The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Copenhagen (for EU citizens)
Moving to Copenhagen (or Denmark in general) might seem like a tedious sequence of interconnected steps. But it's actually not that hard. You just have to know how the steps follow each other and what they are about. That's why we're here.
This guide will help you go through the Danish "bureaucracy hell" as swiftly as possible. If you follow the guide closely you should be able to apply/book all necessary offline appointments on one day (Part 1 below) and then take one day out in town and gather all the necessary paperwork (Part 2 below). Below you can see the visualization of the whole process.
Rental contract w/ address
Proceed when you have the above
Apply for tax card
Apply for CPR
Apply for EU Reg. Cert. appointment
Apply for Borgerservice appointment
Book a bank meeting
Wait 2-3 weeks
🚶1 DAY IN TOWN
Go to SIRI (EU Reg. Cert.)
Go to International House (CPR)
Go to Borgerservice (NemID)
Go to bank (DK bank account)
Wait till you receive NemID details
Please note: In case you're a citizen of a non-EU country, the steps are a little bit different (eg. you need a work permit instead of the EU reg. certificate). We'll publish a suitable guide on this topic as soon as possible.
Let's get into the meaty stuff. It's crucial to first sort out the two necessary steps below:
Part 0: The prerequisites
Once you have collected the absolute prerequisites (above), it's time to do a few things online.
Part 1: Online things to do on the same day
The most important thing to know about the steps below is that once you apply online for your CPR number, you need to then activate it in person. You will receive an ‘invitation letter’ which comes within 2 weeks of applying online.
Therefore it’s best to schedule all other appointments on the same day you submit the online CPR application, and do so for around 3 weeks in the future (to be on the safe side of receiving the letter as CPR activation is a prerequisite for all other appointments). This way you’ll be able to just take one day out in town and collect all documentation.
If you've followed the steps above, you now have a set date to do all appointments in town on one day. Simply follow the tips below and you should be well on your way.
Once you've been around town and done all the heavy lifting, there's only a few more things to do below.
Part 3: The last few things
Other interesting things to know about Denmark and Copenhagen:
Sort out the two necessary steps below as soon as possible.
A) 🏢 Get a signed employment contract
A signed employment contract is the entry point to Denmark for most people.
This step is primarily up to you. We just want to emphasize that a signed employment contract is (usually) the first step to getting all the necessities of relocating / integrating to Denmark done with ease.
B) 🏡 Get a valid long-term rental contract
It’s important to quickly secure a long-term rental contract in Denmark. This enables you to register your permanent address and get a Danish CPR number (your social identification number).
- Employment contract (see step 1)
Quite often landlords require a valid employment contract before letting you rent the apartment.
How to find an apartment with a long-term rental contract in Copenhagen?
There are a few popular online portals where you can find apartments and rooms to live in Copenhagen. Most popular ones are:
- Various Facebook groups
In case you're a young professional you might find LifeX co-living apartments a great fit. You can find more about LifeX community below:See living options in co-living Lifex
🎓 What to do if you're staying at a temporary place? ▾
📬 Important note about the address and mailboxes in Denmark
In case your mailbox does not have your name on it, you always have to write in the name that is on the actual mailbox as your c/o (care of) address. In Denmark, if there is no way to associate your address to the name written on your mailbox, the post won’t be delivered to you.
For example: LifeX apartments usually have just "LifeX" on the mailboxes. So in this case whenever you list your address somewhere you list it as "John Doe c/o LifeX" and everything should be fine.
Below are all the steps that you can and should do online asap. The most important thing to know is that CPR appointment invitation comes within 2 weeks and it's not tied to a specific date. Therefore it's best to schedule all other appointments on the same day - around 3 weeks in the future (to be on the safe side). This way you'll be able to just take one day out in town and collect all documentation:
A) 💸 Apply for Danish tax card (online)
Tax card is the way to get registered into the Danish taxation system (SKAT). It’s important because it determines your income tax rate.
- Employment contract (see step 1)
Your employment contract in digital version, signed by you and your employer.
- Your employer’s CVR number
CVR Number is the publicly available business registration number in Denmark. You can find it on your employment contract.
- Passport copy
A clear copy of your passport in digital version.
How to apply for Danish tax card?
Simply click on the button below to log in to SKAT's system and fill out the form.Apply online for Danish tax card
🏁 What happens next
Once you've applied for your tax card, SKAT will automatically generate three things. You don't need to do anything yourself - you'll receive some of the things below in the post and some will go directly to your employer:
- Your tax card
It shows how much income tax you will end up paying.
- Preliminary income assessment
Your projection of taxes for the upcoming year.
- Your tax ID number
Your taxation number in the Danish system.
🎓 Learn more about Danish taxes ▾
B) 📇 Apply for a CPR number (online)
CPR stands for Det Centrale Personregister, which means Civil Registration System. Your CPR number is your personal identification number in Denmark and opens “the door” to the various Danish systems. This application is the first step to receiving your CPR number - whereby you must hereafter wait about 2 weeks for an invitation letter to activate your allocated CPR number in-person.
How to apply for a CPR number?
You can apply for your CPR number at International House via the button below. The link will say that you need EU registration certificate - but you only need when you actually go to the International House (and you will have it as we explain below).Apply for a CPR number
Once you’ve applied, you will get an email around two weeks later informing you are now invited to go to the International House for the CPR registration / activation.
🎓 Important notes about the CPR application ▾
🎓 Learn more about the CPR and the registration process ▾
C) 🇪🇺 Apply for EU Registration Certificate appointment (online)
EU registration certificate is the documentation of legal residence in Denmark. Because of the Schengen Agreement, you can stay in Denmark for up to three months before you register. However, you will not be able to get paid here until you receive this certificate, (which is a prerequisite for a CPR number and a Danish bank account).
How to apply for an EU registration certificate appointment?
You can apply for an EU registration certificate appointment at State Administration via the following button. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Apply for an appointment at State Administration (SIRI)
- Book an appointment about 3 weeks in the future
We advise you to book this appointment about 3 weeks in the future if booking the same day as applying for your CPR (highly recommended)- which will ensure that you will have already received an invitation to the International House to activate the allocated CPR number (see step 2 above).
- This is only a booking - no form to fill out
No online application is required here, you only need to book the appointment - you will then fill in a physical application form (OD1) in the citizen centre (they already have them printed) just before your appointment.
- Book an appointment as early in the day as possible
Because having an EU registration certificate is a prerequisite for getting a CPR number, you should try to get the EU registration certificate sorted as quickly in the day as possible.
- Click on the 1st option when applying for booking slot
When you click through to the booking system below please choose the 1st option - "I am applying for residence under EU rules".
- Take a screenshot of confirmed booking
Remember to take a screenshot of the booking confirmation so you can later bring it in to SIRI office.
D) 🏛️ Apply for NemID appointment (online)
NemID is your digital signature and grants you digital access to important things like your net banking, taxes and more. It is important that you do not share your NemID information with anyone! Your NemID consists of three parts: username, password and a key card (with 6 digit codes). There are two steps to obtaining NemID: registration via a visit to Borgerservice (this step) and an activation (one of the last steps below).
How to apply for a NemID appointment?
Here's a few things to keep in mind when booking an appointment at Borgerservice:
Apply for an appointment at Borgerservice
- Click on the "NemID" when applying for booking slot via the button below
- Select to book an appointment on the same day as you booked EU Registration Certificate appointment
We advise you to book this appointment a few hours after the EU Registration Certificate appointment so you have time to go to both SIRI and International House before this visit (you need the CPR number for successful NemID registration).
- Then click on "Borgerservice Nyropsgade" and book a time slot
E) 🏦 Set up an appointment at one of the Danish banks (via email or phone)
It is important to get a Danish bank account set up quickly, so you have access to pay and receive money locally free of charge (especially your salary - by law you must have a danish bank account to receive salary).
How to book an appointment at a Danish bank?
We recommend Danske Bank. They have a dedicated international clients department and their entire service and product is translated into English.
- Set up an appointment at Danske Bank
You can give them a call (+45 70 25 11 22) or send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up a meeting.
- When to book the appointment?
We advise to book the appointment on the same day as the EU registration appointment. Furthermore, make sure to book it as late in the afternoon as possible. This will ensure that you have enough time to go to SIRI office (for EU registration certificate) and International house (for CPR) before that. Both of these are prerequisites to opening a Danish bank account.
If you've followed the steps above, you now have a set date to do all appointments in town in one day (for International House you don't need an appointment - just an invitation to come in to set up the CPR). Just follow the tips below and you should be well on your way.
⚠️ Prerequisites (what to bring with you):
- Print and fill out the OD1 Application form
You can find the OD1 application form here. Remember to print it out, fill it out by hand and in all caps. Alternatively you can just arrive 15 minutes early at SIRI and fill the OD1 application form there (they already have them printed out).
- Employment contract (printed out)
IMPORTANT: If your employee contract was signed MORE THAN 30 days before your appointment, then your employer needs to fill out APPENDIX A in the OD1 application form (in hard copy).
- Rental contract (printed out)
- 1 Passport size photo
- Your original passport
- A booking confirmation for the SIRI visit for EU registration certificate (for step A below)
Either a screenshot from when you did the booking or at least the reservation code you got upon making the booking.
- An invitation letter to the International House for CPR registration (for step B below)
The attachment in the email you got from International House telling you your CPR number is ready. This has your case ID on it.
- A booking confirmation for the Borgerservice visit (for step C below)
The attachment in the email you got from International House telling you your CPR number is ready. This has your case ID on it.
- Tax identification number (TIN) for other countries where you pay taxes
A) 🇪🇺 Go to State Administration Office (SIRI) for EU registration certificate
EU registration certificate is the documentation of legal residence in Denmark and it is obtained at state administration office.
What to know about the visit to SIRI?
Go to SIRI on Ellebjergvej 52, 2450 København. Make sure to bring with you all the prerequisites listed above.
After the appointment you should be able to walk out with an EU registration certificate that you can use to obtain CPR number (below).
Please note that it can happen that for some reason SIRI office can't issue the EU registration certificate on the spot. In this case you'll receive the registration certificate by mail in 2 weeks. If you end up in this unfortunate situation, then you should do the steps 2 and 3 below when you finally receive the registration certificate (and not on the day of your visit to SIRI).
🎓 Important notes about the OD1 form ▾
B) 🏛️ Go to International House for CPR registration
International House helps you set up your Danish CPR. The address is Gyldenløvesgade 11.
- EU Registration Certificate (from previous step)
What to know about the visit to International House?
Simply visit the International House on the same day as the State Administration Office (SIRI). Just make sure you do it afterwards as an EU registration certificate is a prerequisite to obtaining the CPR number.
- What to do at the International House?
When you come in, go to the terminal and select CPR registration. Wait for your number to be called. Once your number is called, bring your documents, including your new EU registration certificate.
The waiting times are steep, so expect to wait up to an hour for your number to be called. Once it is, the process is pretty fast - about 15 minutes.
Once done with the visit, you will walk away with a temporary CPR 'card' and your yellow health card ordered.
🎓 Learn more about the visit to International House ▾
C) 🏛️ Go to Borgerservice for NemID registration
Bogergerservice will help you register your NemID. NemID is the common login solution for public self-service and online banking in Denmark. Borgerservice office is around the corner from International House on Nyropsgade 7.
- Your CPR (from previous step)
You need to first visit International House and get the CPR number in order to successfully order the NemID.
What to know about the visit to Borgerservice?
If you followed the steps above you have an appointment scheduled on the same day as other appointments in Borgerservice on Nyropsgade 7. Simply go there with your new CPR number and you should be good to register your NemID.
You won't be able to activate your NemID on the same day though. You'll get the keycard and some other details for activation via mail later.
D) 🏦 Go to the bank where you made an appointment
It is important to get a Danish bank account set up quickly, so you have access to pay for things and to receive money (for example your salary). As mentioned before, we recommend Danske Bank.
- National Identification Number from original country (usually your Passport number)
- Tax identification number (TIN) for other countries where you pay taxes
- CPR number
- EU registration certificate
- Employment contract
What to know about the visit to the bank?
At the bank, they will help you set up a Danish bank account. The account will be active within three-five days. Along with an account, you will also be designated a Nemkonto. A Nemkonto or "Easy Account", is just a little flag on your normal account. It is required by law to have it and if the Danish authorities ever need to send you money (for example SKAT), then that’s where they will send it.
- Receive the mail with NemID keycard and NemID activation instructions
A) 📟 Activate your NemID (online)
NemID is your digital signature and grants you digital access to important things like your net banking, taxes and more. It is important that you do not share your NemID information with anyone! Your NemID consists of three parts: username, password and a key card (with 6 digit codes).
How to activate your NemID?
Activate your NemID
- Activate NemID
Once you receive the mail in the post regarding your NemID, then go to the website via the button below, click on Self Service and input temporary username and password that you have got in the International House. Once you’re in the system you can change the username and password combination. And that’s it - you can now log in to everything important in Denmark!
B) 💻 Set up your E-boks (online)
E-boks (or "E-box") is your Danish digital postbox and is linked to your Danish personal registration number (CPR). This is where you receive mail from important authorities, like the Danish government, bank, etc.
- Your activated NemID (see step 1 above)
How to set up your e-Boks?
There are two ways to obtain your EU registration certificate:
Set up e-Boks now
- Click on the button below to start the process
- Select the option "Sign up Personal"
- Use your NemID to access the account
- Follow the prompts for the setup
They will ask you for your phone number and email. This is to set up alerts if you get something in your e-Boks.
- After the setup
Once everything is set up, you will receive your first digital letter, which is a welcome letter.
Please note: it is your responsibility to check e-Boks as it is just like your regular mailbox (you will, however, receive reminders in your personal email each time you receive a mail to your e-Boks).
Other interesting things to know about Denmark and Copenhagen
Ok, now we've gone through the heavy part and you should be all set to legally start your new life in Denmark.
In the following sections we'll try to highlight some interesting tidbits about everyday life in the Danish capitol. We'll go through everything from healthcare setup to culture and transportation. Let's dive in!
1. 🇩🇰 Culture
There are a few things that make the Danish culture quite unique. Let's go through three of them.
- High trust level
One big thing is that the Danish society is based on extremely high levels of trust and safety. There is not only a lot of trust amongst the Danes, but also towards various institutions, like the police, government, hospitals and schools. For example, in Denmark, parents can actually leave their babies sleeping outside of a cafe in a baby pram while they enjoy a coffee inside, without having to worry that something will happen to the baby.
- Janteloven (Law of Jante)
Danes are all about being a homogeneous unit: You are not to think you're anyone special or that you're better than anyone else. The idea is that you should not step outside of the social group and instead attempt to enable everyone to fit in. Jante Laws tend to level out society, as the people as a whole get to set the rules, not the rich alone. This permeates not only in people’s personal lives, you will surely not miss all the black, greys and white undertones of clothing, but also in the professional lives - where Danes are highly collaborative and not the biggest fans of upfront conflicts. Making sure everyone is at peace and is living in harmony is the core mantra for the Danish way of existing.
You can easily get by speaking English in Copenhagen - an average Dane speaks and understands English very well. That said, in case you'd like to stay in Denmark for a longer period you might want to try and learn the Danish language. Language classes are partially subsidized and currently cost DKK2.000 per module (altogether there are six modules). You can apply and study Danish in one of the following schools: Studieskolen, Clavis or Copenhagen Language Center.
You must have come across the the word “hygge” when preparing your move to Copenhagen. Hygge (pronounced “hooger”) is the Danish concept of togetherness while being cozy. Nobody really knows how to translate it but candles play an important part in it. It’s the feeling of getting in from the cold and rain and meeting your friend that you haven’t seen in a long time for coffee. There is candles and soft jazz playing. The table next to you is playing dice. In short, it is about enjoying the small and good things in life together with the people you care about.
2. 🌦️ Climate
It shouldn’t come as a shock that Denmark is not a tropical country. It is quite the opposite, with lots of rainy and windy days.
But don’t get discouraged because whenever the sun is out, the whole city comes to life. Being so far up north, Denmark has really long, beautiful days during the summer (from June till September), with nearly 20 hours of sunlight per day. This does also mean that we have very short days during the winter (Late October - March), with about 7 hours of sunlight. But this is easily compensated by the huge emphasis on hygge and candle lights in the Danish homes.
Temperatures usually range from around 20-30°C during the summer and around 0°C during the winter. This of course means that as soon as the temperature hits 10°C, you can expect to see people wearing shorts and skirts, and even going swimming.
3. 🏥 Healthcare
When you register as a resident in Denmark and for the CPR number, you will receive a yellow card, or Health Insurance Card. Your Health Insurance Card, or sygesikringskort, is your personal proof that you are eligible to use the Danish national health insurance.
Here's a few highlights of the Danish healthcare system:
- Automatic GP allocation
You automatically get registered to a doctor, who will become your personal doctor. The doctor is chosen by taking into consideration the availability of patients and the distance from your home.
- (Mostly) Free treatment
You have free access to treatment, counselling and guidance with your doctor. Specialist treatment are mostly free (see below for more details). Your personal doctor first examines you and then decides if you require special examination and/or treatment. They then refer you to the specialist (otherwise it is not free).
Depending on the treatment, the medication will have different costs. However, medications are subsidized by around 50-75%. You can pick the medication up at the pharmacies (Apotek), with a slip from your local doctor.
- Dental care
If you are over the age of 18, then the public health insurance does not cover dental care. It is, however, partly subsidized.
- Change of GP
You can easily change your doctor even if you're not moving. You log onto borger.dk (with your NEMID), and then follow the process of “Changing doctors” on your website. There is a fee of 200 DKK to change the doctor. Once you have selected a new doctor, you will get a new healthcare card within 2-3 weeks, in the post.
- EU-wide healthcare coverage
When you are covered by the Danish healthcare insurance and are a resident in Denmark, then you can/ should apply for the Blue EU healthcare insurance card. This is a healthcare card that covers you within the EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland. You can order the EU Health Insurance Card digitally by following this link.
4. 🚲 Transportation
Biking has recently become the #1 choice of getting around in Copenhagen. Moreover, Copenhagen has a well-established public transportation system with metro and bus lines. An additional plus is a fast and easy connection to the rest of the world through Kastrup airport.
Here's a few things to know about transportation in Copenhagen:
- Biking as a mean of transportation
In Copenhagen, biking is not seen as a leisure activity, but instead as a transportation vehicle that will get you from A to B. So, if you don’t know how to ride a bike, then it is highly suggested that you learn it as soon as possible!
- Biking in Copenhagen 101
You always stay on the right side of the bike lane. If you want to get in front of the person in front of you, you have to look behind yourself first to make sure no one is coming from behind. Only then can you proceed to get a head (Important, if a person is coming from behind and wants to overlap you, then they get first priority and you have to wait). If you want to turn left or right, you have to stick your hand out to the side you want to turn (for example, if you want to turn right, you have to stick out your right hand). If you want to stop, you have to put your hand up in the air. Very basic 101 rules. Learn them or risk geting yelled at :)
- Bike sharing network - Donkey Republic
If you don't want to buy your own bike or are staying in Copenhagen for only a short period of time we highly recommend you use the well-spread dockless bike sharing network/app called Donkey Republic. The bikes have a quickly recognizable orange color.
You should get a so-called Rejsekort when using the public transportation system here. Rejsekort is an electronic ticketing system for travelling by bus, train and metro. You can purchase it online here.
5. 📱 Mobile phones
The mobile market in Denmark is very competitive, which not only pushes the prices down but also provides many different types of mobile subscription packages. So finally, something that is cheap in Denmark (Yay!).
Here's a few things to know about biking in Copenhagen:
- Prepaid phone carriers
This is a good temporary option for when you just arrive in Denmark, as it does not require a CPR number. It provides a lot of flexibility as it is “pay-as-you-go” system. You can top-up the card online or in stores (Electronic stores, kiosks, and most supermarkets). There are different companies that provide these type of SIM cards like: Lycamobile, Yousee and Lebara.
- Contract phone carriers
Once you have a CPR number, Danish address and a Danish bank account, then you should consider getting a mobile subscription package from one of the following providers: Telia, Telenor, 3, TDC, CallMe, etc.
- Must-have "local" apps
Once you have a Danish bank card you should definetely download and use an app called MobilePay. It has become the primary way for peer-to-peer payments and basically everyone use it. Moreover, you should download apps that help you navigate the Danish state systems: NemID and E-boks.