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Obtain a Business Visa for Denmark

Obtain a Business Visa for Denmark

A business visa in Denmark is obtained through the start-up programme, one that allows foreign investors to reside and work in the country, under certain conditions. The investment scheme is designed to allow entrepreneurs who are interested in Denmark immigration to obtain a residence permit based on the quality of their proposed business. The business idea is very important and it is useful to know that it will be subject to an evaluation before it can be approved and the applicant can receive the permit.

 Quick Facts 
  Types of business visas

Short term business visa – for stays < 90 days
Start-up Denmark visa – with a residence and work permit 

Visa requirement

The short-term business visa is required only by foreign nationals who are citizens of a foreign country with a visa requirement for Denmark. Exemptions apply.

Visa validity

 2 years for the Start-up Denmark visa

Identification documents, business approval, proof of self-support during the stay in Denmark, company ownership proof (if applicable)

Ability to bring dependentsAccompanying family members need to apply for a residence permit in their own name
Permitted activities

for the short-term business visa: business visas with no ability to work

for the Start-up visa: running a business in Denmark

Investment conditions

The Danish Start-up visa is awarded to those with an innovative business idea that will create new jobs and contribute to the country’s economic growth. The business idea is approved by the Danish Business Authority.  

FeesDKK 1,890 for the Start-up Denmark visa 
Biometric data requirementsYes, a photograph and fingerprints
Business visa issue time1 month for the Start-up visa
Residency for business purposesThe Start-up residence and work permit can be extended for 3 years at a time

An interesting feature of the programme, and one that may present an attractive advantage to business partners, is that teams of up to three individuals who wish to open a company in Denmark can apply for it. In this case, they will need to present a joint business plan.

Our immigration lawyer in Denmark is able to answer any questions that you may have as an investor interested in starting a business and obtaining residence. Denmark can be an ideal location to base the Nordic headquarters for a business and this is because of the favorable business regime that allows full foreign ownership.

Different business visas for Denmark

Foreign nationals who wish to come to Denmark for business or investment purposes will require a visa, based on their nationality. Non-EU/EEA Swiss nationals, as well as nationals of countries with which Denmark has concluded a bilateral agreement, do not need a visa to enter the country and engage in certain types of short-term business activities.

If you wish to remain in Denmark and run your business, you will need a Danish residence permit that will also serve as a Denmark investment visa (i.e., a visa awarded to investors that also allows residency rights).

There are two types of visas issued for business purposes, distinguished by the duration of the stay:

  • The start-up Denmark visa: for qualifying investors who wish to remain in the country to run their business;
  • The short-term visa for business visits is suitable for those who need to remain in the country for up to 90 days (and are citizens of countries that are required to have a visa in order to enter Denmark).

If you want to immigrate to Denmark, our local specialists will help you choose the most suitable option for your needs.

The short-term business visa in Denmark

The short-stay visa for businesspeople can be suitable for those foreign nationals coming from countries subject to a visa requirement, who will be staying in Denmark for a business visit (limited to no more than 90 days). This means that it is not used as a basis to apply for a residence permit for Denmark, nor as a first step towards relocating to the country.

An important difference between the short-term business visa and the start-up visa is that for the former, there needs to be an event host (a company or organization that invites the foreign businessman to Denmark). The company in which the visa applicant is employed in can be affiliated with the Danish company that submits the invitation form for the short-term business visa.

Some of the documents required by businesspeople who remain in Denmark via a business visa for short stays include the invitation, proof of travel insurance, valid passport, a passport photograph, and any relevant documentation that supports the purpose of the visit.

For the purpose of moving to Denmark, the start-up visa is the one needed by investors who wish to relocate to the country, however, certain requirements apply for the type of business, as you can read below.

What are the main conditions to obtain a business visa for Denmark?

Opening a new business comes with its own challenges and rewards. Foreign investors who are interested in company formation in Denmark can also benefit from obtaining residence, if their proposal qualifies for the start-up visa.

Once you have secured your business visa, you can move on to other matters that need to be resolved in order to migrate to Denmark. These include reporting your relocation to the authorities, housing matters (property purchase and rental), personal taxation, exchanging your driver’s licence issued in a non-EU/EEA member state, and much more. We can give you details on moving to Denmark.

Below, our team of immigration lawyers in Demark describes the main conditions for business evaluation under this scheme:

  • Innovation: the new business needs to be innovative and have the potential to develop within the Danish business community;
  • Interest: the business must meet specific business interests, this will be favorable for the final approval, before the investor(s) can apply for the Denmark investment visa;
  • Approval: the business idea needs to be evaluated and approved by the Danish Business Authority;
  • Limitation: these types of permits are limited to a maximum of 75 per year.

These conditions for innovation limit the types of business that may be incorporated by investors who wish to obtain the permit for the purpose of moving to Denmark. Understandably, some types of companies are excluded, for example, restaurants, import and export businesses, or retail stores as they do not meet the criteria for being innovative.

Please keep in mind that the start-up or the business visa for Denmark may be subject to additional conditions.

Entrepreneurs who wish to remain in the country for more than 90 days for business purposes will be required to apply for a Danish residence permit. This document will allow them to remain lawfully in the country and tend to their business needs. The applications are submitted through the Danish Immigration Service in most cases. Our team can assist those interested.

What are the conditions for the foreign investor applying for residence in Denmark?

It is important to note that the conditions for obtaining a Denmark investment visa also apply to the investor, not only the business. In order to receive the residence permit that will allow him to migrate to Denmark, the applicant must prove that he is able to support himself. This is based on documentation proving that he can cover the expenses during the first year of living in the country. The thresholds are the following:

  • 333,816 DKK: when the spouse, as well as one or more children, will be accompanying the investor to Denmark;
  • 286,656 DKK: when the applicant is coming to the country together with his/her spouse;
  • 190,488 DKK: when one or more children, without a spouse, will only join the investor;
  • 143,328 DKK: when the entrepreneur applying for a business visa will come to the country alone.

A bank statement can be used as proof of income. These rates may be subject to change and we advise interested individuals to reach out to one of our immigration lawyers in Denmark for more details.

Apart from the condition of having sufficient funds, investors will also need to play an active role in the company they will open in Denmark.

What are the rights granted by a business visa?

The Danish start-up scheme allows the applicant who has had his business idea approved to reside and work in the country. However, work may only take place within the business for which the application was submitted or unpaid voluntary work. The applicant can apply for a second job, however, in this case, a different permit will be required.

A residence permit awarded under the start-up scheme has a duration of up to two years and it can be extended to a maximum period of three years at a time.

Interested investors should know that the usual processing time for the business visa in Denmark is one month and that a processing fee applies.

An important issue to consider for those interested in moving to Copenhagen under the start-up visa is that they will not be permitted to receive cash benefits, or any other types of benefits under the Active Social Policy Act. Moreover, nor will their family receive such benefits.

For those investors who are interested in moving to Denmark, obtaining permanent residence will be the ultimate goal after they apply for the start-up scheme. This is possible for all those who have legally resided in the country for at least 8 years or, in some cases, for 4 years. One of our lawyers can give you more information before the completion of the minimum residence period if you are a foreign business owner who intends to obtain permanent residence in the country. Our team can also provide all the needed information on obtaining citizenship.

Living in Denmark

Foreign investors who meet the criteria for an innovative business under the start-up regime will find that doing business in Denmark is subject to certain, clear advantages. What’s more, when relocating with their family, they will also enjoy a good quality of life.

Some of the reasons why opening a company in Demark is attractive include the following:

  • A good location to base the Nordic headquarters for a company;
  • An innovative and thriving business ecosystem;
  • Networking, financing, and options for start-ups;
  • A digitized country, offering access to numerous online services, as well as a country that encourages tech innovation;
  • Companies in several key industries can qualify for the start-up visa; tech companies are one of the leading ones, however, businesses activating in the life science sector, cleantech, or design and innovation can also be considered by the panel of experts evaluating the business idea for compliance.

Foreign investors who immigrate to Denmark with their families (whether they are joined by their spouse and children immediately, or after a period of time) will enjoy the Danish way of life, as well as access to numerous advantages in terms of quality of life, education for their children, and a good life-work balance.

Contact our immigration lawyers in Denmark for more information on the start-up scheme as well as other types of residence permit.