Danish Working Visas: Job Regulations and Requirements

A comprehensive guide to working abroad in this vibrant Scandinavian country.

Ready to advance your career in Denmark? Explore a thriving country with abundant professional prospects and a robust economy. But first, familiarize yourself with essential job regulations to ensure a successful transition into the Danish workforce.

No matter if you’re an EU citizen or non-EU citizen, this comprehensive guide equips you with invaluable information to navigate the Danish job market and achieve your career goals with confidence and success.


EU citizens

l. Danish Labor Laws

The Danish labour market is known for its unique model, often referred to as the ‘flexicurity model.’ This model provides a balance between employers and employees where businesses can easily hire and fire to adjust to the market demands, while employees have certain guarantees like unemployment insurance when they are between jobs.

Danish labour laws do not distinguish between Danish citizens and foreign nationals working in the country. As such, Danish citizens are subject to the same laws, rights, and obligations as their international colleagues.

ll. Working Hours and Overtime

In Denmark, the average working week is 37 hours, typically spread across five days. Danish law does not set a maximum limit for adult workers, but most collective agreements do. Any hours worked above this are usually considered overtime, and employees are entitled to additional pay or time off in lieu, depending on their contract and the collective agreement.

lll. Vacation and Public Holidays

Danish citizens are entitled to 25 days of vacation per year, according to the Holiday Act. This is in addition to public holidays. It’s also worth noting that Denmark has introduced a new concurrent holiday system in which employees accrue and take holiday leave during the same period.

lV. Maternity/Paternity Leave

Denmark has extensive maternity and paternity leave policies. Mothers are entitled to four weeks of maternity leave before the expected birth and 14 weeks afterwards. Fathers are entitled to two weeks of leave within the first 14 weeks. In addition to this, parents have an additional 32 weeks of parental leave that can be divided as they wish.

V. Unemployment Benefits

If Danish citizen finds themselves unemployed, they can receive unemployment benefits if they are a member of an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse). The maximum period for receiving unemployment benefits is two years.

Denmark’s labour market and employment laws are designed to provide a balance between the needs of the business and the rights of the worker. With strong protections in place for workers, Danish citizens can feel secure in their employment rights and benefits.


EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens have the right to live and work in Denmark due to the EU principle of free movement. This means that they do not need to obtain a visa or a work permit to take up employment in Denmark.

However, if you plan to stay in Denmark for longer than three months, you are required to apply for an EU Residence Document (EU opholdsdokument). This document is not a work permit but is a certification of your rights as an EU citizen living in Denmark.

Steps to Apply for an EU Residence Document:
  1. Job Offer or Employment Proof: Before applying for an EU Residence Document, you should have a job in Denmark.

  2. Application Form: You need to complete an application for an EU Residence Document. The form required is the OD1, which can be downloaded from the Danish Immigration Service’s website.

  3. Documentation: Along with the completed application form, you must provide documentation of your identity and your employment status. This includes a valid passport or national ID card, a passport-size photo, and an employment contract or offers detailing your salary and employment conditions.

  4. Submission: The application can be submitted either by post or in person at the Service Center for Foreign Workers in Copenhagen, or at one of the International Citizen Service (ICS) centres located in larger Danish cities.

  5. Biometric Features: When you submit your application, you will have your biometric features recorded. This includes fingerprints and facial photos.

  6. Decision: The processing time varies but is typically up to three weeks. If your application is successful, you’ll receive your EU Residence Document.

The EU Residence Document is generally valid for five years, after which you may apply for an extension. EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens also have access to public benefits in Denmark. However, access to certain social benefits may require you to have lived and worked in Denmark for a specific period.


Non-EU citizens

The process for Non-EU citizens to work in Denmark is notably more involved than for their EU counterparts. These individuals must obtain a work permit, usually tied to a specific job offer from a Danish employer.

There are several visa schemes designed to facilitate the entry of non-EU citizens into the Danish labour market:

1. The Pay Limit Scheme

This scheme is specifically tailored towards foreign professionals who have a job offer with an annual salary above a certain limit (DKK 436,000 as of 2023). Here are the primary criteria for eligibility:

  • A concrete job offer from a Danish employer that includes a contract or terms of employment
  • The job offered must have terms that correspond to Danish standards
  • The annual pay must meet the pay limit threshold

It’s important to note that the Pay Limit Scheme allows the visa holder to carry out paid work, run a business, and conduct research in Denmark.

2. The Positive List

The Positive List is a list of professions in Denmark experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. If an individual has a job offer in one of the professions on this list, they are eligible to apply for a Danish work permit. The list is updated twice a year and spans numerous fields, including health, technology, academia, and engineering.

To apply under the Positive List, an applicant must have a written job contract or job offer in hand that specifies salary and employment conditions, which should correspond to Danish standards. Furthermore, the applicant must document relevant professional qualifications, which may include educational qualifications or work experience.

3. Fast-Track Scheme

The Fast-Track scheme allows certified companies to bring foreign employees to Denmark swiftly. This is ideal for companies that frequently require hiring foreign professionals. Employees under this scheme may take up work immediately upon entry into Denmark.

4. Start-up Denmark

Start-up Denmark is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish a start-up in Denmark. The business idea must be approved by a panel of experts before the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) can process the application.

5. Researcher

This category is for individuals who have been offered a job as a researcher by a Danish employer. This permit also allows the individual to work as a guest lecturer or to carry out sideline employment.

Each of these categories has unique requirements and processes, but the general process for obtaining a Danish work permit involves:

  • Receiving a concrete job offer from a Danish employer
  • Having a valid passport
  • Ensuring no overdue public debts in Denmark
  • Paying application fees
  • Meeting any additional requirements for the specific visa scheme

The processing time varies but usually takes between 1 to 3 months. It’s advisable to apply as soon as possible and well before the intended travel to Denmark.

In summary, while the process is more involved for non-EU citizens, the numerous visa schemes available are designed to ensure that qualified professionals have an avenue to work in Denmark.

Regardless of your citizenship, it’s important to understand the Danish work culture. Denmark is known for its flat hierarchies, balance between work and private life, and a focus on team collaboration. Understanding these norms can make the transition smoother and help you succeed in your new work environment

Danish Student visas

Internship regulations for national and foreigner
Don't let the visa process stress you out

Book a 30-minute call Premium VISA service

Piktalent Services for Denmark

We can provide a range of services to make your internship experience unforgettable.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens do not need a work permit to work in Denmark. However, if they plan to stay in Denmark for more than three months, they should apply for an EU Residence Document.

Non-EU citizens need a work permit to work in Denmark. They can apply through different schemes such as the Pay Limit Scheme or the Positive List, depending on their qualifications and the nature of the job offered.

The Positive List is Denmark’s compilation of professions that are currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. If a non-EU citizen has a job offer in one of these professions, they can apply for a Danish work permit under this scheme.

The Pay Limit Scheme is designed for foreign professionals whose annual pay exceeds a certain threshold (DKK 436,000 as of 2023). Non-EU citizens who have a concrete job offer from a Danish employer that exceeds this limit can apply for a Danish work permit under this scheme.

The processing time for a Danish work permit application typically ranges from 1 to 3 months. However, this can vary depending on individual circumstances and the time of year.

Non-EU citizens typically need to have a valid passport, no overdue public debts in Denmark, and a job offer from a Danish employer. They must also pay the application fees when submitting their application. Additional requirements may be in place, depending on the specific visa scheme they are applying under.

Danish work culture is characterized by its flat hierarchies, balance between work and personal life, and a strong focus on teamwork. It is also known for its high levels of trust, informal communication, and flexible work schedules.

Yes, you can usually bring your spouse or cohabiting partner and children under the age of 18 with you if you have a work permit.

Yes, EU citizens have access to public benefits in Denmark. However, access to certain benefits may require you to have lived and worked in Denmark for a specific period.

The standard working week in Denmark is typically 37 hours, spread over five days.

Danish citizens who are members of an unemployment insurance fund (A-kasse) can receive unemployment benefits for up to two years.

Denmark’s ‘flexicurity’ model balances the needs of employers and employees. Businesses have the flexibility to hire and fire to adjust to market demands, while employees receive certain guarantees like unemployment insurance when they’re between jobs.


If you are interested in finding a job or internship in Denmark

Be sure to check out our board of vacancies.

Available vacancies in Denmark

Board of vacancies