We’ve now been in Denmark about a month, and in our new apartment for about 3 weeks and things are settling down nicely – we have sorted our internet and TV packages (high priority) and all the furniture is in and erected and everything is unpacked. We couldn’t be happier with the result.
I have also been busy. As a European, I currently have the right to move freely across Europe (I say currently as all this is set to change following the UK’s exit from the European Union). Although I have the right to free movement, however, I am still required to register with the Danish Authorities that I am residing in Denmark on a permanent basis.
Normally, you are only able to register as a resident of Denmark (when from Europe) if you can either prove that you a) have employment or b) can support yourself financially. You have up to 6 months from when you enter the country to find a job (if you don’t arrive with one) and then register. If you don’t find a job, the Danish authorities can send you back from whence you came. If you are providing for yourself financially (i.e. will not be a burden on the state), you have to provide evidence in the form of bank accounts to show this. You have to have above a set figure to be able to have residency based financial security, and it’s quite high.
As I am married to a Dane, however, I have been able to register under the reunification rules. This meant that I could register right away.
Denmark is a wonderfully organised country and no less so when it comes to their immigration. They have the International Citizen Service with offices across the country that can provide you with advice and guidance about how to register as a resident of Denmark and what you will need to do so. They also provide all the services that you will need to register including with the local authorities (kommune) and tax authorities, essentially providing a one-stop shop for folks like me.
My experience of the service was, overall, a good one. There was a slight mishap the first day I went to register which was essentially a misunderstanding between me and the adviser at the Aarhus office. I went to register alone but as I was registering under the family reunification rules, my wife also needed to be there.
We went back for the session the following day and actually the registration process was done and dusted within about 30 minutes. This included getting the residence certificate, CPR number and registering with the Kommune.
There is some form filling, as you would expect. If you are planning on coming to DK and registering (and are from the EU, you will at least need the form at this site.
I have touched on the CPR number already in this post but thought I would explain in some more detail.
CPR stands for Central Person Register (or Det Centrale Personregister) and is similar to the British National Insurance number. This is the number that identifies you as a person. It is linked to everything you do in your dealings with the government but also with health providers, banks and any institution that is going to give you a service – your mobile phone provider, for example, will want your CPR number when you order a new contract.
It works like this – MMDDYY of your date of birth, followed by four random digits. In this sense it’s pretty easy to remember.
Predictably, the Danes do their interaction between government and citizen very well, too. The website Borger.dk (Borger is Danish for ‘citizen’) is where you log in to do anything from see your entitlement for holiday pay to ordering a new Danish passport, from getting a fishing licence to dealing with your tax affairs. In order to access the services within Borger.dk, you log in using your CPR number and your secure password system, known as NEMID.
NEMID is the password service that works hand-in-hand with your CPR number. Not only do you use both to log in to the citizen portal of the Danish government’s websites, you also use it to log into your net-banking, for example.
Essentially, you apply for NEMID (this was done for me as part of my registration at the International Citizen Service). You then receive a one-time activation code and a set of passcodes. Each time you log into a website requiring NEMID, you then use your CPR Number, a passcode of your choice and then a one-time passcode from the card provided.
There are many Danish banks. Some larger than others, as in the UK and other countries. The largest, by my reckoning, are Danske Bank and Nordea.
Both Danske Bank and Nordea have both business and private banking divisions, as with most high-street banks. Crucially both also have customer departments, and net-banking facilities in English. This is great if, like me, your Danish isn’t yet a strong as it might be.
Opening an account was easy. I provided my CPR number (see, it’s everywhere) and some ID in the form of my passport, and we were away. At time of writing, the account is open and I am just waiting for the card to be delivered. It’s taken about a week, all told, to do via email.
The dreaded tax. If and when you find work in DK, you will of course have to pay tax. This is done through the tax or Skat department and you will be provided with your tax ‘card’. Of course, you don’t actually get a card anymore but it is linked to your CPR number and of course you can see it online too at the Skat website. You’ll need, unsurprisingly, your CPR and NEMID to log on to this service.
Danes pay a large base rate of tax. And I mean large. However, as someone recently said to me, Danes are considered to be “happy taxpayers” in that although the tax rates are high, Danes feel like they ‘get something back’ for it, and so pay their taxes happily.
As I said, all of this, except my dealings with the bank, was done at the time I registered as being a resident of Denmark. The service really was second to none and so efficient. I should also note that the Aarhus office of the International Citizen Service is based in the offices of Work in Denmark in Aarhus and so the advisors there were also able to give me a wealth of information about finding work opportunities.
Comments, suggestions or corrections? Please feel free to comment below and I look forward to interacting with you.