I Have A Visa To Stay in Denmark, Now What?
Two weeks before I went to the States for Thanksgiving, I walked into the Immigration office to get a re-entry permit since I had no decision on my visa case. A re-entry permit is a page in your passport that gives you free movement for 90 days when a case is pending, basically a paper in my passport that says “Yes, this girl has out stayed her normal 90 days but we are letting her back in." Imagine my surprise when they told me I couldn’t have that magic paper because there was an issue with my case.
Panic ensued until they told me that issue was they hadn’t received my collateral payment. A collateral is a certain amount of money people on family reunification submits to the government to take care of any money the government would have to give me if I need social benefits. Confusion came over me since collateral is the final step in the approval process & I had yet to be approved. Well imagine my range of emotions when they told me I was approved (yay!) two months earlier (wtf?!)…
There is an electronic communication system in Denmark like Blackboard in American colleges. The Dane should have received this notification in that system but didn’t so the next 24 hours was running around making sure we had everything taken care of. Thankfully less than a week later, I was approved & heading to America!
Now that my fantastic story is established & we can all celebrate the fact that I can FINALLY legally live in Denmark, let’s talk about the next steps.
Step 1 – Register
You have been approved, YAY now quickly get to the International House & become registered. That registration comes in the form of a CPR number which is your Golden Ticket to Danish life. You will need this magically number to do everything in this country so get it done, fast.
Step 2 – Danish Class Registration
Denmark offers 5 years of free Danish classes to all foreigners! Sounds super cool for those who want to learn right? Well us lucky ones who married Danes HAVE to learn. Yup, that visa doesn’t come without its strings. You have 6 months from your approval date to pass a Danish language test. No pass, no visa.
Step 3 – Danish Integration Meeting
Each Kommune (I describe a Kommune usually like an American county, it’s the best I can think of comparison wise) offers an integration meeting. This meeting is where they help make sure you understand what is expected of you to keep your visa & how to integrate best into the Danish society. Mine was quick because I have had nothing but time to understand what is expected of me over the past 10 months of seclusion & I have a plan for my next 6 & 12 months. My personal favorite part is the integration contract that we sign that is, well, interesting.
I promised to pay taxes & go to work even though I am a woman, promised to have my husband aid in the household duties & child raising, promised to not have any of my daughter’s have female circumcision preformed on them & to not arrange and of my children’s marriages. Apparently all these points needed to be made clear...
Step 4 – Enjoy Your New Danish Life
Yay! FINALLY! Now the fun part comes & I get the same question asked over and over…”So now you can get a job?!” Technically, yes I can get a job but I am not planning on getting one quite yet. Remember when I said you have 6 months to pass that Danish test or else you are out? That is my plan for the next 6 weeks, Danish. This is my priority right now because without it, a job doesn’t matter.
I am enrolled in a Danish school for 6 weeks, 4 days a week, 4 hours a day. I should be able to definitely pass the first test I need by then and maybe even the second. This will be intense & my days until mid-February with the addition of a content writing internship to get me in the swing of Danish workplaces.
Reason number 2 of not getting a job right a way, “I Do Round 2.” Our American wedding is in the beginning of March & I head over days after my last Danish lesson. Danish companies start employments on the first of the month, our wedding is the second so a new job wouldn’t be able to begin until April 1st the earliest & I didn’t want to get a job Jan 1 to then have to take a few weeks off 2 months in. This is the smartest & best decision for our family & we feel confident that we are making the right choice.
The fact that I have a CPR number and a residence visa for the next 2 years is a HUGE weight off mine & the Dane’s shoulders. It means I can start a real life here, make more connections & really make this my home. Not a bad way to start off a New Year!
Are you living abroad? How long did it take you to get settled?
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