Danish nationality law

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Danish nationality law is ruled by the Constitutional act of Denmark (of 1953) and the Consolidated Act of Danish Nationality (of 2003, with amendment in 2004).

Danish nationality can be acquired in one of the following ways:[1]

  • Automatically at birth if born in the Danish Realm and at least one of the parents has Danish citizenship.
  • Automatically at birth if born outside Denmark and the mother has Danish citizenship.
  • Automatically at birth if born outside Denmark and the father has Danish citizenship and is married to the mother.
  • Automatically if a person is adopted as a child under 12 years of age
  • By declaration for nationals of another Nordic country
  • By naturalisation, that is, by statute
  • Automatically at birth if either parent is a Danish citizen, regardless of birthplace, if the child was born on or after July 1, 2014.[2]

Danish nationality can be lost in one of the following ways:

  • Automatically if a person acquired Danish nationality by birth, but was not born in Denmark and has never lived in Denmark by the age of 22 years (unless this would render the person stateless or the person has lived in another Nordic country for an aggregate period of no less than 7 years)
  • By court order if a person acquired his or her Danish nationality by fraudulent conduct
  • By court order if a person is convicted of violation of one or more provisions of Parts 12 and 13 of the Danish Criminal Code (crimes against national security), unless this would render the person stateless
  • By voluntary application to the Minister for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs (a person who is or who desires to become a national of a foreign country may be released from his or her Danish nationality by such an application)

Naturalisation as a Danish citizen[edit]

  • One must have permanent residence status in Denmark in order to become a citizen.
  • 9 years of continuous residence, with restricted allowance for interrupted residence of up to 1 year or 2 years in special circumstances (education, family illness). Continuous residence is not clearly defined, but one must state periods of absence from Denmark longer than 14 days.
  • 8 years of continuous residence for people who are stateless or with refugee status
  • Each year of marriage to a Danish citizen reduces the requirement by one year, to a maximum reduction of 3 years. For example, as little as 6 years of continuous uninterrupted residence for people who have been married to Danish nationals for 3 years. One year of cohabitation before marriage counts as a year of marriage for this purpose.
  • There is a special and little mentioned clause which allows for absences from Denmark of longer than 1 or 2 years if one is married to a Danish citizen. The total period of continuous residence should be at least 3 years and it must exceed the total periods of absence, AND either: the period of marriage being at least 2 years or the total period of residence in Denmark being 10 years less the period of marriage and 1 year for cohabitation before marriage). One must still have permanent residence.[clarification needed]
  • If one is married to a Dane working 'for Danish interests' in a foreign country, then this period of absence from Denmark can be regarded as residence in Denmark.

According to Statistics Denmark, 3,267 foreigners living in Denmark replaced their foreign citizenship with Danish citizenship in 2012. A total of 71.4% of all those who were naturalized in 2012 were from the non-Western world. Half of all new Danish citizenships in 2012 were given to people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Somalia and Iran.[3]

Multiple citizenship[edit]

Currently, it is a fundamental principle in the legislation to restrict dual nationality as much as possible.[4] One exception to this is if a person is born of a Danish parent in a country that grants citizenship under the principle of jus soli.[4] In October 2011, the newly elected centre-left coalition government indicated its intention to permit dual citizenship.[5][6]

On 4 June 2014, Parliament approved a law allowing multiple citizenships. The new law will permit foreigners to become Danish citizens without having to give up other citizenship(s), and it will also allow former Danish citizens who have given up their citizenship for another, to be able to reclaim it. The law change is expected to come into force in the summer of 2015.[7]

On December 18, 2014, Parliament passed a bill to allow Danish citizens to become foreign nationals without losing their Danish citizenship, and to allow foreign nationals to acquire Danish citizenship without renouncing their prior citizenship. A provision in the bill also allows former Danish nationals who lost their citizenship as a result of accepting another to reobtain Danish citizenship. This provision expires in 2020. A separate provision, lasting until 2017, allows current applicants for Danish citizenship who have been approved under the condition they renounce their prior citizenship to retain their prior nationality as they become Danish citizens. The new law will be applied beginning on September 1, 2015.[8]

Anyone with Danish citizenship may nonetheless be required to give up foreign citizenship under the laws of some countries. For instance, people who are Danish-Japanese dual citizens by birth and want to keep their Japanese citizenship must, under Japanese nationality law, make a declaration of choice to the Japanese Ministry of Justice before the age of 22 that they want to keep their Japanese citizenship (Article 14, Part 1). This process will not automatically void the Danish citizenship, because the Japanese Government has no power to cancel Danish citizenship. However, anyone who declares to retain Danish, rather than Japanese, citizenship under such circumstances will automatically lose the Japanese citizenship (Article 11, Part 2).

Citizenship of the European Union[edit]

Citizenship of the European Union for Danish citizens varies in each part of the Danish Realm.

Danish citizens in metropolitan Denmark are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.

Greenland joined the European Economic Community along with metropolitan Denmark in 1973 but left in 1985. Although Greenland is not part of the EU, Greenlandic citizens are EU citizens.

The Faroe Islands are never part of the EU or its predecessors, and EU treaties do not apply to the islands. Consequently, Faroese citizens are not EU citizens within the meaning of the treaties. However, Faroese citizens can choose between a non-EU Danish-Faroese passport (which is green and modelled on pre-EU Danish passport) or a regular Danish EU passport. Some EU member states may treat Faroese citizens the same as other Danish citizens and thus as EU citizens.

Concerning citizenship of the European Union as established in the Maastricht Treaty, Denmark obtained an opt-out in the Edinburgh Agreement, in which EU citizenship does not replace national citizenship and each member state is free to determine its nationals according to its own nationality law. The Amsterdam Treaty extends this to all EU member states, which renders the Danish opt-out de facto meaningless.


  1. ^ "Bekendtgørelse af lov om dansk indfødsret". 
  2. ^ "Automatisk erhvervelse af dansk statsborgerskab". Justitsministeriet (Danish Ministry of Justice). Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Personer, der har skiftet til dansk statsborgerskab" (= "People who have changed to Danish citizenship"), Danmarks Statistik (= Statistics Denmark), 2012
  4. ^ a b "Dual nationality (in Denmark)". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Bramsen, C.B. Danskere i udlandet har også rettigheder (in Danish). Politiken.dk. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  6. ^ Regeringen (October 2011). "regeringsgrundlag (oct. 2011)" (PDF) (in Danish). Denmark. pp. 54–55. Retrieved 8 July 2012. Danmark er et moderne samfund i en international verden. Derfor skal det være muligt at have dobbelt statsborgerskab. 
  7. ^ http://cphpost.dk/news/dual-citizenship-approved-by-danish-parliament.9774.html
  8. ^ "Folketinget - L 44 - 2014-15 (oversigt): Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om dansk indfødsret. (Accept af dobbelt statsborgerskab og betaling af gebyr i sager om dansk indfødsret).". Folketinget. Parliament of Denmark. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 

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