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For residents coming from or moving to non EU Countries

Residency requirements and unemployment benefits in particular for persons coming from a country outside the EU/EEA or persons who have plans to move to a country outside the EU/EEA

From 1 January 2019, a new residency requirement has been implemented which must be complied with to obtain unemployment benefits in Denmark.

The residency requirement means that you must have stayed lawfully in Denmark, in EU countries or EEA countries for at least seven years out of the most recent 12 years.

In addition to the residency requirement, you still have to comply with the known rules to obtain unemployment benefits, including an income/job requirement, at least one year of membership of an unemployment fund etc.

The residency requirement:
  • In 2019, the residency requirement is five years out of 12. This means that you can have stayed outside the EEA area for up to seven years
  • In 2020, the residency requirement is six years out of 12. This means that you can have stayed outside the EEA area for up to six years
  • From 2021, the residency requirement is seven years out of 12. This means that you can have stayed outside the EEA area for up to five years 

When are you affected?

  • The requirement must be complied with by all who apply for unemployment bene-fits, and it may affect you if you have stayed outside the EU/EEA (EU + Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland) for a longer period.
  • The residency requirement must be fulfilled when you are to obtain a new right to unemployment benefits. So, only if you lose your job can the requirement be relevant to you. If you already have a right to unemployment benefits that you have not spent, you can spend the remainder of the right to unemployment benefits without having to comply with the residence requirement.


If you report unemployed in October 2019 and have not been unemployed before, you must have stayed in Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), in the EU or other EEA countries for at least five years within the most recent 12 years before the unemployment to obtain unemployment benefits. If instead you become unemployed during 2020, the requirement is instead six years, and from 2021 and onwards, the requirement is seven years.

You need not comply with the residency requirement if you have completed an Integration Education (IGU) and apply for unemployment benefits immediately after.

Periods in other countries abroad which may be included

There are situations where a person has resided in countries outside the EU/EEA area, which can be ranked alongside stays in Denmark. This applies to i.a.

  • If you are seconded for a Danish authority or a Danish business.
  • If you are abroad to study and have had residence and stayed in Denmark immediately before the education started.
  • If e.g. you have been seconded for Folkekirkens Nødhjælp (Danish Church Aid). 
  • If you are married to or cohabiting with a person who fulfils one of the above conditions, and you have had common residence before the departure.
  • If, as a child, you have been departed with your parents, you can be in other countries abroad until you reach the age of 23 and still comply with the residency requirement when you come home to Denmark, if you have resided in Denmark for at least seven years since you reached 18 years of age.

Residence requirement and other benefits

Early retirement benefit - the residence requirement only applies to the right to unemployment benefits. Therefore, the requirement should not be met in connection with an early retirement certificate or the transfer to early retirement.

Holiday allowance benefits - in order to get holiday allowance benefits, you must have a right to unemployment benefits. Therefore, the requirement may be relevant in connection with the payment of holiday allowance benefits made by the unemployment fund if you have had a right to unemployment benefits having expired at the time of the holidays.

Sickness benefits - The residency requirement generally has no importance if you get sick and apply for sickness benefits. Only in the cases where the right to sickness benefits is granted based on a right to unemployment benefits, must you comply with the residency requirement to obtain sickness benefits.

You should be aware:

You yourself must be able to document the situations where you have stayed in other EU/EEA countries. It is a good idea to keep the documentation at is may be difficult to provide later on.

Contact your local branch if, as a member, you are in doubt whether the rules are of consequence to you, then contact your local 3F unemployment fund for guidance.