Unpaid voluntary work
Can you be granted a permit to work in Denmark if the job is without pay?
As a general rule, you must obtain a permit in order to work in Denmark.
This is not the case, if you are staying in Denmark and carry out unpaid voluntary work.
During your stay in Denmark - no matter whether your stay requires a visa, is visa exempt or based on a residence permit (regardless of your grounds for residence) - you can carry out unpaid voluntary work without applying for a work permit.
This applies to work which is voluntary and without remuneration and carried out for a formally organised association, organisation or similar with which you have entered into an agreement to carry out the work.
The work must have a genuine non-profit purpose, which must appear in the rules governing the organisation and in the organisations actual work. Unpaid voluntary work therefore cannot be carried out, if the event has a commercial or partly commercial aim, e.g. unpaid voluntary work for a larger sporting event.
To work unpaid means that you are not allowed to receive remuneration for your work in the form of a salary or other benefits unless the benefit is small and also given to other volunteers, e.g. a festival wristband for the festival, where the unpaid voluntary work is carried out or food provisions given when the work is carried out.
The unpaid voluntary work must not replace salaried workers and it is therefore a condition that the work in question is normally carried out unpaid and voluntarily.
You are able to carry out voluntary work for:
- Humanitarian relief agencies
- Scouting organisations
- Sports associations
- Substance abuse prevention organisations
- Patient associations
- Visitors service
- Refugee relief organisations
- Parish associations
The above is not an exhaustive list.
If you have any doubts whether you can carry out unpaid voluntary work for a particular event, you must contact SIRI for guidance before you start working.