If your residence permit lapses and you wish to return to Denmark, you will need to apply for a new residence permit. Your new application will be processed according to current regulations.

You can apply for dispensation to prevent your residency permit from lapsing. It is possible to apply both before and after you leave Denmark. Please note that special regulations about lapsing apply if you have travelled to a conflict area.  Read more about lapsing caused by travelling to conflict areas

Questions and answers

Your residence permit will automatically lapse if you no longer have a residence in Denmark - that is, if you sell your home or terminate the rental contract of your home, and you are no longer registered at a Danish address in the The Civil Registration System (CPR) – and you leave Denmark.

If you keep a residence in Denmark there are rules for how long you may leave the country without losing your residence permit.

  • If you have resided legally in Denmark for less than 2 years, you may leave Denmark for a maximum of 6 months in a row.
  • If you have resided legally in Denmark for more than 2 years with a view to permanent residence, you may leave Denmark for a maximum of 12 months in a row.

If you do not return to Denmark within 6 or 12 months, your residence permit will automatically lapse.

If you have a permanent residence permit it will also lapse, if you no longer have a residence in Denmark and leave Denmark or if you leave Denmark for more than 12 months in a row.

However, a residence permit for a child under 18 will lapse after 3 months, if the child has resided outside Denmark for more than 3 months in a row in a way that has a negative effect on the child's schooling and integration.

Read more about the child's stay abroad

Time spent outside of Denmark due to military conscription or other types of involuntary service is not counted.

Time spent in Greenland or the Faroe Islands is seen as time spent outside Denmark.

If you have refugee status (that is, if you have a residence permit on the grounds of asylum) in Denmark, your residence permit can only lapse if you have chosen to return to your home country, or if you have been offered protection in a third-country.

Special rules apply if you hold a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification with a refugee, and you and the refugee choose to return to the refugee's home country or former country of residence in order to reside there. Read more about travelling to a home country

You can apply for dispensation due to a well-founded purpose or due to obstacles in returning to Denmark.

Dispensation due to a well-founded purpose

If you apply for dispensation, you request that the Immigration Service permit you to stay outside Denmark for longer than the 6- or 12-month limit, or despite having given up your residence. It must be your intention to remain outside Denmark temporarily, and you must have a well-founded purpose for leaving Denmark, such as:

  • work
  • education
  • an au pair stay
  • foreign posting for a Danish authority, institution, organisation or company
  • foreign posting for an international institution, organisation or company headquartered in Denmark
  • caring for a seriously ill close family member

You can apply for dispensation due to a well-founded purpose both before and after leaving Denmark. If you apply after leaving Denmark the well-founded purpose must have existed during the entire stay in another country and up until the time when you wish to return to Denmark.

The Immigration Service recommends that you apply for dispensation before leaving Denmark.

Dispensation due to obstacles in returning to Denmark

You can apply for dispensation if you have stayed outside Denmark for a longer period than allowed, but have not been able to return to Denmark. The Immigration Service can decide that your residence permit has not lapsed, for example, if:

  • it was your intention to return to Denmark within the allowed period (6 or 12 months), and
  • you could not return to Denmark due to unforeseen events that were beyond your control. Such events can be illness, imprisonment, war, natural disasters and problems leaving the country you stayed in.

If a child’s residence permit has lapsed due to a stay abroad there are special rules regarding a new residence permit for the child. Read more about the child’s stay abroad

It is important that you apply as soon as possible.

Family members

If you are granted dispensation, it can also include your spouse or cohabiting partner as well as any children under the age of 18 who are living with you. The length of your family members' dispensation will be the same as yours.

If your spouse or cohabiting partner remains in Denmark and if he/she has a temporary residence permit as a family reunified spouse/cohabitating partner, he/she risk having his/her residence permit revoked because the joint residency requirement no longer is met.

Decisions about the duration of the dispensation are made on a case-by-case basis, and will depend on a number of factors, such as: why you are applying for dispensation, how long you have lived in Denmark, and your ties to Denmark.

Normally, the dispensation period can be extended to a maximum of 4 years. If you stay abroad posting for a Danish or foreign company, a Danish authority or a Danish or international organization/institution or as part of your education you can be given a dispensation for more than 4 years.

You can apply for an extension of your dispensation period. Applications for extension must be made before the original dispensation period expires.

If you do not return to Denmark when the grounds on which the dispensation was granted no longer apply or before the dispensation period ends, your residence permit will lapse. This means that if you wish to return to Denmark, you will need to apply for a new residence permit.

How to apply

Fill in application

You can use the BF1/US online application if you want to apply for your residence permit to remain valid, even though you intend to leave Denmark for an extended period of time.

Start BF1/US online application

You need a NemID code card when filling in the application form. Read more about NemID

You can also use the printable application form. The form is available in Word format and can be filled in on your computer and printed out. The form is also available as a PDF file that can be printed out and filled in by hand.

Download form BF1/US in Word format

Download form BF1/US in pdf format

Attach documentation

You must attach:

  • Copy of your passport (all pages)
  • Documentation of the reason for your stay abroad, such as an employment contract, statement from your employer, statement from educational institution, foreign posting contract or the need for nursing due to sickness.

Submit application

If you filled in the form online, it will be sent to the Immigration Service automatically.

If you would like to submit a printed form, you can do so at the Immigration Service’s Citizen Service. If you live outside Greater Copenhagen you can also submit your application at a police station that is capable of recording biometric features. See the list of police stations capable of recording biometric features  

You can also send your application to the Immigration Service in the post.

Fill in application

You can use the BF2/US application form if you want to apply for your residence permit to remain valid, even though you:

  • have stayed outside Denmark for an extended period of time
  • no longer maintain an address in Denmark or
  • are otherwise not included in the Civil Registration System (CPR)

If you are outside Denmark and wish to apply for your residence permit not be considered as lapsed, you must submit your application before returning to Denmark.

The application form includes detailed instructions for how to fill it in and which types of documentation you need to enclose.

You can fill in the application form in Word format on your computer before printing it out. The application form is also available as a PDF file that can be printed out and filled in by hand.

Download form BF2/US for print

If you are a minor child not applying together with an adult, you should use the application form BF3.

Download form BF3 for print (only in Danish)

Attach documentation

You must attach:

  • Copy of your passport (all pages)
  • Documentation that your stay abroad has had a well-founded purpose such as work, education etc. (if applicable)
  • Documentation of the unforeseen event that prevented you from returning to Denmark, such as a doctor’s statement (if applicable) (refer to Section 2).

Submit application

You can send the application form to the Danish Immigration Service or submit it at the Immigration Service’s Citizen Service. If you live outside Greater Copenhagen you can also submit your application at a police station that is capable of recording biometric features

If you are outside of Denmark, you can submit your application at a Danish mission (embassy or consulate), or an outsourcing office in the country where you live.

See the list of Danish missions or outsourcing offices where you can hand in your application

If there is no Danish mission or outsourcing offices in the country where you live, the list refers to missions Denmark shares a representation agreement with, e.g. Norway or Sweden. If there is no representation agreement, the list refers to the nearest Danish mission or outsourcing office in the region.

The Immigration Service recommends that you visit the website of the Danish mission before you submit your application. Individual offices might have additional requirements, such as extra passport photos or copies of your application

When the Immigration Service has received your application, it will be processed along with the attached documentation and other information.

If the Immigration Service receives information that does not correspond with the information you have provided, you will be asked to explain any discrepancies before the Immigration Service rules on the case.

If you apply for dispensation before leaving Denmark, the Immigration Service will send its ruling digitally to your Danish e-boks or to your attorney. If the Immigration Service has turned down your application, this means that you may only leave Denmark for the normal period of time (6 or 12 months). If you exceed this time limit, your residence permit will lapse. In this case, the ruling will include information about how to appeal the ruling.

If you apply for your residence permit not to be considered as lapsed and the Immigration Service rules in your favour, the ruling will be sent to your Danish e-boks, your address abroad or your attorney.

If your application is turned down, and you are in Denmark, the Immigration Service will send the ruling to your Danish e-boks or to your attorney.

If you are outside Denmark, the Immigration Service will send the ruling to your Danish e-boks or to the diplomatic mission where you submitted your application.

The diplomatic mission will then either send the ruling to you or ask you to pick it up in person. If the Immigration Service has turned down your application, you cannot return to Denmark but will have to apply for a new residence permit. In this case, the ruling will include information about how to appeal the ruling.