Idiots guide to the Family Reunification (FA1) visa for Denmark

Update (09/09/2017): Google seems to think this FA1 visa guide is up there with nyidanmark.dk, goes to show how little relevant visa information is available from Udlændingestyrelsen… 😐


As a non-EU/EAA Citizen with a Danish spouse or cohabiting partner you can apply for a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification. If you have lived together in another EU nation for more than 6 months you can apply for family reunification under EU law.

In keeping with Danish tradition there are at least 7 types of application packets related to the Family Reunification visa so carefully choose the one relevant to you. My experience is limited to applying for this visa with a Danish spouse (FA1).

Here’s the bullet list to look out for:

Held og lykke (good luck)!

Update (08/07/2016): I went through the motions of this visa and was rejected on the grounds that I could not prove I had co-habited with my partner for the required 18 months regardless that we had documentation proving 3 years of living together in Denmark. The case was appealed by Udlændingestyrelsen themselves due to possible administrative errors, that’s the last I’ve heard about it.

My advice is that the non-EU spouse should get a work visa or look at applying for residency in a neighboring EU country immediately south of the Danish border till the immigration climate in Denmark improves as dealings with Udlændingestyrelsen is akin to taking a driving lesson with Karsten from Polle Fiction…


As a foreigner

  • You can apply with your Danish partner for a permanent visa after 3 years (36 months) of living permanently in Denmark
  • You can submit your visa application within Denmark if you have a valid visa or are pending an extension, if you have received a Refusal of extension of residence visa or any document indicating a ‘get out of Denmark date’ then your application will go into the waste bin of Udlændingestyrelsen (Danish Immigration Service); in this case you must apply from your home country
  • If your visa application is accepted you must pass the Danish A1 language exam within 6 months of being granted residence, failure can result in your residence permit being revoked and expulsion from Denmark within 30 days (see the above mention of the ‘get out of Denmark date’ warning)

As a Danish spouse

  • You cannot have claimed public assistance in the three years prior to submitting your application, as a Danish student SU is not considered ‘public assistance’ and will not affect your visa application
  • If you are not married to your foreign spouse you are financially responsible for them, even if your foreign spouse is self-supporting or supporting you
  • You will fill in 10 times what your foreign spouse will have to complete in required documentation

Both of you

  • Both you and your Danish spouse must be at least 23 and 6 months old
  • If you’re not married to your Danish spouse but have been co-habiting for more than 18 months (inside or outside of Denmark) then you’re almost treated equally, there is however an administrative difference in that your case will take significantly longer to review (an additional 2 months)
  • If your Family Reunification visa application is accepted the Danish spouse will have to post a secured bond of 52.490,12 DKK (as of 2015), it is not required at time of visa application only once the application is accepted

Additional goodies

Coming back to the collateral. In layman terms if your foreign spouse wants to join the Danish labour market immediately after passing the required Danish A1 language exam – which is typical – you will forfeit 31,494.07 DKK of the 52.490,12 DKK collateral as only 20,996.05 DKK is released, that’s 60% (exact figure: 59.9%) of the total collateral gone.

Proceeding to pass the A2 language exam will release an additional 10,498.02 DKK meaning a total of 20,996.05 DKK would be forfeited, that’s 40% of the total collateral gone.

The above figures are accurate as of 2015 and there is no ‘best friends’ list of exempted countries – US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Switzerland and South Korea – as of 15 May 2012.

Here’s the original nightmare from New to Denmark listing other gotcha’s in case you want to know more things to watch out for.


Is there something above that I’ve missed, are you in the same visa pickle or about to embark on this adventure? Drop a comment below.

Self-employed Non-EU/EEA nationals seeking residence in Denmark

As of 1 January 2015, non-EU/EEA nationals with self-employed visa’s (AR1) issued by DALRIR (Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration/Styrelsen for International Rekruttering og Integration) are on their way to expulsion or have already left Denmark.

Foreigner-owned small businesses with few employees or a large cash turnover are not welcome in Denmark, there are no known minimum businesss performance requirements meaning foreign businesses will be closed at DALRIR’s discretion. To make matters worse the introduction of the Start-up Denmark programme imposes a fixed limit of 100 residence visa’s issued yearly where previously there were no limit on number of allowed work and residence permits.

Update (10/02/2016): The number of residence visa’s issued under the Start-up Denmark programme yearly is now 50, there is no indication of when this reduced limit was imposed.

There is no legal way for non-EU self-supported foreigners to receive a dedicated self-employed visa without submitting an application to open a large-scale business through the Start-up Denmark programme, the only option for foreigners with a Danish spouse is to apply for one of the following residence visa’s which somehow come bundled with a work visa, these are:

  • Family reunification visa
  • Family reunification under EU law visa

If you don’t have a Danish spouse there is no legal way to receive a long-term residence visa, you will need to become an employee, student or researcher; all of which do not allow you to operate a business in Denmark.

Start-up Denmark programme

For starters this shouldn’t be called a visa as it’s a YouNoodle application form where you submit your business idea and the powers that be will contact you if they think it’s good enough. Who are YouNoodle and why aren’t they mentioned on the New to Denmark website?

It has nothing to do with Danish Immigration Service or DALRIR and given Denmark’s business attitude towards cloning competition concepts prior to foreign players entering their market I’d be reluctant to submit any innovative business idea without confidentiality clauses.

Family reunification visa (FA1)

If you happen to have a Danish spouse and have lived in Denmark for more than 3 years you can apply for this visa, it requires a bond of around $8000 USD at time of writing (December 2015) which may be partially returned in installments after completing (and passing) the mandatory 6 months full-time Danish language studies and additional Danish language studies.

A portion of the bond is returned after passing Danish 1, with another portion returned after passing Danish 2; carrots leading the donkey. From what I’ve gathered job-seeking foreigners complete Danish 1 in order to stay in Denmark then forfeit the remaining bond (we’re talking 60% of the bond) and immediately enter the job market.

For self-employed foreigners operating an active business from their home country you must choose between shutting down your business and dedicating to full-time studies or struggle to do both risking your bond and livelihood.

There are many methods for the Danish Immigration Service to decline this visa as vague requirements can be exploited by case officers. For instance, even though it is indicated that de-facto couples are allowed, by not being married you are put at an immediate disadvantage of waiting an additional 2 months before receiving an outcome for this visa, that and your Danish spouse is financially responsible for you even if you are the breadwinner in this situation.

Family reunification visa under EU law

If you have lived with a Danish spouse outside of Denmark but within the EU for work or studies you may be able to apply for a residence visa, this is the holy grail of visa’s and is processed by the State Administration/statsforvaltningen.

I am learning the wonders and secrets of this visa which is rarely mentioned after I return to Denmark as a visa-free visitor (up to 90 days in Denmark then 90 days in the Schengen region) on January 20 and will update this section when I know more.

Update (21/02/2016): The holy grail only exists if you are married to your Danish spouse and reside outside of Denmark but within another EU country.

Changing a business address (CVR) in Denmark

Online startup’s are transient so it’s crucial – in Denmark especially – to keep your business address up to date within the central business register. Virk.dk is the place to visit for non-tax related business activities, e.g. updating/changing your business address.

Ændre virksomhed (Changing Address in Dansk)

Registering for PBS – Betalingservice – with Nordea Bank in Denmark

To a non-Danish speaker registering to pay electronics payments from Nordea Bank here in Denmark is a mission, especially when the invoice labels from BetalingsService don’t match the website forms for Privat (Personal banking) accounts at Nordea.

Here’s the correct one-to-one for completing Tilmeld BetalingsService for Privat accounts at Nordea.

  1. Sign in using NemID to Nordea Netbank
  2. Open Betalinger & overførsler > Tilmeld BetalingsService from the left menu
  3. Set the Hæves på dropdown to your preferred account for withdrawal
  4. Set the Kreditor BS nr. field to the PBS nr. mentioned in the bottom-left cut-out of the Betalingservice template; do not use the Kreditornummer og beløbsmodtager
  5. Set the Deb.gr.nr. field to the Deb.gr.nr. mentioned in the bottom-left cut-out of the BetalingService invoice
  6. Set the Kundenummer field to the Lejemålsnummer mentioned in several places on the BetalingService invoice
  7. Hit Send and confirm your acceptance by entering your NemID password

Opening a foreign startup in Denmark

Here are some questions that after several years of exposure to Denmark and Europe that I need answers for to a) effectively start a small business based in Denmark, and b) turn a profit. I will update this as I am able to answer each question.

  • What association/resources are available in Denmark to help with questions about starting and operating a small business in Denmark?
  • When opening new business accounts with your local bank what accounts are typically needed (e.g. income, expenses, VAT input, VAT output, etc.)?
  • What reporting is required to SKAT and how often?
  • What is the standard software platform to connect to webshops to expedite business reporting (e.g. MYOB, Xero, etc.)?
  • How is VAT refunded between EU countries?
  • How can moms and/or customs duty be prepaid on purchases from outside the EU?

Update: In October 2015 I left Denmark. Without being able to distribute VAT collected from EU customers I never commenced business operations in Denmark. I will be registering a new business in Germany in March 2017 with the ability to collect and effectively distribute VAT from EU customers.

Here’s what I’ve learnt…

What association/resources are available in Denmark to help with questions about starting and operating a small business in Denmark?

  • Virk Startvækst – Danish start-up resources intended to reduce administrative burdens for businesses.
  • Company registration in Denmark – A small set of videos produced by Virk.dk explaining company registration in English
  • Tax in Denmark – An introduction to the Danish tax system in English produced by SKAT

When opening new business accounts with your local bank what accounts are typically needed

The bank just needs to know your CVR number and will set you up with a simple cheque account. Additional accounts can be linked to your business account opened at any time for income, expenses, VAT collection, etc.

What reporting is required to SKAT and how often?

No idea, find a local accountant who can assist in these matters.

What is the standard software platform to connect to webshops in Denmark?

E-conomic (nice little monopoly there)

How is VAT refunded between EU countries?

You need to register for MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop) via SKAT’s website. It’s aimed at large companies who are able to integrate their e-commerce site into their MOSS platform. Good luck.

How can moms and/or customs duty be prepaid on purchases from outside the EU?

No idea, find a local accountant who can assist in these matters.

KPH-Projects Cheatsheet

What is KPH-Projects?

KPH-Projects is a small business incubator serving Copenhagen, Denmark, the office is located in Vesterbro which is 2km South of København H (Central Station) and accessible by bike, bus (Enghave St.) or train (Sydhavn St. or Dybbølsbro St.).

Residents – be they individuals, small groups through to established organisations – are encouraged to focus on social, cultural and environmental initiatives but it’s a revolving door for laptop nomads, interns/volunteers, start ups and short-term projects.

KPH-Projects Website

KPH-Projects website (kph-projects.dk)

Mailing address

[Insert Name]
c/o KPH-Projects
Enghavevej 80 c. 3 sal.
2450 København Sv

Book a meeting room

Meeting rooms are suited to private meetings and can be booked on an hourly basis via the online booking platform.

Use the online form (http://kph-projects.dk/book-et-lokale/)

Book the T-space

The T-space is the open space near the cafe on the 3rd floor which is an informal space for meetings and laptop nomads with facilities for conferences including projector, whiteboard and PA system.

Send an e-mail to Maria (maria@kph-projects.dk)

Join the public KPH-Projects group on Facebook

KPH-Projects Page

Join the internal KPH-Projects group for active members on Facebook

KPH-Projects Current Group

Facilities on 3rd floor

  • Free internet access via multiple WiFi hotspots
  • Free printing and scanning (printer found in Flex space, scanner is in the 8-4 room)
  • Cafe is open from 10am-3pm weekdays (very cheap and has MobilePay)
  • Full kitchen with stove, oven, microwave and fridges

Prices (accurate as at 01/01/2015)

3rd floor – for start-ups, team projects and small organisations, preferably under 30 y/o’s.

  • Fixed desk – 800,- per month
  • Flex space –  500,- per month
  • Boot space – 350,- per month (limited to short term projects and under 30 y/o)
  • Interns – 200,- per month (includes volunteers)

4th floor – for small business and established organisations, 3rd floor graduates move here after a year on 3rd floor

Speak to the KPH-Projects staff for 4th floor pricing.