If you want to apply for an SU, you need to have prepared all the documents you need, and you need to make sure that you fulfil all the criteria. Otherwise, your application will be rejected and you have to repeat the process all over again.
What is SU?
SU is a state's educational grant for all full-time students in Denmark. If you are an exchange student, you are no allowed to receive the SU.
In 2021, the amount you get in SU is 6.321 DKK, roughly €850.
Read more about SU here.
Do you have to pay, to apply for SU?
No, it does not cost anything to apply for SU and you receive your response within few week, depending on how busy the SU office is. If you apply for SU with everybody else at the beginning of the semester, you might wait longer, compared to applying later on, when most cases are settled.
What do you need to have, before you apply?
During 2021 NemID becomes MitID. In the beginning only those holding a Danish passport can update to MitID. If you don't have a Danish passport, you can continue to use the NemID app as normal and wait for further instructions from the Danish Agency of Digitalisation. Read more on their page (in Danish).
Important things first
The least possible day for applying to SU is the last day of the month.
For example, If I would like to receive SU for September, the last possible day for applying would be the 30th of September.
It is possible to receive SU in a retrospective effect, meaning that you can receive the SU for March, even though you apply on 31st of March.
The last day for applying to SU in a year is the 5th of December. And you won’t get your money sooner than in January.
Remember, that once you make the login to minSU, you need to deliver the rest of the documentation within the 3 weeks.
If you won't, then the day you deliver these documents counts as the day of your application. So you won't be able to receive SU in retrospect.
OK, let’s get started with the application.
Step 1 - Apply on su.dk
You need to have your NemID setup for this step.
If you are tired of the white cards, make sure to check out our blog about useful apps to download when living in Denmark.
Once you get logged in follow these steps
- Firstly I would advice to use google translate in your browser to have everything in English.
- You will see "søge om SU" which is the link which lets you apply.
- Next you will have many options to discover, but just follow with "Søg SU".
- Fill up the application.
After you apply, you will be requested to download, and print an equal status application.
You bring this, together with a work contract and application to your SU office in school, but we'll get to that.
Step 2 - Fill Out the Equal Status
This is the document that you get prompted to download and fill out, after submitting your SU application.
They have both English and Danish versions. You can download the English version of equal Status form here.
Here, you have two main options on how be considered an “equal”; that is under the Danish rules, and under the EU rules.
Danish rules include being married to a Dane, coming to Denmark with your parents, working consciously at least 30 hours a week for 24 months, or being a member of Danish minority in Southern Slesvig (?).
Under the EU rules, you can receive SU when you have resided in Denmark continuously for 5 years or when you have a status of a worker, or have retained your status of a worker, in Denmark. But this only applies for students coming form EU/EEA countries.
Don't worry, it is not like you need to actively choose which rules you want to use. All the questions are included in the "Equal Status" document. So answer everything truthfully, and you should be OK.
Step 3 - Get Your Work Contract
So what exactly are the rules that will make you are a ‘worker in Denmark’?
Well, no one really knows and if you ask 10 people, each one of them will likely tell you something different.
“Oh yeah, you have to work every week, at least 10 hours.”
“Wait, isn’t it 10-12 hours per week?”
“I thought it’s 43 hours per month?”
The law states, that you should be having a stable job, where you work 10-12 hours every week.
It is not necessary to have a work contract that would state the exact number of hours. SU can check your paychecks and deduct the hours from there.
Once you are approved for SU, all you need to do it to make sure you have all the working hours you need.
And this is also where things get complicated.
The thing is that the law states that you need to have a stable job where you work 10 - 12 hours a week. Although there are many people, including me, that will tell you that they only focused on having 43 hours a month and they were fine.
Once again, SU is handled individually, so there is no clear answer.
Just get all the shifts you need, and if possible, try to have some hours every week. If the SU worker sees that your hours are ok and that you only miss something here and there, they might be more benevolent, but you shouldn’t count on that.
You might want to google some lawsuits that happened in regards to this topic. There are quite a few of them and it might give you a better overview of the whole system.
Step 4 - Submit your work contract and fill out the form
Once you got to this step, you simply upload all relevant documents online.
After submitting your application, you will be prompted to fill out an online form. Here, you should also upload your work contract.
Back in the day, you used to bring all the documents to the SU office in your school. Nowadays it's possible to do all of the steps online.
Side note: if you have resided in Denmark for more than 5 years, you can simply write it in the last line of the application and send it without any other parts filled out. It worked out for me.
That is because once you have resided in Denmark for 5 years, you don’t need to fulfil the requirement to work 10-12 hours/week anymore.
Step 5 - Waiting
Now you can only wait, and pray to the SU gods that your application will get accepted.
But if you've followed this guide correctly, you have a very good chance of getting your SU from the month you applied, regardless the lenght of the process.
3 Reasons people often get declined in their SU application
Applying for SU does not mean that you automatically be granted SU. Each application is processed individually by a case worker, who might or might not approve documents you've submitted. These are the 3 main reasons, people do not get their application approved.
Not working enough hours per week
One of the basic requirements for receiving SU is to work. And not only to work, but to have a specific amount of hours per week and month. The rules are here unfortunately unclear, and as mentioned before, each application is handled individually.
But if your contract states that you are working less than 10 - 12 hours a week, then there is no chance to get SU. Similarly, with vikar workers. If you are unable to get the required hours in your previous months, the SU worker cannot really approve your application.
Applying for SU with vikar contract
If you are applying for an equal status with a work contract that does not state the amount of hours you will work (fx. vikar contract), it is still possible to apply for SU, however you need to prove that you will be working for 10-12 hours a week. This is usually done by providing payslips to the SU office, where you can show at least 1 month of steady income.
In some cases, it is required that you bring such payslips for last 3 months, prior to applying for an SU.
You will likely be able to submit your application, but SU will reply with: 'You need to declare that you have worked for 10-12 in past xy months'. If you can do it, perfect! You will get approved.
If not, you need to go back to work and make sure to hit the right number of hours every week.
Making mistake in the SU application
To be honest, I haven't met anybody who had this issue, but you indeed need to fill a couple of documents. And you need to fill them right. In this case, I would advise filling these documents with your friends or classmates. Thus you can check after each other and point out possible mistakes.
Another good this to remember is that you should submit your forms the latest 3 weeks after registering on minSU. If you do it later, then the day you delivered all the documents count as the day you applied. Thus you can start receiving SU only from that day.
FAQ about SU
Is it possible to get SU without working?
Yes, if you have been living in Denmark for more than 5 years without interruption (without losing your residence permit) and you are an EU citizen, you are able to apply for SU without work. That way, you will receive the SU even without a work contract.
What to do if I am not sure I worked enough hours to receive SU?
If you are unsure about your hours, you can always try using the SU holiday to fill up the gaps. You can apply for SU holiday on su.dk or you can check our blog, where we speak about SU in more general terms.
Can I get SU if I work as a freelancer/self employed?
The popularity of freelancing jobs has increased in Denmark ever since the pandemic hit, especially jobs as freelance bike couriers ( e.g. with Wolt, Hungry.dk etc.) or cleaners (Happy Helper).
But to answer the question: YES, it is possible to receive SU as self-employed, but it’s more of a hustle.
Basically you have to convince the SU authorities that you are a legit self-employed person under the EU law. This can be quite time consuming and there’s a lot of documentation to deal with.
In order to do that, you must make sure that your business is fully operational in Denmark. This means that even as a freelancer/self-employed, you will need to register the business in Denmark and get a CVR number. This is the easy part.
In addition, you need to provide documentation for the following:
- Your business’ annual financial statement (better done by an accountant/auditor) or a budget for the 1st year of operation (if you just started up)
- Business plan or documentation proving your business will be profitable
- Proof that you receive payment for what it is you sell (e.g. invoices you sent out to your customers)
- You are professionally qualified to run the business
- You have a business address (e.g. rent contract of your office)
Other documentation you might need to attach in order to prove your business is (still) running financial activities:
- documentation of starting capital and startup expenses
- contracts or written agreements with your customers/clients
- documentation of all your business expenses
- bank statements of your business bank account showing your business expenses and the payments you received from your customers
- preliminary income assessment from SKAT (the Danish tax agency)
- VAT payments from SKAT
- documentation showing your business inventory
Read more about this on SU’s page, under the section Self-employed person.
Thanks to Grigore Butac for finding this information.
Can I get SU if my work is affected by COVID-19?
If you work in an industry that is closed down or affected by the pandemic, then the SU authorities must conduct assessments of each individual case. What you have to do is submit a statement from your employer. This must state that COVID-19 is the reason why you cannot work the necessary amount of hours in a certain period of time.
SU posts regular updates regarding the Corona situation, so stay tuned.
We have also written a blog covering some aspects: SU, Corona and international students-How does our situation change?.
What to do if I change jobs while receiving SU?
You don’t have to submit another SU application when you change your workplace, but you must inform the SU authorities about this. Simply send them your new work contract via digital post (e-boks), which they will assess and decide whether it fulfils the requirements or not.
What to do if I stop working?
You must inform the SU authorities of your last working day. Contact them via e-boks.
What to do if I am fired from my job?
It is possible to maintain your status as an EU worker even if you become involuntarily unemployed, but you have to fulfil certain conditions. First and foremost, you have to have worked 10-12 hours/week for 10 weeks before you become unemployed.
You must also register immediately as a jobseeker on Jobnet and start applying for jobs.
Moreover, you have to submit documentation indicating that you have been let go and documentation showing the date you registered as a jobseeker. Send these via e-boks.
What to do if I cannot work due to temporary illness?
If you become unable to work for a while due to illness or injury, you must submit documentation indicating this. In order to maintain your status as an EU worker, you must, as in the previous situation, have worked the weekly necessary amount of hours for a period of 10 successive weeks leading up to the illness. Submit the documentation via e-boks.
What if I will study a semester abroad?
Basically you can receive SU as long as you maintain your status as an EU worker in Denmark. This means that if you go for a semester abroad and stop working in Denmark, you cannot receive SU. Make sure you let the SU authorities know that you stopped working and also send documentation regarding your study abroad, via e-boks.
What happens to my SU if I go on an internship?
Internships in Denmark are not normally paid, so in order to receive SU you have to keep working to the same extent as before. If you, however, get a paid internship in Denmark or abroad, then you are not entitled to receive SU, and must notify SU that you stopped working. You might also have to send them a copy of your internship contract/agreement (via e-boks).
What to do if I become pregnant?
When you have to take maternity leave, you can receive normal payment from your job or maternity benefit. In order to maintain your status as an EU worker you have to submit documentation in this regard.
What to do when I start a new education?
If you start a new education (e.g. finished bachelor’s and starting master’s), then once again, you have to apply for equal status. How to do that? Read this blog from the beginning. 😁 🙄
Read more and get useful links about these changes in your working circumstances on SU’s page.
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