Moving to Denmark is an exciting pursuit and one that many Americans undertake.
As of 2018, there were an estimated 8,998 Americans living in Denmark’s 99 different municipalities. Of these Americans, over 3,000 of them were living in beautiful Copenhagen.
Why are Americans considering moving to Denmark, even though it isn’t as easy to move there compared to other European Union countries?
Denmark is a beautiful country with high quality of life, great Danish culture, gorgeous architecture, good social support systems, and more. It’s known as one of the happiest countries in the world, too!
If you’re thinking of moving to Denmark from the U.S., it will require some thoughtful planning, research, and budgeting. Use our moving cost calculator to get a free estimate of what your move might cost.
In this moving to Denmark guide, we’re going to look at why many U.S. citizens are opting to migrate to Denmark. In addition, we’ll discuss how you can move to Denmark by looking into the various Danish visa options.
Plus, we’ll show you the different ways you can move your things to Denmark from the U.S. and highlight a few of the best places to live in Denmark.
How to move from the U.S. to Denmark: Best international movers
|Minimum Move Size
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There are several options when it comes to moving to Denmark. You can work with a professional international moving company that handles everything from start to finish or you can choose to ship your items via air or sea freight. In the table above, you’ll find some of the best options with great reputations, high customer satisfaction, and years of experience.
Denmark visa information
Americans need a visa to move to Denmark. If you’re an American, you have the opportunity to enjoy visa-free travel around Denmark. However, U.S. citizens are not entitled to visa-free resettlement.
Since Americans belong to a non-EU country and are not EU citizens, they are legally on the same footing as people from countries like China and India, in terms of immigration to Denmark.
When planning your move to Denmark, one of the first things you need to consider is which type of visa you’re eligible to obtain — there are four main options for Americans to take advantage of.
Some Danish visas will grant you the opportunity of permanent residency down the line, but others, like student visas, will not. Most Danish visa options cost approximately $450, and this sum includes your residence permit.
Here we’ll provide a brief summary of the main visa types so that you have an idea of what to expect. To learn more about the specific visa requirements, visit the Danish government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Newtodenmark.dk — which is the Danish Immigration Service and the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration’s official website — to learn more about applying for a Danish visa.
A student visa
If you only want to move to Denmark for a short amount of time and would like to continue higher education, you can apply for a student visa.
Living in Denmark on a student visa will allow you the perfect opportunity to determine if this country is somewhere you would like to live on a more permanent, long-term basis.
The process for obtaining a student visa is fairly straightforward. You’ll need proof of identification and an acceptance letter from a Danish university.
Once you have applied for your Danish student visa and have been accepted, it will last for the length of one academic year. Additionally, it will take approximately 60 days for your Danish student visa to be granted.
A family reunification visa
If you already live in Denmark and are a Danish citizen, you can apply for a family reunification visa if you want your spouse, partner, or children to move from America and join you in Denmark. The specific visa process will vary according to your family’s relationship with you (i.e., spouse versus child).
Essentially, there are visas for cohabiting partners, parents, siblings, spouses, and children of those granted residency in Denmark or citizens of this country. In many instances, a visa to get your American family moved and settled in Denmark can take up to ten months and will likely cost you on average $1,000.
A work visa
Denmark is arguably the most popular destination among the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Denmark).
It might come as a surprise, but Danes speak English. That’s why this country is an attractive option for U.S. citizens to live in, especially if they don’t speak another language besides English.
However, not speaking the Danish language can be seen as a negative if you want to obtain a governmental position. If you compare Denmark to other EU countries, there are also limited work permit options available to Americans. Yet obtaining an English-speaking job in big cities like Copenhagen (the largest city in Denmark), Aarhus, and Odense is possible.
Unlike EU and EEA citizens that need no work permit to enter and work in Denmark, Americans need a work permit if they wish to work in Denmark. However, you should note that obtaining a job in Denmark as a U.S. citizen is difficult because of this country’s “Foreigners Directorate.”
Many Danish people firmly believe that limiting immigration helps reduce the supply of foreign labor to the country and helps maintain the country’s many social benefits and high wages. That’s why it is getting harder for Americans to obtain work visas, but it isn’t impossible, especially if you manage to get sponsored by a Danish company.
A spouse visa
It is often easier to obtain a spouse visa than it is to get a work permit in Denmark.
In this country, if you are marrying or married to a Danish person, the law doesn’t discriminate against gender or race. However, to obtain a spouse visa, you and your partner must be at least 24 years old. You will also have to pass a Danish language test within six months of moving to Denmark.
Additionally, your partner must have his or her own home that is large enough for you both to live in. Moreover, he or she must be able to put down a deposit of $8,000 with the Danish government to prove that he or she will be able to support you.
The process for moving to Denmark
When you are planning your move to Denmark from the U.S. there are a few requirements you need to note. Here, we’ll cover the process of moving to this Nordic country.
Ready to make the move? Once you have your visa plan in place, get free quotes from the best international movers.Learn More
Obtain temporary residency
Before moving to Denmark, you will need to apply for temporary residency. If you’re granted temporary residency, it will be valid for five years.
With temporary residency, you will be allowed to work in Denmark, and you will have access to healthcare and education benefits.
Obtain A CPR number
Once you have been granted legal residency, you can apply for a personal identification number known as a CPR number. You can think of this number as a social security number. To obtain a CPR number, you will need a permanent address. You will need to physically get your CPR number from a citizen service center or an international citizen service center.
Besides needing a CPR number for health insurance cards and social benefits, you will also need this identification number for buying a house, paying taxes, and receiving salary payments. Additionally, no service providers will help you if you don’t have a CPR number which is why it’s best to get one as soon as possible.
Open a Danish bank account
After successfully obtaining your CPR number, you can open a Danish bank account, register with the Danish tax authorities, and get your nemID. This ID is known as a national electronic ID and digital signature. Citizens use this to access private and public services.
Get Danish permanent residency
Often, the hardest part of moving to Denmark is obtaining permanent residency. There are strict criteria that you need to meet for you to be able to settle completely. As an American, you can apply for permanent residency within four years and need to meet the following requirements:
- Prove you worked full-time each of those four years.
- Pass the Danish language exam
- Pass an active citizenship exam.
- Demonstrate that you earned an income of more than 290,000 kroner in each of the last two years of your temporary residency.
If the requirements are too difficult for you, there is a slightly easier, though longer, way to obtain permanent residency in Denmark — by residing in Denmark for eight years. During those eight years, you need to work for three and a half years full-time during the previous four years. In addition, you have to fulfill two of the additional requirements mentioned above.
How to move your belongings from the U.S. to Denmark: Costs and options
Moving to Denmark from the U.S. will require you to move your belongings, like clothes, books, and potentially furniture, too. The two main ways to do this are using air freight or sea freight.
If you only require a few items moved, have fragile items that you need to ship, or need your belongings with you quickly, you might want to consider air freight. However, you should note that the cost of air freight is significantly more expensive than the cost of sea freight.
On average, to fly 550 pounds worth of belongings via air freight, you should expect to pay $675 from New York to Copenhagen. To ship 550 pounds to this destination, you can expect your belongings to arrive within 10 hours.
International air freight companies
Since Denmark is one of the shipping hubs of the world, it’s not difficult getting your belongings shipped from the U.S. to Denmark.
If you have a lot of possessions but don’t need your belongings in a hurry, shipping via sea freight is often a better idea because it is more cost-effective.
On average, you should expect to have to pay roughly $790 to ship a 20-foot container from New York to Aarhus. It will take approximately 17 to 31 days for your belongings to arrive.
International sea freight companies
Why are people moving from the U.S. to Denmark?
There are many reasons Americans want to move to Denmark. From great culture to healthcare and education, here are some of the main reasons to make the move.
The high cost of living and high tax rates in Denmark may be off putting for expats, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. In Denmark, the typical workweek is only 37.5 hours, which translates to 7.5 hours a day. In contrast, the typical workweek in the US is 40.5 hours, but this varies by industry, with some industries working more than this.
Another reason why Americans are choosing to move to Denmark is because of the many amenities available. There are many libraries, amusement parks, and beaches that are easily accessible and affordable even though income taxes are significantly higher in Denmark.
A unique healthcare system
Although healthcare isn’t totally free, it is still one of the reasons many Americans choose to move to Denmark.
The healthcare system in Denmark is one of the best in Europe and the world. Yet, what makes this healthcare system truly unique is its payment system. Instead of being charged at the point of service, your co-pay amount will be deducted from your paycheck as a tax withholding.
Although education in Denmark is free, it isn’t free for non-EU citizens, meaning U.S.A. students wishing to attend any of the international schools will have to pay tuition.
However, the cost is affordable compared to the price of American higher education, depending on what you want to study.
The country emphasizes equality
Another reason many Americans choose to move to Denmark is the emphasis the country places on equality.
Essentially, in Denmark, you are treated as an equal no matter what gender you are, how much you earn, what job you work, who you’re married to, or what your educational status is.
The second happiest country globally
America is not the happiest place to live, which is why many are choosing to live in a place that offers more opportunities for joy. According to the World Happiness Ranking study, Denmark is the second happiest country globally. (another Scandinavian country, Finland, is number one.)
This study considers everything from the country’s average salary to the amount of time people get to spend in nature. Interestingly, the study uncovered that those who move to Denmark are not any less likely to be happy than those who are born in Denmark.
Cycling and exercise are ingrained in the culture
Why is it relevant that Denmark is one of the flattest countries globally? Well, it’s relevant because many Americans enjoy exercising and cycling, and in Denmark, these activities are easy to participate in because of Denmark’s flat landscape!
This is because the range of elevation in Denmark is incredibly slight. According to data, there is only a difference of approximately 584 feet between the highest and lowest points in the country.
Where are some of the best places to move to in Denmark?
It’s important to move to a city where you can feel safe and happy. Not every city suits every person’s unique needs, preferences, and wants. That’s why we’ve highlighted the top cities in Denmark and what type of person they’re best suited for.
Popular cities in Denmark to live
- Copenhagen: One of the most livable cities in Europe.
- Aarhus: Best for those with families.
- Aalborg: Best for students.
- Esbjerg: Best for eating out and entertainment.
- Odense: Best for those who enjoy cultural and historical attractions.
Moving to Denmark: FAQs
Here are answers to the most common questions we get about moving to Denmark.
1. Can U.S. citizens move to Denmark?
Yes. In short, U.S. citizens can move to Denmark, but it is a difficult process because there are limited visa options available to citizens of non-EU countries. Most commonly, a U.S. citizen will find it easiest to move to Denmark with a work permit or with a spouse visa.
2. How much money will you need to move to Denmark?
It depends on whether you are moving alone or with your family. It is also dependent on the type of visa you are applying for and the mode of transportation you are using to move your belongings and yourself.
A typical Danish visa costs approximately $450, a one-way ticket from New York to Copenhagen costs an estimated $500, and costs for a typical container to move a household’s belongings starts at approximately $790.
3. Can I move to Denmark without a job?
Yes. As an American, you can move to Denmark without a job if you stay on a short-term basis with a student visa. Additionally, you can move to Denmark and become a permanent resident if you are marrying or are married to a Danish resident or citizen. Or, if you have Danish relatives sponsoring you who are residents or citizens of Denmark.
4. Is it worth migrating to Denmark?
Maybe. Ultimately, whether it is worth migrating to Denmark is a personal decision. This country is known for its excellent healthcare and schooling system, but these benefits are not as beneficial to Americans as they are to EU citizens.
5. How long does it take to apply for a visa to move to Denmark?
After finding a job in Denmark, you can apply for a work permit. Most visas in Denmark require you to have a work contract or a promise of one before moving to this country. Once you have submitted your Danish visa application, it will likely be approved within a few weeks. However, some Danish visas can take up to a year to be approved.
6. How long does it take to get a work permit in Denmark?
On average, it can take 10 to 30 days to get a Denmark work permit approved. Often the work permit known as the Fast Track Visa takes around ten days to be approved.
7. How can I move to Denmark?
When choosing to move to DKK, you have two options for moving your belongings. You can move them via sea freight or air freight. Hire a professional international moving company to make the move easy. Some even offer support for visa services and have customer service agents to make the transition smoother.
8. What are the benefits of moving to Denmark?
There are many benefits to moving to Denmark. For example, Denmark has a very low crime rate, they have shorter work weeks, there is an emphasis on equality, and they have a superb public transportation system.
9. How long does it take to get a Danish passport?
Typically, it takes four weeks to get an adult Danish passport, but it can take up to five weeks to obtain one during peak periods.
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