Lapsing permit – Family reunification or asylum (the Immigration Service)
If you leave Denmark for an extended period of time, or if you no longer maintain a residence in Denmark, your residence permit can lapse. If your residence permit lapses, you lose your right to reside in Denmark.
You can apply for dispensation to prevent your residency permit from lapsing- you can apply both before and after you leave Denmark. Please note that special regulations about lapsing apply if you have travelled to a conflict area. Read more about lapsing caused by travelling to conflict areas
If your residence permit lapses and you wish to return to Denmark, you will need to apply for a new residence permit. Your new application will be processed according to current regulations.
Questions and answers
Your residence permit will automatically lapse if you no longer have a residence in Denmark - that is e.g., if you sell your home or terminate the rental contract of your home, and you do not intend to return to Denmark.
If you keep a residence in Denmark there are rules for how long you may leave the country without losing your residence permit.
If you have a residence permit with a view to temporary residence you may leave Denmark for a maximum of 6 months in a row. Please note, that all refugees and family members granted family reunification to a refugee have reside permit with a view to temporary residence from 1 July 2019 at latest.
If you have residence permit in Denmark with the possibility of permanent residence and you have resided legally in Denmark for less than 2 years, you may leave Denmark for a maximum of 6 months in a row.
If you have residence permit in Denmark with the possibility of permanent residence and you have resided legally in Denmark for more than 2 years with a view to permanent residence, you may leave Denmark for a maximum of 12 months in a row.
If you do not return to Denmark within 6 or 12 months, your residence permit will automatically lapse.
If you have a permanent residence permit it will also lapse, if you no longer have a residence in Denmark and leave Denmark or if you leave Denmark for more than 12 months in a row.
However, a residence permit for a child under 18 years will lapse after 3 months, if the child has resided outside Denmark for more than 3 months in a row in a way that has a negative effect on the child's schooling and integration.
Time spent outside of Denmark due to military conscription or other types of involuntary service is not in itself enough to result in a residence permit lapsing.
Time spent in Greenland or on the Faroe Islands is seen as time spent outside Denmark.
If you have refugee status (that is, if you have a residence permit on the grounds of asylum) in Denmark, your residence permit can only lapse if you have chosen to return to your home country, or if you have been offered protection in a third-country.
Special rules apply if you hold a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification with a refugee, and you and the refugee choose to return to the refugee's home country or former country of residence in order to reside there. Read more about travelling to a home country
If the Immigration Service finds that your residence permit is lapsed we will inform your possible current and previous employers, who have reported salary to you in the income register within the last 3 months from the time of the decision.
You can be granted a dispensation if you have a well-founded purpose with your travel abroad or if you have been prevented from returning to Denmark.
Dispensation due to a well-founded purpose
You can apply for dispensation from lapsing of your residence permit, if you wish to stay outside Denmark for longer than 6 or 12 months, or if you have given up your residence due to a stay abroad.
It must be your intention to remain outside Denmark temporarily, and you must have a well-founded and well-documented purpose, such as:
- foreign employment/posting for a Danish authority, institution, organisation or company that has a headquarter in Denmark,
- foreign employment/posting for an international institution, organisation or company,
- education, e.g. an education not available in Denmark or exchange,
- an au pair stay, or
- caring for a seriously ill close family member.
You can apply for dispensation due to a well-founded purpose both before and after leaving Denmark. If you apply after leaving Denmark the well-founded purpose must have existed during the entire stay in another country and up until the time when you wish to return to Denmark.
The Immigration Service recommends that you apply for dispensation before leaving Denmark.
Dispensation due to obstacles in returning to Denmark
You can apply for dispensation if you have stayed outside Denmark for a longer period than allowed, but have not been able to return to Denmark within the allowed period of 6 or 12 months. The Immigration Service can decide that your residence permit has not lapsed if:
- it was your intention to return to Denmark within the allowed period (6 or 12 months), and
- you could not return to Denmark due to unforeseen events. Such events can be illness, imprisonment, war, natural disasters and problems leaving the country you stayed in.
If a child’s residence permit has lapsed due to a stay abroad there are special rules in the assessment regarding a new residence permit for the child. Read more about the child’s stay abroad
It is important that you apply for a new residence permit as soon as possible.
If you apply for dispensation from lapsing of your residence permit, you can state in the application form, that the application also includes your spouse or cohabiting partner as well as any children under the age of 18 who are living with you.
If your spouse or cohabiting partner remains in Denmark and he/she or you have a temporary residence permit on the grounds of family reunification, he/she or you risk having the residence permit revoked if the joint residency requirement no longer is met during the stay abroad. This will typically be the case if the stay abroad is longer than 6 months.
Decisions about the duration of the dispensation are made on a case-by-case basis, and will depend on a number of factors, such as why you are applying for dispensation and how long you have lived in Denmark.
Normally, the dispensation period can be extended to a maximum of 4 years. If you stay abroad posting for a Danish or foreign company, a Danish authority or a Danish or international organization/institution or as part of your education you can be given a dispensation for more than 4 years.
You can apply for an extension of your dispensation period if you want to stay abroad for a longer period than initially. Applications for extension must be made before the original dispensation period expires.
If you do not return to Denmark when the grounds on which the dispensation was granted no longer apply or before the dispensation period ends, your residence permit will lapse. This means that if you wish to return to Denmark, you will need to apply for a new residence permit.
How to apply
Fill in application
You must use the BF1/US online application if you want to apply for your residence permit to remain valid, even though you intend to leave Denmark for an extended period of time.
You need a NemID code card when filling in the application form. Read more about NemID
You are required to use the online self-service form BF1/US when applying for dispensation, before your residence permit lapses, unless you are exempt from this requirement. Read more about mandatory online self-service
You must attach:
- Copy of your passport (all pages)
- Documentation of the reason for your stay abroad, such as an employment contract, statement from your employer, statement from educational institution, foreign posting contract or documentation for illnes and the need for nursing.
Fill in application
You can use the BF2/US application form if you want to apply for your residence permit to remain valid, even though you:
- have stayed outside Denmark for an extended period of time
- no longer maintain an address in Denmark or
- are otherwise not included in the Civil Registration System (CPR)
If you are outside Denmark and wish to apply for your residence permit not be considered as lapsed, you must submit your application before returning to Denmark.
The application form includes detailed instructions for how to fill it in and which types of documentation you need to enclose.
You can fill in the application form in Word format on your computer before printing it out. The application form is also available as a PDF file that can be printed out and filled in by hand.
Download form BF2/US for print
If you are a minor child not applying together with an adult, you should use the application form BF3.
Download form BF3 for print (only in Danish)
You must attach:
- Copy of your passport (all pages)
- Documentation that your stay abroad has had a well-founded purpose. This can for example be an employment contract, confirmation from an employer or education place, posting contract or documentation for illness and the need for nursing.
- Documentation of the unforeseen event that prevented you from returning to Denmark, such as a doctor’s statement (if applicable).
You can send the application form to the Danish Immigration Service or submit it at the Immigration Service’s Citizen Service. If you live outside Greater Copenhagen you can also submit your application at a police station that is capable of recording biometric features
If you are outside of Denmark, you can submit your application at a Danish mission (embassy or consulate), or an outsourcing office in the country where you live.
If there is no Danish mission or outsourcing offices in the country where you live, the list refers to missions Denmark shares a representation agreement with, e.g. Norway or Sweden. If there is no representation agreement, the list refers to the nearest Danish mission or outsourcing office in the region.
The Immigration Service recommends that you visit the website of the Danish mission before you submit your application. Individual offices might have additional requirements, such as extra passport photos or copies of your application
If you are in Denmark, the Immigration Service will send the ruling digitally to your Danish e-boks or to your attorney if applicable. If you are outside Denmark, the Immigration Service will send the ruling to your Danish e-boks or to the diplomatic mission where you submitted your application.
The diplomatic mission will then either send the ruling to you or ask you to pick it up in person. If the Immigration Service has decided that your residence permit has lapsed, you can normally not return to Denmark but will have to apply for a new residence permit.