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Family reunification in Denmark for Union citizens and EEA nationals

This page describes the possibilities for Union citizens and EEA nationals to achieve family reunification in Denmark under EU law.

Stay - For how long?

Union citizens and EEA nationals may bring their family members (spouse or regular cohabitant, children under 21 years of age and family members dependent on the Union citizen/EEA national) for three months. A Union citizen/an EEA national staying in Denmark for the purpose of seeking employment may bring his/her family member(s) for six months or even a longer period as long as it can be documented that the Union citizen/the EEA national is still seeking employment and has a genuine opportunity of employment. The Union citizen/the EEA national who is seeking employment must be capable of supporting himself/herself as well as the family member.
Family members must always have a visa if they come from a third country in which a visa is required for Denmark.

Residence exceeding three months

Family members of Union citizens/EEA nationals residing permanently in Denmark may apply for a registration certificate if they are Union citizens/EEA nationals, or for a residence card if they are third-country nationals. Family members to Union citizens/EEA nationals who are seeking employment are not to apply for a registration certificate or a residence card.

At this page you will learn more about the conditions that applicants must satisfy to achieve family reunification under EU law.

1. Free movement

A Union citizen/an EEA nationals applying for family reunification with a family member is required to genuinely exercise his/her right of free movement in Denmark as either:

  • a worker
  • a self-employed person
  • a service provider
  • a retired worker
  • a retired self-employed person
  • a retired service provider
  • a seconded person
  • a student or
  • a self-supporting person

For further details see When are registration certificates issued?.

2. Genuine and effective residence

One of the conditions that makes a Union citizen/an EEA national's family member(s) entitled to residing for longer than three or six months under the EU rules is that the Union citizen/EEA national has established genuine and effective residence in Denmark.

The condition that the Union citizen/EEA national must have established genuine and effective residence in Denmark implies that the move to Denmark must be genuine and effective. The move must be real, and a short stay at a hotel room is not sufficient.

Generally, a Danish national having sublet a room or moved to a c/o address with relatives or acquaintances does not satisfy the condition of having established genuine and effective residence in Denmark.

By contrast, a Union citizen/an EEA national having resided for a long period in a rented flat on the basis of an indeterminate tenancy agreement or in a dwelling bought by the relevant person normally satisfies the condition of having established genuine and effective residence.

However, a concrete and individual assessment will have to be made of all specific circumstances of the case, including the above circumstances.

On the basis of the information in the application form and the enclosed documents, the relevant Regional State Administration will assess whether the condition is deemed to be satisfied.

If the Regional State Administration assesses on the basis of the information that it is questionable whether a Union citizen/an EEA national has established genuine and effective residence in Denmark, further documentation for such residence will be requested.

Examples of documents that a Union citizen/an EEA national may submit as proof of his/her genuine and effective residence in Denmark are:

  • proof of address, including a transcript from the national register that the applicant's residence has been registered with the Central National Register
  • a conveyance for property in Denmark, a tenancy agreement or receipts for payment of rent
  • evidence that the Union citizen/EEA national has moved from his/her former residence, including evidence that s/he has terminated his/her tenancy agreement, sold his/her property or sublet his/her home for a certain period
  • enrolment of children at school, kindergarten, etc.
  • proof of a Danish national health insurance number or a special health insurance

This is not an exhaustive list of documents that a Union citizen/an EEA national may submit to prove his/her genuine and effective residence in Denmark. However, family reunification cannot be refused merely with reference to the fact that a Union citizen/an EEA national has not been able to submit one or more of the above documents.

In all circumstances, the relevant Regional State Administration will make a concrete assessment of the aggregate circumstances.

In connection with the application, a Union citizen/an EEA national applying for family reunification in Denmark must solemnly declare that s/he has established genuine and effective residence in Denmark. The declaration forms part of the application form.

3. Which family members are eligible for family reunification with a Union citizen/EEA national?

The following family members fall within the scope of eligibility for family reunification with a Union citizen/EEA national residing in Denmark:

  • Spouse  
  • Regular cohabitant over 18 years of age
  • Direct descendants under 21 years of age (i.e. children, grandchildren, etc. ) of the Union citizen/EEA national or of his/her spouse/regular cohabitant
  • Direct descendants over 21 years of age (i.e. children, grandchildren etc.) of the Union citizen/EEA national or of his/her spouse/regular cohabitant if the descendants are dependent on the Union citizen/EEA national or on his/her spouse/regular cohabitant
  • Relatives in the ascending line (i.e. parents, grandparents, etc.) of the Union citizen/EEA national or of his/her spouse/regular cohabitant if the relatives are dependent on the Union citizen/EEA national or on his/her spouse/regular cohabitant
  • Other family members (e.g. siblings, cousins, etc.) if they are dependent on the Union citizen/EEA national or are living under his/her roof in the country they come from
  • Other family members (e.g. siblings, cousins, etc.) if it is strictly required for serious health reasons that the Union citizen/EEA national provides personal care of the family members

Paragraph 5 below provides more information on the conditions of support.

4. Genuine family relationship and/or genuine marriage/regular cohabitation

A genuine family relationship and/or a genuine marriage/regular cohabitation must exist between the Union citizen/EEA national and the family member.

In connection with an application for family reunification, evidence must be submitted to prove that family ties have been established between the Union citizen/EEA national and the family member, for example a marriage certificate (for spouses) or a certificate of baptism (for children).

The Regional State Administration will also make a concrete assessment of whether the EU rules have been abused, including whether the sole purpose of contracting the marriage or establishing the cohabitation was to obtain an independent basis of residence for the family member.

Accordingly, a Union citizen/an EEA national and his/her spouse/permanent cohabitant applying for family reunification in Denmark under EU law must solemnly declare in connection with the application that the purpose of contracting the marriage or establishing the cohabitation was not solely to obtain an independent basis of residence for the family member. The declaration forms part of the application form.

If the couple are married, the marriage must be valid. If the couple are permanent cohabitants, cohabitation must still exist during the couple's continued residence in Denmark.

5. Support of yourself and your family

The condition of support differs depending on the basis of residence of the Union citizen/EEA national in Denmark and depending on the status of the family member, e.g. spouse, parent etc. included in the application for family reunification.

To mention an example, a Union citizen/an EEA national exercising his/her right of free movement in Denmark as a worker, self-employed person or service provider or as a retired worker, self-employed person or service provider is not required to prove that s/he can support his/her spouse and children under 21 years of age and the spouse's children under 21 years of age.

However, a Union citizen/an EEA national applying for family reunification with family members other than his/her spouse/permanent cohabitant or children under 21 years of age or the spouse's/permanent cohabitant's children under 21 years of age may be required to prove that s/he is able to support those family members.

A Union citizen/EEA national exercising his/her right of free movement in Denmark as a student may also be required to declare or prove that s/he has sufficient means for him/herself and all his/her family members, including his/her spouse/permanent cohabitant and children under 21 years of age and the spouse's/permanent cohabitant's children under 21 years of age. Is the family member a spouse/permanent cohabitant, a child under 21 years of age or the spouse's/permanent cohabitant's child under 21 years of age  the Union citizen/EEA national need only to sign a declaration of support.

Moreover, a Union citizen/EEA national exercising his/her freedom of movement as a self-supporting person may be required to prove that s/he has sufficient means for him/herself and all his/her family members, including his/her spouse/permanent cohabitant and children under 21 years of age and the spouse's/permanent cohabitant's children under 21 years of age.

Union citizens/EEA nationals can obtain more information about which family members may be eligible for a registration certificate or residence card and the conditions that must be satisfied at their local Regional State Administration.

6. Family members' previous lawful residence in another EU/EEA Member State

As a consequence of the Metock judgment, the family member, including the foreign spouse/permanent cohabitant, is not required to have had previous lawful residence in the EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland in which the Danish national has exercised his/her right of residence so far.

Accordingly, it follows from the Metock judgment that:

"Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States precludes legislation of a Member State which requires a national of a non-member country who is the spouse of a Union citizen residing in that Member State but not possessing its nationality to have previously been lawfully resident in another Member State before arriving in the host Member State, in order to benefit from the provisions of that directive.

Article 3(1) of Directive 2004/38 must be interpreted as meaning that a national of a non-member country who is the spouse of a Union citizen residing in a Member State whose nationality he does not possess and who accompanies or joins that Union citizen benefits from the provisions of that directive, irrespective of when and where their marriage took place and of how the national of a non-member country entered the host Member State."

7. Family reunification for Union citizens and EEA nationals and Swiss nationals with a right of permanent residence according to the EU rules.

Union citizens and EEA nationals having accrued a right of permanent residence in Denmark according to EU rules, have an unconditional right to family reunification. Family reunification for such persons is thus not subject to the conditions in Section 8, paragraph 1 and Sections 9-12 in the EU Residence Order. Family reunification for such persons continues to be subject to the requirements in Section 2 in the EU Residence Order which defines family members.

Further details concerning family reunification for Union citizens and EEA nationals and Swiss nationals with a right of permanent residence can be found in the memorandum ”Notat om tidsubegrænset opholdsret efter opholdsdirektivet” and the memorandum “Juridisk fortolkningsnotat om Clauer-dommen (E-4/11)”.

Learn more about the conditions applicable to Danish nationals applying for family reunification under EU law.

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Last update: 9/8/2014
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Published by: The Danish Immigration Service
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