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How to move to Denmark: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking to start a new chapter in your life by moving to Denmark? Generally, Denmark offers a high standard of living and great career opportunities for people with in-demand skills.

However, moving to Denmark as an expat requires thorough preparation — especially if you’re from outside the European Union.

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This short but comprehensive guide will teach you what it takes to move to Denmark. From visa and residence requirements to how to find a home, we’ll cover all you need to know to start the process well-prepared.

Before the move: Research visa and residence requirements

Before you decide to move to Denmark, you should first research whether you need a visa, a work permit, or a residence permit to live and work in Denmark.

The requirements you must meet to move to Denmark vary depending on your nationality, reason for moving, intended length of stay, and ability to sustain yourself during your stay financially.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Moving to Denmark is relatively straightforward if you’re an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, as you generally do not need a visa or work permit to work anywhere within the EU. This means that in accordance with EU law, you can live and work in Denmark without a visa or work permit.

In addition, citizens from Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland) have no restrictions when it comes to living, working, studying, or using welfare services in Denmark.

Non-EU/-EEA/-Swiss citizens

If you are not an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you will need a work and residence permit to move to Denmark. These permits can be obtained through the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

Excluding seeking asylum, you have three options for moving to Denmark as a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen: 

  • Study
  • Family reunification
  • Work

For more information about how to apply for a visa, work, or residence permit, visit nyidanmark.dk.

What you need to do when moving to Denmark

Once you’ve done your research and know which permits you need, and how to get them, it’s time to begin the process of moving to Denmark. To do so, there are several essential steps you need to complete. We will cover these below:

  • Find a home and get a permanent address
  • Obtain a work and residence permit
  • Find a job
  • Apply for a CPR number
  • Open a bank account (NemKonto)
  • Learn the language

Please note that the process of moving to Denmark is not linear. The steps described in this article are interconnected, meaning that some of them must happen at the same time in order for everything to be completed correctly.

That being said, let’s get into it.

Find a home and get a permanent address

In order to move to Denmark, the first thing you need to do is to get a permanent address in Denmark. This is important, as you need a permanent address to secure a work and residence permit and obtain a CPR number, which we will cover later in this guide. For that reason, if you don’t already have one, your first step should be to find a home.

For most expats, renting an apartment or a house is the obvious first choice when looking for a place to live in Denmark. Online platforms such as BoligPortal and Lejebolig can help you find a place to rent. You can learn more in our article: “Renting a house in Denmark.”

Want to learn more about what it’s like to live in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark? Check out our article: “Moving to Copenhagen.”

Once you’ve made yourself home — perhaps when you’ve become a permanent resident — you might be interested in buying property in Denmark. Almost every property for sale in Denmark is listed on popular Danish property websites. Here, you can search for apartments and houses in your preferred neighbourhood, compare prices, and find a house or apartment that fits your dreams and budget.

When buying property, many new residents in Denmark choose to consult a buyer’s agent. The agent can help you with various tasks during the process, including overcoming the language barrier, bidding on property on your behalf, and assisting you with legal and mortgage matters.

You can read more about the advantages of hiring a buyer’s agent when purchasing property in Denmark here.

Obtain a work and residence permit

As soon as you arrive in Denmark, you should register with the authorities and begin the integration process, which includes obtaining any work and residence permits you may need.

If you’re an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you can obtain an EU residence document which confirms your right to live and work in Denmark. If you are not a EU, EEA, or Switzerland citizen, you should seek further guidance and begin your application process on nyidanmark.dk.


Find a job

For some expats — particularly those who are not citizens of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland — finding a job is a crucial step in the process of moving to Denmark. 

If you have not already been offered a job in Denmark, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the Danish job market to understand which industries are thriving and where your skills are in demand.

When searching for a job in Denmark, we recommend using online job portals, such as Jobindex, Jobnet, and workindenmark.dk. Search for job openings by keyword, industry, and/or preferred location.

Another great way to find a job in Denmark is through networking. Many people use LinkedIn for networking.

Connecting with people in your industry on LinkedIn can help you stay up to date with job openings and opportunities such as job fairs and networking events in your industry.

Apply for a CPR number

When moving to Denmark, an essential step in the process is to obtain a CPR number.

CPR, which stands for Central Person Register (Det Centrale Personregister), is a registration system used to streamline the Danish healthcare system and many other government agencies and services. A CPR number is a unique identification and social security number assigned to every resident and citizen of Denmark.

In many ways, the CPR number is the key that will open the door for you when establishing a life in Denmark. The CPR number allows you to set up a bank account, pay your taxes, buy property, and access healthcare and social welfare services.

The CPR number also allows you to get MitID: your personal identification key and gateway to accessing various digital self-service solutions and, in some cases, two-factor authentication.

You’ll need MitID for various services, including using e-Boks — the most widely used digital mailbox in Denmark, where you’ll receive mail from public authorities, your bank, your insurance company, and many more. 

To obtain your CPR number, you must register your Danish address. Depending on your municipality of residence, this is done at one of three places:

For further information on obtaining a CPR number, we recommend referring to lifeindenmark.dk.

Once you’ve registered your address, all you have to do is wait. About two to four weeks after you register your address, your CPR number will be sent to your mailbox along with the yellow health card (sundhedskort) that you need to access the national health insurance scheme.

Open a bank account (NemKonto)

Once you have a permanent address, CPR number, and yellow health card, the next step is to open a NemKonto — your Danish bank account that enables you to receive your salary and manage your finances while living and working in Denmark.

In order to open a bank account in Denmark, you need to provide:

  • A valid photo ID (passport or national ID card)
  • Proof of address in Denmark (rental agreement or utility bill)
  • A CPR number (shown on your yellow health card)
  • MitID

The requirements may vary slightly depending on the bank. We recommend that you research the requirements of your chosen bank before applying to open your account.

Learn the language

Depending on your situation, learning Danish may be a requirement for your residence permit. However, even if this is not the case — and even though English is widely spoken in Denmark — learning Danish can be a significant advantage both professionally and socially.

While being fluent in Danish isn’t a requirement in all jobs, knowing the language will truly open up the job market for you, and you won’t risk missing out on great opportunities due to the language barrier. Learning Danish is also a great advantage in your everyday life, as it will make everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or booking a dentist appointment a lot easier.

Many different language schools can help you learn Danish. For example, see studieskolen.dk or dedanskesprogcentre.dk.


Settle into your new life in Denmark

In this guide, we’ve covered what you need to know about moving to Denmark. Let’s revisit the checklist one more time:

  • Find a home
  • Secure a work and residence permit
  • Find a job
  • Get a CPR number
  • Open a bank account
  • Learn Danish

Once you’ve completed these essential steps, it’s time to settle into your new life in Denmark.

When it’s time to buy your first house in Denmark, Bomae is here to help you with every step of the process. Contact us today to learn more about the Danish real estate market and loan options. As a buyer’s agency, we listen to your requirements, advise on ideal locations, and help you find the perfect fit. Contact us today for more information.

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