Nationality – how to become a Danish national
Danish nationality can be acquired in various ways: On this site you will learn how to become a Danish national. There is no difference between nationality and citizenship. The words mean the same.
Danish nationality can be acquired in one of the following ways:
· Automatically at birth
· Automatically if the parents marry after the child's birth
· 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
1. Nationality at birth
It is your parents' nationality which determines whether you become a Danish national at birth. Detailed provisions are provided in the Danish Nationality Act. The Act in force at the time of your birth determines the relevant rules applicable to you:
If your natural parents were married at your birth, you acquired Danish nationality if you were born:
- before 1 January 1979 and your father is a Danish national; or
- on or after 1 January 1979 and your mother or father is a Danish national.
If your natural parents were not married at your birth, you acquired Danish nationality if:
- your mother is a Danish national, regardless of your date of birth; or
- only your father is a Danish national, and you were born in Denmark on or after 1 February 1999.
So, if your mother is a foreign national and your father is a Danish national, and you were either born before 1 February 1999 or born abroad, you are not a Danish national. However, if your parents subsequently marry, you will acquire Danish nationality with effect from the date of the marriage.
The current Nationality Act
According to section 1 of the current Nationality Act, a child automatically acquires Danish nationality at birth if the parents are married and either the father or the mother is a Danish national. This applies no matter where in the world the child is born.
If the child's parents are not married at the birth, the child automatically acquires Danish nationality if born to a Danish mother. If the mother is a foreigner and the father is a Danish national, the child will only acquire Danish nationality if born in Denmark. If the child is born abroad, the child has to apply for Danish nationality by naturalisation.
For further details see section 1 of the Nationality Act.
2. Nationality through parents' marriage after birth
If a child of a Danish father and a foreign mother does not acquire Danish nationality at birth, the child will automatically acquire Danish nationality if the natural parents marry after the child's birth. This applies even if the parents are later legally separated or divorced.
It is also a condition that the child is under 18 years of age, has not married and did not acquire Danish nationality at birth.
For further details see section 2 of the Nationality Act.
3. Nationality by adoption
Adopted children under 12 years of age
A foreign child under 12 years of age adopted through a Danish adoption order or a recognised foreign judgment will automatically become a Danish national as a consequence of the adoption if the child is adopted by:
- an unmarried Danish national; or
- a married couple and at least one of the spouses is a Danish national.
The child acquires Danish nationality from the time when the legal effects of the adoption come into force. It is a condition that the adoption is recognised under Danish law.
Stepchildren adopted by Danish nationals can only acquire nationality by naturalisation, that is, by statute upon application.
Children under 12 years of age are not required to live in Denmark, and they need not prove any skills in the Danish language, etc.
For further details see section 2A of the Nationality Act.
Adopted children above 12 years of age
Foreign children above 12 years of age who are adopted by Danish nationals will not automatically acquire Danish nationality.
Accordingly, these children can only acquire Danish nationality by naturalisation, that is, by statute.
Adopted children above 12 years of age therefore have to submit an application for Danish nationality to the local police station. On that occasion, they have to prove skills in the Danish language, etc., and they must have lived in Denmark for at least 2 years.
4. Nationality by declaration
A special procedure applies to Nordic nationals (nationals of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). In certain situations, nationals of another Nordic country may become Danish nationals by submitting a declaration to a regional Danish state administration office.
Accordingly, nationals of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden can submit a declaration to a regional Danish state administration office if they:
- have no criminal record;
- are not charged with a criminal offence;
- are between 18 and 23 years of age; and
- have resided in Denmark for an aggregate period of at least
- 10 years, 5 years of which must have been within the last 6 years.
Moreover, nationals of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden can submit a declaration to a regional Danish state administration office if they:
- acquired nationality in Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden
otherwise than by naturalisation (that is, not by application, but
for example at birth);
- have attained 18 years of age;
- have resided in Denmark for the last 7 years; and
- have not, within that period, been sentenced to imprisonment or any measure equivalent to imprisonment.
Moreover, special rules on re-acquisition of Danish nationality by declaration apply to Danish-born nationals who have lost their Danish nationality because they became nationals of another country.
A Danish nationality declaration can be submitted to a Danish state administration office, the High Commissioner of the Faroe Islands or the High Commissioner of Greenland.
The rejection of a declaration may be appealed to the Ministry of Justice.
For further details see sections 3-5 of the Nationality Act.
5. Nationality by naturalisation
If you do not satisfy any of the conditions for Danish nationality mentioned above, you may apply for Danish nationality. In that case you have to satisfy a number of conditions laid down by Parliament.
If you satisfy those conditions, you will be listed in a naturalisation bill. You will become a Danish national when the bill has been adopted and the act has entered into force. This is called becoming a Danish national by naturalisation.
Click here for a description of the conditions to be satisfied