is a relatively popular destination for entrepreneurs, as establishing and operating a business here is regarded as relatively straightforward, despite high tax rates. However, the country's immigration rules do not provide a standardised procedure for obtaining a residence permit for entrepreneurs. Each application is reviewed on an individual basis with great attention to detail. The primary general requirements are as follows:

  • You must invest at least DKK 375,000 ($55,000) in your business.
  • You must create jobs for local residents (the more there are, the higher your chances of getting a residence permit).
  • Your company should be in demand and contribute positively to the country's economy. However, if, for instance, you are involved in retail trade or intend to open a restaurant, your chances of obtaining a residence permit are very slim.
  • You must prove that you will be able to pay taxes and contribute to society.

Lingvig Für Lighthouse, Hvidde Sande, Denmark. Photo: Razvan Mirel (Unsplash)


Denmark offers various programs for obtaining a residence permit for students pursuing education at different levels, ranging from primary school to advanced academic degrees. The requirements for various student categories vary, but the fundamental criteria include the following:

  • Your institution and educational programme must be officially accredited.
  • The school must confirm that you have been accepted.
  • You must be able to support yourself financially while studying.
  • A certain level of knowledge of English or Danish is required.
  • Students are not granted permission to complete a full secondary school programme (as a rule, residence permits are limited to one year).
  • The parents of a secondary school student are not eligible to obtain a residence permit and live in Denmark with the student.

Copenhagen , Denmark. Photo: Febiyan (Unsplash)

Marriage and Family Reunification

If your spouse or partner resides in Denmark (either as a citizen or under a residence permit), you have the option to apply for a residence permit through the family reunification process. To proceed, you must fulfil specific requirements.

If you are married, your marriage must be legally valid in Denmark. A marriage is legal if:

  • It is valid in the country where it was established.
  • You and your spouse attended the wedding ceremony and neither of you was represented by anyone else at the time.
  • You and your spouse were both at least 18 years of age at the time of your marriage.

If you are not in a registered marriage, or if your marriage cannot be confirmed in Denmark, the immigration office will evaluate whether you are considered permanent cohabitants. To establish this, you must provide evidence that you have resided together at the same address for a minimum of 18 months.

You must be in a genuine marriage or relationship that is based on mutual consent and not solely for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit. To verify this, the immigration service evaluates various factors, including your pre-marriage interactions with your spouse, your ages, the duration of your marriage, the extent of your involvement with each other's families prior to marriage, your financial situations, employment, educational backgrounds, and other personal information.

Both you and your spouse or partner must be a minimum of 24 years old. Exceptions to this requirement may be considered for individuals raising minor children who have established a genuine connection to Denmark, as well as for those facing serious illness or employed in sectors with a notable shortage of qualified personnel.

Furthermore, you must demonstrate proficiency in Danish, and your spouse residing in Denmark must provide evidence of financial stability and suitable housing.

In addition to spouses and partners, minor children of residents in the country are also eligible for a residence permit. In exceptional cases, adult children, parents, or siblings living in Denmark may be granted a residence permit. This typically occurs for humanitarian reasons, particularly when relatives require care that cannot be adequately provided outside of Denmark.

Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Krisztian Tabori (Unsplash)

In a Nutshell

Various grounds exist for obtaining a residence permit in Denmark, including employment, education, entrepreneurship, marriage, and more. Applicants are required to meet stringent criteria. Employees must have official employment and earn a minimum of $55,000 per year. Entrepreneurs must make a similar investment into their business and demonstrate that their activities would contribute positively to the Danish economy. Those seeking a residence permit through marriage must provide evidence of the voluntary and genuine nature of their union with a Danish resident.

Cover photo: Copenhagen, Denmark; Adrian Cuj (Unsplash)

All articles
Subscribe to this category so you don't miss any new posts
картинка на кнопке

Free consultation