The residence requirement

The rules regarding residence requirement means that in order to be eligible for benefits, you must have resided in the Danish Realm for a minimum of 7 years within the last 12 years prior to becoming unemployed.

If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country, residency within the EU or EEA countries can be used to fulfill the residence requirement.

If you are a citizen from a country outside the EU and EEA, only residence in Scandinavia can be used to fulfill the residence requirement.

The residence requirement rules will be phased in during a period of 3 years starting January 2019.

Residence requirement

Consequences of the residence requirement

The residence requirement might affect your right to unemployment benefits if you travel abroad or return to Denmark after living abroad.

The residence requirement means that we need information about your residences abroad within the last 12 years.

If you have lived abroad several years ago, the residence requirement might still affect your right to unemployment benefits as we have to look at the past 12 years prior to you becoming unemployed.
You do not need to fulfill the residence requirement in order to receive early retirement benefits.

When does it take effect?

The rules will take effect from January 1, 2019. The residence requirement will be phased in gradually until 2021. In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must in:

  • 2019, have resided in the Danish Realm or the EU/the EEA for at least 5 years out of 12 years
  • 2020, have resided in the Danish Realm or the EU/the EEA for at least 6 years out of 12 years
  • 2021, have resided in the Danish Realm or the EU/the EEA for at least 7 years out of 12 years

Returning to Denmark from abroad after January 1, 2019

The residence requirement will affect you if you become unemployed and get a new right to unemployment benefits January 1, 2019 or later. If you have previously been unemployed and obtained a right to unemployment benefits that you still hold, you will not be affected by the residence requirement. 

If you get a job and obtain a new right to unemployment benefits - which requires at least 1 year of work full time - you will be affected by the residence requirement if you apply for unemployment benefits.

If you are currently residing abroad and have kept your membership with Akademikernes A-kasse on the condition that you would be eligible for benefits when you return to Denmark, the residence requirement might affect you retrospectively.

Countries not affected

The residence requirement requires that you have resided lawfully in the Danish Realm or an EU/EEA country.

The Danish Realm includes Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Furthermore, residence in the EU-countries and EEA-countries - Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein - can be used to fulfill the residence requirement.
Great Britain is currently negotiating to leave the EU. Residence in Great Britain in the period prior to Brexit will most likely be eligible to be used to fulfill the residence requirement.
If you are a citizen from a country outside of the EU/EEA and have a valid work and residence permit in the Danish Realm then you have lawfully resided in Denmark.

Residencies that fulfill the residence requirement

In the residence requirement law there is a number of exceptions, which means that some residences abroad can be equated with residences in the Danish realm or another EU or EEA country. The exceptions are applicable if you:

  • Work on a Danish ship or offshore drilling rig
  • Reside abroad as the emissary of a Danish public authority – such as persons dispatched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its institutions. Local staff at Danish embassies or consulates is not covered by this exception. Local staff is however considered to be employed in the interest of the Danish public authority.
  • If you work in the interest of a Danish public authority, for example:
    - Residence abroad on a military mission for the Danish state under instruction from the defense forces.
    - Residence abroad during which the Danish state has made the person available for military missions under instruction from a foreign or international authority.
    - Work for an international organization of which the Danish state is a member such as the UN, NATO, EU, OSCE, OECD, The World Bank, space agencies and similar.
    - Residence when on loan to international organizations, such as residence as a seconded national expert, EU institutions, the foreign service, agencies and missions in which they work.
    - Work as a bilateral advisor (DANIDA advisor) by Danish expatriate staff working on programs, projects, etc., as part of the development aid.
    - Paid or unpaid work for a humanitarian aid organization. The work must be in the interest of Denmark, i.e. Danish humanitarian aid organizations supported by the Danish state.
    - Paid or unpaid work for Danish missionary society recognized by the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs, e.g. Bibelselskabet, Indre Mission, Danmission and Frelsens Hær.
    - Work at Danish educational institutions abroad (e.g. Sino Danish Center for Education and Research). 
  • Work in a branch or subsidiary company of a Danish firm
  • Reside abroad for educational purposes if you had residency in Denmark just before starting the education abroad
  • Work as a scholar abroad if you had residency in Denmark just before your residence abroad
  • Are the spouse or cohabitant partner of a person who fulfills one or more of the conditions above
  • As a minor under the age of 18 have been abroad with your parent if the parent fulfilled one or more of the conditions above

In the residence requirement, an exception is made for minors whose parents do not fulfill any of the exceptions above. This means that the residence requirement is fulfilled if you have resided in the Danish Realm or the EU/EEA for at least 7 years before turning 18.

Holidays and business travels

It does not count as residence abroad if your holiday or business travel does not require you to register yourself as emigrated from the country. The CPR-law states in which situations you must register yourself as emigrated.