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The Green Card Scheme
 
It is possible to be granted a three-year residence permit for the purpose of seeking work, and subsequently working, in Denmark. A residence and work permit under the Green card scheme is issued on the basis of an individual evaluation using a point system designed to assess the likelihood that the applicant will be able to find qualified work in Denmark.

If you are a Nordic citizen, you do not need a residence permit but are free to enter, live and work in Denmark. If you are an EU/EEA citizen or Swiss citizen, you must apply for a proof of registration at the Regional State Administration. In some cases, however, citizens of the new EU countries need to apply for a work permit at the Immigration Service in order to work in Denmark.

If you already hold a Danish residence permit based on family reunification or asylum, or hold a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, you do not need a work permit in order to work in Denmark.

It is your own responsibility to obtain a residence permit if you are required to. If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation, and you and your employer risk fine or imprisonment.


Conditions
 
In order to be granted a residence permit under the Green card scheme, you must attain at least 100 points. Points are given for: educational level, language skills, work experience, adaptability, and age.

You must have full health insurance covering you and any accompanying family members until you are covered by the Danish national health insurance.

You must be able to support yourself during your first year in Denmark. Read more about financial requirements.


Educational level

Your educational level will be assessed after it has been converted to its Danish equivalent for comparison. This is done as academic degrees vary from country to country, even if they are called by the same name.

The Immigration Service will ask CIRIUS, a body under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, to assess your educational level. To enable CIRIUS to do this, you must include diplomas as well as transcripts in your application.

Please note: CIRIUS will only assess your educational level if asked to by the Immigration Service in connection with a specific application. Thus, CIRIUS will not assess your level prior to an application for a residence permit under the Greencard scheme.

In order to receive points for educational level, you must, as a minimum, have the equivalent of a Danish Bachelor’s degree. You will only be given points for one educational level. Points are given as follows:
  • Bachelor’s degree/Graduated from medium-length education: 30 points.
  • Bachelor's degree followed by one-year Master's degree: 50 points.
  • Master’s degree: 60 points.
  • PhD: 80 points.
You will be given bonus points if you graduated from a university, which is internationally recognised for its high academic level according to the latest THES-QS World Ranking. Points are given as follows:
  • Top 400: 5 points.
  • Top 200: 10 points.
  • Top 100: 15 points.
  • See the top 400 list.
You will be given 10 bonus points if your education qualifies you to work in a field where Denmark is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. You can find these fields on the Positive List. You can be given a maximum of 105 points for your educational level.


Language skills


Your language skills will be given points based on a four-level system modelled after the official Danish language proficiency tests for foreigners (the Danish Language Test, Levels 1, 2 and 3 and the Study Test in Danish as a Second Language).

In order to be given points for language skills, you must document that you have passed an exam in either Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German at a level corresponding to at least Danish Language Test, Level 1 (Prøve i Dansk 1). You can only receive points for one Scandinavian language and for either English or German. As such, you can receive points for Swedish and English, or both Danish and German, but not for both Danish and Norwegian, or for both English and German.

Here is a list of foreign language exams with their corresponding Danish level. Only approved exams qualify for points. Other exams do not qualify for points.

As an alternative to a language exam, you can document your language skills with a statement from a previous employer attesting that you have used Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German on the job for at least one year, or by presenting documentation that you have completed at least one year of studies at a higher educational programme which was taught in one of these languages. This will be accepted as a level corresponding to that of Study Test in Danish as a Second Language (Studieprøven). Points are given as follows:

  • Level corresponding to Danish Language Test, Level 1 (Prøve i Dansk 1): 5 points.
  • Level corresponding to Danish Language Test, Level 2 (Prøve i Dansk 2): 10 points.
  • Level corresponding to Danish Language Test, Level 3 (Prøve i Dansk 3): 15 points.
  • Level corresponding to Study Test in Danish as a Second Language (Studieprøven) or higher/one year's study or work: 20 points.
You can be given a maximum of 30 points for your language skills.


Work experience

Your work experience can be given points according to how many years, within the last five years, you have worked as a researcher or in a field where Denmark is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals. You can see these fields and specific job titles on the Positive List. You can also be given points for other work experience. Points are given as follows:
  • 1-2 years within the past five years as a researcher/in field listed on the Positive List: 10 points.
  • 3-5 years within the past five years as a researcher/in field listed on the Positive List: 15 points.
  • 3-5 years within the past five years, other work: 5 points.
You can be given a maximum of 15 points for your work experience.


Adaptability


You can be given points for your educational or work related attachment to the EU/EEA (including Denmark) or Switzerland, as this is seen to increase your ability to quickly adapt to the Danish labour market. Points are given for either education or work. Points are given as follows:
  • Completion of at least one year's study at a higher educational programme in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 5 points.
  • Completion of at least three years' study at a higher educational programme in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 10 points.
Or
  • At least one full year's (12 consecutive months') legal residence and work in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 5 points.
  • At least two consecutive year's legal residence and work in an EU/EEA country or Switzerland: 10 points.
You will be given 5 bonus points for Danish language skills (passed exam in Danish Language Test, Level 2 (Prøve i Dansk 2) or higher).

You can be given a maximum of 15 points for your adaptability.


Age


You can be given points based on your age. Points are given as follows:

  • 35-40 years: 10 points.
  • 34 years or younger: 15 points.
You can be given a maximum of 15 points for your age. Attached documents

When submitting your application for a residence permit, you will be required to attach certain documents. You can either attach original documents or copies of the original, provided that the Danish diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate general), the Danish police, or the Service Centre of the Immigration Service confirms that they have seen the original documents. Documents which are not in Swedish, Norwegian or German must be supplied with an authorised translation to Danish or English.

However, documents from the following countries must always be originals: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Moldovia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, the Sovjet Union, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.


Duration


A residence permit under the Green card scheme can be granted for up to three years with a possibility for extension of up to four years.

Your residence permit can only be granted or extended up to three months before your passport expires. This means that if your passport expires in 12 months, you can only be granted a permit for nine months, or your permit can only be extended by nine months.


Extension


Your residence permit can be extended by four years if you have worked for the past 12 months for a minimum of ten hours per week.

Your residence permit can be extended by one year if you have lost your job through no fault of your own (e.g. due to cutbacks) no more than three months before applying for an extension, and if prior to this, you worked for 12 months for a minimum of ten hours per week.


Family members


If you hold a residence permit under the Green card scheme, your spouse, registered partner or cohabiting partner, as well as any children under the age of 18 who are living at home with you, are also eligible for residence permits. Your family members must be able to support themselves and you must live together in Denmark at the same address. Your spouse, registered partner or cohabiting partner is allowed to work full-time for the entire period his or her permit is valid.
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