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In principle, there are a number of general conditions that must be met in order to be entitled to a state pension. However, these conditions may be waived.

The retirement age

National pension can be paid to people who have reached the retirement age, which is today 65.5 years.

The retirement age is gradually increased to 67 years in the period 2019-2022. It happens with half a year in each of the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. You can receive a retirement pension at the age of 65 if you were born on December 31, 1953 or earlier.

Basic conditions

There are three basic conditions that must be fulfilled in order for a person to be granted Danish pension:

·       The person must have Danish citizenship (citizenship)

·       The person must have a permanent residence in Denmark

·       The person must have resided permanently in the kingdom for at least 3 years between the age of 15 and the retirement age

There are a number of exceptions to these basic conditions. A pension cannot be awarded unless the main conditions or one of the exceptions are met.

Exceptions to Danish citizenship requirements

Persons who have been permanently resident in the Kingdom for at least 10 years between the age of 15 and the retirement age are entitled to Danish pension, even though they are not Danish citizens. At least five years of residence must lie immediately before the date of retirement. If the person first applies for a pension at a time that is after the person reaches the retirement age, the residence requirement must be met by the retirement age.

The requirement of citizenship is waived for workers and self-employed persons as well as students who are nationals of an EU or EEA country and Switzerland and their family members.

Foreign nationals who do not meet these conditions can only receive national pension if a convention is concluded with the country from which they come and they fulfill the conditions of the convention.

Refugees are entitled to Danish national pension on an equal footing with Danish citizens if they have been granted a residence permit under section 7 or section 8 of the Aliens Act.

Exceptions to the requirement of permanent residence in Denmark

Persons with Danish citizenship who have reached the old age pension can receive the national pension abroad if they have lived in Denmark for at least 30 years between the age of 15 and the old age pension.

Other persons with Danish citizenship may include the national pension abroad if the pensioner has either had at least 10 years of residence in Denmark during the period from the age of 15, or has lived in Denmark for at least ¼ of the time from the age of 15 years until the time from which the pension is granted. The residence requirement must be fulfilled for a continuous period up to the time the pension is granted. For old-age pensioners who want to include a pension abroad, the condition must be fulfilled by the old-age pension.

In special circumstances, Payout Denmark may in other cases allow the right to a pension to be retained for persons receiving a state pension before taking a permanent residence abroad.

The requirement of permanent residence in Denmark does not apply to workers and self-employed persons, as well as students who are nationals of an EU or EEA country and their family members. These persons can receive a pension on the same terms in another EU or EEA country as well as Switzerland as in Denmark. For other foreigners, the residence requirement may be waived by convention with the country of origin.

Persons over the retirement age with Danish citizenship, who have earned the right to a pension based on at least 30 years of permanent residence in Denmark, can be granted Danish national pension while living abroad.

Employees and self-employed persons, as well as students who are nationals of an EU or EEA country and Switzerland and their family members, can be granted Danish national pension when they live in one of these countries. For other foreigners, the residence requirement may be waived by convention with the country from which they come.

Exemption from the requirement of three years of permanent residence in the kingdom

For workers and self-employed persons, as well as students who are nationals of an EU or EEA country and Switzerland and their family members, accrual periods in other EU or EEA countries are counted for the three years, however, so that they can satisfy one year’s employment or resident in Denmark, to open the right to a Danish pension.

For other foreigners, the residence requirement may be waived by convention with the country of origin.

The accrual principle

The retirement principle for pensioners is based on the actual period that the individual has lived in the country between the age of 15 and the retirement age. The right to full old-age pension is conditional on 40 years of permanent residence here in the kingdom between the 15th year and the old-age pension. If a person has not been resident in Denmark, the Faroe Islands or Greenland for 40 years, the person will only receive a share of a full Danish pension, corresponding to the proportion of the 40 years that the person has lived in the kingdom.

For persons who reach the retirement age on 1 July 2025 or later, the right to full old-age pension is conditional on permanent residence here in the kingdom for at least 9/10 of the vesting period from the age of 15 until the retirement age. If a person has not been resident in the kingdom for at least 9/10 of the vesting period from the age of 15 until the retirement age, the pension is determined according to the ratio of residence time to 9/10 of the vesting period.