As an asylum seeker in Denmark, your living expenses will normally be covered by the Immigration Service.

However, this is not the case if you are married to a person residing in Denmark. In such cases, your spouse is required to support you financially. Nor is this the case if you have the means to defray the costs of your stay.

 The Immigration Service provides the following benefits and services:

  • Cash allowances for clothes, personal hygiene items etc., as well as for food (unless you live at a centre with a canteen where free meals are served, also known as the ‘food allowance’ programme, or ‘vederlagsfri bespisning’)
  • Necessary healthcare and social services, as required
  • Education for children
  • Adult education and other activities
  • Accommodation at an asylum centre
  • Transport costs to and from meetings with public officials, healthcare providers etc.

The value of goods (clothes, personal hygiene items etc.) provided to asylum seekers in basic-item benefit packages is adjusted annually. The rates for 2019 are:

  • Clothing package: DKK 1,488.61
  • Hygiene package: DKK 119.99
  • Infant clothing package: DKK 2,977.22
  • Children’s clothing: DKK 699.72 (per child, every six months)
  • Children’s package: DKK 159.18 (every 14 days)

Read the executive order establishing basic-item benefit packages for asylum seekers etc. (in Danish only)

The cash allowances you can receive as an asylum seeker in Denmark are:

  • Basic allowance
  • Supplementary allowance (if applicable)
  • Caregiver allowance for up to two children
  • Reduced caregiver allowance for two additional children

The amounts are adjusted annually and the amounts stated on this page is from 2019. Please note that the amounts are indicated without VAT.

Basic allowance

The basic allowance, which covers expenses for food, personal hygiene items etc., is paid to asylum seekers over the age of 18 who do not receive free meals at their asylum centre.

The basic allowance is DKK 52.35 per adult, per day. If you live at an asylum centre with your spouse/partner, the amount is DKK 41.44 per adult, per day. The basic allowance is paid in advance every other Thursday.

Supplementary allowance

If you are over 18, you are required to make an agreement (a contract) with your asylum centre. By signing the contract, you agree to take part in certain activities at the asylum centre, attend classes and do work around the centre.

If you abide by the contract with the asylum centre, you will be eligible for a supplementary allowance. Read more about education and other activities at the centre below.

If you fail to abide by the contract with the asylum centre, your supplementary allowance will be reduced or revoked.

While your application is in its initial phase and it has yet to be determined whether it will be processed in Denmark, the supplementary allowance is DKK 8.73 per day. If it is decided that your application is to be processed in Denmark, the supplementary allowance will increase to DKK 30.55 per day.

The supplementary allowance is paid every other Thursday, at the end of each fourteen-day period.

Caregiver allowance

If you have dependent minor children who live together with you, you will receive a caregiver allowance to support them. A child may only receive one allowance.

The full caregiver allowance is paid for a maximum of two children. If you have more than two children, you can receive a reduced caregiver allowance for an additional two children. You can cannot receive more than four allowances.

During the initial phase, the caregiver allowance for the first two children is DKK 61.07 per child, per day. If it is decided that your application is to be processed in Denmark, the full caregiver allowance will be increased to DKK 82.86 per child, per day. The reduced caregiver allowance is DKK 43.63 per child, per day.

If you live at an asylum centre with a canteen where free meals are served (food allowance) and you are in the initial phase, the caregiver allowance is DKK 8.73 per child, per day for the first two children. If you are living at an asylum centre with a canteen where free meals are served (food allowance) and your application is in the processing phase, or if you have received a final rejection of your application and are assisting the authorities with the deportation process, the caregiver allowance is DKK 30.55 per child, per day. If you live at a centre with a canteen where free meals are served (food allowance), you cannot receive the reduced caregiver allowance for additional children.

The caregiver allowance is paid in advance every other Thursday.

Special terms apply for asylum seekers from countries where the risk of persecution is minimal

If you come from a country where the risk of persecution is minimal, your application for asylum will be processed according to the expedited version of the manifestly unfounded procedure. Read more about processing an application for asylum

If you come from a country where the risk of persecution is minimal, you will normally be required to live at a centre with a canteen where free meals (food allowance) are served and you will not receive any form of cash benefits.

Asylum seekers and foreign nationals without legal residence in Denmark are not covered by the national health insurance system. Instead, your healthcare expenses are covered by the Danish Immigration Service.

The Immigration Service pays healthcare expenses, provided the treatment is necessary and:

  • Urgent (treatment cannot be postponed), and/or
  • Pain-relieving

Treatment is considered urgent if delaying it could lead to: life-threatening injuries, degeneration or serious worsening of your condition, or your condition becoming chronic.

Whenever treatment is deemed necessary, the centre-operator needs to request the Immigration Service to provide a guarantee of payment. Certain forms of treatment can be initiated by the healthcare staff at your centre on their own initiative, however. These include consultation with a general practitioner, initial consultation with a psychologist or psychiatrist, as well as consultation with a midwife or medical specialist, such as an ear-nose-throat doctor.

Minor asylum seekers are entitled to the same healthcare as children who are residents of Denmark.

If you are over 18 years old, you are required to make an agreement (a contract) with your asylum centre. By signing the contract, you agree to take part in certain activities at the asylum centre, attend classes and do work around the centre.

If you fail to abide by the contract with the asylum centre, your supplementary allowance can be reduced or revoked. Read more about cash benefits above.

Education

If you are of mandatory school age, you will be offered schooling at, or in affiliation with, the asylum centre. The education will, in content and scope, correspond to the education offered to bilingual pupils attending the Danish primary and lower-secondary school (folkeskole). Some children will be offered the opportunity to attend in classes at a folkeskole.

If you are over 18 years old, you are required to attend classes either at, or in affiliation with, the asylum centre. The courses are designed to maintain and increase your general skills and your trade or professional skills. If you are over 17, you can opt to take these courses.

If you are a newly arrived asylum seeker, you will be required to take an introductory course at the reception centre. The course provides an introduction to Danish language, culture and society. The course will describe the Danish labour market, education system and housing patterns as a way to inform you about the programmes that provide access to the labour market and to prepare you to move out your centre, if it is determined that your application is to be processed in Denmark. Read more about access to the labour market below.

Read more about opportunities for moving out of the centres

When the initial phase is completed and it has been decided that your application is to be processed in Denmark, you will be required to take courses in Danish, English or your native language. The courses may also include subjects that provide you with skills that will improve your integration prospects in Denmark, should you be granted a residence permit. The courses can also help to prepare you for life in your home country, should your application for a residence permit be refused.

You need to begin taking courses within three months after applying for asylum. You can expect to spend an average of 10 hours per week attending class.

Once you have been in the asylum system for more than five months, you will be shown two films during module 9 or 10 of the asylum-seeker course (Asylansøgerkursuset). The films are produced by the Danish Red Cross, and will provide you with information about your employment opportunities, getting an education, attending training programmes or taking part in an internship as an asylum seeker. Learn more about the films and see which languages they are available in

If you are granted a residence permit in Denmark, you will be offered intensive Danish-language courses until you are relocated to the municipality where you are to live.

Paid internship

If you have a paid internship, the cash allowance you receive from the Immigration Service (basic allowance/caregiver allowance/supplementary allowance) will be offset by your income after taxes and labour market contributions. For every krone you earn, your allowance will be reduced by the same amount (krone-for-krone).

You may be required to pay rent if you live in an asylum centre or in an independent residence affiliated with your centre. You may also be required to pay for accommodation for your spouse/partner and any minor children.

If you are accepted by a secondary-education programme, you may have a paid or unpaid internship.

Other activities

Your contract with your asylum centre requires you to assist with necessary daily tasks at your asylum centre, such as cleaning your room, common areas, kitchen areas and bathrooms. In addition to these tasks, you are permitted to help with other tasks at the centre (‘in-house activities’), such as helping staff with routine office work and the upkeep and repair of buildings, furnishings and common areas etc.

If you are still awaiting a decision about whether your application will be processed in Denmark, you may only help with in-house activities. The same applies if your application has been rejected and you are refusing to assist with your deportation process.

If your application is to be processed in Denmark, you will be permitted to participate in in-house activities as well as unpaid job-training programmes at a company not affiliated with the asylum centre (‘out-of-house activities’). You will also be permitted to participate in unpaid humanitarian work or any other form of voluntary work.

Read more about your employment options below.

If you are over 18 years old, and you meet certain requirements, you can request the Immigration Service to approve an offer of employment until you are granted a residence permit, leave Denmark or are deported.

The Immigration Service needs to confirm that you and the position you are offered meet certain requirements. Read more about the requirements for employment as an asylum seeker

You may have any form of regular employment, provided your employer does not receive public funding in connection with your employment. Your position can be full or part-time, paid or unpaid. Your pay and working conditions should be the same as others working in similar positions, or otherwise be considered normal terms of employment in Denmark.

You may not run your own business.

You may not begin working until you have entered into a contract with the Immigration Service specifying the conditions of your approval. If you work before signing a contract with the Immigration Service, you can be fined or sentenced to up to a year in prison, while your employer can be fined or sentenced to up to two years in prison.

Work and your contract with the asylum centre

The contract you agree to with your asylum centre about education and other activities needs to leave open the possibility that you may find employment. If you have a job, you only need to take classes or take part in other activities to the extent your job allows.

Having a job does not excuse you from your obligation to attend meetings with immigration authorities.

Tax, labour market contributions and payment of wages

If you are given permission to work as an asylum seeker, you will be required to pay labour market contributions of 8% and gross tax of 30% of your income. Both amounts are withheld by the employer. The regulations can be found in the Danish Withholding Tax Act (Kildeskatteloven) section 48 B.

Because you do not have a CPR number as an asylum seeker, your employer will need to manually pay labour market contributions and gross tax to SKAT using form 01.014 (Månedlig angivelse af skat for godkendte asylansøgere). The form and guidance for filling it in can be found at skat.dk. You can contact SKAT via asylskat@skat.dk or on 72 22 18 18.

You and your employer need to agree between yourselves how your net wage is paid. Please note that, without a CPR number, it can be difficult for an asylum seeker to set up a bank account for payment of wages. Your employer may therefore need to pay your wages in cash or by some other method than a bank transfer.

Offsetting your cash allowance

The cash allowance you receive from the Immigration Service (basic/supplementary/caregiver) will be offset by your income after taxes and labour market contributions. The amount is offset “krone-for-krone”.

You can also be required to support your spouse and minor children.

Rent

You can be asked to pay rent if you are housed at an asylum centre or in an independent residence affiliated with an asylum centre. This will be the case if your salary exceeds the amount you would be paid in cash allowances. You may also be required to pay rent for your spouse and minor children.

The monthly rent per person housed at an asylum centre is DKK 7,491 (2017 level).

The monthly rent per person housed in an independent residence affiliated with a centre is DKK 7,162 (2017 level). Regardless of the size of your household, the maximum rent for an independent residence will not exceed DKK 25,560 per month (2017 level).

Rent is due by the fifth day of the month.

You are required to abide by the education and activity contact you have agreed to with your asylum centre.

You may not, through force or threat of force, prevent the staff at the asylum centre from carrying out their work, or otherwise act in a manner that disturbs your place of residence.

If you need to leave Denmark because your application for asylum has been rejected, you are required to provide the police with the information to assist them to obtain the necessary travel documents.

Failure to co-operate with the staff about your accommodation or during the deportation process can result in you being placed on the food-allowance programme and/or moved to a departure centre.

Read more about the food-allowance programme

 

The police are permitted to search you and your baggage to determine whether you are carrying cash or other valuables that can be used to defray the costs incurred by the Immigration Service when housing you at an asylum centre/accommodation centre. The police are authorised to seize such valuables.

In the event the Immigration Service does not incur any costs in connection with your stay in Denmark, any valuables the police seize from you will be returned. This would be the case if you left Denmark before you were housed at an asylum centre/accommodation centre.

Seized valuables can be returned by submitting a request to the Immigration Service. Contact the Immigration Service