Permanent Residency

Safety Announcement
If you are in Denmark on anything but the EU rules, you may experience light rage stroke symptoms.

The EU has an agreement about the free movement of citizens. It mostly ensures that we get the same treatment all over Europe.

In Denmark, you need to apply for a certificate of registration within 3 months and you are required to support yourself either through study or work. If you stop studying or working, you have a few months grace period to find alternatives.
If you have lived in Denmark for five uninterrupted years, you can apply for permanent residency.

There is precious little on that last part on the Danish websites. This is the best overview of the information available. You need to fill in the same form as when you applied for your registration certificate but you tick a different box.

I could not find much about what I needed to bring, so I looked on other EU country’s websites and worked out I needed to prove I have lived in the country for five years. I guessed I would need a passport photo and my passport. Then I managed to find a memo for staff at the Government Administration offices, somehow, which said which sort of things they could ask to see.

In the end, I brought along my employment contracts, rental agreements and five years of tax statements.

My local office is 30 minutes by train and a further 30 minutes by foot away. The office, I am not kidding, is in a residential area. I thought it was another one of those hilarious smart phone map app mix ups. I rocked up, after braving at least half a centimeter of snow and temperatures of about 1˚C.

All the other foreigners have to go to the Foreigner Affairs office, we get to go to the place where people sort out marriage, divorce, custody and adoption. The place was busy but people were constantly being seen. A handful were foreign like me but I am not sure if they were sorting out immigration or something else.

The lady I needed to see was on lunch break, so I had to wait for her to get back. Then when she did, I filled in my form. The only question I found hard was where I lived five years ago. I lived there for three months and I have had 22 addresses. I did my best with my crappy memory and the use of the internet.

She needed a passport photo, my passport and my tax returns. Then she said the office would consider my application and let me know within 2 weeks. How anti-climatic!

Two days later, I got a letter which was postal marked with the date I visited the office. It said I had permanent residency.

From a purely selfish point of view, I am glad it was easy. I am glad the requirements were fair. I am glad it was straightforward to prove them to the state’s satisfaction. I am glad that I have permanent residency.

From an altruistic one, I am very hacked off that others need to jump through ridiculous hoops. I am angry that the government needs to create these hoops so that fewer people can get permanent residency. I am irritated that they feel the need to do this because the people are irrationally afraid of foreigners.

I think my requirements were reasonably fair and not particularly onerous. I think anyone on a work or study visa should be allowed permanent residency after five years of supporting themselves. I think anyone on family reunification should not have to meet any requirements. (If you marry a Dane, you’re in the tribe.) If I recall correctly, refugees get the same requirements as EU citizens.

Politically, the same is happening throughout Europe. They have particularly cracked down on immigration in the UK, resulting in the same crap as in Denmark. They cannot legislate against EU immigrants, so they crack down on work and family visas just to say that they did.

If companies can take money out of countries more or less as they please, why is it an issue when people want to contribute to the tax pot (not to mention the takings of local businesses)?

18 thoughts on “Permanent Residency

  1. This is no help to you (or anyone else, for that matter), but when we moved to Malta and applied for residence permits, hubby and son got permanent residency just for being EU citizens. I got a five year permit, and just got another one, but only because I’m an EU-citizen tag-along. Technically I should be able to get permanent residency or citizenship after May.


  2. Congrats :-) Apparently you moved here a couple of weeks before me; if I’m not mistaken I’ll be having my 5-year anniversary in one-and-a-half week. I didn’t even know (or don’t remember) anything about permanent residency, what are the advantages?


    1. I came in August, I’ve been slow off the bat.
      The main advantage is that if I lose my job, I don’t have three months to GTFO. I can get A-kasse until it runs out (but after that, because I live with a guy, he has to support me but that’s seriously hypothetical, I’m not worrying about that)


      1. Ah, I’d GTFO the moment I lose my job, so I guess I’m not going to bother.
        Thanks for the info :-)


  3. So this a little apropos of nothing, but I’m still extremely confused by the drivers license rules. They don’t seem to make any logical sense, who can just turn their license in for a Danish one and who has to take a test, and I’m still trying to find out if the apparently newly passed law that would make it easier for US citizens like me actually went into effect because Aarhus borgerservice has no idea what I’m talking about when I ask them. Ahh bureaucracy.


  4. Well, having just accepted a position in Denmark, I find your blog a bit scary (I am only going there in a couple of months, so I am not really thinking about the permanent resident thing yet)


    1. Almost everyone enjoys their first few months, the honeymoon is pretty nice. Some people who know it’s only temporary can keep that going indefinitely while they keep their eye on the door. You will probably be ok.


  5. It is a little ridiculous especially with the family visas. I can happily say that my Danish husband got permanent residency the second he stepped foot on US soil. Divorce, death, whatever, he’s got it as long as he doesn’t commit any terrible felonies or acts of treason. He’ll be up for citizenship 3 years from that day he came to America. Crazy the differences, right?


  6. Amazing blog! Couldn’t agree more, but am wondering is there too much migration n shouldn’t we tackle the poverty in the undeveloped world instead of condemning the rich societies for being tough on immigrants. Greetings from Croatia.


    1. Well since you asked.. No I don’t agree.

      Countries with developing economies sure as shit don’t need rich countries to fix them. If the developed world stopped 1) starting proxy wars in poorer nations 2) dumping toxic waste on their land/sea 3) flooding their markets with aid 4) paying exploitative prices for raw material and labour and 5) interfering with their economies and political systems then they would develop pretty damn fast. We also need to slow the rate of climate change because developing nations are disproportionately hit by extreme weather.

      They’re not poor because the people living there are child like and need stewardship, they are poor because imperial forces have kept them that way because it keeps the elite very wealthy.

      Meanwhile, I’m not sure what zero sum game you think is operating, where for every post I make protesting the treatment of other immigrants, means no one is working on international development? Even on an individual basis, I write these posts and take part in certain projects that benefit people in developing countries.

      As for the concept of too much migration. I am not sure I follow. This world was populated by migration. Was it too much then? Then when groups invented agriculture, they migrated and replaced hunter gatherers. Was that a bad time? And then when people for all the centuries afterwards moved around, marrying and settling, finding good land and avoiding war: bad immigration? And when The New World was discovered: should Europeans stayed put? Etc etc

      People move country. It’s not anything to be afraid of. Why is it okay that Nestle can work out of any damn country they please (whilst finding new and interesting ways to avoid contributing) while people who want to contribute have to prove themselves worthy? Why can capital jump national borders without any problems and all the advantages but labour must stay put? Corporations are allowed to shop around for the most sympathetic regimes to leach off of the rest of us, but someone who wants to work in a country with better labour laws is the problem? Nope. Don’t agree.


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