YOUR SURVIVAL CHECKLIST
Relocating to another country is a daunting task. Aside from the many practical matters to attend to, there’s also the matter of fitting in. This survival checklist will not only make your move more manageable, but also help you adjust to life in Denmark.
With the help of International House Copenhagen, a one- point entry to Greater Copenhagen with an International Citizen Service, we have come up with our own guide for settling newcomers into life in Denmark. Our nine-step process will have you calling Denmark home in no time!
#1 Find a place to live
Depending on your place of work or personal preferences, deciding on an ideal home is important early on. Aside from your home being a base for your time in Denmark, it also serves its practical purposes. You cannot apply on the Danish Civil Registration System for a CPR or ‘ID’ number before you have found a place to live, and actually live at the address. A temporary address is also accepted if you need to apply for a CPR number (in that case you would need a signed housing confirmation or a receipt for a hotel/hostel/or the like). Both EU and non-EU expats may qualify for Housing Benefits (Boligstøtte). You can check this as soon as you have moved to Denmark and hold a NemID.
#2 Day-care and schooling
If you have moved over with your family it’s always a good idea to get the kids settled as soon as possible. Start exploring the different options and get an understanding of how the education system works in Denmark. You cannot begin your child’s enrolment process before you have actually moved to Denmark. In addition to traditional Danish public and private schools, there are also several international schools across the country. The Ministry of Education website has the most comprehensive list of these schools to guide you further.
#3 Check your driver’s license
If you plan on driving in Denmark, you will in some cases need to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Danish driving licence. The website Life in Denmark offers a detailed list of countries and the various terms of conditions for driving in Denmark and the conversion of your driver’s license.
#4 Register for your cpr card
If you plan on staying more than three months in Denmark, you need to apply for a CPR number. You use your CPR number in many situations: to get your salary, to transfer money, register for a doctor and so on.
You can only apply for a CPR number if you:
✓ Stay in Denmark for more than three months. For EU citizens this is from the date you have a place to live and hold an EU registration certificate)
✓ Have a place to live
✓ Hold a residence permit (non-EU citizen) or hold an EU registration certificate (EU citizen)
#5 Get a NemID
NemID is your digital signature. You can use this to do your online banking, get information from the public authorities or engage with one of the many businesses that use NemID. Once you have your NemID, you can use Digital Post (e-boks) where you will receive e-mails from public authorities. Check out www.nemid.nu for more details on this service.
#6 Get to know skat
If you work in Denmark, you have to apply for a Danish tax card and a personal tax number. SKAT (the Danish tax authority) has guides on tax application as well as resources for you to check your preliminary income assessment. Visit www.skat.dk for more details on personal tax.
#7 Open a bank account
When you have a place to live and a CPR number, you are ready to choose a bank and open a bank account. This is a must if you are working, as your salary must be paid into your personal bank account. For payments, Danes usually use Dankort, the most common cash card, and Mobilepay, a smartphone app for credit card payments.
#8 Sign up for Danish lessons
Some may argue that this should be the first step when arriving in Denmark, especially given that much of the above guide is made a little easier with some grasp of the Danish language.
Nevertheless, the Danes are pretty decent with English and will more than likely accommodate you. Still, a good grasp of the language will help with your socialisation into Danish culture.
#9 Get a hobby
For those in the greater Copenhagen region, there is a lot on offer when it comes to activities and cultural experiences that will help you adjust and fit in to your new surroundings – often free of charge. Many Danes are members of sports clubs or do volunteer work. It’s a good way to network after working hours – so get involved in your community – you may even make a friend or two! There are a whole host of websites that offer event guides and more information on ways to get out and explore your new home, including international.kk.dk; ihcph.dk; denmark.dk and visitcopenhagen.com. International House Copenhagen hosts many informative events every year on topics such as schooling, workplace culture, finding a home and many others.
You can read about upcoming events on their website, www.ihcph.kk.dk
Text: David Nothling -Demmer
Source: International House Copenhagen