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If you leave Denmark and you hold a residence permit on grounds of asylum or family reunification

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

If your residence permit lapses, you lose your right to reside in Denmark. This means that if you have been outside Denmark for an extended period of time and wish to return to Denmark, you may be denied re-entry.

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.

How can my residence permit lapse?

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 Central Office of Civil Registration (CPR office) - 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 the time limit, 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 country of origin, 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 country of origin or former country of residence in order to reside there. Read more about the period for reconsideration after repatriation.

You can apply for dispensation

You can apply for dispensation to prevent your residency permit from lapsing. It is possible to apply both before and after you leave Denmark.

The Immigration Service recommends that you apply for dispensation before leaving 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

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.

Dispensation due to obstacles in returning to Denmark

If you no longer have a residence in Denmark and have left Denmark or if you have stayed outside Denmark for a longer period than allowed, but have not been able to return to Denmark you can apply for dispensation. The Immigration Service can for instance decide that your residence permit has not lapsed 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 out of your control. Such events can for instance 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.

Duration

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 reason for you dispensation no longer exist 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.

Family members with Danish residence permits

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.

If your spouse/partner remains in Denmark, and if he/she holds a temporary residence permit on the grounds of family reunification with you, his/her residence permit can be revoked as the requirement that you share the same address would no longer be met.

Read more about how to apply.



Last update: 1/12/2017
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Published by: The Danish Immigration Service