Acquire Danish Citizenship as an Expat

Moving to Denmark can be an over exciting dream to some yet full of anxiety to others. But whichever emotions one has, the reality comes at the point when one begins the real process of trying to get a Schengen visa to Denmark. The crux of the matter even gets clearer and sometimes a little murkier when you get the visa and want to go through the requirements for you to acquire Danish Citizenship. 

It could be perfect to encourage and remain positive telling someone how seamless the process of moving to Denmark is but that would be a flat lie. The reality is that processing immigration to any country, Denmark inclusive is a cumbersome exercise. Actually if it was that as easy as some people may decide to put it then so many would have by now found tier new homes in Denmark. 

It is indeed the whole process involved in trying to move abroad that makes so many to completely abandon the exercise and pursue other things. There exist so many testimonies of the people who were put off by the long processes and requirements. If all that is for getting a visa, you may begin to imagine how hectic acquiring citizenship can be to an expat. 

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Brace yourself for the bruising exercise of moving abroad

To say the least, dreams of moving abroad are hard borne. Nobody just wakes up one day and decides that being at home isn’t amusing anymore. In all cases, people moving to Europe in general and Denmark specifically have a drive to make their dreams come true.

Whether it is for job, marriage, education and anything in between, getting a chance to move over provides a bridge to a lot of things. While recognising the high optimism and hope that those who wish to come over may bear, it;s equally in order to emphasise how tough it may be. 

By all indications, the application stage for visa is where most people’s dreams start waning. In fact, the light hearted people would simply drop their dreams  of moving with a thud. The situation gets bad for those who start the application whimsically without first putting all the requirements in order. Making a successful application for a visa and eventually a residence permit for Denmark can’t be reduced to just having an ambition. No. You have to follow each step diligently. 

Strategy and planning to move to Denmark

You are very excited that your final draw to move to your dream country is finally here. So, all that is required is for you to make a satisfactory plan, put all your primary identification and travel documents together, as you follow each requirement very closely. Remember this has been your long-term dream and you cannot allow anything to ever go wrong by all means. Consider every detail along the presented procedures and attach every necessary requirement to avoid cases of rejection.

Whichever the case, coming to Denmark is easier than obtaining citizenship for they are sure two different things. When it comes to obtaining Danish citizenship, it is never a child’s play. The Danish authorities will employ a much rigorous qualification process and will look into various aspects. For you to qualify for citizenship in Denmark, you must meet all the requirements and pass through a very detailed application procedure.

Requirements for you to acquire Danish Citizenship

When you move to Denmark as an expat, the overall assumption is that you hold a primary citizenship to a country. Actually, the country in which someone is born always becomes their first citizenship subject to other considerations.

Previously, people used to have only citizenship by birth as the key status but due to integration and immigrations, countries, including Denmark have come to accept dual citizenship. Here you may be interested to know a thing or two about Dual Citizenship in Nordic Countries

  • General Requirements

A foreigner can only become a Danish citizen by statute. What this means is that if you are a foreign citizen, you must be listed in the naturalisation bill which can possibly be passed by the parliament in Denmark. It is basically what is known as acquisition of Danish citizenship by naturalisation. However, there are some former Danish citizens and Nordic citizens who are excused from this rule. 

On the other hand, there are certain persons who automatically acquire their Danish citizenship by birth. The citizenship that your child receives at birth is greatly determined by your citizenship status and also by what Danish legislation on citizenship is in force at your child’s time of birth.

In Denmark, the children who were born from 1st of July 2014 onwards, automatically became or became Danish citizens regardless of whether the parents are married or not. This rule is also applicable to children adopted under age 12 by Danish parents.

For a Nordic or EU citizen who wants to become a Danish citizen, this is also possible through declaration or naturalisation. It means that if you are a Nordic citizen, under certain conditions you could become a Danish citizen by simply making a declaration to the Danish ministry of Immigration and Integration. Otherwise, you could also apply for citizenship and become a Danish citizen through naturalisation. But in order to comfortably do this, you must be;

  • At least 18 years old
  • Currently living in Denmark and have lived here for the past 7 years
  • Haven’t by any chance been sentenced to imprisonment or any other measure equal to imprisonment 

In order for you to become a Danish citizen, you must;

  • Sign a Declaration of Allegiance and Loyalty

As one of the requirements for you to acquire Danish Citizenship by  naturalisation, you must fulfil this condition of declaring your allegiance and loyalty to Denmark. You are supposed to declare that you will remain compliant with all the laws in Denmark as well as the Danish constitution. 

Part of your declaration must also swear an allegiance to Danish values and the legal principles of democracy. Your declarations are then signed by NemID/MitID when doing your digital application.

  • Secure a Permanent Residence 

This means the procedure of acquiring Danish citizenship by naturalisation that you have secured a permanent residence for at least 2 years. This is mostly applicable at the time the bill of naturalisation is being passed and it is indicated that you’re a resident in Denmark. 

For the refugees, persons equivalent to the refugee title, and a stateless individual, the legal period for obtaining a permanent residence permit is one year from the time the bill of naturalisation is passed.

To be referred to as a resident in Denmark, it means that you customarily reside in Denmark and registered in the CPR register. However, if you are a resident in Denmark by the EU rules, you need to be aware that the permanent residence permit is also applicable to you.

However, the condition of obtaining permanent residency in Denmark to acquire Danish citizenship for a two-year minimum at the time the bill of naturalisation is passed, is not applicable to;

  • Former Danish citizens
  • Nordic citizens
  • Any person of a Danish descent
  • Children applying without their parents
  • The Danish minority members of the Southern Schleswig in Germany
  • Applicant residing abroad because of spouse’s work for Danish interests
  • Applicant born between January 1st 1961 to December 31st 1978 to a Danish mother
  • Clear all your Debts to Public Authorities

It is also a condition that you be free from public debts. While you seek Danish citizenship, ensure that all the public debts if any that you owe is cleared. A few exceptions may be applied from a case by case basis but this can’t be a guarantee so just clear them. 

  • Repayable benefits under the Law on Social Service or Law of Active Social Policy
  • Child support paid in advance by public authorities under the Law on child allowance and advance payment
  • Nursery payments
  • Student loans
  • Repayment of overpaid housing allowance
  • Employment Condition

By the time you are applying for Danish citizenship, it is a requirement that you are in ordinary full-time employment. Alternatively, if not employed, then you should be involved in self-employment. For self employment to count, it must have been for at least 3 years and six months in the last 4 years

  • Pass your Danish language test as well as your naturalisation test

While acquiring your Danish citizenship, it is also a condition that you provide evidence of your proficiency in the Danish language. It is a general requirement that you must have passed both your Danish language test 3 and test 2 as required by the Danish law. You are also required to present your knowledge of Danish society, culture, and history.

At the end of the day, acquainting yourself with all the requirements to acquire Danish Citizenship goes a long way. Its a good preparation especially for those who harbour a desire to live in the country longer.