Language courses for migrants to Denmark

Johannes Jansson/

A pile of open books.

People who move to Denmark are entitled to free Danish lessons. The person’s local municipality ensures that all new residents are offered the opportunity to learn Danish.

Most foreigners are entitled to Danish lessons when they move to or start working in Denmark. Some Danish citizens are also entitled to the lessons. A distinction is drawn between different types of course participants: Nordic citizens are so-called S-participants. This means that the lessons are free, but you pay a deposit for the courses.

Who can be offered Danish lessons?

Danish lessons for migrants who are foreign citizens

Danish lessons are offered to newly-arrived foreigners who are aged 18 or over and:

  • Have a residence permit or otherwise have permanent, legal residence in Denmark, and are registered as resident in Denmark, or
  • Have permanent residence pursuant to the EU rules on the lifting of entry and residence restrictions in connection with the free movement of workers, the establishment and provision of services, etc., and are resident in a municipality.

Foreigners who are citizens of Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden are also covered by the Act's target group to the extent that they require Danish lessons.

Danish lessons for migrants who are Danish citizens

Danish lessons can also be offered to Faroese persons, Greenlanders and certain Danish citizens

The following groups of Danish citizens are treated as foreigners for this purpose:

  • Greenlanders and Faroese persons over the age of 18 and resident in Denmark and who, for special reasons, do not master the Danish language to an extent that would allow them to function in Danish society.
  • Danish citizens over the age of 18 who, due to long periods spent abroad, do not master the Danish language to an extent that would allow them to function in Danish society.
Danish lessons if you work in Denmark but live abroad

The right of EU cross-border workers to Danish lessons: EU cross-border workers are persons who work in Denmark, or who have established self-employment in Denmark, without being resident in the country.

I-course participants and S-course participants

The basis of residence is decisive for the nature of the Danish lessons offered by the municipality. In the Danish Education Act, a distinction is made between I-course participants and S-course participants:

  • I-course participants are refugees and family members reunited with refugees.
  • S-course participants are foreign workers, students, etc. S-course participants are offered Danish lessons as part of an introductory course and are not obliged to accept the offer. S-course participants must pay a deposit of DKK 2,000 when the course participant is referred to a module in the Danish lessons. The deposit is refunded if the S-course participant passes the module tests within the stipulated deadlines.

About the Danish lessons

The Danish courses are divided into three programmes:

  • Danish programme 1 is for course participants who cannot read and write their native language, or do not master a European writing system. The goal is to provide basic skills in oral and written Danish which will allow the person to manage in the labour market and society. Danish programme 1 concludes with the ‘Danish 1’ test.
  • Danish programme 2 is for course participants who have a short-cycle school and educational background from their home country. The goal is to enable participants to understand, speak and read Danish so that they can manage the labour market and labour market training programmes, and function in society generally. Danish programme 2 concludes with the ‘Danish 2’ test.
  • Danish programme 3 is for course participants who have a medium-cycle school and educational background from their home country, such as vocational training, secondary school education or a programme of higher education. The goal is to enable participants to be able to carry out qualified work or take a programme of further education or training, as well actively participate in society. Danish programme 3 concludes with the ‘Danish 3’ test. Alternatively, it may be completed with the highest level, the Study Test, which is required to study at a Danish university.

Several municipalities offer Danish courses targeted at people who are fluent in Norwegian or Swedish.

Danish lessons for young people under 18

As a rule, young people under 18 can be offered Danish lessons in school or at a municipal continuation school. Further information is available from your municipality.

More information on Danish lessons in Denmark

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