Coming to Denmark as an Au Pair
You can be granted a residence permit in order to function as an au pair with a host family in Denmark.
If you are a Nordic citizen, you are free to reside, study and work in Denmark. If you are an EU/EEA citizen or Swiss citizen seeking residence in Denmark based on the EU rules on freedom of movement, you may be subject to special regulations.
Nordic citizens are citizens of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and are free to enter, reside, study and work in Denmark. They do not need a visa, residence or work permit.
Norden is the Nordic Council of Ministers' official information service for private persons and companies in the Nordic countries. The service is aimed at all citizens of the Nordic countries and is particularly relevant to students, job seekers, persons who wish to move to another Nordic country, and companies that operate within the Nordic countries. The website of Norden (available in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish).
Union citizens and EEA nationals
Union citizens are nationals of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (only the Greco-Cypriot territory), the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
EEA nationals are nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
Nationals of Switzerland are covered by the same rules as Union citizens and EEA nationals. Accordingly, all the rules mentioned below also apply to Swiss nationals.
It is your own responsibility to obtain a residence permit if you are required to.
The purpose of an au pair stay
The term au pair means 'on equal terms'. The idea of an au pair stay is for a young person to stay with a host family with children under the age of 18 'on equal terms' with the other members of the family. The purpose is for the au pair to improve language and/or professional skills as well as broaden his/her cultural horizon by becoming more acquainted with Denmark. In return, the au pair participates in the host family's domestic chores (e.g. cleaning, washing clothes, cooking, babysitting) for a minimum of three and a maximum of five hours a day, and no more than six days a week.
To ensure that you have a chance to improve your language and/or professional skills and broaden your cultural horizon as described above, it is a condition for getting a residence permit as an au pair that you already have the necessary linguistic and cultural foundation to receive the full benefit of your stay in Denmark.
Below you can read about the conditions which must be met, either by you, your host family, or both of you, as well as the requirement that you are able to fully benefit from your au pair stay.
Conditions to be met by you
- You must be between the ages of 18 and 29 (both years included) at the time of application
- You may not be married or be in a cohabiting relationship or registered partnership
- You may not have been married in the past or have been in a cohabiting relationship or registered partnership
- You may not have any children
- You may not be expecting a child of the time of application. However, this condition does not apply if you are already residing in Denmark as an au pair at the time of application
Conditions to ensure you can receive the full benefit of your stay
To ensure that your au pair stay can help improve your language and professional skills as well as broaden your cultural horizon, the following conditions must be met:
- Your au pair stay must have a natural connection to your life so far, including your educational background and employment history. You must have completed the equivalent of nine years of schooling. In special cases, and if you come from a country where the general school program is normally completed after eight years, having completed eight years of schooling may be sufficient. Based on an individual evaluation of your case, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration may decide that an au pair stay would not have a natural connection to your life so far if you have completed further education and have worked for several years
- You must have a working knowledge of either Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English or German
- Normally, you may not previously have had two or more au pair stays in other EU/EEA countries or Switzerland
- Normally, you may not previously have held a Danish residence permit
- Normally, you may not previously have stayed in Denmark as an au pair with different host families for more than one year
- Normally, you may not have the same nationality as one or more members of the host family
- Normally, you may not be related to one or more members of the host family
Conditions to be met by your host family
- Your host family must be comprised of at least one parent and one child under the age of 18 who are living at home. The child must be registered at the family's address. If the parents of the child do not live together and you have agreed to live intermittently at both parents’ homes, then each parent must draw up an individual au pair contract with you, and each parent must also meet the conditions for being a host family. If you are not to live intermittently at two divorced parents' homes, but only with one of the parents, then this parent can be a host family provided that there a child under 18 is registered at the address
- Normally, at least one parent must be a Danish citizen in order that your host family can introduce you to the Danish language and culture. However, this does not apply if the parents are EU/EEA or Swiss citizens residing legally in Denmark, or if they are foreign nationals who have lived in Denmark for a long time and have a strong attachment to Denmark
- At the point of application, your host family may not receive public assistance as their primary means of support under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act. They must declare this by signing a statement in the application form. However, they are allowed to have received certain types of financial aid
- Your host family may not have been given a ban or penalty period as a result of previous abuse of the au pair scheme. Your host family must declare this by signing a declaration in the application form. Below, you can read more about the possible penalties resulting from an abuse of the au pair scheme
- Your host family must take out the following three insurances covering you: insurance against industrial injuries, insurance against personal injury outside work, and insurance covering transportation to your home country in the case of your death, serious illness or injury
- Your host family must pay a lump sum to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration. This amount is to help finance part of the Danish state's expenses for Danish language classes for you. This amount must be paid each time a residence permit is granted to an au pair, whether or not the host family has previously had an au pair, and whether or not the applicant (the au pair) has previously held a residence permit as an au pair with a different host family. The amount must be paid whether or not you intend to take Danish language classes. The money will not be refunded even if you do not enter Denmark, or if either you or your host family terminates the au pair contract. The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration will ask your host family to pay the money once it is clear that all the other conditions for granting you a residence permit are met
Other conditions and terms
- You and your host family must fill in and sign the au pair contract developed by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration. The contract is part of the application form and must be filled in when completing the application. Among other things, it must be stated during which hours you are to carry out household chores
- You should assume a role as a member of the family. This means that you should contribute to the household by carrying out chores related to the family's daily housekeeping, such as babysitting, cleaning and washing clothes. Consequently, you may not take on responsibilities related to personal care or sick care of adult members of the host family
- You are entitled to a minimum monthly allowance of DKK 4350 (1 January 2019 level) from your host family as well as free food and lodging
- The allowance must be paid into a Danish bank account in your name no later than the last workday of each month
- You are entitled to your own bedroom in the family's home during your entire stay. In addition to your bedroom, the host family must also have a common living room, as well as one bedroom for every two people registered at the residence. If the host family’s building is occupied by several families, there may only be calculated two members of the same family per bedroom. Both the common living room and all bedrooms must be approved for living in and must be registered in the Housing Register BBR (Bygnings- og Boligsregistret)
- Your host family may not have other au pairs besides you. However, a new au pair is allowed to train with the host family prior to their predecessor's departure for up to 14 days
- You must carry out daily chores for three to five hours per day, six days per week, i.e. 18 to 30 hours per week. This means that if your host family states in the au pair contract that you are to carry out chores for six hours every day, with the weekend off, you will not be granted a residence permit
- You are entitled to one-and-a-half day off every week. A half-day off means you can complete your chores of 3 to 5 hours either before or after 2 p.m. on the day in question
- You are entitled to a day off on official Danish national Holidays
- You must have a written agreement with your host family describing when you will take a holiday
- You are entitled to sufficient time off to follow language courses and pursue cultural and professional interests, including participation in religious events
- You are allowed to carry out voluntary, unpaid work when you are not carrying out chores for your host family. Such work is defined as work which benefits and is carried out for, persons not related to you or your host family. The work must be voluntary and unpaid and be carried out for a formally organized organization or association. The work you carry out must be part of the core service provided by the organization or association
- If you should fall ill, you must still have full use of your room, and your host family must continue to provide you with food and lodging and pay your monthly allowance
- Your host family must pay for your trip to Denmark if you live in a country outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland. The duration and route of the trip must not be disproportionately inconvenient for you
- Your host family must pay your trip home when your au pair stay ends, if you go back home to your country of origin or previous country of residence, and this country is outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland. The duration and route of the trip must not be disproportionately inconvenient for you. If you wish to stay in Denmark as an au pair with a new host family, and you sign a contract with the new host family, then the new family will take over the obligation to pay for your trip home. This obligation also applies if you are in Denmark, and you and your host family have signed the au pair contract, but your application for a residence permit as an au pair is turned down. You and your host family must meet the following deadlines when booking your trip home:
- If your au pair stay ends because your residence permit expires, you must tell your host family in writing, no later than one month before your residence permit expires, whether you wish to travel to your country of origin (or previous country of residence). It is your host family's obligation to buy your ticket so you can leave Denmark before your residence permit expires
- If your residence permit is revoked, you must tell your host family in writing, no later than one week after your residence permit being revoked, whether you wish to travel to your country of origin (or previous country of residence). It is your host family's obligation to buy your ticket so you can leave no later than three weeks after telling your host family that you wish to leave
- If your au pair stay ends for any other reason than the ones mentioned above, you must tell your host family in writing, no later than one week after the termination of your au pair stay, whether you wish to travel to your country of origin (or previous country of residence). It is your host family's obligation to buy your ticket so you can leave no later than three weeks after telling your host family that you wish to leave
- You will lose the right to having your ticket paid for if you fail to meet the above deadlines. Your host family will be given a two-year penalty period if they fail to meet the above deadlines, or if they fail to buy your ticket to Denmark as well as your home ticket if you wish to leave Denmark.
The conditions stipulated in your au pair contract cannot be changed except for the following:
- Your host family may pay you a higher monthly allowance than the minimum allowance stipulated in the contract
- Your host family may grant you more than one room, and your host family may pay for your ticket to and from Denmark in cases not stipulated in the contract
- You and your host family may agree to change your weekly work schedule provided that it still meets the conditions regarding the daily amount of work hours which must be between three and five hours, i.e. between 18 and 30 hours per week, and provided that it still meets the requirement that you are to have one-and-a-half-day off per week
About your residence permit
The Central Person Register (Folkeregisteret)
You must be registered as a resident at your host family's address no later than five days after arriving at the home of your host family. This is done at the local Citizen's Service Centre (Borgerservice), where you will be issued a so-called CPR number and 'health card' as proof that you are covered by the Danish National Health Insurance. If you change address, or when you leave Denmark, you must go in person to the local Citizen's Service Centre (Borgerservice) to report this.
It is important that you and the host family notify the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration if you leave the host family or leave Denmark before your residence permit expires.
So far as the right to a holiday is concerned, the relationship between you and your host family is regarded as an employer/employee relationship and is subject to Danish regulations covering the right to holiday and holiday pay. For more information, contact the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR), the Holiday Regulations Division, Njalsgade 72C, 2300 København S; tel: +45 72 21 74 02. Read more about the rules governing holidays.
So far as taxation is concerned, the relationship between you and your host family is regarded as an employer/employee relationship and is therefore subject to Danish taxation laws. The Danish Tax and Customs Administration (SKAT) can inform you about the rules regarding taxation of pocket money and free room and board on tel: +45 72 22 18 18.
You may be granted a residence permit for a maximum of 24 months. However, it cannot exceed the duration of your au pair contract, nor can it exceed the point at which the youngest child living in the family turns 18.
If you have been granted a residence permit as an au pair for less than 24 months, and you apply for an extension, you may continue as an au pair while your application is being processed, provided that you are with the same host family and that the conditions for your stay remain unchanged. However, you cannot continue with the family if a member of the family has received public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act in the time period from when you first got your residence permit and until you apply for an extension. However, the family is allowed to have received certain types of financial aid.
If you wish to begin with a new family, you may not do so before you have been granted a new residence permit. However, you are allowed to move in with the new family and live there as their guest.
As an au pair, you cannot normally bring your own family to Denmark.
Insurance against industrial injuries
Your host family must ensure you against industrial injuries, among other things. For more information, contact the National Board of Industrial Injuries tel. +45 72 20 60 00.
Consequences of abusing the au pair scheme
As an au pair, you will be granted a residence permit but not a work permit, as your daily chores with your host family are not considered as work. You are not allowed to carry out chores for your host family outside the time limits defined above, carry out tasks other than household chores, carry out chores or work outside your host family's home, or take on paid or unpaid work, unless in the case of voluntary, unpaid work as defined in above in the section 'Other conditions and terms'.
This means that you and your host family cannot agree that you should work more than five hours per day in return for more days off. Likewise, you and your host family cannot agree that you should work more than 30 hours per week in return for more pay.
Before you have been granted a residence permit as an au pair, the following is illegal:
- Any work for the host family
- Any work for others
After you have been granted a residence permit as an au pair, the following is illegal:
- Any work for the host family which exceeds five hours per day/six days per week
- Carrying out tasks other than household chores
- Any work for others
If you work illegally in Denmark, you risk deportation. You also risk fine or imprisonment, as does your employer.
Your host family can be given a penalty period for abusing the au pair scheme, during which time they cannot be approved to host an au pair.
A host family can be given a ten year penalty period for threats, homicide, physical and sexual abuse or similar crimes against an au pair.
A host family can be given a five year penalty period for illegal employment of an au pair.
A host family can be given a two year penalty period for other abuse of the au pair scheme. Consequently, the host family will be given a two year penalty period if:
- You have carried out household chores for more hours than stipulated in the contract, or you have carried out other types of work for your host family
- Your host family has not paid you the monthly allowance stipulated in your contract
- Your host family has not provided you with a room approved for housing
- Your host family has not paid your ticket to Denmark (if needed) or your ticket out of Denmark (if needed)
- Your host family has failed to provide you with insurance against industrial injuries, insurance against personal injury outside work, and insurance covering transportation to your home country in the case of your death, serious illness or injury