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Legal residence

In order to be granted a permanent residence permit in Denmark, it is a basic requirement that you must have resided legally in Denmark for at least 8 years and must have held a residence permit for the entire period according to the terms of the Aliens Act, sections 7-9 f or sections 9 i-9 n or section 9 p (residence permit granted on the grounds of family reunification, asylum, education or employment, etc).

On the current residence permit it will appear on which statutory provisions (section) it has been granted.

In some cases, you can be granted a permanent residence permit after at least 4 years legal residence in Denmark.

8 years of legal residence

In order to be granted a permanent residence permit, it is a basic requirement that you have resided legally in Denmark for at least 8 years at the time when the permanent residence is granted.

4 years of legal residence

If you meet all 4 supplementary requirements in addition to the basic requirements, you can be granted a permanent residence permit when you have resided legally in Denmark for at least 4 years at the time when the permanent residence is granted.

See the overview of the basic and supplementary requirements

One or more grounds for residence

You can meet the requirement concerning 8 years of residence, in some case 4 years of residence, by having held a residence permit on the same grounds for the entire period, e.g. as an employee.

You can also meet the requirement by having held several  residence permits on different grounds, e.g. first by being a student and then by being employed or first as an au pair and then under the family reunification rule.  

If you have held a residence permit on the grounds of more than one marriage or cohabitation, you will only meet the residence requirement when you have had at least 8 years of residence, in some cases 4 years of residence, on the grounds of the most recent marriage or cohabitation. 

If you divorce and remarry (or enter into a new cohabitation), and you are granted a new residence permit on the grounds of the new marriage or cohabitation, the calculation of legal residence will start over.

Calculating the length of legal residence

The calculation of the 8 years of legal residence, in some cases 4 years of legal residence, is determined by which residence permit you hold and how you applied for the first temporary residence permit.

The residence is generally calculated on the following:

  • If you applied for residence from a home country/abroad, the legal residence is calculated from the date of civil registration (CPR) in the municipality of residence.
  • If you applied for residence while in Denmark, the legal residence is calculated from the date you first handed in the application for a residence permit in Denmark if the application resulted in a residence permit.
  • If you hold a residence permit as a refugee or similar status, the legal residence is calculated from the date on which you were granted asylum in Denmark (the date on the residence permit) or in some cases from the date you were entered into the National Register (CPR).  

In some cases, the legal residence will be calculated from the point in time where you meet the requirements for the residence permit. E.g. if you enter into marriage after submitting the application, the requirements will not be fulfilled until the point in time where you have entered into marriage. 

Residing abroad

In order to be granted a permanent residence permit, it is a requirement that you are residing in Denmark and hold a valid residence permit at that the time when the permanent residence is granted. E.g. if you are deployed abroad, you have to reenter Denmark to be granted a permanent residence permit.

When calculating the 8 years, in some cases 4 years, of legal residence the periods in which you have resided abroad will be subtracted unless it is a short stay abroad e.g. a holiday.

It is without consequence whether you are registered with a Danish address or registered as departed in the National Register (CPR) while you are abroad.  However, it is a condition that you have a valid Danish residence permit or you have been granted a dispensation for the residence permit lapsing if the stay abroad is to count towards the legal residence requirement.

Stationing or deployment abroad

In some cases, periods of time spent abroad can count as legal residence in Denmark.

This applies e.g. if you in the course of the employment have been stationed or deployed abroad for a period. That is if you are employed in a Danish company but you are deployed to solve a task or work abroad. 

The period abroad is only included if you are stationed or deployed for:

  • a Danish public authority,
  • a private company, 
  • a non-government organisation, or
  • a foreign or Danish aid agency.

This also applies if the spouse or cohabitant has been stationed or deployed abroad and you take up residence with the spouse or cohabitating partner.

You can count a maximum of 2 years abroad as part of the legal residence requirement. This applies regardless of whether you need to meet the requirement of 4 or 8 years of legal residence.

A Danish public authority should be understood to mean a state, regional or municipal institution.

When being stationed abroad for a private company it is a requirement that the company must have a certain size. This means that the private company must have an average of at least 10 employees over a 12-month period. In the calculation all the employees must be taken into account without regards to the working hours.

Persons employed with public subsidies and persons employed under an employment agreement that is concluded for a specific task or time period cannot be included when calculating the number of employees.
 
When being stationed abroad for a non-government organisation it is a requirement that the organisation must have a certain size. This means that the organization must have an average of at least 10 employees over a 12-month period. In the calculation all the employees must be taken into account without regards to the working hours.

Persons employed with public subsidies and persons employed under an employment agreement that is concluded for a specific task or time period cannot be included when calculating the number of employees. In addition, the organisation must work for the public good, and it must be a natural part of the organisation’s activities that it would have a foreign-based employee. The employee must be paid by the organisation while abroad.

Other employment abroad

If you have lived abroad for a period due to certain employment reasons, such as working abroad without being stationed or deployed abroad, the period can in some cases count as part of the legal residence in Denmark. It can be included if a review of the case determines that there is significant reason for doing so.

A maximum of one year abroad can count as part of the legal residence requirement.

It is important in the assessment: 

  • whether the position in Denmark is related to the position abroad,
  • whether you were working in Denmark prior to relocating abroad, 
  • whether you have been granted a leave of absence from the position in Denmark, and 
  • whether you will resume working in the previous position upon returning to Denmark.

Example: If you are a researcher and live abroad for a period of time in connection to the further research in Denmark.

Dispensation after the residence permit has lapsed

Please note that you should generally apply for dispensation for the lapsing of a residence permit before you travel abroad for work. Read more about dispensation for a residence permit lapsing.

If you travel abroad and the residence permit has lapsed, you can apply to have it reinstated.

The Immigration Service recommends that you apply for dispensation for the lapsing of residence permit before you leave Denmark.



Last update: 5/11/2017
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Published by: The Danish Immigration Service