Higher educational programmes
You can be granted a residence permit in order to follow a higher educational programme
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.
In order to be granted a residence permit you must document:
That you have been admitted to a higher educational programme which has been approved by a state authority or which is offered by a publicly accredited educational institution
That you can support yourself with your own means for the duration of your stay in Denmark. If you are to pay a tuition fee, you must document that you have paid the tuition fee for the first semester or year, instead of documenting that you can support yourself. Please note that a foreign student in Denmark may not receive public assistance / benefit payments. If you do so, your residence permit can be revoked
That you can speak and understand the language of instruction and have a working knowledge of either Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German
Your participation in the educational programme must have been arranged by a ministry or institution of higher learning, or the educational programme must be part of a higher educational programme which you have already commenced in your country of origin. In other words, you may be granted a residence permit either in order to complete an entire educational programme or in order to follow part of a programme as a guest student.
What is a higher educational programme?
Normally, the term 'higher educational programme' is used when the conditions for admission into the programme require you to have completed upper secondary school or the equivalent.
If the educational programme is included in the coordinated application system for admission, which is administered by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, then the programme will normally be regarded as 'higher' in connection with the application for a residence permit. Read more about higher education on the website of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education.
Admission as a single-subject student or similar, or admission as a student under an Open University programme is not generally regarded as admission to a higher educational programme. The same applies to language classes at a language centre, a municipal language school or similar institution.
Preparatory higher educational programmes
In some cases, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment may grant you a residence permit for a preparatory course to a higher educational programme. The following conditions apply:
The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education must have determined that participation in the preparatory course is an admission requirement in order to follow the higher educational programme
You must already have been accepted at the educational programme to which the preparatory course is connected
The duration of the preparatory course must be no more than one year
The duration of your residence permit depends on whether you are going to complete an entire educational programme, or only follow part of a programme as a guest student.
If you are to complete an entire programme you will be granted a residence permit for the duration of the programme.
If, on the other hand, you are only to follow part of a programme, the residence permit will be granted for the duration of the part you are to follow.
If you are to follow a preparatory course, your residence permit wille be granted for the duration of the course.
It is a condition for the residence permit that you are active and enrolled in the educational programme. If this is not the case, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment can revoke your residence permit. The educational institution is obliged to inform the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment if you are not actively following the educational programme.
Greencard scheme for students
If you have been granted a residence permit in order to complete a higher educational programme in Denmark, your residence permit will be valid for an additional six months after you complete the programme. This is to allow you to look for work in Denmark.
If you complete a higher educational programme in Denmark and you have not previously been granted the additional six months' residence permit, you can have your residence permit extended by six months in order to look for work. This is done by submitting an application for extension.
If you have been granted a residence permit to follow a higher educational programme, then your spouse, registered partner or cohabiting partner, as well as any children under the age of 18 who are living at home with you, are also eligible for residence permits. However, you must document that you have at your disposal the equivalent of DKK 25,000 per family member, your family members must be able to support themselves, and you must live together in Denmark at the same address. Your spouse/partner is allowed to work full-time for the entire period that his/her residence permit is valid.
You are not entitled to family reunification during the job-seeking period after the completion of the educational programme. However, if you have already brought your family to Denmark, then they are allowed to stay for the additional six months. The conditions mentioned above still apply during this period.
As a foreign student following a higher educational programme or a required preparatory course, you are allowed to work 15 hours a week, as well as full-time during the months of June, July and August. The same applies during the job-seeking period after the completion of your educational programme. A work permit sticker will be placed in your passport.
If you are under the age of 18, you are only eligible for a work permit if you have a written offer or contract for a specific position, and if the employer confirms to the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment that workplace environment legislation is upheld.
If you work illegally in Denmark, e.g. by working more than the allowed number of hours, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment may revoke or refuse to extend your residence permit. This can happen even if you otherwise meet the conditions for your residence permit, e.g. if you are still actively enrolled in your course or study programme.
If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.
How to apply
Read more about how to apply for a residence permit as a student.