As a foreign national who has completed a Danish master's (candidatus) degree or a Danish PhD degree you can be granted a residence permit with the aim of establishing yourself in Denmark after your Danish educational programme has been finished.
If you have been granted a residence permit under the Establishment card scheme, you do not need to obtain a work permit. A residence permit under the Establishment card scheme gives you the right to take up employment without it being necessary for you to apply for a new work permit if you change your job. In addition, a residence permit under the Establishment card scheme gives you the right to work as an entrepreneur (to run your own business).
In order to be granted an establishment card, you must have completed a Danish master's (candidatus) degree or a Danish PhD degree.
A Danish master’s (candidatus) degree also includes 60 ECTS master degrees offered by Danish universities, if the degree is equivalent to a Danish master’s (candidatus) degree.
If you have completed an advanced postgraduate (soloist) programme from the Danish Academies of Music and the Opera Academy, your educational level is considered to be equivalent to a PhD degree.
It is a condition that the application for a residence permit under the Establishment scheme is submitted before your residence permit for jobseeking (valid for 6 months) has expired. If you complete a Danish master’s (candidatus) degree or a PhD degree, but are not entitled to a residence permit for jobseeking, e.g. if your residence permit in Denmark has been granted under previously applicable rules, you are still able to apply for an establishment card as long as the application is submitted no more than 6 months after you have completed your educational programme.
In addition, it is a condition that you must document that you are able to support yourself during your first year in Denmark. Therefore you must document that you possess financial resources equivalent to one year of cash benefits for single non-providers under 30 years old (kontanthjælpssatsen for enlige ikke-forsørgere under 30 år). Documentation can be a recent bank statement in your name which clearly states in which currency, and on which date, the statement was issued. The statement must not be more than 30 days old at the time when you apply. In addition, if you wish to apply for residence permits for accompanying family members, you must also document that you are able to support your family members.
Finally it is a condition that you do not receive unemployment benefits for new graduates (dimittenddagpenge) or any public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act (lov om aktiv socialpolitik) during your stay in Denmark.
A residence permit under the Establishment scheme can be granted for a period of maximum 2 years, is granted only once and cannot be extended. After having resided in Denmark for 2 years you can apply for a new residence permit using one of the other schemes including as an entrepreneur who wishes to run your own business.
A residence permit can only be granted or extended up until 3 months before your passport expires. In other words, if your passport expires in 12 months, your residence permit can only be extended by nine months. If you renew your passport after you have been granted an establishment card, you can apply for an extension of your permit for the full 2 year period. The application, which must include a copy of your new passport, can be submitted no sooner than 3 months before your current residence permit expires.
How to apply
An application for a residence permit under the Establishment card scheme must be submitted online. If the application is not submitted online it will be rejected.
If you have been granted a residence and work permit under the Establishment card scheme, you can bring certain family members.
This page was last modified 2021-03-18.