Normal processing time
3 months

Processing fee
No fee

Work in Greenland

If you wish to work in Greenland, you must apply for a permit at the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), which will process the application based on an approval from the Government of Greenland (Naalakkersuisut).

It is your own responsibility to obtain a residence and work permit if the rules require it. You can read more about the rules and consequences of illegal work here.

Please note that you must also apply for a residence and work permit if you take voluntary or unpaid work.

Greenland and Denmark are two distinct travel areas. This means that a residence permit in Denmark does not give you the right to stay in Greenland. Likewise, a residence permit in Greenland does not allow you to stay in Denmark.

Since Greenland is not a member of the EU, the EU rules on free movement does not apply to Greenland.

Therefore, applicants from EU/EEA countries or Switzerland must follow the same rules as all other foreign nationals. However, EU citizens are not required to apply for a visa.

If you already hold a residence permit based on family reunification or as a refugee, or you hold a humanitarian or permanent residence permit in Greenland, you do not need a work permit in order to work in Greenland.

If you are a citizen of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden, you neither need a visa, nor a permit to stay and work in Greenland. You are free to enter into Greenland, and you do not need to bring your passport.

What are the conditions?

The assessment of your application is normally based on whether your labour and your qualifications are in demand in Greenland.

When processing your application, SIRI pays particular attention to the following criteria:

  • Whether there are available professionals residing in Greenland who are qualified to carry out the job in question (applies only to certain types of applications), and
  • whether the nature of the job in question is specialised enough to warrant a residence and work permit.

Your salary and terms of employment must correspond to Greenlandic standards. This means that your salary, holiday entitlements, terms of notice etc. must not be inferior to the standards within the professional field in which you are going to work. As a rule, your employment must be full-time, which normally means 40 hours work per week.

When you apply, you must attach a copy of your employment contract or job offer. All terms of employment must be stated in the contract or the job offer.

When SIRI has received your application for a residence and work permit, we will forward the application to the Government of Greenland, which will assess whether your salary and terms of employment correspond to Greenlandic standards.

In certain cases, it is required that you have a Danish or Greenlandic authorisation. This applies, for example, if you are a medical doctor, who is required to have an authorisation from the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

The Danish Patient Safety Authority on authorisation for Healthcare personnel

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science on regulated professions

You can work in Greenland without holding a work permit if your stay is shorter than 3 months, and you are:

  • a researcher  or a lecturer who has been invited to teach or lecture in Greenland,
  • a professional athlete or artist (excluding performers, restaurant musicians and similar),
  • a representative of a foreign company or organisation, which do not have a branch office in Greenland, who is on a business trip in Greenland,
  • an individual employed in the household of foreign nationals visiting Greenland for up to three months,
  • a fitter, consultant or instructor hired to fit, install, inspect or repair machines, equipment, computer programmes or similar items. Read more about the so-called “fitter rule” here.

However, you must still hold a visa if you are a national of country whose citizens are required to have a visa to visit Greenland. Read further here.

If you stay for a longer period than 3 months, you must apply for a residence and work permit before you start working.

What are my rights if I am granted a permit?

What are you allowed to do with a residence and work permit in Greenland? – and what are you not allowed to do?

You are only allowed to work in the job and in the company that you have been granted a permit to work in.

If you are offered a new job, you must apply for a new permit before you start the new job. This also applies if you are offered a new position within the same company. 

If you wish to take a sideline job, you have to obtain a separate permit. You can read more about sideline employment and apply here.

You must be able to support yourself and your family during your stay. You are not allowed to receive public benefits.

If you or your family members receive such benefits during your stay, your permit can be revoked – and you will lose the right to stay in Greenland.

A residence and work permit allows you to stay in Greenland for the period of time your permit is valid. 

You must not give up your address in Greenland or stay abroad for a longer period of time. A violation will result in the lapse of your permit. This means that you will lose your right to stay in Greenland.

If you have been staying in Greenland legally for less than 2 years, you are allowed to stay outside of Greenland for 6 successive months. 

If you have been staying in Greenland legally for more than 2 years and you hold a residence permit that can be made permanent, or if you already hold a permanent residence permit, you are allowed to stay outside of Greenland for up to 12 months.

If you need to stay abroad for an extended period of time, e.g. if you are stationed abroad for a period of time by your employer, you can apply for a dispensation to prevent your permit from lapsing.

Read more about lapse and dispensation options here.

Staying abroad while serving in the military as a conscript or performing required community service will not be considered time living outside of Greenland.

Stays in Denmark or the Faroe Islands are considered as time spent abroad.

How long can I stay in Greenland?

A residence permit in Greenland can be granted with a validity of up to 1 year from the date a decision is made in your case.

If you are employed for a period of less than 1 year, the duration of your permit will usually be the same as the duration of your employment. If you want to continue to work in Greenland beyond this period, you must apply for an extension of your residence and work permit.

It is very important that you apply for an extension before your permit expires.

If you submit the application for an extension in time, you are allowed to stay in Greenland and continue to work until a decision on your application is made – even though your permit expires.

If your employment is for 1 year or more, you will normally be granted a residence permit valid for 1 year. If you want to continue to work in Greenland beyond the first year, you must apply for an extension of your residence and work permit based on the extension of your employment contract.

It is very important that you apply for an extension before your permit expires.

If you submit the application for an extension in time, you are allowed to stay in Greenland and continue to work until a decision on your application is made – even though your permit expires.

A residence permit can only be valid until 2 months before the expiry date of your passport.

If your passport has a shorter validity than the otherwise possible period of stay, your residence permit will be shortened. This means that the validity of your residence permit will be shorter than it could be. When you have renewed your passport, you can apply for an extension of your residence permit – however, this can only be done 2 months before your permit expires at the earliest. 

Read more about the passport requirements.

What should I do if I lose my job or change job?

Your residence permit is linked to your job in Greenland. Your employment is the basis for your permit.

You must always inform SIRI if you lose or change your job.

Your work permit is limited to the employment that is the basis for your permit.  You are not allowed to work in other positions than the one stated in your permit. This also applies if you are offered a new position in the same company.

You must inform SIRI if you lose your job. Your residence and work permit will be revoked as it is based on this exact job. 

If you find a new job while working in Greenland, you must submit a new application for a residence and work permit with information on your new employment. You are not allowed to start the new job before you have been granted a new permit.

Can my family be granted a residence permit?

A residence and work permit based on a job in Greenland allows your family to come with you to Greenland.

A permit can be granted to your spouse, registered or cohabiting partner as well as children under the age of 18 living at home.

Read more about accompanying family members here.

What more do I need to know before I apply?

An application for a residence and work permit in Greenland must generally be submitted to a Danish diplomatic mission or an application center receiving applications on behalf of the Danish diplomatic mission. In some countries, you can submit your application at a Norwegian diplomatic mission.

Here you can see the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affair’s guide to where you can submit your application. 

As a general rule, you must have an employment agreement with a company registered in Greenland to be able to apply. However, there are certain exceptions, e.g. if you work for a foreign company that provides services in Greenland. 

You can find the relevant application form, GL1, on the “How to apply” tab to the right. 

Your employer must fill in one of two parts of the form.

SIRI will contact you or your employer if we need further information to process your case.

Below you will find a step-by-step guide to submitting an application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

It is important that you have carefully read the conditions for being granted a residence permit before you begin step 1. You can do this on the tab “Need to know” on the left.

It is a good idea to gather the necessary documents before you start to complete the application form. You can use the check list below.

If you submit documents not written in English, German, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish, you must also submit certified translations into Danish or English.

You must submit:

You employer must submit:

Expect to use

30 minutes

completing the application

2 persons

You and your employer are each required to complete a part of the form.

In this step you and your employer have access to the relevant application form GL1.

Make sure that you have completed all the preceeding steps before you begin.

All our application forms contain careful instructions on how to complete the form and what kind of documents you must submit along with the form.

You can read more about how we process your personal data here.

In the printable application form GL1 your employer must complete part 2 of the form. When your employer has completed his or her part, you must complete your part. Once parts 1 and 2 have been completed, they must be submitted together – read more in the next step.

You must submit the necessary documents with the application.

The printable application form in Word format can be completed on screen before you print. The application form in pdf format must be printed first and then completed by hand.

Download the printable form GL1 (Word format)

Download the printable form GL1 (Pdf format)

You are are submitting the application abroad

The application can be submitted to a Danish diplomatic mission or an application centre in the country where you are residing.

See the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ list of diplomatic missions or application centres where you can hand in your application

In certain countries Denmark does not have a diplomatic mission or application centre. In these instances the list will refer you to one of the Norwegian missions with which Denmark has made an agreement or to the nearest Danish diplomatic mission or application centre in the region.

We recommend that you visit the local diplomatic mission’s webpage to get more information before you submit the application. The individual diplomatic mission can have additional requirements regarding payment of additional fees, submission of additional passport photos or additional copies of the application.

You are submitting the application in Danmark

If you are residing legally in Denmark, you are normally able to submit the application in Denmark. This is the case, if you:

  • hold a valid visa
  • is exempt from the visa requirement or
  • already hold a valid residence permit.

Read more about the legal residence requirement and submission of your application in Denmark. 

You can submit the applicaton in SIRI’s Citizen Centre in Copenhagen. If you live outside the Greater Copenhagen area, you can also submit the application at a local police station with facilities for recording biometrics.

If you plan to submit you application I SIRI’s Citizen Centre, you must remember to book an appointment.

See a list of local police stations, where you can submit your application.

You are submitting the application in Greenland

A first time application can only be submitted to the police in Greenland on special grounds and if the applicant is staying legally in Greenland.

You can also send the application to SIRI.

 

You can see the normal case processing time to the right on this page. When we make a decision in your case, you will receive an answer.

SIRI will contact you or your employer if we need further information to process your case.

Responsible Agency

Contact SIRI