Work and residence permits in Greenland

Arbejds- og opholdstilladelse i Grønland
What conditions do you need to meet to work in Greenland? Some occupations require a special permit, even if you are a citizen of a Nordic country.

Nordic citizens may freely settle and work in Greenland. However, certain occupations require special permission, even if you are a citizen of a Nordic country. Citizens from countries outside the Nordic region must have a work and residence permit in order to live and work in Greenland. Greenland is part of the Danish commonwealth, and enjoys a high degree of autonomy. The area of immigration has not been transferred to the government of Greenland, and so it is Denmark that decides who can enter and work in Greenland.

More information about work and residence permits in Greenland is available at:

Further guidance

The police in Greenland may provide guidance on the Immigration Act and the visa rules. The police also receive reports of illegal circumstances and carry out checks.

The Danish Immigration Service can provide guidance on residence and work permits for third-country nationals, as well as on spouse and family reunification and unlimited residence.

The municipalities of Greenland can provide guidance on municipal permits.

Contact information for the Greenlandic municipalities: (in Danish)

Citizens of Nordic countries

If you are a citizen of a Nordic country, you can freely travel to Greenland to live and work there. However, a municipal permit is required if you wish to work in certain occupations (see next section).

Municipal permit to work in certain industries

If a company wishes to hire a foreigner within one of the following professional groups, the company must have a municipal permit on the basis of Parliamentary Act no. 27 of 30 October 1992 on the regulation of the labour supply in Greenland. This also applies to Danish citizens who have not been born or raised in Greenland, and to other Nordic citizens:

  • Craftsman trades
  • Social educators
  • Social workers
  • Positions that require advanced maritime education
  • Unskilled workers
How the municipal permit is granted

The company that wishes to hire a person must first try to recruit Greenlandic labour. The company must then contact the municipality, who will try to source the labour elsewhere in Greenland.

If this does not succeed, the company must have written permission from the municipality to bring in an employee from elsewhere. The permission can only apply to one position at one specific workplace.

If the municipality does not respond witin 14 days to the company's application for a municipal permit, the company is automatically entitled to bring in an external employee.

Contact information for the Greenlandic municipalities: (in Danish)

Citizens from the rest of the world

Non-Nordic EU citizens and citizens of other countries around the world do not have free access to Greenland – they are so-called “third-country nationals”.

Work and residence permit

If you are a citizen of a third country, then in addition to a possible municipal permit, you must also have a Danish work and residence permit, and possibly a visa to Greenland. You must apply to the Danish Immigration Service for a work and residence permit. It is free of charge to apply for a work and residence permit.

Your employer can assist you with the application. Only you will be notified of the decision.

The application procedure takes around three months, and if the answer is positive, you can be hired. You may not begin to work until you have obtained your work and residence permit.

A work and residence permit takes the form of a letter or an identity card (a plastic card similar to a credit card). You must have the permit on you at all times. A work permit always applies to a specific job in a particular company, and for no longer than a year. If you wish to change your job or workplace, you must apply for a new permit before you can start work at the new job.

Residence of less than three months

If you are a third-country citizen, you cmay work in Greenland, for a short period of no more than three months if you are covered by the “fitter rule”. This applies if you:

  • Are working as a specialist in a mining project which has a licence number
  • Are installing or repairing a piece of technical equipment, a machine or an IT system
  • Are an artist, scientist or public speaker
  • Are employed as an actor, camera operator or film director on a film production
  • Are a company representative or sales person on a business trip
  • Are employed by a foreigner who is in Greenland on a visit

If you are covered by the “fitter rule”, you do not need to have a municipal permit or work and residence permit in order to work in Greenland.

Spouse or family reunion and unlimited residence

If you are the spouse of a Danish or Nordic citizen, and you yourself are a citizen of a third country, then in order to live or work in Greenland you must apply for spouse or family reunification, or a work and residence permit in Greenland, and you may also need a municipal permit. This applies regardless of how long you have lived in Denmark, unless you have a special connection with Greenland, i.e. you have lived permanently in Greenland for seven out of the past ten years, or are married to, or can document at least one year of cohabitation with, a resident Greenlander.

If you have received spouse or family reunification in Greenland, you may work freely in Greenland.

If you have been granted non-time-limited residence (a permanent residence permit) in Greenland, you may work freely in Greenland.

You can apply for spouse and family reunification at:

Extensions

If you wish to extend your work and residence permit, you must apply to the Danish Immigration Service. Your application must be submitted to the the Danish Immigration Service before your original work permit expires, so that you can continue to work while waiting for a response.

To appeal a decision as a citizen or company

Both citizens and companies have the right to appeal the decisions they receive, and the municipal employee is obliged to guide them on how to do so.

If you wish to appeal a decision taken in the municipality concerning a municipal permit, you should contact the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Labour in the Government of Greenland

If you wish to appeal a decision taken by the Danish Immigration Service, you should contact the Ministry of Justice in Denmark

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Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.