EU/EEA and Nordic citizens
Citizens of the EU/EEA countries, Switzerland or the Nordic countries can reside in Denmark according to special regulations.
EU/EEA citizens and Swiss citizens can reside in Denmark under the EU regulations on free movement.
Nordic citizens, i.e. citizens of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, are free to reside and work in Denmark.
Foreigners who are Union citizens or EEA/Swiss nationals may stay in Denmark under the EU rules on free movement of persons and services.
Who are Union citizens and EEA nationals?
Union citizens are nationals of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (only the Greco-Cypriot territory), the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
EEA nationals are nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Nationals of Switzerland are covered by the same rules as Union citizens and EEA nationals. Accordingly, all the rules mentioned below also apply to Swiss nationals.
What rules apply?
Union citizens and EEA nationals may stay in Denmark under the EU rules on free movement of persons and services.
If a foreigner is both a Union citizen/an EEA national and a national of a Nordic country, the rules concerning Nordic nationals normally apply. It is possible to apply under the rules applicable to Union citizens/EEA nationals if these rules are more favourable for the applicant or if the applicant insists on applying specific rules. Please contact your local Regional State Administration for guidance.
Residence in Denmark – how long?
Union citizens/EEA nationals may stay freely in Denmark for up to three months. If Union citizens/EEA nationals are seeking employment during their stay, they may stay in Denmark for up to six months or even a longer period as long as it can be documented that the Union citizen/the EEA national is still seeking employment and has a genuine opportunity of employment.
A registration certificate (for Union citizens/EEA nationals) or a residence card (for third-country nationals) is required for a stay in Denmark for more than three months. However, Union citizens/EEA nationals who are seeking employment are not to apply for a registration certificate. As opposed to a residence permit issued under the provisions of the Danish Aliens Act, a registration certificate or residence card is merely a proof of the rights already conferred on a Union citizen/an EEA national under the EU rules on free movement.
If an entry prohibition for Denmark has been issued against a Union citizen/an EEA national, s/he must have a visa to enter Denmark. A foreigner may have been issued with an entry prohibition if s/he has been expelled from Denmark once, for example on the basis of unlawful residence or crime.
If you have a right of residence in Denmark under the EU rules and need to move abroad
If you reside abroad for a long period, your right of residence in Denmark under the EU rules may lapse. However, you can apply to the Regional State Administration for an exemption to avoid that your right of residence in Denmark under the EU rules will lapse. You must apply before you move abroad.
Union citizens/EEA nationals must prove their nationality
A Union citizen/an EEA national must be able to identify him/herself and prove his/her nationality if the Danish police so request at a check of that person. Union citizens/EEA nationals who want to travel to Denmark must therefore bring their passport or ID card.
Residence exceeding three months
If a Union citizen/an EEA national wishes to stay in Denmark for more than three months and s/he is not a national of a Nordic country as well, s/he must apply to the Regional State Administration for a registration certificate under the EU rules. The application must be submitted within three months after the entry into Denmark. Job seekers are not to submit an application for as long as they are seeking employment.
When are registration certificates issued?
A Union citizen/an EEA national is eligible for a registration certificate, if s/he:
is in paid employment
provides services in Denmark
is a retired worker, retired self-employed person or retired service provider
has been seconded
is a student at an educational institution accredited or financed by public authorities, and s/he is able to support him/herself during the period of residence in Denmark or
disposes of such sufficient income or means so that s/he is presumed not to become a burden on the public authorities
When is a Union citizen/an EEA national deemed to be a worker under EU law?
It depends on a concrete assessment of the specific circumstances of each case whether a Union citizen/an EEA national, including a Danish national, is deemed to be a worker under EU law. What is crucial is whether a person has had genuine and effective employment. Emphasis will also be laid on whether the person performs services for and under the direction of another person in which s/he receives remuneration. Employment appearing to be a mere marginal supplement is excluded from the scope of application of the concept. It is therefore normally a condition that the relevant employment amounts at least 10-12 hours a week.
According to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice it is normally a requirement that the applicant has been employed for a minimum of 10-12 hours per week, see judgment Kempf (C-139/85) and Megner and Scheffel (C-444/93).
In the case of Kempf the employment in question was 12 hours per week, and in the case of Megner and Scheffel the European Court of Justice has ruled that paid employment where the working hours normally do not exceed 18, 12 or even 10 hours per week do not exclude the person to be regarded as a worker under the EU legislation.
In the judgment of Genc (C-14/09) the European Court of Justice established criteria for the purposes of the concrete and individual assessment of whether an employment for less than 10-12 hours per week is genuine and effective. These criteria may be the entitlement to paid leave, remuneration during illness, the duration of the employment, and whether a collective agreement applies to the employment. The employment in the mentioned case was 5,5 hours per week.
The European Court of Justice did not consider whether a weekly employment of 5,5 hours was sufficient in order to be considered as a worker under EU law, or whether the employment was of a merely marginal nature. It was left to the member state to undertake this evaluation.
It is not possible to fix a lower limit for the duration of the employment for assessment purposes.
The European Court of Justice ruled in Franca Ninni-Orasche (C-413/01) that a fixed-term contract of employment for ten weeks was sufficient for the applicant to be a worker under EU law. The case concerned educational grants and led to the issue of guidelines to the local authorities about when a person is deemed to be a worker. The guidelines concern employment relationships for which a short-term contract has been concluded in advance. The guidelines fix a minimum period of ten weeks for such situations. However, it should be emphasised that a concrete assessment must be made in each case.
Accordingly, a concrete and individual assessment must be made in each case, and the ten-week period fixed by the Court in the Ninni-Orasche judgment is thus only to be seen as an example of a situation in which ten weeks of employment were deemed to suffice.
An EU/EEA citizen who has permanent employment, but ceases working after less than ten weeks, may satisfy the conditions for being a worker under EU law in certain circumstances, while another person having worked for more than ten weeks may not always satisfy the conditions, e.g. due to lack of genuine work.
Registration of an EU/EEA citizen who is at the same time a student and a worker
An EU/EEA citizen who in parallel with his activity as a student is working to the extent that he/she meets the requirements to be considered as a worker under the EU rules may instead chose to be issued with a registration certificate as a worker. Likewise an EU/EEA citizen who is registered as a worker before he/she starts studying and during his/her studies continues to have genuine and effective employment may chose to keep his/her registration certificate as a worker.
Maintenance of status as a worker when employment is terminated
Under certain circumstances it is possible for an EU/EEA citizen to maintain his/her status as a worker even though he/she is no longer employed. This may be the case if the EU/EEA citizen is temporarily unable to work as the result of illness or accident, if he/she embarks on vocational training related to his/her previous employment or if he/she is involuntarily unemployed and embarks on any vocational training.
In this context, it should be emphasized that in the case an EU/EEA citizen in parallel with his activity as a student is working to the extent that he/she meets the requirements to be considered as a worker under the EU rules and he/she subsequently terminates his/her employment, but continues to study, he/she can then only maintain his/her status as a student because in this case he/she did not start to study after being employed.
Citizens of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are free to enter, reside, study and work in Denmark. They do not need a visa, residence or work permit.
As a Nordic citizen, you can enter Denmark without a passport. However, you must be able to identify yourself if required, e.g. if you are staying in a hotel, camping ground, or the like. Your driver’s licence or bank card is sufficient identification.
Bringing your family
If your family members are Nordic citizens, they do not need to apply for family reunification. They can enter and reside in Denmark in accordance with the regulations for Nordic citizens.
If your family members are not Nordic citizens, they should either apply for a proof of registration or residence card under the EU regulations or apply for a residence permit under the regulations of the Danish Aliens Act.
The Regional State Administration or the Immigration Service can provide you with additional information about which family members are eligible for a proof of registration/residence card or a residence permit, as well as which requirements must be met.
Read more about the requirements for family reunification
Hallo Norden is the Nordic Council of Ministers’ official information service for private persons and companies in the Nordic countries. The service is aimed at all citizens of the Nordic countries and is particularly relevant to students, jobseekers, persons who wish to move to another Nordic country, and companies which operate within the Nordic countries. Visit the website of Hallo Norden (available in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish).