Moving to Denmark to Research or Study
Denmark has some of Europe’s finest higher education institutions and attracts thousands of students and researchers each year. Here are some practical things to help the move go smoothly.
Visas and Permits
If you are a citizen of a Nordic country (Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway), you can reside work, and study in Denmark without needing a visa, work permit, or residence permit.
If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will not need a visa or residence permit to work or study in Denmark, however, you will need to apply for an EU residence document at the Danish State Administration (Statsforvaltningen) once you arrive in Denmark. Make sure your travel documents and health insurance will be valid for the length of your stay.
Students and researchers not from the Nordic region, EU/EEA, or Switzerland will need a residence permit to study or research in Denmark. You apply for your permit from the Danish Immigration Service before arriving in Denmark. You can apply for a residence permit and give the necessary biometric information at the Danish embassy or consulate in your home country. You may also need to apply for a visa to come to Denmark before applying for your residence permit.
Bringing Your Family
If you have a permit as a researcher, guest researcher or PhD student, your family members can get residence and work permits for the same period. Family members include a spouse/cohabitating partner/civil partner and children under 18.
Registering and CPR Number
Students or researchers who are going to be in Denmark for more than three months (or more than six months if you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or emigrating from another Nordic country) must register with the Danish Civil Registration System (Det Centrale Personregister). You must notify the local municipality of your arrival in Denmark within five days of finding a residence. The exact registration process depends on your citizenship. Once you have registered you will get a personal ID-number (CPR number). The CPR number is used to identify yourself to public authorities, open a bank account, and even get a gym membership. If you are studying in Denmark but do not officially reside there, you will still be issued a CPR number for tax purposes.
The Danish healthcare system offers equal and universal access to free healthcare for all residents of Denmark, which includes international students and researchers staying for more than three months. After you register in the Civil Registration System, you will receive a national health insurance card (sygesikringskort) which proves you are entitled to all public health services. You must present it when you visit a doctor, hospital, or pharmacist.
To open a bank account in Denmark, you need to bring your passport and CRP number to a bank. Danske Bank, Nordea, Nykredit Bank, Arbejdernes Landsbank, Jyske Banks are major banks in Denmark. Once your account is setup, it is mandatory that you register it with the Danish Tax Authority (SKAT) as a “nemkonto” so that public authorities can make direct payments to you.
It is a good idea to have a few weeks worth of living expenses available in your home bank account as it may take some time to get your Danish bank account and salary deposit set up. Check with your home bank before you travel to make sure you will be able to use your bank card abroad.
While English is the working language of many universities and research institutions, learning Danish will help improve your experience in the country. Plus, as an international student or researcher in Denmark, you can learn Danish for free! Courses are offered at language centres across the country. Many universities also offer Danish courses for their international students. Your municipality will contact you and refer you to a language centre shortly after your register your Danish address.
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