Moving to the UK from Denmark

Relocating from Denmark to the UK

It is estimated that around 30,000 Danish nationals call the UK home, an increase of 10,000 from 2008, largely due to the freedom of movement within the EU. Danish nations have been drawn here for decades for the work and business opportunities but also for the historical and cultural aspects of the UK. Of course, the UK is no longer a member of the EU, but it is still possible for Danish nationals to work, study, or join family in the UK. In this guide, we will give you the low-down on moving from Denmark to the UK, including the legal requirements, the cost of living in the UK, and a relocation checklist to make the process smooth sailing. We also answer some of the most frequently asked questions on relocating from Denmark to the UK.

Moving from Denmark to the UK after Brexit

As most Danish nationals will be all too aware, the UK ceased to be a member of the European Union (EU) at 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020. This also ended the free movement for citizens between the EU and the UK. Under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), EU nationals already living in the UK before the end of 2020 were able to stay indefinitely, while those who did not require a visa to live in the UK. Applying for a visa in the UK is generally straightforward, especially with the support and expertise of a UK immigration specialist who can handle the whole process for you.

Moving to the UK from Denmark benefits

Living in the UK as a Danish national offers a vast array of benefits. Firstly, the UK boasts an excellent transportation system, making it easy to travel to Denmark via road, rail, sea, or air. Additionally, the UK houses a robust and thriving economy, providing access to highly lucrative markets and a wide array of well-paid job opportunities. Moreover, the country’s streamlined administrative processes and minimal bureaucracy make it remarkably straightforward to establish and operate a business.

Culturally, the UK is rich in heritage and history, while its scenic landscapes, ‘chocolate box’ villages, mountains, hills, lakes, and countryside offer endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Lastly, the UK is home to world-renowned educational institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews, and University College London (UCL), which are known for their academic excellence and prestigious reputation.

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How to set up your finances in the UK?

The UK has a modern digital banking system, which makes setting up a new account here quick and easy. It is best to wait until you arrive, though, as UK banks require proof of identity and a permanent UK address.

Once in the UK, you will need to get a National Insurance (NI) number before you start working. When it comes to taxes, things are also pretty straightforward in the UK. Your employer will deduct any taxes at source through the ‘Pay As You Earn’ (PAYE) system. On the other hand, if you are self-employed, you will need to prepare and submit a ‘self-assessment tax return’ annually. A UK-based accountant can help make this process smooth sailing.

The legal requirements for Danish citizens moving to the UK depend on the visa being applied for, as follows:

UK Skilled Worker visa

As a citizen of Denmark, if you wish to work in the UK for a British employer, you will need a work visa. The most popular visa is the UK Skilled Worker visa, which allows you to live and work for up to 5 years. At the end of this period, your visa can be extended further, or you can apply for permanent residency here. After a further 12 months, you can then apply to become a British citizen.

To be eligible for a UK Skilled Worker visa as a Danish national, you must:

  • Have received an offer of employment from a licenced UK employer
  • Have been offered a salary that meets the minimum salary requirement of £38,700 per year (or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you do). You may have a lower salary threshold if you have a PhD, a job on the UK government’s immigration salary list, or you are a new entrant to the job market.
  • Can demonstrate that you meet the English language requirement by passing an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

UK Student visa

To obtain a Student visa to study at a British university, college, or school as a Danish national, you will need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Be aged 16 or above
  • Hold an offer for a course from an education provider with a sponsor licence
  • Demonstrate adequate financial resources to support yourself during your studies in the UK
  • Be capable of covering the expenses associated with your chosen course
  • Satisfy the English language proficiency requirements

Upon approval of your Student visa by the Home Office, you will be able to stay in the UK for the duration of your course. Following the completion of your studies, if you wish to extend your stay, you can apply for a UK Graduate visa, which offers a two-year period during which you can seek employment opportunities.

UK Innovator Founder visa

The UK Innovator Founder visa is an attractive option for Danish entrepreneurs and business individuals with plans to set up a business presence in the UK. Opting for this immigration pathway offers the advantage of securing permanent residency after just three years, as opposed to the standard five-year period required for permanent residency. To apply for the UK Innovator Founder visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Present a business concept for a new, innovative, feasible, and scalable venture
  • Obtain endorsement for your business plan from a recognized UK-endorsing body
  • Fulfil the English language proficiency requirement
  • Have enough money to sustain yourself during the establishment phase of your business.

The above provides just a few examples of the various UK visas accessible to Danish citizens. To gain a complete understanding of all of the available immigration pathways for you and your family and to determine the most suitable options for your specific requirements, we recommend consulting with an expert immigration lawyer based in the UK.

Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from Denmark

What is the cost of living in the UK?

Overall, prices in the UK are on par with those in Denmark when all costs are taken into account. According to the cost of living website Numbeo, consumer prices are in the region of 15% less in the UK compared to Denmark, but this is balanced out by the 15% higher rental prices in the UK. Restaurant prices are 23% lower in the UK, and food/grocery prices are 14% lower than in Denmark. It is important to remember that the cost of living and rental varies hugely across the UK. The most expensive areas tend to be in and around London and in the South of England. It is, therefore, important to research different areas in which to live in the UK and compare the cost of living and transport for each, which brings us to the emigration checklist.

Emigrating to the UK from Denmark – Checklist

Moving countries can feel overwhelming, but by doing your homework before you make the jump, you can make the process easier and less stressful. We recommend taking the following steps as early as possible:

  • Discuss your immigration options with an experienced and trusted immigration specialist in the UK. Based on your background, current circumstances, and future plans, they can recommend all of the routes available to you and the best for your needs. Immigration specialists are well-versed in all the visas available to Danish and EU nationals, including the self-sponsorship pathway (see below for more details).
  • Secure employment with a licenced UK employer before you start the process of applying for a work visa. Remember that your employer must offer pay that satisfies the minimum salary requirements.
  • Create a budget spreadsheet comparing your expected net income with your expected costs. We recommend speaking to someone you know who lives in the UK to understand the actual cost of insurance, food, fuel and energy, council tax, etc.
  • Calculate the anticipated expenses of moving, including transportation, removal fees, and rental deposits.
  • Compile a list of preferred locations where you’d like to reside in the UK.
  • Plan a visit to the UK to explore your chosen areas firsthand.
  • Research schools in your desired locations and inquire about availability for your children.
  • Seek advice and tips from fellow Danish nationals already living in the UK regarding the relocation process.
  • Regarding your EU/UK driving license: If you are under 67 when you become a UK resident, you can drive using your EU license until you turn 70. If you are 67 or older upon residency, you can continue driving with your EU license for up to three years.

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

The self-sponsorship route is ideal for Danish citizens who wish to relocate to the UK but without the stress and hassle of securing a job beforehand. This pathway allows individuals to establish their own businesses in the UK and act as both sponsor and employee. Our team can offer detailed guidance on navigating the self-sponsorship process, ensuring compliance with all of the legal prerequisites. Furthermore, this route offers a pathway to obtaining permanent residency in the UK and, eventually, British citizenship.

Emigrating to the UK as a non-Danish national

Like Danish nationals, non-Danish individuals are also required to apply for a visa to relocate to the UK. Non-Danish nationals have various immigration routes available, the most appropriate of which depends on their nationality, familial ties to the UK, and intended residency plans once they are here. For more details on the various migration options as a non-Danish citizen, feel free to consult with one of our knowledgeable and approachable UK Immigration Solicitors.

Joining UK Family Members as a Non-Danish National

To relocate to the UK to join your partner, spouse, parent, or child as a non-Danish citizen, you will need to apply for a UK Family visa. To qualify, your family member based in the UK must either be:

  • A British citizen
  • Hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
  • An EU/EEA national who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, or
  • A person with refugee status in the UK.

After 5 years of continuous residence on a UK Family visa, you can apply for permanent residency and British citizenship 1 year later.


What documents and information do I need to move to the UK?

The exact documents that you need to move to the UK as a Danish national will depend on the type of visa you require. For example, to apply for a work visa, you will need:

  • A valid Danish passport
  • Evidence of a job offer for an eligible role
  • A Certificate of Sponsorship
  • A bank statement showing that you have enough funds to support yourself and your immediate family members.

Your immigration Solicitor will provide you with a complete list of all the documents that you will need.

Do Danish citizens need sponsorship to work in the UK?

Yes, if you wish to apply for a work visa in the UK as a Danish national, you must be sponsored by a UK employer. Alternatively, you can consider the self-sponsorship route.

What should I consider before moving back to the UK from Denmark?

Here are just some of the considerations before moving back to the UK from Denmark:

  • Employment
  • Banking arrangements
  • Establishing a credit rating
  • Selling your property
  • Tax arrangements - if you have lived in Denmark for more than 5 years, you may need to meet different rules for income and capital gains tax.
  • National insurance and pension - Check whether you will need to ‘top up’ your national insurance contributions so that you are eligible for a UK state pension when you reach retirement age.

Moving from Denmark to the UK requirements

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Denmark to the UK above.

Can you move to the UK from Denmark?

Yes, however, Danish citizens and their family members require a visa to live in the UK. Please see the visa options explained above.

Are Danish citizens allowed to work in the UK?

Yes, but you will require a job offer from a sponsoring employer, a certificate of sponsorship, and a work visa granted by the UK Home Office.

Applying for a UK visa from Denmark

As a Danish national, you can apply for your UK visa online through the UK’s Home Office website. You will need to fully complete the application form, pay any required fees, and submit any documents required to support your case. You will also need to meet the requirements for the type of visa you are applying for. An immigration Solicitor in the UK can handle this process for you.

UK entry requirements from Denmark

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Denmark to the UK above.

How long can a Danish citizen stay in the UK?

The length of time you can spend in the UK will depend on the type of visa you hold. Danish nationals can visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa. Work visas last up to 5 years and provide a route to permanent settlement. Student visas typically last for the duration of the course, but holders can then apply for a Graduate visa to stay in the UK for a further 2 years to find work.

What is the cost of living in the UK?

Please see the cost of living section above.

Moving Back to the UK from Denmark: Why are British ex-pats leaving Denmark?

Many UK nationals are moving back to the UK from Denmark following Brexit and the ending of UK/EU free movement. This is because UK nationals are now restricted to the number of days (90 days in every 180 days) they can spend in the EU. Other UK nationals are returning for work opportunities or to be with family members.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Moving From Denmark to the UK

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Moving From Denmark to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

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