Permanent residence

In Denmark, all kinds of residence permit are initially granted as temporary, valid for 1 to 2 years, depending on the type of residence permit. Convention status is granted for 2 years, family reunification for 2 years, and the two kinds of protection status for 1 year. Then, the refugee has to apply for an extension, this is not done automatically, and it is important to meet the deadline. If a person’s residence permit expires then the person has to re-apply, i.e. travel to her/his country of origin and apply from there. It can take several months to process an extension. 

After 8 years of legal residency in Denmark (the period as an asylum seeker does not count), a person can apply for a permanent residence permit. In order to achieve this, the person has to fulfill a number of different criteria in terms of Danish language skill, work/education, and crime.

Permanent residency means that a person is allowed to stay in Denmark and does not have to apply for a residence permit again – but if the person comits an act of crime then she/he can be deported. If a person applies for family reunification and is not a refugee, it is a requirement that the person has been permanent resident for at least 3 years.  

NEW RULES applied from May 15th 2017:

(old rules apply for applications submitted before March 1. 2017)

You can get permanent residency no matter which kind of residence permit you have. You must pay a fee of 3,600 DKR to apply.

Basic requirements (must all be met):

  • You must still meet the requirements for the residence permit you hold. 
  • You must be over the age of 18.
  • You must have resided legally in Denmark for at least 8 years.  If you meet all of the 4 supplementary requirements (see below) you only have to have resided legally in Denmark for at least 4 years.
  • You must not have committed certain types of crime.
  • You must not have any overdue public debts unless you have been granted an extension of the repayment of the debt.
  • You must not have received public benefits within the last 4 years under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act or the Integration Act.
  • You have to accept a Declaration of integration and active citizenship in Danish society.
  • You must have passed the Danish language test 2 (Prøve i Dansk 2) or a Danish language test of an equivalent or higher level.
  • You must have held a regular full-time employment or been self-employed for at least 3 years and 6 months within the last 4 years.
  • You must still be working at the time when the Danish Immigration Service decides the case.

Supplementary requirements (at least two of the following have to be met as well):

  • You must have passed an active citizen exam test or have exhibited active citizenship in Denmark.
  • You must have held a regular full-time employment or been self-employed for at least 4 years within the last 4 years and 6 months.
  • You must have had a yearly taxable income that over the last 2 years has been DKK 275.400 (2017 level) or above on average.
  • You must have passed the Danish language test 3 (Prøve i Dansk 3) or a Danish language test of an equivalent or higher level.

    The 4 supplementary requirements are equally ranked and therefore it is insignificant which 2 of 4 requirements you meet. If you meet all 4 supplementary requirements, you can be granted a permanent residence permit after having resided legally in Denmark for at least 4 years.

The easier access for refugees has been abolished, so that now everybody has to meet the same requirements. The only way to dispensation is a documented, permanent disability which makes it impossible to meet some of the requirements (the Convention for Disabilities can be used here).

Quarantine period for criminal behaviour is 6 years in the event of a suspended sentence and 15 years in the event of a jail sentence of more than 60 days in duration. With a sentence of 6 months incarceration, you are permanently disqualified for permanent residency.

Permanent residency is a pre-requisite when applying for citizenship and the Danish passport citizenship bestows. You must also have had permanent residency for 3 years before you can apply for family reunification (unless you have been granted asylum and still have need of protection).