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Working in the Faroe Islands

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration is responsible for processing applications for residence permits in the Faroe Islands based on work or studies.

If you need to apply for a residence permit in the Faroe Islands as an

  • employee
  • student
  • au pair
  • intern
you must therefore submit you application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

General information about salaried work

Applications for a residence and work permit by foreign nationals who wish to work in the Faroe Islands are processed by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration on consultation with the Faroese Government.

Once the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration receives an application for a work and residence permit in the Faroe Islands, the application is forwarded to the Faroese Government, which issues a recommendation about whether it supports the applicant's application.

Since the Faroe Islands and Denmark are two distinct travel areas, a residence permit in Denmark does not carry with it the right to reside in the Faroe Islands. Likewise, a residence permit in the Faroe Islands does not carry with it the right to reside in Denmark. Whether you qualify for residence in the Faroe Islands in order to work depends primarily on your nationality and qualifications.

Nordic citizens

If you are a citizen of a Nordic country, i.e. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden, you are free to live, work and study in the Faroe Islands. Neither a visa, residence permit nor work permit is required.

Citizens of Nordic countries can enter the Faroe Islands without a passport. However, citizens of Nordic countries in the Faroe Islands must be able to identify themselves upon request. Such could be the case when checking in at a hotel. A driving licence or debit card is valid form of identification.

EU scheme for the Faroe Islands

Since the Faroe Islands is not a member of the European Union (EU), the EU regulations on free movement do not apply to the Faroe Islands. However, a special scheme applies to EU citizens applying for residence and work permit in the Faroe Islands. The scheme does not apply to citizens of EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland. However, Icelandic citizens may travel to, reside and work in the Faroe Islands without separate permits (see the section about citizens of Nordic countries, above). 

Residence and work permit for EU citizens is granted in accordance with the special scheme when unemployment in the Faroe Islands is lower than 3.5 percent. However, within the construction industry, residence and work permit is granted to individuals seeking employment as ordinary skilled-labour in a specific trade when unemployment is lower than 6 percent.

The following requirements also apply:

  • the EU citizen is employed according to the terms of a Faroese collective bargaining agreement for at least 30 hours a week, or
  • the EU citizen is employed as a researcher, educator, senior official or specialist etc for at least 30 hours a week, or
  • the EU citizen’s is employed according to salary and terms of employment standard for the Faroese labour market and employed for at least 30 hours a week.

The special scheme covering the construction industry is currently in force.

The scheme will be suspended if unemployment in the Faroe Islands exceeds 3.5 percent, or 6 percent for the construction industry, for three consecutive months.

In order to apply for a residence and work permit under this scheme, the employer and the applicant need to submit a joint application. The form will soon be available on this website.

Faroese employers can apply for pre-approval to hire EU citizens under this scheme. Application form FO/AR7 

If a pre-approved employer hires an EU citizen, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration must be notified. The EU citizen may begin working once the notification has been submitted jointly by the applicant and the employer. The form will soon be available on this website.

Residence permit on other grounds

If you already hold a residence permit in the Faroe Islands on the grounds of family reunification, of asylum or on humanitarian grounds, you do not need a separate permit in order to be able to work in the Faroe Islands.

Responsibility of obtaining a residence permit

It is your own responsibility to obtain a work permit if you are required to. If you work illegally in the Faroe Islands, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.

Conditions for a residence and work permit

Normally, professional or labour market considerations must warrant a residence and work permit. Such could be the case if there is a lack of qualified Faroese professionals in a particular field.

The rules also apply to volunteer work.

When processing your application regarding residence and work in the Faroe Islands, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration will normally pay particular attention to the following:

  • whether there are available professionals residing in the Faroe Islands who are qualified to carry out the job in question (applies only to certain types of applications)
  • whether the nature of the job in question is specialised enough to warrant a residence and work permit. Normally, you will not be granted a work permit in order to fill ordinary skilled-labour vacancies, such as carpenters or bricklayers, or unskilled positions, such as pizza makers, delivery people, cleaners, etc.

Regardless of the specific circumstances, you must have a written job contract or job offer which specifies salary and employment conditions. Salary and employment conditions must correspond to Faroese standards. The position must normally also be a full-time position (40 hours/week).

In some cases, you must obtain the required Faroese or Danish authorisation. For example, foreign-trained doctors must be authorised by the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

Sideline employment

If you have been granted a residence permit based on salaried work, it is possible to apply for a permit for sideline employment.

Permission to take sideline employment will be made on an individual basis.

Requirements

In order to be granted a permit for sideline employment, you must submit an application and attach a specific job offer. It is a requirement that the salary and terms of employment of your sideline employment correspond to Faroese standards.

In order to be granted a permit for sideline employment, it is a requirement that your sideline employment is naturally related to your primary job which formed the basis for granting you a residence and work permit. Examples of this include:

  • a chef applying for a permit for sideline employment in an area of specialty with another employer,
  • a musician applying for a permit for sideline employment as an instructor at a academy of music, or
  • a dentist applying for a permit for sideline employment in order to work in an out-of-hours medical service every other weekend.

A permit for sideline employment is normally granted with a view to sideline employment of up to 8-15 hours per week.

Duration

A permit for sideline employment can be granted for the same period as the residence and work permit granted for your primary job. The permit cannot, however, be granted for a period beyond your employment contract’s end date.

You can apply for an extension of your permit for sideline employment, if you continue in the same job and if you continue to meet the requirements for your residence and work permit based on your primary job.

The relevant application form for sideline employment in The Faroe islands is FO1.

Special groups

Certain nationalities, professions or other individuals meeting certain requirements do not need a residence and work permit in order to work in the Faroe Islands.

If you are a citizen of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden you are free to reside and study in the Faroe Islands.

Residence permit issued for other reasons

If you have already been granted a residence permit in the Faroe Islands on the grounds of family reunification or asylum, or on humanitarian grounds, you do not need a work permit in order to work in the Faroe Islands.

Responsibility for obtaining a residence permit

It is your own responsibility to obtain a work permit if you are required to. If you work illegally in the Faroe Islands, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.

Groups not required to hold a work permit

The following groups can work without a work permit, provided the duration of their stay does not exceed three consecutive months:

  1. researchers and lecturers invited to teach or lecture in the Faroe Islands
  2. artists, including musicians and other entertainers, provided their participation is arranged in advance with the responsible person in the Faroe Islands
  3. representatives of foreign companies or organisations which do not have a branch office in the Faroe Islands, who are on business trips in the Faroe Islands
  4. 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 or has agreed with that company to fit, install, inspect or repair the machines, equipment, computer programmes or similar
  5. individuals employed in the household of foreign nationals visiting the Faroe Islands for up to three months
  6. professional athletes and coaches in the Faroe Islands to compete or train

In order to be exempt from the requirement for residence and work permit, your stay in the Faroe Islands must not exceed three months. For stays over three months, you need a residence and work permit before you start work.

Even if you do not need to obtain a residence and work permit, you are not exempt from visa regulations. In other words, you must obtain a short-term visa if you come from a country whose citizens need a visa to visit the Faroe Islands.

The 'fitter rule'

In order to be eligible under the 'fitter rule', cf. point 4 above, you must be employed to fit, install, maintain, repair or inform about the use of machines, equipment, computer programmes or other technical systems. These may include high-tech machines that must be installed by the personnel of a foreign company who are trained in the proper installation of such machines.

You must be employed in or affiliated with the company supplying the imported product, and you are expected to be a paid associate of the company. If you are employed in another company, the company that is supplying the product must have entered into an agreement with the employing company to supply the fitting.

The fact that a foreign company issues a guarantee for a given product under the condition that it is the company's own associates who will fit or install the product in the Faroe Islands does not guarantee that the company's personnel will be eligible under the fitter rule.

Who is not eligible?
Ordinary construction and craft work is not comprised under the fitter rule. It follows from this that foreign nationals employed to put up, for example, a house that has fully or partly been manufactured abroad, are required to have a residence and work permit.

Disassembly work, most frequently in connection to the disassembly of used technological equipment or machines, is not eligible under the fitter rule. Work of this type requires the foreign national to have a residence and work permit.

In cases not involving fitting of a technical apparatus and/or when the work in itself can be defined as ordinary building, construction or craft work, the foreign national must also have a residence and work permit.

You can be granted a residence and work permit by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration if professional or labour market considerations warrant it.

Additional information
If you are uncertain whether you are exempt from holding a residence and work permit due to the fitter rule, please contact the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

Special arrangements

In certain areas, a special practice applies regarding residence and work permits in the Faroe Islands.

Semi-professional athletes and coaches

The arrangement applies to semi-professional athletes and coaches who are guaranteed to earn at least 52% of their income by working for a standard hourly wage as part of a regular work-week, can receive a non-workplace specific work permit in order to take a part-time position.

Income from the part-time position may not exceed 48% of total income, earning a standard hourly wage.

Doctors

A special practice applies when issuing residence permits to physicians offered a position at Landssjúkrahúsið, Klaksvikar Sjúkrahús or Suðuroyar Sjúkrahús who have a Danish authorisation.

The arrangement allows the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration to issue physicians a residence and work permit in the Faroe Islands without approval by the Faroese Government, provided requirements for the terms of employment, including salary and work conditions, are met.

Circus performers

Due to the fact that circus performers are not a recognised profession in the Faroe Islands, applications from circus performers are not sent to the Faroese Government for approval.

Please note that this rule applies only to circus performers. Other types of professional artists or entertainers are not encompassed by this rule.

Also note that circus performers whose stay in the Faroe Islands does not exceed three months may not be required to hold a residence and work permit.

Oil industry employees

Applications from workers in the oil industry engaged in off-shore oil exploration are processed according to a fast track procedure.

Applications for residence and work permits from this group may be submitted to the police in the Faroe Islands, and are approved by the Faroese Immigration Office (Útlendingastovan).

Retention of foreign labour

If you hold a residence permit on the grounds of, for example, asylum or family reunification, and it has been revoked or denied extension, you can be granted a new residence permit if you have worked in the Faroe Islands for an extended period of time, or there are employment-related reasons for granting you an extension.

You can be granted a residence and work permit on the grounds of both skilled work and self-employment.

As a general rule, you will not be issued a residence permit in order to work in an unskilled position such as cleaner, factory worker or unskilled cook.

You can only apply for a residence permit based on the abovementioned criteria if you reside in the Faroe Islands.

Normally, you must submit your application no later than seven days after receiving the final ruling (stating that your original residence permit has been revoked or denied extension), and you must meet the following conditions:

  • your residence permit must not have been revoked or denied extension due to fraud, i.e., because you were found to have given the authorities false information
  • you must have worked, and be working, legally
  • you must have been legally employed by the same employer, or have legally operated the same company, for an uninterrupted period of two years
  • you must hold the same job, or operate the same company, as when your original residence permit was revoked or denied extension
  • in the case of salaried work, you must have a written job contract (and the required authorisation, if applicable). Salary and employment conditions must correspond to Faroese standards
  • if you operate your own company, you must have employees. If your business is a restaurant or retail shop, it must yield a profit, and you must have eight to ten employees as a minimum

It is your own responsibility to obtain a work permit if you are required to. If you work illegally in the Faroe Islands, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.

How to apply

If you are applying for a residence and work permit as an employee (including researchers, athletes, trainees and religious workers), both you and your employer in the Faroe Islands (e.g. the company, research institute, sports club or religious group) must supply information for the processing of your application.

It is your employer in the Faroe Islands who begins the application process by completing his or her part of the application form and attaching the required documents. The employer sends or gives the form and attached documents to you. You then complete your part of the form, attach the required documents and submit the entire application.

There are different application forms for different types of applicants. Each application form contains a detailed description of how to complete the form, and which documents must be included.

Pleae note that you and your employer in the Faroe Islands must use the following application form for both first-time applications (a new residence and work permit) and extensions.

Application for a residence and work permit in the Faroe Islands based on salaried Work

> FO1, Danish version (word) (new window)
> FO1, Danish version (pdf) (new window)
> FO1, English version (word) (new window)
> FO1, English version (pdf) (new window)

In most instances, it is not possible to submit an application for a new residence and work permit while staying in the Faroe Islands. If you are staying in the Faroe Islands and are offered a job, you must leave the Faroe Islands and submit the application at a Danish diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate general) in your home country.

However, under certain specific circumstances the application can be submitted at a police station in Denmark, a police station in the Faroe Islands or to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration. These certain specific circumstances can be that you are staying legally in the Faroe Islands and have a specific job offer as a semiprofessional athlete or coach, or that you have a specific job offer as a doctor. The application can then be submitted in the Faroe Islands.

Family members

A spouse, cohabiting partner or child under the age of 18 who wishes to accompany you to the Faroe Islands must submit a separate application.

Each application form contains a detailed description of how it should be completed and which documents must be included.

Accompanying family members of a foreign national must use the following application form for both first-time applications (a new residence permit) and extensions.

Application for a residence permit in the Faroe Islands as an accompanying family member

> FO2, Danish version (word) (new window)
> FO2, Danish version (pdf) (new window)
> FO2, English version (word) (new window)
> FO2, English version (pdf) (new window)

Extension

The length of time your residence and work permit can be extended, as well as the requirements you must meet, depend on the type of residence permit you hold.

Applying for an extension

You must submit your application for an extension no sooner than two months before, and no later than one month before your residence permit expires.

An applications for an extension should normally be submitted at a police station in the Faroe Islands. The police will then forward the application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

Once the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration receives the application, it will request a statement from the Faroese Immigration Office (Útlendingastovan).

Extension of a residence and work permit based on salaried work

Please use the form below when applying for an extension of your residence and work permit.

> FO1, Danish version (word) (new window)
> FO1, Danish version (pdf) (new window)
> FO1, English version (word) (new window)
> FO1, English version (pdf) (new window)

The application form contains a detailed description of how to complete the form and which documents must be included.

Extension of a residence permit as an accompanying family member

If you hold a residence permit as an accompanying family member of a foreign national working in the Faroe Islands, please use the form below when applying for an extension of your residence permit. 

> FO2, Danish version (word) (new window)
> FO2, Danish version (pdf) (new window)
> FO2, English version (word) (new window)
> FO2, English version (pdf) (new window)

The application form contains a detailed description of how to complete the form, and which documents must be included.

Permanent residence permit

Whether or not you qualify for a permanent residence permit in the Faroe Islands is determined by the type of residence permit you hold.

Applications for a permanent residence permit in the Faroe Islands are processed by the Danish Immigration Service.

If you have held a residence and work permit as a self-employed person or an employee, and you have lived in the Faroe Islands for seven consecutive years, you will normally qualify for a permanent residence permit.

The Danish Immigration Service decides whether to issue a permanent residence permit on a case-by-case basis. You must meet the following requirements:

  • you must have held the same basic type of residence permit for the entire seven years and you must still meet the requirements for your residence permit
  • during your residence in the Faroe Islands, you may not have been incarcerated (suspended or served) or been given any other form of criminal sentence that involves or could involve imprisonment for a crime that would have carried this type of sentence
  • you may not have overdue public debt in excess of DKK 50,000 (1998 level). However, you can be granted a permanent residence permit if you have a repayment schedule for your debt, and you adhere to the schedule

If you wish to apply for a permanent residence permit, you must state this when applying for an extension of your residence permit.

Important information about your passport

When you apply for an extension of your residence permit, make sure that your passport is valid. The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration can revoke or refuse to extend your temporary residence permit if you do not hold a valid passport or other travel documents.

Please note that your residence permit can only be extended up to three months before your passport expires. In other words, if your passport expires in 12 months, your residence permit can only be extended by nine months. If you hold a national passport (a passport from your country of origin), it can be renewed by your country’s embassy or consulate general.

The Danish Immigration Service is responsible for renewing alien's passports and convention passports.

Termination of your residence permit

Even though you have been granted a residence permit in the Faroe Islands, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration can revoke it or refuse to extend it, and you may lose the right to reside in the Faroe Islands. This can happen for a number of reasons.

If your situation changes

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration may revoke or refuse to extend your residence permit if the grounds on which it was granted no longer apply, for example if you lose your job or close your business. You are obliged to inform the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration of any changes in your personal situation which could affect your right to reside in the Faroe Islands.

If you have found a new job or plan to start up a new company you must apply for a new residence and work permit before beginning work or before your company begins operation.

If you fail to meet the requirements for holding a work or residence permit, the permit may be revoked.

Fraud

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration has the right to revoke or refuse to extend your residence permit due to fraud, i.e., because you were found to have given the authorities false information. This applies regardless of whether you hold a temporary or permanent residence permit.

Missing passport

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration has the right to revoke or refuse to extend your temporary residence permit if you no longer possess a valid passport or other legitimate form of travel document.

If you apply for an extension of your residence permit, you must include a copy of your passport with the application. If your passport or travel documents are invalid, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration will not proceed with the case before you have had your existing passport renewed or have acquired a new passport. You will typically be given one month to do this.

The Schengen Information System

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration has the right to revoke or refuse to extend your residence permit if you have been reported as an undesirable in the Schengen Information System (SIS). You must have been reported because of circumstances which would warrant deportation if committed in the Faroe Islands, e.g. serious crimes.

This applies regardless of whether you hold a temporary or permanent residence permit.

Your personal situation is taken into consideration

If your personal situation indicates that revoking your residence permit would be particularly traumatic, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration may chose not to do so. The following factors will be taken into consideration:

  • your connection to Faroe society, including the duration of your residence in the Faroe Islands
  • your age, health, and other personal circumstances
  • your connection to other residents of the Faroe Islands
  • little or no connection to your country of origin
  • whether returning to your country of origin would endanger you

Residence abroad can make your residence permit lapse

If you leave the Faroe Islands for an extended period of time, or if you no longer maintain a residence in the Faroe Islands, your residence permit can lapse.

What does it mean that a residence permit lapses?

If your residence permit lapses, you will lose your right to reside in the Faroe Islands. Should you attempt to return to the Faroe Islands after an extended period of time, you could be denied re-entry.

If your residence permit lapses, you will need to apply for a new residence permit in the Faroe Islands. The new application will be processed according to current regulations. The original grounds for issuing your residence permit will not be considered.

How can a residence permit lapse?

Your residence permit will automatically lapse if you give up your address in the Faroe Islands and leave the country, without any intention of returning. This also applies if you hold a permanent residence permit.

There are limits on how long you can stay outside the Faroe Islands without losing your residence permit, even if you maintain an address in the Faroe Islands.

If you have been a legal resident of the Faroe Islands for less than two years, you can remain outside the Faroe Islands for up to six months.

If you have been a legal resident of the Faroe Islands for more than two years, and you hold a residence permit that can be made permanent, then you may remain outside the Faroe Islands for up to 12 months.

If you remain outside the Faroe Islands for longer than the permitted time, your residence permit will lapse automatically.

Periods of time abroad serving in the military as a conscript, or performing required community service, will not be considered time living outside the Faroe Islands.

Residence in Greenland and Denmark are considered as time abroad.

Preventing a residence permit from lapsing

Prior to departing the Faroe Islands you can apply for dispensation. You can also apply that your residence permit not be considered as lapsed after you have left the Faroe Islands and have missed the deadline to return.

Dispensation

You can ask the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration to dispense with the time limit and allow you to remain outside the Faroe Islands for longer than six or 12 months without your permit lapsing. You must apply before you depart the Faroe Islands, your residence abroad must be temporary and it must have a specific purpose, such as:

  • work
  • study
  • posting for a Danish/Faroese authority, institution, organisation or company
  • posting for an international institution, organisation or company headquartered in the Faroe Islands

How long can I get dispensation?

Decisions about 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 the Faroe Islands and your ties to the Faroe Islands. Normally, the dispensation period can be extended to a maximum of two 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 the Faroe Islands before the dispensation period ends, your residence permit will lapse. This means that if you wish to return to the Faroe Islands, you will need to apply for a new residence permit.

Family members

If you have been granted dispensation, it can also be applied to your spouse/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.

Application that your residence permit should not be considered as lapsed

You can apply that your residence permit not be considered as lapsed if you are outside Denmark and have exceeded the time limit.

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration can decide that your residence permit should not be considered as lapsed if:

  • it was your intention to return to the Faroe Islands before the six or 12-month time limit, and
  • you were prevented from returning to the Faroe Islands by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Such circumstances include: illness, imprisonment, war-like situations, natural disasters or problems leaving the country in which you were staying

It is important that you apply as soon as you are able to return to the Faroe Islands.

How to apply

Please use the following forms when applying that the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration dispense with the limit on the length of time you may reside outside the Faroe Islands:

Application for dispensation
> FO/BF1

Application that residence permit not be considered as lapsed
> FO/BF2

FO/BF1 is to be used when applying for dispensation from the time limit, and must be submitted before you depart the Faroe Islands. FO/BF1 is also used when applying to extend the dispensation period.

FO/BF2 is to be used when applying that your residence permit not be considered as lapsed although you have resided outside the Faroe Islands for longer than permitted.

Each application form contains a detailed description of how to complete the form, and which documents you must include.

You can send the application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration or submit it at a police station in the Faroe Islands.

If you are not in the Faroe Islands, you can submit your application at a Danish embassy or consulate general in the country where you are staying. The application will be sent to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration for processing.

If you are abroad and you want to apply that your residence permit not be considered as lapsed, you must do so before you return to the Faroe Islands.

Appeal guidelines

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration is responsible for making decisions regarding applications for residence permits in the Faroe Islands.

If the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration turns down your application for a residence permit in the Faroe Islands, you can appeal to the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing . The regulations for making an appeal will be included with the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration’s decision.

If you are in the Faroe Islands, you will normally need to leave the country while the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing reviews your appeal.

If you are appealing a decision to revoke or to refuse to extend your residence permit, you may be permitted to remain in the Faroe Islands while your appeal is being reviewed. However, your appeal must be submitted no more than seven days after you have been informed of the decision. The regulations for making an appeal will be included with the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration’s decision.

If the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing disagrees with the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration, the decision will be overturned and you will receive a residence permit. If the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing agrees with the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration, the decision will be upheld and your request will be denied.

Useful links

The police in the Faroe Islands (available in Danish and Faroese only)

The Faroese Immigration Office (Útlendingastovan)    



Last update: 7/7/2017
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Published by: The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration