Living in Denmark - guide for international students

Denmark is one of the safest countries in the world and the least corrupt, which may be one of the reasons why Danes rate themselves as being amongst the happiest people on earth year after year. Language proficiency is excellent and 86 per cent of the population speak English.

Denmark is a safe, modern, and efficient country. Known worldwide for its welfare, as a student you too will have access to such benefits as free medical attention.

Denmark also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world—a fact you will appreciate as you set out to explore the forests and the seas; the countryside dotted with royal palaces, and the nation’s capital, Copenhagen.

Weather-wise Denmark is situated in the northern part of Europe and is blessed with four distinct seasons. Winters are dark and cold with occasional snowfall; springs are mild and balmy; summers are temperate and light with the Nordic sun setting close to 10 p.m., while autumns are often rainy and windy, but enriched with a rainbow of beautiful colours.

Denmark is a democracy where personal freedom, freedom of speech and inclusive values are highly valued.

Prepare your stay in Denmark

What is the residence permit/certificate?

If you stay in Denmark for longer than three months, you are required to apply for a residence permit. This is a document certifying that you are allowed to stay in Denmark based on your studies. 

The residence permit is provided by the organization SIRI (the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration), and you therefore need to apply for the document through them.

Your application depends on whether you are a:

  • Nordic citizen
  • EU/EEA citizen
  • Full degree student from a non-EU/EEA country

If you are a Nordic citizen

Students from Nordic countries do not need a residence permit. If you study in Denmark for more than 3 months, you can apply for a Danish CPR number.

If you are an EU/EEA citizen

If you are an EU/EEA citizen, coming to DTU, you need to wait until you have arrived in Denmark to apply for the permit.

You apply via an online application on SIRI’s website

Afterwards you need to book an appointment to go to SIRI’s office in order to finalize your application and get the permit.

DTU usually has some special opening days with SIRI, where they are only open for DTU students.

You will receive more information regarding special opening days and the application process on DTU Inside, so please remember to check DTU Inside regularly.

If you are a full degree student from a non-EU/EEA country or

if you are an exchange student from a non-EU/EEA country

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, coming to DTU, you need to apply for and obtain the residence permit before coming to Denmark.

After you are admitted, DTU will initiate the process of residence permit (ST1). You will receive a reference no. and an access code to enable you to start the process for application for the residence permit.

Furthermore, you will receive more information about the application process directly from DTU, so please remember to check your email regularly so you do not miss any deadlines. 

Please note: As a non-EU/EEA resident you must register with the local municipality within 5-8 days of arriving to Denmark.

Finding housing that is student friendly in Denmark can be a challenge, especially in the months leading up to the beginning of the semester, e.g. August and September. In addition, housing can be relatively expensive, but this scales with (among other things) how close the accommodation is to the city center.

Boligfonden DTU

International students and employees at DTU can apply for housing at one of the student residences administrated by Boligfonden DTU (BDTU). BDTU is a private non-profit housing foundation assigned to provide housing for international students and employees at DTU.

Visit the BDTU website to find all the different student housing options that you can apply for as a DTU student, as well as more information about the application process.

Most of the student residences administrated by BDTU are located on Lyngby campus, but options closer to the Ballerup campus and Copenhagen are also available.

Alternative resources for finding housing

Housing advertisements can be found on different channels online or you can find rooms or apartments for rent in Facebook groups.

When searching for a place through these channels, you should beware of scams. In general, it is a good idea to always see the property in advance and document any damages or problems when moving in, as well as only undergoing written agreements and never pay by cash.


CPR number and health insurance

If you are staying in Denmark for more than three months you can get a social security number (a CPR number) which entitles you to use the National Danish Health Service and receive free medical treatment ind clinics and hospitals.

If you stay in Denmark for more than six months you are required by Danish law to apply for the CPR number.

The CPR number is a personal 10-digit identity number. Your CPR number will be issued on a yellow health card that entitles you to healthcare in Denmark.

Remember to bring your passport, documentation of residence permit, and your rental agreement. 

You cannot get a CPR number before the start date of your rental agreement. E.g. if your rental agreement starts 1 September, then you cannot book an appointment to obtain your CPR before this date.

You will receive all relevant information regarding the application process on DTU Inside, so please remember to check your DTU Inside regularly.

Receiving your Yellow Health Card

After 2-4 weeks your yellow health card will be sent to you.

Your name should be clearly displayed on your mailbox so that you can receive the yellow health card by regular post.

Health insurance

Please note that until you have received the health insurance card you are not covered by the Danish National Health Service.

If your are a non EU/EEA citizens you are therefore advised to take out a private health insurance in your home country to provide interim coverage until you have received the health insurance card. If you are a EU citizens you are advised to bring your blue EU/EEA insurance card with you.

For Nordic citizens

If  you are a citizen from Nordic country you are automatically entitled to the same medical services as Danish nationals and you do not need additional health insurance.  

Doctor (GP)

The Danish welfare systems allows international students to receive free medical care during their study in Denmark. When you receive your health insurance card, a GP (General Practitioner) will be assigned to you. His/her contact details are printed on your health insurance card if you need to make an appointment - remember to bring the card along when you go to see the doctor.

Emergency doctor (when your own doctor is closed)

You can call the emergency doctor on phone number 1813 if you live in the Capital Region of Denmark. The phone line is open 24-hours.

For students in Hirtshals, call +45 70 150 300.


If you need to consult a specialist, you have to make an appointment with your GP to get a referral to the specialist. If you get the referral, and have a yellow health card, your Danish health insurance will cover many types of treatment. Some treatments, however, such as for example physiotherapy and psychological help are subjected to co-payments.


If you need to see a dentist, you are free to choose any dentist and make an appointment. Be aware that dental treatment is not free of charge in Denmark.


With one of the world's lowest crime rates, Denmark is a very safe choice for international students.

The Danish way of life is based on mutual trust and tolerance. Naturally you shouldn't leave your valuables unattended—and the odd bike gets stolen on our campuses—but you will be perfectly safe as you go about your business without a trained security officer by your side.


In case of an emergency such as acute health problems, a traffic accident or fire, call 112.

Remember to provide as many details as possible:

  • Where are you? 
  • What has happened?
  • How many are injured and what is their condition? 
  • What telephone number are you calling from?


Call 114 to get in touch with the police in a non-life-threatening situation. The lines are open 24-hours a day and the number is valid for the whole country.

Home-, accident- and liability insurance

It is always advisable to have your own home-, accident- and liability insurance in case of any accidents or emergencies.

DTU covers all DTU students in case of accidents, for free - as long it happens at DTU or in connection with a study-related trip.

PF offers an upgrade to this insurance for students enrolled at DTU. Find more information about the insurance. If you have any questions about the insurance, please contact Polyteknisk Forening (PF) at

Public Transport

DTU Lyngby Campus is located a mere 3 km from Lyngby train station and 15 km north of Copenhagen. Lyngby Station is a hob for S-trains and busses. Several busses stops on Anker Engelunds Vej (the street with DTU's main entrance). 

public transportation pass

Getting a Youth Card is the best option for you if you think that you will take the public transport every day (e.g. if you live in Copenhagen).

What is a Youth Card?

A Youth Card is a transport card that can be obtained for a certain fixed fee per month and that will give you access to unlimited public transport in the capital region for the full 30 days. All DTU students are eligible for a Youth Card regardless of citizenship.

How do I get a Youth Card?

You can read more and apply for a Youth Card at

Before applying, you need to have three things in place:

  1. A CPR number. All students at DTU are registered with an administrative CPR number when enrolled. However, once you get your real CPR number, please make sure that you are registered with the correct CPR number at (Log on to DTU Inside go to My Profile, Edit your personal data in the DTUbase and Correct invalid CPR number. If you cannot see the option "Correct invalid CPR number", your CPR number has already been updated.)
  2. In order to login and apply for a Youth Card, you need to have a working MitID. Find information about how to obtain a MitID.
  3. Make sure that you are registered in the SU system. Master’s students are automatically registered in the SU system, regardless of citizenship.

Please contact the SU-office, if you need help with:

  • Registration in the SU system
  • Step 1 (“Trin 1”) on
  • Understanding the information on (prices, conditions etc.)

public transportation pass

A Travel card is the best option for you, if you will not travel on a daily basis and/or travel over shorter distances.

A Travel card is a transport card that can costs a small amount and works on a pay-per-use basis. The fare depends, as for normal tickets, on the amount of zones that you have crossed during the journey.

Several variations exist for a travel card. It can be a personal card with your name and picture or you can choose an anonymous one.

Find a description of all the different kinds of travel cards as well as information on where these can be purchased.


Bicycle facilities in Copenhagen are excellent: Many roads have separate cycle paths and you can bring your bicycle free-of-charge on the S-Train.

Getting a bicycle

You can get a new bicycle from bike shops or supermarkets. However, getting a used bike can be much cheaper. These can be found through or Facebook groups/Facebook marketplace.

Rules and regulations

Please be aware that it is your own responsibility to make sure you comply with traffic laws while biking in Denmark. Even if you aren’t stopped by the police, you will often be put in place by other people, because Danes don’t suffer fools gladly when it comes to traffic – particularly on the cycle paths.

To help prevent you getting into awkward or unpleasant situations, please take the time to read all about the rules and regulations for cyclists in Denmark in the brochure 'How to ride safely through traffic in Denmark on two wheels' issued by the Danish police.

Please bear in mind that failure to obey the rules might cost you a fine of DKK 700 or more.

The Danish currency is the krone (DKK) and not EURO (which is the currency in many other countries in the European Union). 1 krone is divided into 100 øre.

Opening a bank account

It is very common in Denmark to make payments by card, even for small amounts. Well-known international credit cards are widely accepted in Denmark.

However, there are several reasons why it may be a good idea to open a Danish bank account and thereby get a Dankort (Dan-Card) or a credit card with a Danish bank. A Danish bank account is needed if you have a job in Denmark and/or if you receive SU (State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme), the latter though is only an option for EU citizens.

If you have any questions regarding SU, please contact the SU office at DTU or read more about receiving SU.

When considering which bank to choose, try to talk to your fellow students, as they may have useful tips regarding which banks offer better service and good deals for students.

Mobile Pay

A Danish debit or credit card can make every-day shopping more convenient and in conjunction with a Danish phone number it can allow you to create a Mobile Pay account.

Mobile Pay is a payment application for smartphones. It is very commonly used in Denmark for payments to friends, smaller physical shops but also larger chains and ecommerce.

Where do I get a SIM card?

DTU does not offer sim cards and does not recommend any specific SIM card or phone providers. It will therefore be up to you to investigate, and choose which provider suits your needs.

You can also talk to your fellow students and inquire as to which phone company they are using, and what their experiences are in this regard.

You will most likely find that your local supermarkets or kiosks sell SIM cards that can make it easy and convenient for you to obtain a SIM card.

Should I even get a Danish phone number?

You may find it useful to obtain a Danish phone number for your stay in Denmark. A Danish data plan ensures that you will also have data in other European countries, due to rules from the European Union.

Furthermore, a Danish phone number ensures that you will be able to get MobilePay.

Students are required to cover their entire living expenses: meals, accommodation, transport, books, materials, and clothing, as well as any other living costs.

We cannot accommodate all students close to the campus, so the cost of transport can be quite high. However, public transportation in Copenhagen is very reliable, punctual, and will take you everywhere you need to go.

In Copenhagen the trains, Metro, and busses (including waterbuses) can be accessed with the same ticket. All you need to know is how many zones you will be passing on your journey.

During Introduction Week we will introduce you to public transport in the greater Copenhagen area. But please note that as long as you have a CPR-number and a NemID, you are entitled to a public transport discount: Ungdomskort.

Cheaper still is to hop on your bike. The Copenhagen area has an extensive cycle-path system. We strongly advise you to invest in a bike. You can buy a used bike for around EUR 135.

Please note that there is 25 per cent consumer tax (‘moms’) on all goods and services sold in Denmark. In stores, this consumer tax is always included in the price.

SU is an abbreviation for Statens Uddannelsesstøtte (in English: “State Education Grant and Loan Scheme”)

SU is a financial assistance programme you can apply for as an EU-student when enrolled in a full-time study programme at DTU if you meet certain conditions.

There are several online databases, which you can use to look for a student job. A place to start looking is A State of Denmark.

DTU Career Hub is a job site aimed at DTU students and alumni. Here companies search for potential employees, so it is a good idea to register with a profile. This way, employers can get in touch with you. Additionally you can to sign up for career workshops, career guidance and company meetings in DTU Career Hub.

DTU Career Center can help you with career related request. They have a series of online topics like how to write a targeted application and how to improve your LinkedIn profile which you can find in the course on DTU Learn called “Engineer Your Career”, where you also can get help by crash courses on to how you write a good resume and prepare for a job interview.

If you need feedback on your CV and job applications, you simply drop by the Career Centre during the opening hours. They have an office in the library on Lyngby Campus.

If you are expecting to have a job while studying in Denmark, we recommend that you contact the Danish tax authority (In Danish: Skat) to make sure that you are registered correctly, and that you get the correct tax card and get the right tax deductions for you.

Find more information on Skat's website

Learning Danish is a good investment if you decide to spend the next couple of years at DTU and perhaps plan to build a career in Denmark afterwards. The courses are free of charge if you have a Danish CPR number, however, you will have to pay a deposit to participate in the courses.

Below you can see the four language schools that operate in the region. Three of them have classes for DTU students on either Lyngby or Ballerup Campus

  • Speak School of Danish
    Where: Lyngby Campus, Lyngby City, Hellerup, Frederiksberg, E-class
  • UCplus
    Where: Lyngby Campus, Copenhagne City Centre
  • VSK Dansk
    Where: Ballerup Campus, Ballerup by Malmparken Station, Amager
  • Studieskolen
    Where: Central Copenhagen, online-classes

The Danish courses are taught during the semester (approx. 8-10 weeks) at DTU.

Denmark, Copenhagen, and Lyngby

406 islands, a large peninsula, and 7,300 km of coastline with Europe’s cleanest beaches make up Denmark—one of oldest kingdoms in the world, and a country whose population (of 5.6 million) year after year rates itself as among the happiest people on earth.

Did you know?

For years, Denmark has topped the list of the happiest place in the world. In 2023, Denmark ranked second on the “World Happiness Report” commissioned by the United Nations.

In 2022, the Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index (EPI) ranked Danes as the fifth best non-native English speakers in the world.

The 2022 Global Peace Index survey ranks Denmark as the fourth most peaceful country in the world—with extremely low levels of violent crime and conflict, paired with political democracy and one of the world’s highest levels of income equality.

Denmark continuously tops the list of the least corrupt countries in the world.

Denmark has one of the best business climates in the world, according to the U.S. business magazine Forbes.