As a foreign national who has completed a bachelor's, professional bachelor's, master's (candidatus) degree or PhD degree from a publically accredited educational institution in Denmark, 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).
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In order to be granted an establishment card, you must have completed a Danish bachelor's, professional bachelor's, master's (candidatus) degree or PhD degree.
A master programme (Danish: masteruddannelse) corresponds 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.
Apply within 1 year
It is a condition that the application for a residence permit under the Establishment scheme is submitted within 1 year of completing your educational programme.
With this, a foreigner who, after completing his Danish education and e.g. traveling back to the home country, could submit an application for an establishment card up to one year after the education has been completed.
In addition, it is a condition that you must document that you are able to support yourself during your first year in Denmark. The current rates (amounts) you need to document can be found on the website nyidanmark.dk. For example if you are in Denmark without any family you must have an amount corresponding to DKK 90,492 (2021 level).
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.
No graduate benefits or cash benefits
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.
Read more about financial requirements
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A residence permit under the Establishment scheme can be granted for a period of 2 years.
However it can be extended by 1 year (to total of 3 years), if you are employed in a job relevant to a completed educational programme, which can form the basis for an establishment card.
After having resided in Denmark for 2/3 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.
Read more about how to apply for an Establishment Card on the page about residence and work permit as an employee
If you have been granted a residence and work permit under the Establishment card scheme, you can bring certain family members.
Read more about residence permit for accompanying family members
This page was last modified 2023-03-27.