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Spouses and cohabiting partners

If your spouse or cohabiting partner lives in Denmark, you can apply for a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification.

 Please note that ‘spouse’ is used as an umbrella term for both spouse and cohabiting partner. ‘Marriage’ is used as an umbrella term for both marriage and permanent cohabitation. With few exceptions, the same rules apply for both spouses and cohabiting partners. If there is a difference between the requirements for spouses and cohabiting partners, it will be made clear in the text.

Please note that special rules apply to EU/EEA citizens and Swiss citizens residing in Denmark under the EU regulations on free movement. Read more about EU and Nordic Citizens.

Also note that special rules apply if your spouse/partner in Denmark is a foreign national with a residence permit on the grounds of studies or work. Read more about studies and work.

Below follows a brief overview of the requirements. 

Please note that the information on this page is a simplified and edited version of the rules. If you are in doubt about the rules, or you want further information about the rules, please contact the Danish Immigration Service.

Guidance system for young people

The Danish Immigration Service has a special guidance system for young people. The guidance system is aimed at young people of both genders, which is about to enter into a marriage that is not entered into by his/hers own request. Read more about the guidance system for young people.

Requirements for family reunification with a spouse/partner

There is a number of requirements that must normally be met in order for you to be granted family reunification. There are requirements relating to both spouses as well as specific requirements relating to each of the two spouses.  There are also requirements relating to the marriage.

Under each requirement is a link to a more in-depth description of the requirement as well as information about the possibilities of dispensation/exemption.

Requirements relating to you and your spouse/partner

  • You must both be at least 24. Read more about the 24-year rule 
  • Your combined attachment to Denmark must be greater than your combined attachment to any other country. The attachment requirement does not apply if your spouse/partner in Denmark has held Danish citizenship for over 26 years. The same applies if your spouse/partner in Denmark was born and raised in Denmark, or came to Denmark as a small child, and has been a legal resident in Denmark for over 26 years. Read more about the attachment requirement.
  • You must both  sign a declaration that you will both contribute actively to the applicant (and any accompanying children) learning Danish and integrating into Danish society to the best of his/her ability

Requirements relating to you (the applicant)

  • You (the applicant) must pass a Danish as a second language test within six months of being granted residence. Read more about the Danish test

Requirements relating to your (the applicant’s) spouse in Denmark

  • Your spouse/partner in Denmark must be able to support him/herself and you. In most cases, this requirement will be met if your spouse/partner has not received public assistance under the terms of the Active Social Policy Act (lov om aktiv socialpolitik) or the Integration Act (integrationsloven) for the past three years prior to the application being processed by the Immigration Service. Read more about the self-support requirement
  • Your spouse/partner must have accommodation of adequate size at his/her disposal. Read more about the housing requirement
  • Your spouse/partner must post DKK 52.490,12 (2015 level)  in bank-backed collateral to cover any public assistance paid to you by your municipality after you relocate to Denmark.  Read more about the collateral requirement
  • If you and your cohabiting partner are not legally married, your cohabiting partner in Denmark must assume full responsibility for supporting you. Read more about permanent cohabitation
  • Your spouse must reside permanently in Denmark
  • Your spouse may not have been convicted of violence against a former spouse within a period of 10 years prior to your application being processed. Read more about violence against a former spouse
  • It may not be the case that you are also applying for family reunification with a child, and that application is turned down because your spouse in Denmark has been convicted of violence against children in the past ten years, and the child cannot reside with other family members in his/her country of origin. Read more about violence against children

Further requirements if you spouse/partner in Denmark is not a Danish/Nordic citizen

  • Your spouse/partner must hold a Danish residence permit granted on the grounds of asylum or protected status or have held a permanent Danish residence permit for the past three years or more
  • Your spouse/partner must meet part of the conditions for being granted a permanent residence permit in Denmark. This requirement, however, does not apply if the spouse in Denmark holds a residence permit granted on the grounds of asylum or protected status. Read more about conditions for a permanent residence permit

Requirements relating to the marriage 

  • Your marriage must be valid under Danish law. This requirement does not apply to cohabiting partners. Read more about validity of the marriage
  • If you and your partner are not legally married, your relationship must be of a permanent and lasting nature. Normally, you must be able to document that you have lived with your partner for at least 18 months at a shared address. Read more about permanent cohabitation
  • Your marriage must have been entered into voluntarily, i.e. there must be no doubt that it was entered into according to the wishes of both you and your spouse. Read more about forced marriages
  • The marriage must not have been entered into solely for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit for you. Read more about marriage of convenience


One or more requirements can be suspended if special reasons apply. This could be the case, if your spouse/partner in Denmark:

  • is a refugee or has protected status and still risks persecution in his/her country of origin. Read more about refugees
  • has children under 18 living in the home who have formed an individual attachment to Denmark, or has children from a previous relationship and has custody of the child or has visitation rights and sees the child on a regular basis. Read more about children under 18
  • is seriously ill. Read more about serious illness/disability
  • the requirement can in certain cases be waived, if it can be proved that it would be impossible for the spouse living in Denmark to be granted residence in the applicant’s home country, or country of residence.

The Immigration Service cannot assess whether or not you can be exempted from one or more requirements before it has received your application. Consequently, the Immigration Service cannot give you a binding answer in advance about whether you would be exempted.


Read more about how to apply for family reunification.

Last update: 1/5/2015
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Published by: The Danish Immigration Service
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