Denmark Start-Up Visa


This visa pathway allows foreign nationals with an innovative business idea to reside in Denmark for the purpose of establishing their business. If the business is set up successfully in accordance with their business plan, this visa pathway can eventually lead to Permanent Residence (PR) and Danish citizenship (if desired).


To obtain the visa you must meet the following criteria:

· Your business idea must be approved by the Danish Business Authority’s panel of experts (Section 9a(2)(10) Aliens (Consolidation) Act);
· Your business idea must contribute innovative ideas and potential for development to the Danish business community;
· Your business idea must be within one of the “key industries” highlighted by Startup Denmark which are as follows:

o Tech;
o Cleantech;
o Life science;
o Food;
o Maritime; and
o Design and Innovation.

N.B. It will not be possible to establish a restaurant, retail store or small trade, import and export businesses as this visa route is only for businesses with innovative potential.

There is a maximum of 75 foreign nationals that can be granted a permit under this route per year (1 January to 31 December) (Section 9a(13) Aliens (Consolidation) Act).

· You must have sufficient funds to support yourself and any family members in Denmark (Section 9(4) Aliens (Consolidation) Act) for the initial year. This amounts to:

o DKK 138,648 (€18,623.31) in disposable funds if you are applying alone;
o DKK 227,296 (€30,530.58) in disposable funds if you are applying with your spouse or civil partner;
o DKK 322,908 (€43373.26) in disposable funds if you are applying with your spouse and one or more children;
o DKK 184,260 (€24749.95) in disposable funds if you are applying together with one or more children under your sole care (Startup Denmark (2020)).

· You must play an active part in running the business.

Documents You Will Need

The application is through an online portal and you will need to submit the following documents:

· fee payment receipt;
· copy of all pages of your passport (including empty pages and the passport’s front and back cover);
· letter of approval from the Danish Business Authority’s panel of experts;
· documents proving sufficient funds (as above) for yourself and any dependents i.e. bank statements; and
· documentation proving company ownership (if relevant at this stage).

Can I bring my family members?
The Start-Up Visa allows you to bring your spouse/civil or cohabiting partner and any children under the age of 18 as long as you are able to support them to the level discussed above. They will need to apply using form MF1. The initial application takes around 1 month to process and they will be granted a residence permit for the same duration as yours. They must submit a separate extension application if they are to remain in Denmark after the expiry of the initial term. This extension application takes 3 months to process.

Application Process

STEP 1 – Submit your business plan to Startup Denmark.

STEP 2 – Startup Denmark’s expert panel will review your business plan and you will notified of the outcome within six weeks of submission. If your business plan is approved you will receive a formal letter of approval.

STEP 3 – Create a case order ID online at Startup Denmark’s website and pay the fee.

STEP 4 – Gather any supporting documentation (if the documents are not in English, German, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish, you must also submit certified translations into Danish or English) and complete application form SD1.

STEP 5 – Make an appointment and submit your biometrics at your nearest Danish embassy or consulate within 14 days of submitting your application for the residence permit.

STEP 6 – You should receive you residence permit within one month of submission.

STEP 7 – Arrive in Denmark. Your residence permit will be granted for an initial period of up to 2 years.

Pathway to Citizenship

STAGE 1 – Prior to the end of your initial 2 year residence term, you must submit an application for an extension. An extension will be granted so long as your business is developing in line with the business plan (Section 14 Aliens (Consolidation) Act). An extension may be grated for up to three years at a time.

STAGE 2 – After a period of 8 years living in Denmark, you can apply for Permanent Residence (Section 11(3)(1) Aliens (Consolidation) Act). As above, you must continue to meet the criteria for the initial application and your business must be progressing in line with your business plan. Additionally, you must:

· have passed the Danish 2 Language Test (Section 11(3)(7) Aliens (Consolidation) Act); and
· meet two of the following requirements:

o pass a civic qualification test or displayed active community commitment through at least one year’s participation on committees in organisations (or similar);
o been in full time self-employment for at least the last 4 years in the last 4 years and 6 months prior to the grant of permanent residence;
o have a yearly taxable income of DKK 270,000 (€36,242) for the past two years prior to prior to qualification for PR; and
o pass the Danish 3 Language Test (Section 11(4) Aliens (Consolidation) Act).

The average application processing time for a PR application is 10 months.

STAGE 3 – After 9 years living in Denmark with a residence permit, you may be eligible for Danish citizenship. You must:

· renounce any other citizenships held;
· continue to show that you are able to support yourself and any family members;
· have passed the Danish Education Examination in Danish 3 (or equivalent – see Appendix 3a to the Circular Letter on Naturalization);
· pass the Citizenship Test 2015; and
· participate in the municipal constitution ceremony (Citizenship Agreement 2018).

Your spouse/civil partner and children can also apply for PR and naturalisation as your dependant on the same timeframe (though children must be aged over 18 for naturalisation). An application for Danish citizenship takes an average of 20 months to process.

Visa Fees

Main Applicant

Residence Permit Application Fee: DKK 1,900 (€255)
Extension of Residence Permit Fee: DKK 1,900 (€255)
PR Application Fee: DKK 7,035 (€944.49)
Naturalisation Fee: DKK 3,800 (€510.17)

Dependent Applicants

Accompanying Family Member Residence Permit Fee: DKK 1470 (€197.36)
Extension of Accompanying Family Member Residence Permit Fee: DKK 1470 (€197.36)
PR Application: DKK 5,030 (€647.26)
Naturalisation Fee: DKK 3,800 (€510.17)