You can be granted a residence permit in order to function as an au pair with a host family in Denmark.
If you are a Nordic citizen, you are free to reside, study and work in Denmark. If you are an EU/EEA citizen or Swiss citizen seeking residence in Denmark based on the EU regulations on freedom of movement, you may be subject to special rules. More information about EU/EEA and Nordic citizens.
It is your own responsibility to obtain a residence permit if you are required to.
The purpose of an au pair stay
The term au pair means 'on equal terms'. The idea of an au pair stay is for a young person to stay with a host family with children under the age of 18 'on equal terms' with the other members of the family. The purpose is for the au pair to improve language and/or professional skills as well as broaden his/her cultural horizon by becoming more acquainted with Denmark. In return, the au pair participates in the host family's domestic chores (e.g. cleaning, washing clothes, cooking, babysitting) for a minimum of three and a maximum of five hours a day, and no more than six days a week.
To ensure that you have a chance to improve your language and/or professional skills and broaden your cultural horizon as described above, it is a condition for getting a residence permit as an au pair that you already have the necessary linguistic and cultural foundation to receive the full benefit of your stay in Denmark.
This means that there are certain conditions which must be met, either by you, your host family, or both of you.
Conditions to be met by you
Normally, you must be between the ages of 17 and 29 (both years included) at the time of application
Normally, you may not be married, have been married in the past, or currently be living with a partner
Normally, you may not have any children
Your au pair stay must have a natural connection to your life so far, including your educational background and employment history. You must have completed the equivalent of nine years of schooling. In special cases, and if you come from a country where the general school programme is normally completed after eight years, having completed eight years of schooling may be sufficient. Based on an individual evaluation of your case, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment may decide that an au pair stay would not have a natural connection to your life so far, if you have completed further education and have worked for several years
You must have a working knowledge of either Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German
Normally, you may not previously have had two or more au pair stays in other Western countries
Normally, you may not previously have held a Danish residence permit
Normally, you may not previously have stayed in Denmark as an au pair with different host families for more than one year
As a general rule, you may not have the same nationality as one or more members of the host family
As a general rule, you may not be related to one or more members of the host family
Conditions to be met by your host family
Your host family must be comprised of at least one parent and one child under the age of 18 who is living at home. The child must be registered at the family's address. If the parents of the child do not live together and you have agreed to live intermittently at both parents’ homes, then each parent must draw up an individual au pair contract with you, and each parent must also meet the conditions for being a host family. If you are not to live intermittently at two divorced parents' homes, but only with one of the parents, then this parent can be a host family provided that there a child under 18 is registered at the address
Normally, at least one parent must be a Danish citizen in order that your host family can introduce you to the Danish language and culture. However, this does not apply if the parents are EU citizens residing in Denmark under the EU regulations on free movement, or if they are foreign nationals who have lived in Denmark for a long time and have a strong attachment to Denmark
Your host family may not receive public assistance as their primary means of support under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act. They must declare this by signing a statement in the application form
Your host family may not have been given a penalty period as a result of previous abuse of the au pair scheme. All adult members of your host family must declare that they have not been convicted of violence or similar against an au pair in the last ten years, and that they have not been convicted of illegal employment or similar of an au pair in the last five years. Your host family declares this by signing a statement in the application form. Furthermore, your host family may not have been registered by the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment in a special 'Au pair register' as a result of other abuse of the au pair scheme (e.g. disregarding the limitations regarding an au pair's tasks and duties, maximum work hours, accomodation, and minimum allowance)
Other conditions and terms
You and your host family must fill in and sign the au pair contract developed by the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment. The contract is part of the application form
You should assume a role as a member of the family. This means that you should contribute to the household by carrying out chores related to the family's daily housekeeping, such as babysitting, cleaning and washing clothes. Consequently, you may not take on responsibilities related to personal care or sick care of adult members of the host family
You are entitled to a minimum monthly allowance of DKK 3,150 from your host family as well as free food and lodging. The Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment recommends that you establish a bank account in your own name at a Danish financial institution, into which your allowance can be transferred each month
Please note that if you submit your application after 1 January 2013, the minimum monthly allowance is DKK 3,200
You are entitled to your own bedroom in the family's home. In addition to your bedroom, the host family must also have a common living room, as well as one bedroom for every two people registered at the residence. If the host family’s building is occupied by several families, there may only be calculated two members of the same family per bedroom. Both the common living room and all bedrooms must be approved for living in and must be registered in the Housing Register BBR (Bygnings- og Boligsregistret)
Your host family may not have other au pairs besides you. However, a new au pair is allowed to train with the host family prior to their predecessor's departure for up to 14 days
You must carry out daily chores for three to five hours per day, six days per week, i.e. 18 to 30 hours per week. This means that if your host family states in the au pair contract that you are to carry out chores for six hours every day, with the weekend off, you will not be granted a residence permit
You are entitled to one full day off every week
You are entitled to sufficient time off to follow language courses and pursue cultural and professional interests, including participation in religious events
It is the responsibility of your host family to provide you with appropriate care as well as free food and lodging if you should fall ill
Your host family must pay your trip home if you are a resident of a country outside Europe. If you wish to change host family – and enters into a contract with a new host family – then the new host family assumes the responsibilities relating to the payment of your trip home. This responsibility also applies if you are in Denmark, and you and your host family have signed the au pair contract, but your application for a residence permit as an au pair is turned down
Both you and your host family have a right to terminate the contract with a two weeks' notice. Furthermore, both you and your host family have a right to terminate the contract with immediate effect in the case of serious violation of the contract by the other party, or if other serious circumstances warrant it. The Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment recommends that any termination is in written form and signed by both you and your host family
The au pair contract cannot be changed to your disadvantage
Your host family must make sure you are registered as a resident at their address with the Central Person Register and that you are covered by the Danish National Health Insurance and unregistered again when you leave the country
Your host family must take out three types of insurance covering you: insurance for work-related injuries, insurance covering leisure time and accidents, and insurance covering the costs of you returning to your homeland in case of death or serious illness or accident
You may be granted a residence permit for a maximum of 24 months, but no longer than the duration of your au pair contract.
If you have been granted a residence permit as an au pair for less than 24 months, and you apply for an extension, you may continue as an au pair while your application is being processed, provided that you are with the same host family and that the conditions for your stay remain unchanged. Read more about extension.
If you wish to begin with a new family, you may not do so before you have been granted a new residence permit. However, you are allowed to move in with the new family and live there as their guest.
Consequenses of abusing the au pair scheme
As an au pair, you will be granted a residence permit but not a work permit, as your daily chores with your host family are not considered as work. You are not allowed to carry out chores for your host family outside the time limits defined above, carry out tasks other than household chores, carry out chores or work outside your host family's home, or take on paid or unpaid work.
This means that you and your host family cannot agree that you should work more than five hours per day in return for more days off. Similarly, you and your host family cannot agree that you should work more than 30 hours per week in return for more pay.
Before you have been granted a residence permit as an au pair, the following is illegal:
- Any work for the host family
- Any work for others
After you have been granted a residence permit as an au pair, the following is illegal:
- Any work for the host family which exceeds five hours per day/six days per week
- Carrying out tasks other than household chores
- Any work for others
If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation. You also risk fine or imprisonment, as does your employer.
Furthermore, your host family can be given a penalty period for abusing the au pair scheme, during which time they cannot be approved to host an au pair. A host family can be given a ten year penalty period for violence or similar against an au pair, a five year penalty period for illegal employment of an au pair, or a two year penalty period for other abuse of the au pair scheme (e.g. disregarding the limitations regarding an au pair's tasks and duties, maximum work hours, accomodation, and minimum allowance).
Information and contact details
The Central Person Register (Folkeregistret)
You must be registered as a resident at your host family's address no later than five days after arriving in Denmark. This is done at the local Citizen's Service Centre (Borgerservice), where you will be issued a so-called CPR number and 'health card' as proof that you are covered by the Danish National Health Insurance. If you change address, or when you leave Denmark, you must go in person to the local Citizen's Service Centre (Borgerservice) to report this.
In such cases, it is important that you and the host family notify the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment about the changes.
Insurance against industrial injuries
Your host family is among other things responsible for insuring you against industrial injuries. For more information, contact the National Board of Industrial Injuries on +45 72 20 60 00. Read more about the rules governing insurance against industrial injuries on the website of the National Board of Industrial Injuries.
So far as taxation is concerned, the relationship between you and your host family is regarded as an employer/employee relationship and is therefore subject to Danish taxation laws. The Danish Tax and Customs Administration (SKAT) can inform you about the rules regarding taxation of pocket money and free room and board on tel: +45 72 22 18 18.
So far as the right to holiday is concerned, the relationship between you and your host family is regarded as an employer/employee relationship and is subject to Danish regulations covering the right to holiday and holiday pay. For more information, contact Feriekontoret, Landemærket 11, 1119 København K; tel: +45 33 95 52 20. Read more about the rules governing holidays on the website of the Danish Pensions Agency.
Danish Refugee Council au pair support and Churches' Integration Service
The Danish Refugee Council offers councelling for au pairs and host families, including mediation between au pairs and host families. You can contact the au pair team Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on tel: +45 33 73 53 22 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also make an appointment for a personal meeting. Furthermore, the Danish Refugee Council offers open councelling on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 in Borgergade 10, 1300 København K. Read more about the Danish Refugee Council au pair support.
The Churches' Integration Service take general initiatives to prevent and reduce the amount of problems and conflicts for au pairs and host families. You can contact the Churches' Integration Service on tel: +45 32 84 60 16 or by email: email@example.com. Read more about the Churches' Integration Service (available in Danish only).
The Danish Refugee Council and the Churches' Integration Service work together to help au pairs.
How to apply
Read more about how to apply.