The Danes 3 – Bureaucracy

Denmark is no exception to bureaucracy, so before you start doing anything, take care of bureaucracy first! It might take a while, but in the end it will work out. Although you might get some white hair during the process


 When moving to Denmark, there are three institutions you need to pay a visit:

aStatsforvaltnings (State management/Registration Office) – in order to legally live in Denmark, non-EU citizens need a ‘residence permit’ and EU citizens, staying for more than 3 or 6 (in case of job seekers) months, need a ‘registration certificate’.

b.  Borgerservice (Citizens Service) – once you have the residence permit/registration certificate you have to go to the town hall in order to get registered and receive the Danish Social Security number (CPR number).

In the same time you will need to choose a General Practitioner and you will receive a ‘yellow card’ (health insurance card) in your mail after 2 weeks

Important – You cannot have a CPR number without the residence permit/registration certificate!!!

The CPR number provides access to your bank account, library, university facilities, public institutions! You need one to exist!

c. SKAT (tax authorities)every person in Denmark has a tax card. For university employees this is withheld by the university, but you still need to register at SKAT.

d. International Citizens Service !!!there is a brand new ONE STOP OFFICE in Aalborg, Aarhus and Copenhagen, where there is a representative from all three above mentioned institutions and you do all your paperwork in 1 day!!

Be aware that if you do not choose ICS the whole procedure can take up to 1 month, a period in which you cannot open a bank account, and thus have no salary


–          In Denmark you can only open a bank account, once you have your CPR number!
–          It takes approximately 5-10 working days to open a bank account
–          All information will be received by post (PIN number, cards etc.)
–          You shall also receive a NEM ID, which is a set of codes you will use to login to your bank account or when taking care of bureaucracy matters online (tax, registration etc.)
–          Be aware that in the first 3 months you will only get a provisional card which in many cases is not accepted in all places!!!
–          Only after the bank is sure that you are here to stay for a longer period of time (generally they look at whether you have received at least three salaries) you may apply to get a VISA DANKORT, which is accepted everywhere
–          Opening a bank account at Danske Bank costs 300 DKK (40 euros) which shall be deducted from you first salary
–          The two most widely used banks in Denmark are Danskebank and Nordea
–          Every employed person in Denmark has a mandatory NEM Konto (account) which means that the authorities can check your account when there is suspicion of tax fraud.


–          Make sure you give your CPR number to the salary department and make sure they note it down correctly → in Denmark the authorities know your account (NEM Konto) by simply providing them your CPR number
–          the salary arrives on the last working day of the month
–          the amount stated in the contract is the gross amount – for.e.g. at a PhD level the overall taxes and contributions for the gross amount shall be around 42%


 –          When you have changed your address you will need to notify this to the Borgerservice because you will receive a new yellow card
–          It is possible to do it online or by simply going there
–          You will also need to go to the Post office and fill out a form with your old and new address

Aarhus, 16 Nov 2012



9 responses to “The Danes 3 – Bureaucracy

  1. And I though Denamrk was a civlised country… Really, I am glad to live in Poland where I can open a bank account in no more than 1 hour and after I leave the bank and arrive home my account is working and I can use e-banking as well. And one pay nothing for opening an account and tax authorities cannot check it anytime, and cards are not provisional and so on.

  2. Unfortunately this is Big Brother land Anna 🙂 and yes, on average a month passes by the time you have an account. A new colleague of mine did not go to the one stop office and I told him, so he got his account late because of the paperwork and got paid 3 weeks later. I got paid 3 weeks later ’cause the accountancy dep. messed up my papers. They can be quite sloppy with bureaucracy.

  3. I do understand that processing documents can take a while. But frankly why it takes a month to open an account while it can be done in less than 1h? That is something I cannot understand.

  4. Hello. I’m sort of new in Denmark and have gone through most of the paperwork already expect for the skat since I am a student and did not find work on my first semester. But regarding the bank account fee (300dkk), does it go off from the first salary or does it have to be paid anyway even if not working yet?

    • Hei Kadri,

      The 300 DKK will be deducted from your first salary. This also depends from bank to bank, so I can only talk about Danske bank. But there is a further catch. In the first 3 months I could only use a temporary mastercard (good for online bookings) but horrible when paying in Denmark, because most places only accept the Visa Dankort. After I showed them that I received 3 salaries, I got the Dankort. It might be different for students. Also, don’t forget that whenever u withdraw money from a cash machine not belonging to your bank, you have a 10 DKK (1.35 euro) commission. When you withdraw money abroad, regardless of the sum, you have 30 DKK of commission. So u can pay 4 euros for withdrawing 20 euros abroad. U also have a high commission when transferring to foreign currency accounts :/ It is Denmark and they will rip u off for many things. This is how they keep money in the country. If you need to do a transaction which is not online, but u go to the bank’s office and ask them to do it for you, you pay another 30 DKK per transaction. If you need to pay 2 things, u pay 60 DKK.

  5. Thanks for the info. It is very relevant for newcomers. I only arrived three weeks ago to Denmark and if I knew beforehand the time it would take to open the bank account I would have gone immediately to the bank after getting my CPR number. I thought it would be as efficient as in Portugal where you take less than 20 minutes to have an account at the bank. The International Citizens Service was indeed very efficient but I cannot say the same about Danskbank. It took exactly 15 days for me to receive the papers at home?! I simply don’t get it. We could simply fill out and sign the documents at the bank…

    • I’m glad it was of help for you. Do you still need to pay 300 DKK to open it at Danskebank. This is just the start. You will lose 30 DKK whenever you withdraw money in foreign currency and u lose 10 DKK when u withdraw money at another danish ATM, which is not Danskebank. Then, they r also planning to charge 100 DKK per month for having an account there. Welcome to Denmark.

  6. I wonder how does Greenland differ from denmark bcoz here i know a lot of people who came on tourist visa here in Nuuk , no residence permit yet and still able to obtain a cpr number in greenland. When asked how did they do it, they simply answer they knew someone at the kommune who was ” a friend” who did a very nice favor. Even a child born to non-danish couple was given a danish pas bcoz it “was born in Greenland” and they have a friend at the politi. I wonder if what law do we have here regarding this legal matter.

  7. hello, I am here in Denmark only for a few months and they gave me a tax number instead of a CPR number to be able to work here.. do you know if I can open a bank account only with that number?

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