Once you’re in Copenhagen, embrace the paperwork. The sooner you have everything sorted, the easier life gets.
Your point of reference here will be the International Citizens Service office, which acts as a portal for most of the authorities you’ll need to talk to. They can help with: EU registration for EU citizens, tax cards, CPR (civil registration number), healthcare services, foreign driving licenses and residence permits for non-EU citizens.
If you plan to stay in Denmark for more than three months you require this. You can get this from International House, but we recommend you get your EU paperwork direct from the office of the State Administration (which handles this) as it will be faster. They do come to International House but they are only there for a few hours each week and can handle only 30 applications in that time.
It’s a requirement for everybody who stays in Denmark for more than three months to get a social security and personal registration number at the International Citizens Service. We recommend you get this sorted ASAP. This is your key to ‘the system’, unlocking access to things including healthcare, a bank account, a phone contract, a housing contract and free Danish lessons.
The system has just changed so that you can now start the process online (here!) but you will still need to go in person to
Before you start, you need:
Note: You can fill in your application for a Danish CPR number up to 1 MONTH before the date you move into your Danish accommodation.
You will be emailed within a month of your application to come in and get it processed. You will need to bring a scanned copy/or photo of the following
In some cases also:
CPR numbers are handled by your local municipality or borgerservice.
Don’t be surprised if the numbers don’t seem to go up as you’d expect - people are often referred to multiple administrations while they are there and get fast-tracked into different queues.
Denmark is a welfare state and, while taxes are (famously) high, that enables the state to provide things like education, healthcare and childcare affordable for everyone.
You may also need to change your tax card (for example if you change job or get a substantially higher or lower salary) - read more about how to do that here to avoid getting billed at the end of the year!
Here's a good overview of the whole process.
After getting your CPR Number, you can set up a bank account. Your bank account will act as your ‘Nemkonto’ - the bank account to which you assign all payments from public bodies in Denmark.
• Take the following to the bank of your choice: Identity papers with photo (driver’s licence, passport or similar), address documentation (lease contract), (health insurance if relevant), employment contract.
• You can just show up on the day and get the paperwork done at the counter.
• Once the paperwork comes back in the post a week or so later you can go back and actually open the bank account.
• Your payment card will then arrive in the post after that • Note: Danish post is slow and can take up to 10 days
Once you have a bank account you can get a NemID, which is a log-in to access all your government admin information online, plus Danish online banking.
You get this automatically once you open a bank account and get access to online banking
• Once you have your payment card, you can sign up for Mobile Pay
• This is the mobile payments app widely used by Danes in restaurants, cafes, shops and clubs
• Simply download the app and follow the instructions
Get to the State Administration half an hour before it opens so you’re at the front of the queue.
Want to change your doctor, address, name etc? You can do all that here: www.borger.dk. But it will cost you!
Changing your doctor costs 195 kr. (2017) and you can do it here.
You can change your address here. It's free as long as you do it no later than five days after you move - otherwise you may get fined.
You may also need to change your Tax card (for example if you change job or get a substantially higher or lower salary) - read more about how to do that here to avoid getting billed at the end of the year!
Fancy an update each time we add new content to this topic?
Founders is a startup studio based in lovely Copenhagen, Denmark. We partner with amazing entrepreneurs to build companies from zero to traction (or, idea-stage to product-market-fit).
We made this playbook based on what we've learned welcoming new desk mates, ping pong break pals and co-founders from 20+ nationalities to the Founders Family. Most of this info is already available, but it's scattered between a bunch of different sites and it can be hard to know where to start. We've pulled it all together in one place and thrown in our own recommendations so you can focus on your new job, life, adventure!
Like any good guide, our playbook is a living document that we will constantly be updating. Something you want to see in here? Help us keep the content fresh and relevant by dropping us an email! :)
We made a takeaway pdf with all the answers and tips from each topic.Download pdf version
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