Exemption from the requirement of a work permit
Certain groups of foreign nationals (non-EU/EEA or Nordic citizens) are, because of their professional field or specific situation, exempted from the requirement of a work permit.
If you are going to work in Denmark you can be
- exempt in general
- exempt for a maximum of 40 days per year if you are member of a board
- exempt for a maximum of 90 days for special work assignments
- exempt for up to 5 days as a guest teacher
from the requirement of a work permit. These rules are called the rules of exemption.
The following persons are exempted from the requirement of a work permit:
- Foreign diplomats, living in Denmark, and others with similar diplomatic rights – including their family members and staff employed in their personal household. Contact the Diplomatic Section in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
- Staff on board foreign trains and motor vehicles in international traffic
- Staff on board Danish commercial ships sailing in international traffic, which within any 12-months period make calls at Danish ports or shipyards no more than 25 times per year and in addition make calls at Danish shipyards no more than 3 times. For more information see legal guidelines regarding personnel on Danish commercial ships sailing in international traffic (In Danish only)
Professional board members do not need a work permit if they are in Denmark for a maximum of 40 days within a calendar year to perform their duties as members of a board.
The following professionals can carry out specific types of work without a work permit if the stay lasts no more than 90 days fra the date of entry:
- Researchers and lecturers invited to teach or lecture in Denmark
- Foreign nationals who are to work as researchers or guest researchers in affiliation with a university or company in Denmark
- Potential PhD students who are to participate in a screening process to enable the university in Denmark to determine whether the foreign national should begin a PhD programme at the university
- Artists, including musicians and other entertainers, whose participation constitutes a substantial or essential part of a noteworthy artistic event
- Representatives of foreign companies or organisations which do not have a branch office in Denmark who are on business trips in Denmark. Representatives on business trips should normally be taken to mean representatives of foreign companies or organisations who are visiting Denmark with the intention of entering into contracts to buy or sell products or services. However, if a representative of a foreign company or organisation is firmly attached to a Danish company or organisation and is carrying out work for it, a residence and work permit is required - even for a short stay in Denmark
- Fitters, consultants or instructors hired to fit, install, inspect or repair machines, equipment, computer programmes or similar items, or provide information on the use of such items, provided the person is employed by the firm that manufactured the equipment. Read more about the 'fitter rule'
- Individuals employed in the household of foreign nationals visiting Denmark for up to three months
- Professional athletes and coaches who are to participate in a particular major athletic event or participate in a tryout for a Danish sports club. If the foreign national signs an employment contract, a residence and work permit must be issued before he or she can begin work. Training after an employment contract is signed is considered work, and therefore requires a residence and work permit
Exemption from the residence and work permit requirement does not waive the requirement for a visitor's visa. Consequently, you must hold a visitor's visa if you are a citizen of a country with a visa requirement to enter Denmark.
Guest teachers do not need a work permit if they, within a period of 180 days, will be teaching for up to 5 days at an educational institution under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science or the Ministry of Culture.
Examples of situations where you are encompassed by the rules of exemption.
A foreign national, who is going to do research in Denmark for up to 90 days, is exempted from the requirement of a work permit.
Researchers includes: scientific staff such as scientific assistants, lecturers, associate professors, and professors who are invited to teach or similar activities, and participation in research projects.
There must be specific research related reasons for the job to be performed by the foreign national in question.
If the stay is less than 90 days counted from the date of entry, a university or company in Denmark can therefore employ and pay the foreign national without having to apply for a work permit. If there is any doubt whether the stay will be of a longer duration than 90 days, you must have been granted a residence and work permit valid for the entire period including the first 90 days before you enter Denmark.
A guest researcher, who has completed an education at the level of a master’s degree and is invited to do research with a private or public research institute, without being enrolled or employed at the research institute, is exempted from the requirement of a work permit.
If there is any doubt whether the stay will be of a longer duration than 90 days, you must have been granted a residence and work permit valid for the entire period including the first 90 days before you enter Denmark.
Potential PhD students who are to participate in a screening process to enable the university in Denmark to determine whether the foreign national should begin a PhD programme at the university are exempt from the requirements of a work permit.
The purpose of the screening process is to make it possible for universities etc. to evaluate the capability of a foreign student for a PhD programme and thereby accept the most qualified foreign students for PhD programmes in Denmark.
Therefore, potential PhD students who are going to participate in a screening process and who have not yet finished their master’s degree programme, have the option to stay in Denmark for up to 90 days from their date of entry without having to apply for a work permit.
A guest teacher who, for example, will be teaching a Master Class or give a lecture at an educational institution under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science or the Ministry of Culture is exempted for from the requirement for a work permit.
The exemption is limited to 5 days within a period of 180 days. The 5 days can be distributed over the 180 days or consist of a single course of 5 consecutive days.
If a course lasts longer than 5 days, the guest teachers must apply for a residence and work permit before he or she starts to work.
On the other hand, you are not comprised by the rules of exemption if you already have a residence and work permit, which is limited to a specific job, but would like to take sideline employment that would otherwise have been encompassed by the rules of exemption had the sideline job been your only job in Denmark.
If you for instance have such a work permit limited to one particular employer and you want to be a guest lecturer or teach at another institution or company, you must apply for a permit for sideline employment.
As a researcher (with a permit under the Researcher scheme or the Researcher track under the Fast-track scheme), Guest researcher or PhD student, your permit includes a right to take up sideline employment. Please find further information under the specific scheme.
It is your total stay in Denmark that determines the use of the rules of exemption and not the length of the sideline employment period, e.g. if you are to give lectures or give a presentation for a company.
The regulations regarding how and when a foreigner can be exempt for the requirement of a work permit can be found in section 24 of the Danish Executive Order on Aliens (in Danish only)