You wish to run or continue to run your own business in Denmark or to conduct business through a Danish branch of a foreign self-employed business, and you have an innovative business idea that can contribute to economic growth and create new jobs in Denmark.
Normal processing time
What is Start-up Denmark?
Start-up Denmark is a scheme for foreign entrepreneurs giving you the opportunity to be granted a Danish residence permit in order to establish and run an innovative growth company.
The scheme also gives you the opportunity to continue running a self-employment business in Denmark which has already been established while you resided in Denmark on different grounds for residence.
Finally, you can also be granted a residence permit based on the scheme for the purpose of conducting business in Denmark through a Danish branch of a foreign self-employment business.
Your business idea must be approved by a panel of experts appointed by the Danish Business Authority before you can submit an application to SIRI for a residence and work permit based on the scheme.
The scheme can be used by both individuals and teams of up to 3 people who - using a shared business plan - want to start or continue to run a business together in Denmark through or conduct business through a Danish branch of a foreign self-employment business.
What are the conditions?
You must meet certain conditions in order to be granted a residence permit and run your own business in Denmark based on the Start-up Denmark Scheme.
Your business or the Danish branch of your foreign business must contribute innovative ideas and potential for development to the Danish business community.
Your business idea must be approved by a panel of experts appointed by the Danish Business Authority.
You can only apply for a residence and work permit based on the Start-up Denmark scheme when your business idea has been approved.
There must be specific Danish business interests speaking in favour of the establishment of your business in Denmark. Normally, it is not possible to be granted a permit for a business or a Danish branch of a business without an innovative potential, e.g. restaurants, retail stores, smaller trade, import and export businesses etc.
You can read more about the evaluation criteria for approval of your business idea and submit your business plan electronically on the webportal of the panel of experts.
Please note, that a maximum of 75 foreign nationals can be granted a permit based on the scheme per year, i.e. 1 January to 31 December.
It is a condition that you play an active part in running the business, and your presence must be necessary for the establishment and/or operation of the business.
If you have only economic or financial interests in the business – for example, if you are a shareholder - you cannot be granted a permit based on the Start-up Denmark Scheme.
You must provide documentation that you have sufficient funds to cover your first year in Denmark. If your family is accompanying you to Denmark, you must also provide documentation of your ability to support them.
You must provide documentation that you have:
- DKK 147,912 (2024 level) if you are in Denmark without any family,
- DKK 295,824 (2024 level) if your spouse is accompanying you to Denmark,
- DKK 344,496 (2024 level) if your spouse and one or more children are accompanying you to Denmark,
- DKK 196,584 (2024 level) if one or more children, but not your spouse, are accompanying you to Denmark.
Documentation of your ability to support yourself and any accompanying family members could for instance be in the form of a bank statement in your name. Currency, the date the stament was issued and the account owner's name must appear in the statement.
What are my rights if I am granted a permit?
What are you allowed to do with a Danish residence and work permit via the Start-up Denmark Scheme? – and what are you not allowed to do?
You are only allowed to work in the business that you have been granted a permit to work in.
Furthermore you are allowed to carry out unpaid voluntary work.
If you start a new business or are offered a salaried job, you must apply for a new permit.
If you wish to take a sideline job, you have to obtain a separate permit. You can read more about sideline employment here
A Danish residence and work permit does not allow you to work in other Schengen countries.
A residence and work permit 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.
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
- School and daycare
- Danish lessons
- Car registration and driver’s license
How long can I stay in Denmark?
A residence permit based on the Start-up Denmark Scheme is valid from the date when your permit is granted.
You can be granted a residence and work permit for a period of up to 2 years. It is possible to extend your permit for up to 3 years at a time.
Please note: It is very important that you apply for an extension before your permit expires.
If you submit your application for an extension in time, you are allowed to stay in Denmark and continue to run your business - even if your permit is expiring.
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.
What should I do if my business changes?
If your business changes significantly from the original business plan, or if your business closes and you start a new business, you must apply for a new residence and work permit.
You must always inform SIRI of significant changes in your business.
Your work permit is limited to the running of the business that forms the basis of your permit.
If you start a new business or get a salaried job, you must submit a new application based on the new situation.
When you have submitted your new application, you can start working in your new job or with your new business even though you have not yet been granted a permit.
Can my family be granted a residence permit?
A residence and work permit based on the Start-up Denmark Scheme allows your family to come with you to Denmark
A permit can be granted to your spouse, registered or cohabiting partner as well as children under the age of 18 living at home.
What more do I need to know before I apply?
An application for a residence permit based on the Start-up Denmark Scheme is processed by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).
Before submitting your application, you must create an case order ID for your application and pay a fee to cover SIRI’s case processing expenses. You can do this on the “How to apply” tab to the right. Here you also find the relevant application form (SD1).
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 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.
If you are a commuter and will not be residing in Denmark and for this reason will only apply for a work permit, you do not need to create a case order ID or pay a fee. Instead you kan go directly to step 3. Read more about commuting here.
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, German, 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 yourself.
In this step you have access to the relevant application form SD1.
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: It is for now not possible to state more than 2 business partners in the application form. We therefore ask you to give information on any 3rd business partner in the application form's comments section. We also ask you to state in the comments section, if you are applying for permission to conduct business through a Danish branch of a foreign business in addtion to state the ownership share of the foreign business and business registration.
Make sure you have all documents ready in digital form, in order to attach them as you complete the application 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.
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 by email 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:
- created a case order ID
- paid the fee
- 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.