Denmark Entrepreneur Visa

Denmark, officially known as the Kingdom of Denmark, is a sovereign state located in Europe. Denmark is the southernmost Scandinavian nation and a Nordic country. It is located in the south-west of Sweden and, bordered by Norway in north and Germany in south. Denmark also comprises of its two constituent countries Greenland and Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Denmark also consists of a peninsula, Jutland and an archipelago of numerous islands counting up to 443 in total. The islands are flat, consisting of sandy coasts and arable land, low elevation and are moderate in climate.

Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark. As of 2018, the total population of the country is 5.8 million. Its total area is about 42,924 square kilometers and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is about 2.2 million square kilometers.

The official language of Denmark is Danish, while Faroese, Greenlandic and German have been recognized as its regional languages. The form of government is constitutional monarchy and unitary parliament. Majority of Danish people are Christians and the official currency of this European nation is Danish Krone (DKK).

Denmark – from the perspective of residence:

Moving to Denmark can be a rewarding choice, as this European Nation has many good points to make it a better destination.

  • Gender equality is practical in Danish society, men and women are treated indifferently in work place. Moreover, people are democratic in nature even in work place.
  • Denmark is a gateway to European market because of its unique geographical location in Europe.
  • Danish Welfare System is applicable to each and every registered person in the country. The system is working financially on the taxes paid by Danish people.
  • Local communication is not a problem in Denmark for outsiders, as most of the Danes, approximately 86 percent of population, speak English.
  • The official work environment is such that, there is low power difference between the senior managers and junior employees featuring a flat organizational structure.
  • The balance of work-life in Denmark is appreciable and healthy. The official timing is 8 hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, working hours are flexible and dressing is casual. The Danish people are keen on allocating adequate time for work and their personal life.
  • Denmark is a safe place. Crime rates are low. Children can safely walk to school by themselves. Famous people do not have to go out with bodyguards mandatorily. Even the Royal family of the state can interact with the locale with only a few bodyguards.
  • Denmark is a well-organized and a place where people are concerned about the environment. Tap water is drinkable, recycling is appreciated and is practically opted. You may find clean forests and coastal beaches in the country.
  • There are a lot of cafes and restaurants with a variety of food.
  • In 2014, Copenhagen was entitled as the world’s most livable city.
  • According to the World Happiness Report of 2016, Denmark was called as the happiest country in the world.

‘Start-up Denmark’ Visa Scheme

The Start-up Denmark visa scheme was initiated by the government of Denmark on 1st January, 2015. This scheme lets entrepreneurs across the globe to live and establish their start-ups in the country. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business developers to take their businesses to Europe, grow and target the European market.

An innovative entrepreneur with an intention of developing his/her business in Denmark which may be beneficial for Danish economy and will be able to create employment opportunities in the state, can be given residence and a permit to work for his start-up idea in the state.

Entrepreneurs that are expat are supposed to apply through the Start-up Denmark application procedure to get work permit and residence. This visa scheme is also applicable if more than one (two) people are willing to start their business together.

By presenting a business plan, you can apply to the Start-up Denmark visa scheme, and the visa scheme is thoroughly reviewed by a panel of experts. After the business plan is passed, you are eligible to apply for the residence and work permit in the country as a self-employed person. Maximum time period applicable for the permit is 2 years, which further can be extended up to 3 years at one go.

Benefits of Start-up Denmark Visa Scheme

  • After approval of the start-up idea, the applicants can apply for residence and work permit. Successful candidates get residence and work permit which lasts for two years and can be extended further.
  • This visa scheme let the applicants establish and develop their start-up in a great entrepreneurial environment which is also supported and promoted by great public business development schemes and access to the European market.
  • In public business development centers, free counselling and suggestions are provided, which helps entrepreneurs to improve their business and marketing strategy too.
  • This scheme also provides the applicants with welfare benefits which include education and health-care, which is also applicable to their spouse and children.

Application Procedure

Eligibility Requirements

  • The Denmark Start-up scheme is generally for self-employed entrepreneurs, who are not from European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU).
  • If the applicants are presenting a business idea as a team, then there can be maximum 3 members, and if their idea is approved, each member has to apply for the residence and work permit individually
  • A person that is neither EU citizen nor EEA citizen, can present a business plan together with citizens of European Union or the EEA. The citizens of EU and EEA do not require work and residence permit from the Danish authorities as they are liable to the European Union rules, according to which European nationals can move anywhere in the EU freely.
  • This start-up scheme is for innovative business ideas which have a potential for growth. Therefore, the start-ups such as import/export, restaurants, consultancy firms and retail shops have a high rejection rate.
  • Applicants are required to provide with a documented proof of their financial status such that they have enough funds to support their start-up during the 1st year in Denmark. Also shown that their children and spouse are accompanying them. Evidence must be provided that applicant can support his/her family financially. Following is the minimum amount of money that an entrepreneur must have according to the scheme rules.
  • 135,384 DKK, if the applicant is residing in Denmark alone.
  • 315,300 DKK, if applicant’s spouse and children are accompanying
  • 179,916 DKK, if only the applicant’s children are accompanying.
  • Every applications must be submitted in English language.

When an applicant applies for start-up Denmark visa then his/her start-up plan is examined by an independent panel of experts.

Application Processing Insight

Initially, secretariat of Start-up Denmark scheme filters all the submitted applications. Only those applications are shortlisted which fulfill the eligibility criteria. Then the applications are forwarded to the expert panel for assessment.

Following are the applications that are filter out by the secretariat:

  • Applications not presented in English language.
  • EU citizen Applicant.
  • Business types which do not have a growth possibility at all are screened out. Such businesses generally include restaurants, retail shops, import/export, smaller trade.
  • Insufficient information provided, which lacks clarity and/or credibility.

The applicants are not informed if their application is filter out and there is no option for appealing. Contrary to this, if the application pass the secretariat screening round, then it is forwarded to the Start-up Denmark’ expert panel for assessment.

Evaluation of Business Plan

At least, three members of expert panel from the Start-up Denmark evaluate the submitted business plan. The panel consists of experienced and independent business consultants.

Applications are evaluated on scores from 1 to 5 for five different assessment criteria. For getting the business plan approved the applicant must score an average of 3 points out of 5 for all the criteria. In addition to that, the score must be at least 4 out of 5 for recommendation criterion.

The 5 criteria that are checked before approval of any application are enlisted below.

  • How much innovative is the business structure?
  • The members of the panel are looking for a clever start-up plan that grabs an opportunity, creates a new market and accelerates it. A business plan is evaluated in terms of innovation inside it and introduction of valuable non-existing goods, mechanisms or services in its field.
  • How effective is the market potential of the business?
  • When assessing the potential of a start-up plan in market, the experts are more concerned about the potentials, market size and barriers of entry in the market. Moreover, the expert panel also assesses that how the applicant has planned to tackle the market and other competitors in the market if any.
  • How capable is the applicant/team?
  • Based on the profile of the applicant. Experts analyze if the applicant has acquired capabilities, competences and skills and expertise for the growth of the venture and making it profitable.
  • How much is the business model scalable?
  • The start-up plan is analyzed for how much, will the presented idea, be able to create employment opportunities in Denmark. So, this must be shown that the presented business is scalable.
  • Should this start-up application be recommended for Start-up Denmark scheme?
  • The Start-up Denmark visa scheme is oriented towards attracting innovative, development oriented and scalable start-ups in Denmark. As a result, the panel estimates that how much a start-up contributes to the country. The score of recommendation criterion sums up the previous four criteria put together. Therefore, this represents the quality of the entrepreneur and his/her business model presented.

If the business plan of an applicant gets approved, he/she receives an approval letter that give him/her right to apply for the residence and work permit.

Duration of Application Processing

Business plan is normally assessed by the panel of experts in about 6 weeks after the submission. In some situations, the processing time may be longer. Applicant receives the outcome of the application by the secretariat of Start-up Denmark Scheme.

If the evaluation gets a positive response then, applicant is entitled to apply for the work permit and residence at the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI). This agency usually takes 4 weeks for processing after the submission.


Application for Work Permit and Residence in Denmark

After getting the approval for the start-up from the secretariat of Start-up Denmark, applicant can apply for the residence and work permit in Denmark. Following steps must be taken while handing application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment Integration.

Step 1: Creation of a case order ID

The case order ID contains the name of the applicant, applicant’s passport number, email address, case type (Start-up Denmark) and a fee (2,110 DKK).

Step 2: Payment of required fee

All fee paid each year gets regulated on 1st of January every year. So, make sure that case order ID creation, payment of fee and presentation of the application all are done in the same calendar year. If an applicant pay the fee before 1st of January and present the application after 1st January, then his/her application is highly likely to get rejected.

Step 3: Collection of required documents before start filling the application form

Submission of the application must be in English, Danish, German, Norwegian or Swedish. Following documents are required for filling out the application form:

  • Proof of fee payment. Applicant must attach the receipt of payment.
  • All passport pages copies, even the empty ones and including the front and back covers too.
  • Certificate of Approval by Danish Business Authority’s panel of experts.
  • Evidence that the applicant can sustain himself/herself financially, during his/her stay in country.
  • Business Ownership Proof (If applicable).

Step 4: Complete the application form

At this step, the applicant has access to the necessary application document SD1. It is recommended to complete other preceding steps before starting.

Step 5: Recording biometric features

In Denmark, it is necessary to have biometric data recorded which include facial photo, fingerprints, which are supposed to be taken and kept on a microchip put in the residence card, which will be provided on approval.

If the application has been presented electronically, then there are 14 days for biometric recording, after the submission of application.

The biometric data can be recorded at a Danish Diplomatic Mission outside Denmark, or at the Danish Agency for International Recruitment Integration Citizen Centre, or at local Police Station in Denmark


Step 6: Getting an answer

After successful submission of the application, it will be reviewed for about one month before the applicant can get any response.

What are the Rights you gets when receives a residence and work permit under Start-up Denmark scheme

If all goes fine and well, and you successfully gets a residence and work permit, then there are many do’s and don’ts you have to follow. Details of which are given below:

  • You are allowed to work only in the company you has been granted a permit to work in.
  • A Danish residence and work permit is not valid for other Schengen nations.
  • Also allowed to take part in unpaid voluntary work.
  • While having existing permit, if you want to start a new business or offered a paying job he/she should get a new permit in that case.
  • The residence and work permit only let you live for the period it in valid.
  • Within the last 180 days of the permit, you can live in the Schengen zone for a period of 90 days max with this resident and work permit. It should be noted that the permit is only valid for living in Schengen zone, and it does not allow you to work in the Schengen countries.
  • You should not give up his/her local address in Denmark or live outside the country for a period of more than 6 months. Violating this rule will result in cancellation of the permit. To avoid permit lapse, if you have to live outside the country for a longer duration, then you must apply for the dispensation.
  • One of the benefits of Danish residence permit is that, you have the right to receive some Danish lessons which are partially paid by the user. To avail this offer, age must be 18 years or above and local address registered by Danish Local Register.

You can apply for the extension before the end of current permit duration, at least 3 months before. Extension of about 3 years can be granted.

If the validity period of your passport is less than the maximum duration of 2 years, your residence permit’s validity will be shortened. You can apply for the residence permit extension only after the renewal of your passport.

Residence Permit for Accompanying Family Members

A residence and work permit normally allows your family members to accompany you in the country. A residence permit can be provided to your spouse, children (under the age of 18, who are living with you) and registered or cohabiting partner in your business.

The normal processing time for the application, if your family members are accompanying you, is 2 months. The processing fee for the application is 1645 DKK.

To acquire a permit for accompanying family members following conditions should be met:

  • Necessary documents must be provided to prove that the members are related to you. Such documents normally include birth or marriage certificate or any other relevant document.
  • You must reside at same address.
  • They should also have their passports. This also applies to the infants born in Denmark.
  • You should be able to financially support your family.
  • If your spouse and you have joint custody of your child, and only you are living with your child. Then consent proof must be provided by your spouse, for the child to move to Denmark.
  • In case you are also applying for your cohabiting partner, you must know him/her very well and must be staying together for at least 1.5-2 years. This must be proved with the help of documents, such as, insurance policies, lease contracts, joint bank statements etc.

Extension in Residence and Work Permit

You are recommended to apply for extension in your current residence and work permit if it is about to expire. The extension can be approved further for 3 years at a time. It is your responsibility to apply for the extension of the permit before it expires. You are required to submit the application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment before the expiration of permit, even if the expert’s panel has not assessed the progress report of your start-up.

Application Procedure

To apply for the extension of permit, progress report of your business must be submitted for assessment by expert’s panel. You can get extension in your permit only if your business progress is approved.

  • Start the application by downloading the progress report form, from the website of Danish Government.
  • Fill out the business progress report form by providing all the details about your start-up’s current situation and development over the time.
  • After providing all the mandatory details, submit the application form. A representative from the expert panel will review your application. The evaluation takes about 4 weeks. The progress report is assessed by keeping in view 4 merit criteria, which include performance, potential, consistency and recommendation. Each criterion is marked between 1 to 5 and on average you must score at least 3 out of 5 to get the approval.
  • Once your business progress is approved, you should apply for the extension of your residence and work permit.

If the expert panel rejects your business progress report, you can claim about the rejection to the Danish Business Authority. A new representative, not from the previous panel, will then re-evaluate your business progress status.


Professional Services

For the start-up Denmark visa, it is better to use a professional firm for getting assistance in your application. Assistance of a professional advisory will greatly increase the chances of getting you the permit and will help you saving time and money. At Stephen M.S. Lai and Co. CPA Ltd. professional services are offered to make your application process simpler and easier. We will guide you on the checklist for the documents required, complete application processing, and business plan preparation. For more details get in touch with us.