You will be working in Denmark as a volunteer. As a volunteer, you are doing voluntary, unpaid work of a social or humanitarian character.
Normal processing time
Who can apply for a residence permit?
If you will be doing voluntary, unpaid work of a social or humanitarian character, you can be granted a permit to stay and work as a volunteer in Denmark.
If you are a citizen of a EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you do not need to apply for a residence permit, but must instead apply for a EU residence document.
What are the conditions?
If you have found a voluntary, unpaid job in Denmark where the work tasks have a social or humanitarian aim, you can be granted a residence permit as a volunteer. You must meet certain conditions to be granted a residence permit.
You must be between 18 and 30 years old to be granted a permit. You must not have turned 31 years old at the time of application.
Your work in Denmark should be of benefit to frail or marginalised people, and it should contribute to the Danish society.
The work can also be with children and young people where you are responsible for activities, instruction or for acting as a role model.
The work cannot be ordinary salaried work, e.g. cleaning, although you are employed by a social or humanitarian organisation. Neither can you be granted a residence permit as a volunteer if your job in Denmark aims to prepare for social or humanitarian work conducted abroad.
As a volunteer you must participate in full time activities.
You must have sufficient funds to be able to support yourself.
If you are not provided with room and board by the organization where you will be working as a volunteer or by the organization organizing your stay as a volunteer, you must have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Denmark.
You have sufficient funds if you have disposable funds of 6,589 DKK per month (2023 level). You must multiply this amount with the number of months you are going to work as a volunteer.
The monthly amount corresponds to the monthly study grant (SU) for students not living with their parents. The grant is adjusted every year. You can find the present rates for study grants (SU) on the website of the Danish Agency for Institutions and Educational Grants.
The organisation arranging the stay or your volunteer work place must take out both a health and a liability insurance that cover you during your full stay in Denmark. If you are staying in Denmark for more than 3 months, a health insurance is not needed.
What are my rights if I am granted a permit?
What are you allowed to do with a Danish residence and work permit as a volunteer – and what are you not allowed to do?
You are only allowed to work voluntarily and without pay in the exact organisation that you have been granted a permit to work in.
It will be regarded as illegal work if you work elsewhere or if you take a paid job without having a permit.
Illegal work can entail a fine, imprisonment or revocation of your permit as a volunteer.
A residence and work permit as a volunteer allows you to stay in Denmark for the period of time your permit is valid.
In addition, a permit allows you to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days within the latest 180 days period. The permit, however, does not allow you to work in other Schengen countries.
You must not give up your Danish address or stay abroad for longer than 6 successive months. A violation will result in the lapse of your permit. This means that you will lose your right to stay in Denmark.
If you need to stay abroad for a longer period of time, you can apply for dispensation to prevent your permit from lapsing.
You must be able to support yourself during your stay. You are not allowed to receive benefits under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act, e.g. social security benefits.
If you receive such benefits during your stay, your permit can be revoked – and you will lose the right to stay in Denmark.
If an authority, e.g. a municipality, disburses benefits to foreign nationals, SIRI will be notified.
With a residence permit in Denmark, you are entitled to free Danish lessons. However, you must have turned 18 years and have your Danish address registered in the Danish National Register.
If you have a residence permit in Denmark based on work, study, etc. you have to pay a deposit before you can start receiving lessons. Be aware that you can lose your deposit if you do not pass the different modules within a specific timeframe.
Your municipality of residence is obliged to offer you Danish lessons and refer you to a language centre. If you have not been offered Danish lessons within a month after registering your address in Denmark, you can contact your municipality.
You will (typically) be taught together with other foreign nationals who have arrived in Denmark recently.
If you are going to stay and work in Denmark, there are a number of things to acquaint yourself with. Depending on your personal situation, you might need other important information and options.
The portal lifeindenmark.dk provides you with information, links and in many cases also options concerning the most important subjects such as:
- The CPR register
- Health card
- Tax matters
- Holiday entitlements
- Danish lessons
- Car registration and driver’s license
Can my family be granted a residence permit?
A residence and work permit on the basis of voluntary, unpaid work as a volunteer does not allow your family to come to Denmark with you.
How long can I stay in Denmark?
You can be granted a residence permit for the period you are employed as a volunteer. However, the period cannot be longer than 18 months.
A residence permit can only be valid until 3 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 3 months before your permit expires at the earliest.
Penalty risk - if I am already residing in Denmark on a visiting visa
If you have already entered Denmark and stay here on a visiting visa when you submit your application, you have to be aware of the risk of a penalty period.
If you submit your application for a residence permit as a volunteer while you are staying in Denmark on a visiting visa, it can have the consequence that for a period of 5 years you will not be able to receive further visiting visas to Denmark. This will have consequences for you if your application for a residence permit as a volunteer is refused, and you after your return to your home country again wish to visit Denmark.
What more do I need to know before I apply?
An application for a residence permit as a volunteer is processed by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI). If you are in Denmark when submiiting the application, you must be here legally. More about submission here.
You must have made an agreement about voluntary, unpaid work with a Danish organisation or with the place of volunteering to be able to apply.
There is no fee for submitting the application. On the tab “How to apply” to the right, you can find the relevant application form, XG1.
Please note that, as a rule, SIRI will refuse your application for a residence permit on new grounds, if the application is submitted prematurely in relation to the wished for start date for your stay in Denmark.
If you submit such an application earlier than 6 months before your stay in Denmark will begin, you can expect a refusal to your application. If you have paid SIRI's case processing fee, you will not receive a refund of the fee.
SIRI will contact you or the organisation/place of volunteering 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, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish, you must also submit certified translations into Danish or English.
You must submit:
Expect to use
completing the application
You complete the application form by yourself.
In this step you have access to the relevant application form.
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.
Please note that it is mandatory to use this application form. Under special circumstances, you can be exempted from the requirement to use an online application form. You can read more here.
Please note that it is mandatory to fill in your passport number in this application form. If you are not in possession of a valid passport, you can contact us for guidance. You can find our contact information here.
When you apply for a residence permit, you must have your biometric features recorded. This means that you must have a facial photo taken and your fingerprints recorded. The facial photo and your fingerprints will be stored on a microchip embedded in the residence card, which will be issued to you if you are granted a permit.
If you do not agree to have your biometric features recorded, your application will be rejected. This means that your application will not be processed.
You must have your biometric features recorded no later than 14 days after you submitted your application.
If you are unable to have your biometric features recorded within the time limit of 14 days, because you are unable to book an appointment at a Danish diplomatic mission, you can inform us of the appointed time you will have your biometrics recorded. This way you can avoid having your application rejected.
You are abroad
You can have your biometric features recorded at a Danish diplomatic mission or an application centre in the country, where you reside.
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.
If you submit your application to a Norwegian diplomatic mission, you must also submit one passport photo. If you are granted a residence permit based on your application, you must within a specific time frame afte you entry to Denmark have your biometric features recorded.
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 in Denmark
If you are residing legally in Denmark, you are normally able to have your biometric features recorded 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.
You can have your biometric features recorded in one of SIRI’s branch offices
You have submitted your application succesfully if you have:
- submitted the application
- had your biometric features recorded
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.