Visa, residence and work permits

Below is a brief outline of the general rules about applying for visa or residence and work permits in the countries to which most employees travel. The information applies to Danish citizens only. 

We have also made country specific guides to the most popular locations with extensive chapters about visas, residence and work permits. 

Visa information for selected countries

Nordic countries

Danish citizens do not need a visa or residence or work permit to study or work in another Nordic country. However, Danish citizens must register if staying in a Nordic country for more than three months.

  • In Sweden, you must register with Migrationsverket (Migration Board) within three months of arriving in Sweden.

  • In Finland, you must register with Maistraatti (Register Office).

  • In Norway, you must register with the police or online at Application Portal Norway.

  • In Iceland, the registration authority is Þjóðskrá Íslands (Registers Iceland).


If you intend to work or study in another EU country for more than three months, you must apply for a residence and/or work permit after arriving in the relevant country. You cannot submit your application from Denmark. The rules on how and where to apply for a residence and/or work permit vary from one country to the other, and you are therefore advised to contact the host country’s embassy or consulate in Denmark for information about the exact rules.


To work or study in the USA, you need a visa. Often the host institution will play a role in the visa application process once you have been given an “academic appointment” and documented that you have sufficient funds to finance your stay if the host university does not provide funding. The US university will then send a visa document to you, and only then will you be able to apply for a visa through the US embassy in Denmark.

Visa type

Your visa document determines which visa category is relevant, i.e. if you receive a DS-2019 visa document, you must apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. On the other hand, if you receive an I-20 visa document, you must apply for an F-1 Academic Visa.

Some US universities issue one visa document, others issue the other. The difference between a J-1 and an F-1 visa is the number of days you can stay in the USA after the end of your period of work or study. With a J-1 visa, you can stay in the USA for 30 days after the end of your period of work/study, while you can stay for 60 days with an F-1 visa. With both types of visa, you can enter the USA no more than 30 days prior to commencing your work/studies. If you would like to stay for longer in the USA, you must apply for a tourist visa to supplement your visa for study.

Visa application procedure

Once you have received your visa document from your host university (DS-2019 or I-20), you must make an appointment for an interview at The US Embassy website. You must bring the documents listed in the embassy’s checklist - please note that there is both a general checklist for “All Applicants” and a specific one for “Student and Exchange Visitors”. It is important to follow the checklist carefully and to comply with all the guidelines. If your papers are not as they should be, you risk being sent home again - and having to pay another application fee and a trip to Copenhagen again. The interview takes 2-5 minutes and starts with a finger scan. It can be quite a long wait before you are seen, so allocate a whole day for your visit to the embassy. After the interview, it will be up to six days before your passport is returned to you with your visa. Always read your visa carefully, and remember that it is only valid in conjunction with the I-20 or DS-2019 document which you must have with you at all times when travelling.

A work visa entitles you to work in the USA for the US employer applicant. It is therefore illegal to seek employment – both paid and unpaid – with other US employers.

You can apply for a visa for your accompanying spouse and children under the age of 21 concurrently with your own visa application. Your accompanying spouse and children will then be entitled to enter the USA, but not to work there. Paperless partnerships – regardless of the duration of the relationship – cannot be cited as a basis for obtaining a ‘spouse’ visa for your partner. In cases of long-standing co-habitation, it will normally be possible to apply for a tourist visa for your partner which will be valid for the same period as your work permit.

Documentary requirements when travelling to the USA

At least 72 hours prior to entering the USA, you must apply for a so-called ESTA authorisation on the web. The authorisation replaces the green form which was previously handed out on the plane. Without an ESTA authorisation, you cannot enter the USA. The registration is valid for 2 years, but must be updated upon reentry.

Processing time

There is no specific time frame for the processing of a visa application. It can be between 1-2 days and 1-2 weeks, but also longer. Thus, the American Embassy in Copenhagen advises all applicants for non-immigrant visas to apply at least 120 days ahead of time. There is no limit as to how early one can apply for a non-immigrant visa. 


Other countries

You can find information about visa and residence and work permits on the website of the destination country’s embassy or consulate.

Visa and residence and work permit must often be approved prior to departure. This applies both for you, your accompanying spouse and any children. To apply, you must usually produce a certificate of baptism, clean international criminal record (issued by the Danish police), marriage certificate, copy of passport and a formal invitation from your host institution stating the period of stay, who you are expected to work with etc. For further details, check the embassy website. The documents must be translated, and sometimes the translations must be performed by an authorised translator. In some countries, obtaining residence and work permits is not easy if you are in a paperless partnership. The same applies if you are travelling with children of whom you do not have custody

Important information for non-EU/EEA citizens

Please note that if you cancel your address in Denmark, your residence and work permit will most likely be terminated. It is, however, possible under certain circumstances to get a dispensation for the termination of your residence and work permit. You should contact the Danish Immigration authorities or International Academic Staff Services for further information and assistance. Read more about the termination of your residence and work permit.  

Processing time

The American Embassy in Copenhagen advises all applicants for non-immigrant visas to apply at least 120 days ahead of time. There is no limit as to how early one can apply for a non-immigrant visa.

For some non-EU/EEA countries there is a Special Proces, which means a prolonged processing time, where the application will be processed in the US instead of Copenhagen. These citizens are advised to apply at least 120 days ahead of time. Contact the American Embassy in Copenhagen for further information. 

Country specific guides

We have made a number of country specific guides for AU researchers and PhD students when planning a stay abroad. The guides include information on the visa application procedure, work and residence permit, accommodation, address registration, tax, driving permit, living costs etc.

Visit the Country Specific Guides page