Danish and other Schengen visas allow foreign nationals to stay in these countries for short periods. Short stay visas are only valid for less than 90 days or 3 months. The Danish government prohibits the use of this visa by employment seekers.

The immigration situation in the country was described by an expat in the Introductions Forum last January 12, 2009:

The immigration situation inDenmarkis a little, um, tricky right now. That age 24 thing was put in there deliberately to prevent people (mostly the migrant crowd) from bringing in their young wives - whatever the age of the sponsoring spouse.

And the reason there are no step-by-step instructions seems to be that most countries aren't exactly trying to encourage immigration these days. Most immigration law (certainly in Europe) is written in negative terms. There are very few laws or rules that say, "If you have x, y, z and these particular pieces of paper, you can have a visa." Mostly the laws are written more like "we can refuse you a visa if x, y, z or whatever, or for any reason we decide to do so." Actually, I think the "24" rule is probably written that way.

Danish Visa

There are specific rules for Danish Visas and these rules are as follows:


A visa is issued for the purpose of a short stay (less than 3 months) in Denmark and other Schengen countries. Employment is not permitted during the stay covered by the visa.

Foreign citizens who are exempted from basic visa requirements can stay, but not work, in the Schengen region up to 3 months.

Residence and Work Permits

For sojourns longer than 3 months as well as stays in connection with studies or employment, including work as au pair, a residence and/or work permit is required. However, special rules apply to citizens from the Nordic Countries, the EU Member States as well as Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Exempted foreign nationals from the visa requirements can live or stay in Denmark for up to 3 months. This country also forbids them to work during their stay.

Short Term Visa

Visas normally grant holders the authority to stay in the Schengen region. The Schengen region extended its territory in December 21, 2007. There are now 24 countries within the Schengen Area. The updated Schengen countries consist of Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Sweden, and Spain.

The visa will grant the holder the authority to spend a maximum of 3 months or 90 days up to 6 months within the Schengen region.

If the other Schengen countries have already granted the visa applicant certain types of re-entry or residence permits, then the applicant is not obliged to apply for a visa just to enter Denmark. In another case, if Liechtenstein or Switzerland granted applicants certain residence permits, then these foreign nationals can travel throughout Denmark but only for 5 days.

The Immigration Service grants a foreign national the right to work in Denmark. This means a visa is not enough to provide foreign nationals with the right to work in Denmark.

Purpose of Visas

The purpose of a visa is to control the number of people who visit and live in Denmark or in other Schengen countries. This process is done not only in Denmark but also in various countries. Schengen countries work together to decide which visa requirement applies with various nationalities.

Visa grants allow foreign nationals to visit Schengen countries including Denmark for a limited time. If foreign nationals want to extend their stay in Denmark, then they must file an application for a residence permit.

The Immigration Service controls Danish immigration. They will turn down a visa application if they suspect that a certain applicant for a Danish visa intends to permanently stay in the country.

Work and Residence Permits

The Danish Embassy requires a work and residence permit for brief visits longer than 90 days as well as visits concerning employment or studies. This policy also includes working as “au pair”. On the other hand, there are special rules for foreign nationals from the European Union member states, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Nordic Countries.

Numerous foreigners are free to work and live in Denmark. Nonetheless, work and residence permits are obligatory for some nationalities. The particular requirements needed when working and residing in Denmark depend on the person’s qualifications and nationality.

Nordic nationals need not acquire a residence permit since they are free to live, work and enter Denmark.

EEA or EU nationals and Swiss citizens must initially apply for a so-called “proof of registration”. These foreign nationals can apply for this document at the Administration of the Regional State. Nationals of EU member states are required a work permit in some cases. New EU country citizens must go to the Immigration Service in Denmark to secure a work permit.

Danish residence permits issued for humanitarian reasons are for applicants who seek asylum and family reunification. In this case, these foreign nationals are not required to have a work permit in Denmark.

Applicants must obtain a work permit before working in Denmark. Otherwise, penalties include deportation and imprisonment or fees charged to both illegal workers and their employers.

Foreign salaried workers must abide by the immigration laws. The same principle also goes with unpaid or voluntary foreign workers.

Special Methods or Schemes

Various schemes or methods designed for highly qualified professionals make it a lot easier to secure work and residence permits in Denmark. Below is a list of special methods along with their corresponding policies or conditions in obtaining the necessary work and residence permits.

Positive List

Denmark usually offers employment to foreign nationals in fields currently encountering shortages of qualified experts. These persons have easy access to the Danish labor market. These jobs comprise a list known as the “Positive List”. This scheme is also for persons who are seeking asylum in Denmark.


A foreign national’s profession must fall under the positive list. They must present a written employment contract or employment offer specifying employment and salary conditions. Employment and salary conditions must be at par with Danish standards.

Applicants must acquire authorization from the Danish Embassy in some cases. The Positive List consist of professions that can be given authorization. For instance, the National Board of Health in Denmark must authorize foreign doctors whenever healthcare among other jobs in the field of medicine are found on the Positive List.


Work and residence permits with a 3-year maximum duration are issued to applicants in cases where the professional skills and qualifications of foreign nationals are found on the Positive List. These applicants can also file for an extension that can last for 4 years. Grants or extensions of residence permits are only valid for three months prior to the expiration of the applicant’s passport. This means foreign nationals are granted 9 months worth of residence permit validity in cases where their passports are only valid up to 12 months.

Currently, professional Fields included in the Positive List of Denmark are:

•    construction;
•    hotel, kitchen, restaurant, canteen;
•    academic work;
•    management;
•    telecommunication and IT;
•    sales, marketing or purchasing;
•    religious, social or educational work;
•    healthcare or personal care;
•    postal services, engine operation, freight forwarding or storage; and
•    education.

An expat shared the newest scheme instituted by the Danish authorities, called the “green card” scheme, in a post in the Rest of the Expat World Forum last August 26. 2009:

From a quick scan of the info, applications for the new green card scheme don't open until mid-September, so it will take a while before anyone has completed the process and can give us more specific information.

If you decide to go for it, please stay in touch so we can share your experience with those who come next.

Pay Limit Scheme

Jobs under this scheme offer highly paid work to professionals. It has no exact requirements concerning the field, job nature, and education. This provides an easy admission within the Danish labor market. This also applies to asylum-seekers in Denmark.


A required gross yearly salary of not less than 375000 DKK for your profession must be met. The Ministry of Integration can change the limit any time. Applicants must present a written employment contract or employment offer specifying employment and salary conditions. Employment and salary conditions must be at par with Danish standards.

Applicants must acquire authorization from the Danish Embassy in some cases. The professional fields found on the Positive List can be authorized by the Danish Embassy.


Work and residence permits with a 3-year maximum duration will be issued to foreign nationals whose professional skills and work experience are in the industries found under the Pay Limit Scheme. These foreign nationals can also file for an extension lasting for 4 years. Extension grants of residence permits are only valid for 3 months prior to the expiration of the applicant’s passport.

Corporate Scheme

This scheme brings skilled and qualified employees to Denmark. The corporation and companies’ foreign department or affiliates make this possible. The Corporate Scheme’s focus is on projects with limited duration for educational, innovative, and developmental purposes. This enables foreign nationals to work in Denmark without the need to apply for a work and residence permit each time such foreign nationals stay in Denmark.


Applicants should abide to certain conditions before obtaining a Corporate Residence Permit. The status of the company contributes a large share to these conditions. The company should acquire a business approval before foreign nationals apply for a business permit.

Corporate Approval

Corporate approval is given to Danish companies part of an international corporation with a foreign sister company, parent company or has active offices, branches and divisions abroad.

Corporate approval is valid for 3 years. It is possible to apply for an extension. To qualify for an extension, the company must satisfy the conditions.


The duration of the Corporate Scheme is the same as the Positive List and Pay limit Scheme. A residence or work permit becomes invalid when the relationship between the foreign company and the Danish company ends.