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The Greencard scheme

It is possible to be granted a residence permit for the purpose of seeking work and working in Denmark. A residence and work permit under the Greencard scheme is issued on the basis of an individual evaluation based on a point system.

If you are granted a residence permit under the Greencard scheme, you do not need to obtain a separate work permit. A residence permit under the Greencard scheme gives you the right to carry out paid or unpaid work. However, a residence permit under the Greencard scheme does not give you the right to work as a self-employed person (run your own business).

Important information if you consider applying

Job opportunities

The points in the Greencard scheme are given on the basis of objective criteria used to assess whether applicants are generally suited to apply for highly qualified jobs in Denmark. Getting a residence permit under the Greencard scheme is not the same at getting a job. It is entirely your own responsibility to find a job in Denmark so you can support yourself. 

At present, the demand for foreign labour is generally limited. However, certain sectors request highly qualified foreign professionals. Please note that good Danish language skills are often a condition for success in the Danish work market.

Before applying for a residence permit under the Greencard scheme you should assess your job opportunities. There are several web portals, databases and CV banks which can be useful in the process of seeking work in Denmark.

Read more about job seeking in Denmark

Authorisation

Please note that if you wish to work within certain fields and have a foreign education, you must obtain an authorisation or similar official approval from the relevant authority.

See the Ministry of Education's list of fields which require an authorisation or similar (new window)

Doctors and dentists can apply for a special residence permit in order to obtain an authorisation.

Read more about residence permit in order to obtain an authorisation

If you are granted a residence permit under the Greencard scheme

Please note that within six months of getting your permit, you must move to Denmark and have an official address in Denmark. It is your own responsibility to find a place to live. Furthermore, within the first year of being granted a residence permit, you must have earned a minimum of DKK 50,000 in Denmark.

Also note that you cannot bring any accompanying family members to Denmark before you are settled at an official address in Denmark, have found a job, and have received a salary. Read more about this requirement below.

If your application is turned down

We are often contacted by applicants who wish to have their fee refunded after their application has been turned down because they failed to obtain 100 points. The fee is a case processing fee intended to cover the cost of processing the case.

Consequently, the fee will not be refunded if your application is processed - regardless of whether you are granted a residence permit, or your application is turned down, because you do not meet the requirements. Likewise, the fee will not be refunded if you withdraw your application.

Conditions

In order to be granted a residence permit under the greencard scheme, you must obtain a minimum of 100 points. Points are given for: educational level, language skills and adaptability.

You must document that you are able to support yourself during your first year in Denmark.

Read more about financial requirements

If you are granted a residence permit, you must take out a full health insurance covering you and any accompanying family members until you are covered by the Danish National Health Insurance.

If you are granted a residence permit, it is also a requirement that in the first year you have earned a minimum of DKK 50,000 in Denmark. The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment will automatically check the Danish income register to see if you meet this requirement. If not, your residence permit may be revoked.

Furthermore, it is a requirement that you do not receive any unemployment benefits for new graduates (dimittenddagpenge) or any public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act (lov om aktiv socialpolitik) during your stay in Denmark.

You cannot be granted a new residence permit under the Greencard scheme if, in the past five years, you have resided in Denmark on a residence permit under the Greencard scheme.

Points for educational level

You can only get points for the Danish educational level which your education equals.

The reason is that the level of academic degrees may vary from country to country, even if they have the same title. For example, at masters degree form another country may not be of the same level as a Danish masters (candicatus) degree.

The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment will decide whether it is necessary to have your educational level assessed by the Danish Agency for Higher Education, the authority which assesses foreign qualifications.

The Danish Agency for Higher Education has developed a database designed to assess foreign qualifications and match them with the Danish equivalent.

See database for assessing qualifications from specific countries (new window)

In order to receive any points for your educational level, you must, as a minimum, have the equivalent of a Danish Bachelor’s degree. You will only be given points for your highest educational level, and only for completed educational programmes. Points are given as follows:

  • Bachelor's degree/Graduated from medium-length education: 30 points
  • Bachelor's degree followed by one-year Master's degree: 50 points
  • Master's degree: 60 points
  • PhD: 80 points

You will be given 30 bonus points if your education qualifies you to work in a field where Denmark is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. You can find these fields on the Positive List. In order to obtain the bonus points, your education must be directly linked to a job title on the Positive List. Furthermore, you must meet the requirements for the job title in question, e.g. a Professional Bachelor's degree or a Danish authorisation.

See the Positive List

You will be given bonus points if you graduated from a university which is internationally recognised for its high academic level according to the latest THES-QS World Ranking. Points are given as follows:

  • Top 400: 10 points
  • Top 200: 15 points
  • Top 100: 20 points

See the top 400 list

You can be given a maximum of 130 points for your educational level.

Language skills

In order to be given points for language skills, you must document that you have passed a recognised language test in either Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German. Only language tests that are verifiable and which you passed less than two years prior to the time you apply will be considered. You will not obtain any points for being a native speaker, that is, because the language in question is your mothertongue. You must provide documentation for a passed language test.

With regards to Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, you must have passed Danish Language Test, Level 1, 2 or 3 (Prøve i Dansk 1, 2 eller 3) or the Study Test in Danish as a Second Language (Studieprøven) or the Swedish or Norwegian equivalent:

  • Prøve i Dansk 1 (or Swedish/Norwegian equivalent): 5 points
  • Prøve i Dansk 2 (or Swedish/Norwegian equivalent): 10 points 
  • Prøve i Dansk 3 (or Swedish/Norwegian equivalent): 20 points
  • Studieprøven (or Swedish/Norwegian equivalent): 40 points

With regards to English or German, your must have passed an English or German language test equivalent to Danish Language Test, Level 3 (Prøve i Dansk 3) or the Study Test in Danish as a Second Language (Studieprøven):

  • English/German test equivalent to Prøve i Dansk 3: 20 points
  • English/German test equivalent to Studieprøven: 40 points

You can only receive points for one Scandinavian language and for either English or German. Consequently, you can receive points for both Swedish and English, or both Danish and German, but not for both Danish and Norwegian, or for both English and German.

You can be given a maximum of 40 points for your language skills.

See the indicative list of approved foreign language exams with their corresponding Danish level 

You will only be given points for approved exams. Other exams do not qualify for points.

Points for adaptability

You can be given points for your educational or work related attachment to the EU/EEA (including Denmark) or Switzerland, as this is seen to increase your ability to quickly adapt to the Danish labour market. Points are given for either education or work. Points are given as follows:

  • Completion of at least one year's study at a higher educational programme in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 5 points
  • Completion of at least three years' study at a higher educational programme in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 10 points

Or

  • At least one full year's (12 consecutive months') legal residence and work in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 5 points
  • At least two consecutive year's legal residence and work in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 10 points

You will be given 5 bonus points for Danish language skills (passed exam in Danish Language Test, Level 2 (Prøve i Dansk 2) or higher).

You can be given a maximum of 15 points for adaptability.

Duration

You can be granted a first-time residence permit under the Greencard scheme for up to two years. Before the end of this period, you can apply for an extension of up to three years.

Your residence permit can be extended if you meet a minimum income requirement: If, in the course of the past 12 months before submitting your application for an extension, you have earned the average salary (of the public and private sector) for new graduates with a Bachelor's degree. In 2015, the required amount is DKK 319,725.

You must have earned this salary on ordinary terms, your salary must have been reported to the Danish tax administration (SKAT), and your employer must be established in Denmark. Public subsidies and support, sick pay and similar will not be included when calculating your pay.

You can submit your application for an extension no sooner than 3 months before your residence permit expires. It is crucial that you submit your application for an extension before your current residence permit expires.

If you submit your application after the date your residence permit expires, you should expect your application to be rejected. This means that if will not be processed unless special conditions apply, such as, if you cannot be blamed for the delay, or if Denmark's international obligations warrant it. If your application for an extension is rejected, you will have to leave Denmark and apply for a new residence permit in your country of origin. Such an application will be regarded and processed as an entirely new application for a residence permit, i.e. it will be processed in accordance with the rules that apply to first-time applicants, and you will lose the right to an extension of your previous residence permit.

If your residence permit expires, and you applied for an extension before the expiration date, you may stay in Denmark with the same right while your application is being processed.

Transitional scheme

The Greencard scheme has been changed as per 1 January 2015.

A special transitional scheme applies, if you were granted a residence permit under the Greencard scheme before 1 January 2015. As a result, the first application for an extension which you submit after 1 January 2015 will be processed under the previous extension rules. However, any subsequent applications for an extension will be processed under the new extension rules, where you must meet the income requirement. It is stated in your latest residence permit letter which requirements you must meet.

Examples of extension situations

Example 1: The applicant was granted a permit on 4 September 2013 with the expiration date being 4 September 2016. The applicant applies for an extension in August 2016 and must meet the previous extension rules, as this is the applicant's first application for an extension after 1 January 2015. Consequently, the requirement is having worked for a minimum of ten hours per week for the past 12 months. The applicant is granted a one-year extension on 10 November 2016, which will expire on 10 November 2017. When the applicant applies for an extension in 2017, the present requirements must be met.

Example 2: The applicant has submitted a first-time application on 21 December 2014 and is granted a permit on 15 January 2015, which will expire on 15 January 2018. The applicant applies for an extension in January 2018 and must meet the new extension requirements, that is, the income requirement. The reason is that the applicant was granted an application after 1 January 2015.

Example 3: The applicant has submitted a first-time application on 5 January 2015 and is granted a permit on 1 April 2015, which will expire on 1 April 2017. The applicant applies for an extension in February 2017 and must meet the new extension requirements, that is, the income requirement.

Greencard scheme for students at higher educational programmes

There is a special version of the Greencard scheme for students. This scheme enables foreign students who complete a higher educational programme in Denmark to stay in Denmark after graduating in order to look for work.

Read more about the Greencard scheme for students

Establishment Card

There is a special scheme for foreign nationals who complete a Danish Master's (Candidatus) degree or a Danish PhD degree. You can be granted a special residence permit allowing you to establish yourself in Denmark efter graduating.

Read more about the Establishment Card

Application

Read more about how to apply for a residence and work permit under the Greencard scheme

Family members

If you have been granted a residence and work permit under the Greencard scheme, you can bring certain family members.

You must document that you can support your accompanying family members.

Read more about financial requirements

It is also a requirement that you are employed in Denmark. If your accompanying family member is your spouse/partner, you must document that you have a job contract with a duration of at least one year with a salary equal to social benefits for single non-providers over the age of 30. You must have received at least one month's salary based on this job contract.

The monthly social benefit amount for single non-providers over the age of 30 is DKK 10,849 (2015 level).

If your accompanying family members are your spouse/partner and your child under the age of 18, you must document that you have a job contract with a duration of at least one year with a salary equal to social benefits for single providers over the age of 30. You must have received at least one month's salary based on this job contract.

The monthly social benefit amount for single providers over the age of 30 is DKK 14,416 (2015 level).

Read more about residence permit for accompanying family members



Last update: 1/22/2015
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Published by: The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment
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