The Greencard scheme
It is possible to be granted a residence permit for the purpose of seeking work, and subsequently working, in Denmark. A residence and work permit under the Greencard scheme is issued on the basis of an individual evaluation using a point system designed to assess the likelihood that the applicant will be able to find qualified work in Denmark.
If you are granted a residence permit under the Greencard scheme, you do not need to obtain a 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).
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 and wish to reside in Denmark under the EU regulations on freedom of movement, you may be subject to special rules. Read more about EU/EEA and Nordic citizens
If you already hold a Danish residence permit based on family reunification or asylum, or hold a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, you do not need a work permit in order to work in Denmark.
It is your own responsibility to obtain a residence permit if you are required to. If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.
In order to be granted a residence permit under the greencard scheme, you must attain a minimum of 100 points. Points are given for: educational level, language skills, work experience, adaptability, and age.
You must have full health insurance covering you and any accompanying family members until you are covered by the Danish National Health Insurance.
You must document that you are able to support yourself during your first year in Denmark. Documentation can be a recent bank statement in your name which clearly states in which currency, and on which date, the statement was issued. If you wish to apply for a residence permit for accompanying family members, you must also document that you are able to support your family members. This documentation must be in either your own or your spouse's/partner's name.
Furthermore, it is a requirement that you do not receive any public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act (lov om aktiv socialpolitik) during your stay in Denmark.
Read more about financial requirements
The level of academic degrees may vary from country to country, even if they have the same title. For example, a Bachelor's degree from another country may not necessarily be equivalent to a Danish Bachelor's degree.
The Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment will decide whether it is necessary to have your educational level assessed by the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation, an agency under the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education.
If your education is on a level lower than a Danish Bachelor's degree, you will not be able to obtain enough points to be granted a residence permit under the greencard scheme.
Please note that a Master's degree from e.g. a Pakistani university will often be assessed as equivalent to two years' studies at a Danish university, or a Danish Bachelor's degree.
Read more about the assessment of qualifications from specific countries (new window)
In order that the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation can assess your educational level you must include in your application colour copies of all documentation for all your completed higher education. The original educational documents must always be shown to a Danish authority.
Special information to applicants from Bangladesh: Please note that we often receive large books in the form of a thesis, dissertation or other major written assignment. We would like to stress that it is not necessary to send us your thesis or similar written assignment, as such documents are not relevant to the processing of your application.
Read more about documentation requirements
Read more about the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation (new window)
In order to receive points for educational level, you must, as a minimum, have the equivalent of a Danish Bachelor’s degree. You will only be given points for one educational level. 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 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: 5 points
- Top 200: 10 points
- Top 100: 15 points
See the top 400 list
You will be given 10 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 of the level specified for the job type in question, e.g. a Master's degree or a Professional Bachelor's degree.
You can only obtain points for completed educational programmes. For example, if you are currently studying for a Master's degree in Sweden, you should not apply for a residence permit under the greencard scheme until you have completed your programme.
You can be given a maximum of 105 points for your educational level.
Your language skills will be given points based on a four-level system modelled after the official Danish language proficiency tests for foreigners (the Danish Language Test, Levels 1, 2 and 3 and the Study Test in Danish as a Second Language).
In order to be given points for language skills, you must document that you have passed an exam in either Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German at a level corresponding to at least Danish Language Test, Level 1 (Prøve i Dansk 1). You can only receive points for one Scandinavian language and for either English or German. As such, 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.
Here is an 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.
As an alternative to a language exam, you can document your language skills with a statement from a previous employer attesting that you have used Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German on the job for at least one year, or by presenting documentation that you have completed at least one year of studies at a higher educational programme which was taught in one of these languages. This will be accepted as a level corresponding to that of Study Test in Danish as a Second Language (Studieprøven). Points are given as follows:
Level corresponding to Danish Language Test, Level 1 (Prøve i Dansk 1): 5 points
Level corresponding to Danish Language Test, Level 2 (Prøve i Dansk 2): 10 points
Level corresponding to Danish Language Test, Level 3 (Prøve i Dansk 3): 15 points
Level corresponding to Study Test in Danish as a Second Language (Studieprøven) or higher/one year's study or work: 20 points
You can be given a maximum of 30 points for your language skills.
Please note: Good Danish skills are often essential to engage effectively in the Danish labour market.
Your work experience can be given points according to how many years, within the last five years, you have worked as a researcher or in a field where Denmark is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. You can see these fields and specific job titles on the Positive List. You can also be given points for other work experience. Points are given as follows:
1-2 years within the past five years as a researcher/in field listed on the Positive List: 10 points
3-5 years within the past five years as a researcher/in field listed on the Positive List: 15 points
3-5 years within the past five years, other work: 5 points
You can be given a maximum of 15 points for your work experience. It is a requirement that the work has been of a considerable quantity. For example, no points are given for part-time work.
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
- 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 your adaptability.
You can be given points based on your age at the time you submit your application. Points are given as follows:
You can be given a maximum of 15 points for your age.
Processing your case
Please make sure that your application contains all information and documentation needed by the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment to process your case. If your application lacks required information or documentation, your application may be rejected. This means that your application will not be processed.
If it is necessary to have your educational level assessed by the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation, you will be notified by the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment.
Duration and extension
You can be granted a first-time residence permit under the Greencard scheme for up to 3 years. Before the end of this period, you can apply for an extension of up to 1 year. Before the end of this period, you can apply for an extension of up to four years.
Your residence permit can be extended if you have worked for the past 12 months for a minimum of ten hours per week.
Your residence permit can be extended for one year if you have lost your job through no fault of your own (e.g. due to cutbacks) no more than three months before applying for an extension, and if prior to this, you worked for 12 months for a minimum of ten hours per week.
When applying for an extension of your residence permit, it is crucial that you submit your application on time, i.e. before your current residence permit expires. Failure to do so will normally result in your application being rejected due to your residing illegally in Denmark. Consequently, an application which is submitted too late will not be processed by the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment. Instead, you will have to leave Denmark and apply for a new residence permit from your country of origin.
Your residence permit can only be granted or extended up to three months before your passport expires. This means that if your passport expires in 12 months, you can only be granted a permit for nine months, or your permit can only be extended by nine months. If you have your passport renewed after receiving your residence permit, you can apply for the full period.
If your residence permit expires, and you applied for an extension before your residence permit expired, you can stay in Denmark with the same rights while your application is being processed.
You can submit your application for an extension no sooner than two months before it expires.
Read more about extension
Jobseeking in Denmark
It is your own responsibility to find work in Denmark so you can support yourself.
There are several web portals, databases and CV banks which can be useful in the process of seeking work in Denmark.
Read more about jobseeking in Denmark
Please note that unemployment in Denmark is on the increase in certain sectors. The general unemployment rate for March 2010 was 4.2 pct.
This means that recent years' general shortage in labour has now been replaced by a situation with a shortage in available jobs.
This means that the demand for foreign labour has also been reduced drastically. However, certain sectors still need foreign qualified professionals.
When the Danish economy experiences growth again, the demand for foreign labour is expected to rise.
Special scheme for students at higher educational programmes
There is a special version of the Greencard scheme for students who complete a higher educational programme in Denmark.
If you hold a residence permit under the Greencard scheme, 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. Your family members must be able to support themselves and you must live together in Denmark at the same address. Your spouse, registered partner or cohabiting partner is allowed to work full-time for the entire period his or her permit is valid.
Read more about how to apply
If your application for a residence permit is turned down, you can appeal to the Ministry of Employment.
See appeal guidelines