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How to move to Denmark: The basics on moving to Denmark

Have you ever wondered how to move to Denmark? Maybe after a few visits to Copenhagen, you’ve decided the Danish culture appeals more to you than the life you have back home.

Or, perhaps you’ve been exploring the Scandinavian region for a while now, and you’re keen to embrace the lifestyles of some of the happiest people on earth.

Denmark can be an amazing place for relocators looking to settle down. Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Finland and Norway, Denmark promises everything from exceptional work-life balance to high standards of living, and a great opportunity for building your career.

There are already over 5.8 million people living in Denmark, though this might not seem like much if you’re moving from the USA. Despite a small-ish size, Denmark impresses visitors all over the world with endless sights to explore and experiences to collect.

Moving to Denmark: Know your legal options

Unfortunately for residents of the US and other regions around the world, moving to Denmark isn’t as simple as it might seem. If you decide to immigrate to Denmark and you’re not an EU citizen, then you’re going to have to file the correct legal applications.

For residents of the EU, as well as other Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway, and Finland, it’s simple enough to make the transition to Denmark. Nordic country residents can move to Denmark with no problem.

Non-Nordics need to apply for a registration certificate within 30 days of their relocation — but this is all there is to it.

UK citizens currently have the same rights as EU citizens, but there’s a chance this will change in the future now the UK has broken ties with the EU. Americans on the other hand, and Australians, are required to make full applications.

The easiest option if you want to move to Denmark as a US citizen is to get married to a local or come over on a student visit. Students only need to secure a student visa, which is simple enough if you get a letter of acceptance from a Danish university.

The three best options for moving to Denmark as a US citizen are:

Become a student

It’s much easier to get a student visa than any other kind of visa for living in Denmark. Spending your education in the country will also give you a chance to get used to the lifecycle and meet the kind of people you need to secure a job opportunity.

You will be able to work for a certain number of hours on a student visa too.

Find a job

Moving to Denmark with the plan of finding the best possible career can be difficult. You need to find a company willing to go through some complicated paperwork on your behalf.

Small brands will often avoid trying to hire someone out of the Nordic region, as it’s expensive and time-consuming.

Marrying a Dane

Obviously, you’ll need to find someone in Denmark to fall in love with first. A lot of foreigners move to Denmark because they met a Danish person and decided to start a family.

The good news is it doesn’t matter who you fall in love with in Denmark, you can still get permission to move to Denmark. You do need to be at least 24, and your partner needs a home big enough for both of you.

Your partner also needs to show they’re able to support you.

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What does immigrating to Denmark cost?

Moving to Denmark can be an expensive process for a lot of reasons. Most Danish visas will cost around $480 just for the application, which comes with a residence permit. You might also need to work with a lawyer to ensure you have everything squared away for your move.

If you’re moving to Denmark without a job initially, then it’s important to be aware the cost of living can be quite high. Living in Denmark as an American, or as a resident from elsewhere in the EU, can be quite a shock. Denmark has pretty high tax requirements.

You pay a lot of tax on your income, and on purchases. However, this does translate to “free” healthcare and education for Danish citizens. It’s a good idea to look into the cost of houses, taxes, and the cost of living in the area you’re planning on moving to.

Keep in mind capital cities like Copenhagen are likely to be more expensive for an American moving to Denmark. However, these locations are also more likely to attract a larger number of expats, so you may find people who speak English, like you.

Before you move to Denmark, it’s also worth setting up your finances. Opening a bank account as a foreigner is usually a pretty straightforward process. All you need is proof of address, proof of student or employment status, and a photo ID.

You also need your tax number (CPR) number, which you’ll get along with your resident permit.

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Moving to Denmark from the US: Finding a job

If you’re immigrating to Denmark from the US, then you’ll have fewer options than your standard EU or Nordic expat. As mentioned above, your 3 choices involve either going to study in Denmark, and hopefully getting a job opportunity afterwards or marring a Dane.

The third option is often the most popular. This involves getting a job and moving with the support of your employer.

So, how easy is it to get a job and move to Denmark?

Well, there are a few challenges.

First, you will need to learn how to speak Danish if you want any hope of getting a career. All jobs will require some manner of fluency in the language, particularly if you have to communicate with customers.

On the plus side, the Danish economy is a great position, you can earn some serious cash as a Danish professional. The unemployment rate in Denmark is just under 5%, too, indicating a high demand for talent.

Highly qualified experts in things like IT, life sciences, health services, medicine, and engineering are always in need. Don’t take the risk of trying to move to Denmark without a job, though. Generally, you’ll want to find your career before you make the transition.

You can use the time you spend searching for an opportunity to brush up on your language skills.

I want to move to Denmark: Where can I live?

If you’ve got a job lined up in Denmark, you’re on your way to an amazing life in the country.

There are still a few steps to take, however. For instance, you’ll need to decide where you’re going to live. Before you move to Denmark, we recommend visiting the country a few times and checking out some different regions.

There’s a big difference between Bornholm Island and Roskilde, for instance.

Where you choose to live will depend on the kind of culture and opportunities you want to have close-by. The good news is regardless of where you choose, it’s pretty easy to get around Denmark.

You can spend your free time exploring other regions while you live there. It’s even easy to visit other parts of Scandinavia too, like Stockholm (Sweden).

In general, the housing market in Denmark can be expensive. Most people rent properties before they buy. This is particularly true in larger cities like Odense, Aarhus, and Copenhagen.

The north of the capital is more expensive than the south, and you’ll likely need your residency permit wherever you go.

If you’re on a budget, look for leje-lejlighed. These are small apartments for rent are often highly sought after for their affordability. Some have shared communal spaces too. Raekkehus are another kind of rental option, with larger spaces, and small private gardens.

Many landlords in Denmark will ask you to pay three months of rent upfront in the form of a deposit.

Although some regions in Denmark can be expensive, this is no different to living in certain parts of the US. New York apartments in the city center might cost about $3,000 to rent, while a similar apartment in Copenhagen would cost around $2,200.

Do keep the high taxation on your income in your mind when you’re figuring out what you can afford.

It’s also worth noting before you can own property in Denmark, you will need to be a resident of the country for at least five years. Property is in pretty short supply anyway, so you may need a little extra time before you find somewhere you want to purchase.

Healthcare as an American living in Denmark

Part of figuring out how to move to Denmark is making sure you have the right healthcare and protection. When you’re moving to Denmark from the USA, you’ll notice a significant change in your healthcare options.

Denmark has some of the highest quality healthcare anywhere, and individuals can choose from a wide range of medical facilities which cover various services, thanks to a universal healthcare system.

Public hospitals in Denmark offer treatment for all citizens, and EU citizens are also entitled to healthcare for free, as long as they can offer proof of their EU health insurance card. Supplemental care can also be provided for citizens who prefer to pay a little extra.

Expats from outside of the EU can get free emergency healthcare, but they do need international insurance for routine procedures.

There are citizen’s services groups which can give you an ID number and health insurance card. To find a doctor, you’ll need to check the National Registration Office.

It’s best to double check what kind of insurance you can get, and what sort of treatment you’ll be eligible to for free before you begin spending on your move to Denmark. The last thing you want is to be left without health services.

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Becoming a citizen of Denmark

If you’re learning how to move to Denmark permanently, then you’ll need to eventually register as a Danish citizen. Citizens of the US can visit Denmark and stay for up to three months (90 days) without a visa.

However, staying longer will require you to apply for temporary residency before you arrive in the country. A temporary residency permit can give you the right to lived and work in Denmark for up to 5 years. You will also contribute to taxes and use the healthcare system here.

The Danish government ICS service offers some more information into how to start applying for Danish citizenship if you’re ready to stay long-term.

In Denmark, unless you have a parent who happens to be a citizen, you’ll need to obtain your citizenship through naturalization, which means spending 5 years as a permanent resident in the country.

One of the easiest ways to get your citizenship is to use a student visa. The time you spend in the country will build up the extra time you need to put towards your citizenship when you move to Denmark.

If you’re marrying someone in Denmark, you’ll still need to prove yourself to become a citizen.

If you’re moving to Denmark as the spouse of a Dane, then the country will issue a language proficiency test within 6 months of your arrival. This means you’ll need to know the basics of speaking Danish before you even consider how to move to Denmark.

The good news is most people find Danish pretty easy to learn. There are tons of courses out there to get you started and applications to help you out. Just about any citizen of Denmark will need to be fluent in the language, so the quicker you start learning, the better.

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Why move to Denmark?

What is it like to live here?

If you’re wondering how to move to Denmark, you’ve probably already got a good idea of what makes this country so special. The Danes are incredible people, with an amazing history and culture.

When you move to Denmark, you’ll be surrounding yourself with some of the happiest people on earth. In fact, several studies identify Danes as the most satisfied people around.

Although Danish people are highly well-informed and educated, they’re also a people who know how to relax and have fun. Plus, if you’re looking for an opportunity to settle down and build a family, Denmark is a great place to be.

International schools are available all over Denmark, and you’ll have no problem finding amazing courses, including International Business programs. There are even teachers who can give lessons in English, but your kids will need to learn Danish too.

Distances between locations in Denmark are quite short, which makes it possible to combine buzzing urban lifestyles within the Danish seaside and country. Some areas are packed with green forests and beautiful seascapes to explore.

Your kids can roam freely through the streets with little fear of crime.

Even staying healthy can be easier in Denmark because everyone takes a sustainable and wellness-first approach to life. The Danish working culture revolves strongly around work/life balance, and all workers are entitled to around 5 weeks of vacation per year.

Employers frequently offer flexible work hours in Denmark too, as both men and women work while raising families.

Flat management structures are also common in Denmark, and work/life balance is a common part of the professional environment. People aren’t expected to work over their standard hours.

Danish employees and managers often address each other by their first names, and most decisions are made in an equal environment where everyone gets a say.

Danes also sit among the most productive and hardworking people in Europe, according to reports.

Part of this comes down to the job mentality in Denmark, and how employees can experience a high degree of empowerment and autonomy at work. This results in very conscientious, responsible employees with a high level of job satisfaction.

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Can you immigrate to Denmark?

Quick questions

If you’re still unsure about how to move to Denmark, don’t worry. We’ve got some quick questions and answers here to guide you…

Q: How do I move to Denmark?

Ultimately, you’ll have three ways of moving to Denmark, starting with getting a job in the country. You can also get a student visa and gain your education here before getting a job. Alternatively, there’s the option to marry a Dane.

Q: Can I move to Denmark without a job?

If you want to stay in Denmark for longer than 3 months, you’ll need to meet the requirements for a residence certificate, which means you do eventually need to get a job. It is possible to spend a little longer looking for a job if you’re marrying a Dane or studying in Denmark.

Q: What are the requirements to move to Denmark?

If you’re not a member of the EU, the requirements to move to Denmark are a little tougher. You’ll need to be willing to learn Danish, and you’ll need a job within the country. To become a full resident of Denmark, you need to live in the region for a period of 5 years.

Q: Is it expensive to live in Denmark?

It can be expensive to live in Denmark due to the high taxes. However, most people find the cost of living manageable within the country. It’s worth noting things like education and healthcare are available for free.

Not accounting for rent, an average person in Denmark would spend around $1200 on utilities, food, and other costs.

Q: Is it easy to raise a family in Denmark?

Raising a family in Denmark is fantastic because of the low crime rates, the excellent country happiness score, and the access to free education. There’s also plenty of scope for children to achieve great things in Denmark, with access to business courses and great jobs.

Q: Which jobs are in demand in Denmark?

There are some areas where you may be more likely to get a job in Denmark. Education, IT, engineering, Medicine and healthcare are all areas where demand for skills is high. You can also find roles as energy and electrical engineers, building contractors, and medical consultants.

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