The definitions contained herein relate to the new rules, which took effect on 1 July 2002. All foreign nationals applying for residence permits after that date will be considered under the new rules. The old rules will continue to apply to all those who submitted their applications prior to 1 July 2002. These rules can be found in Danish at the back of the Danish Immigration Service's Annual Report for 2001.
An asylum seeker in Denmark usually lives at an accommodation centre while his or her application for asylum is being examined. Read more about accomondation centre
Any individual who is not a Danish citizen.
The act regulates the right of foreigners to enter and reside in Denmark. The Danish Aliens Act was passed in 1983, and has since been amended several times. Read more about Aliens Act
Alien Executive Order on Aliens Access to Denmark (Aliens Order)
The Aliens Order on the entry of aliens into this country (Aliens Order No.581 of 10 July 2002) is issued under the Danish Aliens Act. The Aliens Order includes more specific regulations on passports, entry and exit controls, visa, residence and work permits and various other controls, etc. Read more about Aliens Order
Aliens Information Portal
The Aliens Information Portal is an internet portal, which contains selected information from the Aliens Registry. The main purpose of the Aliens Information Portal is to give municipalities and other authorities quick and easy access to information on aliens who are registered within the Alien Registry. This includes various personal information together with the immigration authorities' decisions. The Portal therefore contains all the information a case worker in a municipality requires in the handling of an alien's case.
The Aliens Register is an electronic registration, journal and statistical system. The register contains information on foreign citizens who currently have, or have had, cases under examination according to the provisions of the Danish Aliens Act. The Aliens Register functions as a working register for a host of authorities in Denmark, including the Danish Immigration Service, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs, the Refugee Board and the police.
According to the Danish Integration Act, individual municipalities are charged with the task of finding housing for those refugees who have been granted residence permits, and whom a municipality has been given the responsibility of integrating. The Danish immigration Service determines the allocation (distribution) of refugees to municipalities. Refugees are allocated according to the agreements on quotas within the individual municipalities. Read more about allocation
An asylum seeker is a foreign national seeking the right to reside as a refugee in another country, and to be protected by that country, but who has not yet been formally recognised as a refugee. See also spontaneous asylum seeker.
In connection with the family reunification of spouses, registered partners and cohabiting companions, an attachment requirement is enforced. The attachment requirement specifies that the spouses', the partners' or the companions' overall connection to Denmark must be greater than the parties' overall connection to another country. If this is not the case, a residence permit will as a rule be rejected. Read more about the attachment requirement
Common visa system
See visa register
This passport is issued to those foreigners who have been granted asylum in accordance with the rules of the UN's Refugee convention. Read more about convention passport
A convention refugee is a refugee included under the UN Refugee Convention . Read more about convention refugee
County and municipal quotas
With reference to the national figures, the country's collected municipalities will attempt to reach an agreement on the allocation of refugees throughout counties according to county quotas. After this process, municipalities will attempt to distribute those county quotas according to municipality quotas. In cases where municipalities cannot agree, the Danish Immigration Service will decide the quotas. The overall goal is to ensure that refugees – with regard to integration – are distributed evenly over the entire country. Read more about county and municipal quotas
Danish alien passport
A Danish alien passport is issued to all those foreigners who submit an application with the exception of convention refugees, including foreigners with protection status. Read more about Danish alien passport
Danish Emergency Management Agency
The Danish Emergency Management Agency is an organisation under the Ministry of Health and the Interior. The agency assumes operation of several accommodation centres in Denmark. The Danish Emergency Management Agency is responsible, among other things, for housing for asylum seekers, as well as provisions and education at the organisation's accommodation centres, in the period during which an asylum application is being examined.
Danish Immigration Service
The Danish Immigration Service administrates the Danish Aliens Act, and is involved with all aspects of the residence of foreigners in Denmark - including asylum, family reunification, visas, work permits, various forms of expulsion and rejection, etc. Additionally, the Danish Immigration Service is responsible for the establishment and operation of accommodation centres, as well as planning in the centre area. The service also administrates rules governing the maintenance of asylum seekers and the conditions under which they live. The Danish Immigration Service assumes responsibility for the distribution of refugees to the nation's municipalities. The Danish Immigration Service also participates in international cooperative efforts within the asylum and immigration sector. Read more about Danish Immigration Service
Danish Red Cross
The Danish Red Cross is a private humanitarian aid organisation. The Red Cross assumes the responsibility for most of the accommodation centres in Denmark. Read more about Danish Red Cross
Danish Refugee Council
The Refugee Council is a private, humanitarian cooperative organisation, which is involved in various capacities in the treatment of asylum cases. The Refugee Council advises and offers additional assistance to asylum seekers and refugees. Read more about Danish Refugee Council
A de-facto refugee is an individual who is not covered by the United Nations Refugee Convention, but who, for similar reasons to those listed in the UN convention, or for other significant reasons, demonstrates a well-founded fear of persecution or similar injustice, and has subsequently been granted a residence permit in Denmark. Please note that, with the amendments to the Danish Aliens Act on 1 July 2002, an asylum seeker can no longer obtain a residence permit as a de-facto refugee. According to the new law, residence permits can only be granted to asylum seekers under convention or protection status.
The Dublin Convention is an agreement between EU member states, which regulates which member-state must assume the responsibility for examining an asylum application submitted in one of the states. This is decided using specific criteria listed in the convention. The Dublin Convention took effect in Denmark on 1 September 1997. Read more about The Dublin Convention
An EU/EEA citizen is an individual who is a citizen of a country which belongs to the European Community (EU citizen), or of a country included under the European Economic Area Agreement (EEA citizen). The EEA member-states are Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. EC/EEA citizens, as well as citizens from Switzerland, have the right to reside in Denmark according to the rules on free movement for people and services. Read more about EU/EEA citizen
Expulsion means that a foreigner's right to reside in Denmark has lapsed, and that the foreigner in question has been banned from entering and residing in the country for a given period (an entry ban) without permission. The Danish Immigration Service can make a decision to expel someone for reasons of national security or public order, if the foreigner is residing in Denmark without the necessary permit or if he or she has committed a minor crime. Courts of law can decide to expel foreigners convicted of punishable offences in Denmark.
Fact Finding Missions
The Danish Immigration Service undertakes fact-finding missions for the purpose of collecting information on conditions in applicants' countries of origin. Fact-finding missions are used in situations where it would be prohibitively time-consuming or impossible via usual channels to obtain sufficient background information on a particular country. Read more about Fact Finding Missions
Foreign nationals with family members residing in Denmark may be eligible to obtain residence permits for Denmark, according to the rules on family reunification. When certain requirements are met, a residence permit can be granted to spouses, cohabiting companions and registered partners and children under 15 years of age. Read more about Family Reunication
A marriage is considered 'forced' if there are reasonable grounds to assume that the marriage has not been entered into freely by both spouses. Residence permits on grounds of family reunification cannot be granted to participants in a forced marriage. Read more about forced marriage
Hindrances to deportation
When an applicant has received his or her final rejection for asylum status in Denmark, he or she must leave the country immediately. If the applicant does not leave voluntarily, he or she will be forcibly deported from the country by police. Sometimes however, it is not possible to deport the applicant, if for example a passport cannot be readily issued. A foreign national who is to be deported MUST in the meantime help in these procedures to obtain the passport and travel documents and work with the police. In cases where the police have tried for at least 18 months to deport an applicant, he or she has cooperated with them and the deportation is still not forthcoming, the Danish Immigration Service can grant a temporary residence permit to the applicant. Read more about hindrances to deprotation
Humanitarian residence permit
A humanitarian residence permit can be issued to a foreigner if considerable humanitarian grounds warrant it. The Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs makes decisions in cases on humanitarian residence permits. Read more about humanitarian residence permit
The law on integration of foreigners into Denmark (Law No. 474 of 1 July 1998) took effect on 1 January 1999 and has been altered several times since. The act creates a legal basis for regulating the integration effort for newly-arrived refugees and immigrants. Read more about Integration Act
Manifestly unfounded procedure
If the Danish Immigration Service considers an asylum application to be manifestly unfounded, the Immigration Service can reject an asylum seeker's application without the possibility of an appeal to the Refugee Board. It is required that the decision of the Danish Immigration Service is seconded by the Danish Refugee Council ( NGO) in determining that the case is manifestly unfounded. If the Danish Refugee Council does not agree with the Danish Immigration Service, the case will be examined according to the normal procedure.
Manifestly unfounded/expedited procedure
The expedited version of the manifestly unfounded procedure is used when examining asylum applicants from countries where there is a very strong preliminary opinion on the part of the Danish Immigration Service to support a rejection of the asylum application. These cases are processed by the Danish Immigration Service and the Danish Refugee Council within the course of a few days.
Ministry for Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs
The Ministry was established in November 2001, and assumes responsibility for the administration of Denmark's general immigration and integration policies and the drafting of immigration and integration legislation, as well as the processing of cases regarding humanitarian residence permits. The Ministry also deals with instances of appeal concerning rejection of visas, work and residence permits and deportations. Go to the website of the Ministry.
The national total is the total number of refugees who are expected to be distributed throughout the country's municipalities in a given year. The figure is an estimate of the number of refugees who have been granted residence permits over the year in question. Every year, the Danish Immigration Service determines the national totals for the three following years. In 2002 that figure was 3,500 people. In 2003 the national total is 1,800 people. Read more about national totals
Foreigners may - when certain conditions are fulfilled - be eligible to become Danish citizens via naturalisation after completion of an application process. This normally occurs as the result of Parliamentary legislation whereby a given individual is granted Danish citizenship. Applications for Danish citizenship are handled by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs. Read more about naturalisation
Non-Governmental Organisation: a collective designation for a variety of voluntary organisations with respective, individual areas of interest. An NGO is characterised by having legal and organisational independence from state authorities.
Nordic citizens are citizens from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Foreigners who are Nordic citizens are allowed free movement to Denmark in order to reside or work in this country. Read more about Nordic citizens
In Denmark, there are two different procedures that are normally utilised in the examination of asylum applications: 'normal procedure' and 'manifestly unfounded procedure.' When an asylum application is considered according to normal procedure, this means, among other things, that a rejection for asylum from the Danish Immigration Service is automatically forwarded to the Refugee Board (see below) with a view to appeal. The manifestly unfounded procedure is described above. Read more about normal procedure
The performance contract is an agreement between the Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs and the Danish Immigration Service regarding objectives and conditions for the administration of specific activities. This agreement is not legally binding. Since 1999, the Danish Immigration Service has had a performance contract with the Ministry of the Interior, which has since been transferred to the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs.
With regard to immigration, police assume several responsibilities connected with foreigners' entry into, residence in and exit from Denmark. It is also the domain of the police to receive and register an asylum application, as well as to establish the applicant's identity and travel route.
The positive list is a review of the areas of employment where there is a lack of particular qualified manpower. The list is constantly updated. Read mores about the positive list
Pro forma marriage
An application for family reunification between spouses or registered partners can be rejected if the marriage is considered 'pro forma': that is, if the main purpose of the marriage or partnership was to secure a Danish residence permit for the applicant. Read more about pro forma marriage
Protected status (or Protection status)
In addition to those circumstances listed by the United Nations Refugee Convention, Denmark grants protection in those cases in which it, as a state, is obliged to uphold the international conventions it has ratified. This means that, residence permits are granted to those asylum seekers who risk the death penalty, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment if they return to their country of origin. Read more about protected status
A quota refugee is a refugee who, after a reference from UNHCR (see below), has been resettled in Denmark. The Danish Parliament establishes an annual quota for refugees, which currently comprises 500 people per year. Read more about quota refugee
A refugee is an individual whose application for asylum has been granted. Learn more under the subject headings: convention refugees, de-facto refugees and quota refugees.
Refugee Appeals Board
The Refugee Appeals Board is an avenue of appeal for decisions made by the Danish Immigration Service in asylum cases. The Refugee Board is a court-like body, which makes decisions according to a majority vote. Individual cases are handled by a panel of 3 people: the chairperson, who must be a judge, and 2 other members nominated by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs and the Danish Bar & Law Society. Read more about Refugee Appeals Board
Registered spontaneous asylum seeker
A registered spontaneous asylum seeker is a foreigner who has entered Denmark and applied for asylum, and for whose application process Denmark has assumed responsibility. The asylum seeker will not be sent to another EU member-state according to the Dublin Convention, nor be sent to another safe country. Read more about asylum
Rejection means that a foreigner has been denied the right to enter or remain in Denmark. A person, who, for example, does not have a valid passport or necessary visa for Denmark, can be rejected for that reason up to 3 months after entry into Denmark. An asylum-seeker can only be rejected to a country where he or she does not risk persecution, or risk extradition to another land where he or she would risk persecution.
A foreign national who does not have the right to reside in Denmark must leave the country immediately. If the individual does not leave voluntarily, he or she will be deported from the country by police mandate.
Repatriation is the situation whereby a foreigner chooses to return to his or her country of origin to live there permanently, if for example conditions in that country have improved.
According to the Repatriation Act, foreigners with residence permits in Denmark (refugees and immigrants) are eligible for economic support towards their voluntary return to their country of origin. The Danish Refugee Council can advise on repatriation, while the local municipality will pay towards the individual's repatriation costs. Adults can receive up to DKK 18,000 and children DKK 6,000 towards re-establishment in their country of origin. More information on the assistance available can be found under Repatriation Act.
A foreigner, that withdraws his or her application for asylum or who has had his or her application rejected also has the possibility to receive a smaller amount of economic assistance towards their voluntary return to their country of origin.
In particular circumstances the Ministry of Integration can decide to offer economic support for particular foreign groups towards their voluntary return to their country of origin. This relates to those groups residing here in Denmark who have applied for asylum, but who have not yet received a residence permit in the country.
One specific example is the support arrangements for Iraqi asylum seekers. This relates to those applicants, who have sought asylum up to 1 April 2003, when the coalition's efforts in Iraq began, and who either have an ongoing application or a completed application. Adults can receive DKK 18,000 and children DKK 6,000 towards their re-establishment in their country of origin.
A residence card is proof that a foreigner has the right to reside in Denmark.
A foreigner must be in possession of a residence permit in order to legally reside in Denmark for a long-term period. Eligibility for Danish residence permits is regulated according to the Danish Aliens Act. Nordic citizens can, however, reside in this country without a residence permit. In addition, special rules apply for citizens of other EC/EEA member-states, and for children under 18 years of age living with a custodial parent or guardian.
Residence requirement (Boligkrav)
In connection with the examination of an application for family reunification (see above), a housing requirement must normally be fulfilled. The terms of the housing requirement specify that the person residing in Denmark must provide for his or her own housing of reasonable size.
Safe third country
If an asylum seeker has entered Denmark via a safe third country, the Danish Immigration Service reserves the right in certain cases to determine that the applicant must be sent back to that country. The return will occur without the Danish Immigration Service having examined the application for asylum.
Only countries which have ratified the UN Refugee Convention, and observe it in practice, are considered safe countries. Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, the United States and the Czech Republic are currently regarded as safe countries. For matters concerning EU nations, see also Dublin Convention.
The Schengen Agreement is an agreement on the implementation of free personal movement within the Schengen region (the area bounded by the Schengen countries). The agreement also entails a strengthening of controls at the outer boundaries of the Schengen countries, in an effort to combat international crime and illegal immigration. The Schengen countries comprise Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
In connection with the handling of an application for family reunification (see above) it is demanded as a rule that the person residing in Denmark must post a security of DKK 62,231 to cover any possible, future public expenses incurred by the marriage partner. See also "Support requirement". Learn more.
An asylum seeker who applies for asylum in Denmark, and who does not already possess a residence permit (for example, via family reunification) is called a spontaneous asylum seeker.
In connection with family reunification (see above), a support requirement is as a rule enforced. The support requirement means that the person residing in Denmark must document that he or she earns enough to support him- or herself as well as the family member seeking a residence permit in Denmark. Additionally, the individual living in Denmark must post a guarantee of DKK 51,600 as security against any possible, eventual public expenses incurred by the applicant. Learn more.
When a refugee or a person with protection status is issued with a passport by the Danish authorities, it will be stated in the passport that it is not valid for travel to the country or countries where he or she risks persecution. The refugee can apply for the Immigration Service to remove the travel restriction. If the application is successful, the refugee will be advised that travel to his or her country of origin could result in his or her residence permit being revoked. Read more about passports for foreign nationals and travel restrictions.
The convention of 28 July 1951 on the rights of refugees (the UN Refugee Convention) is - together with the appended protocol of 31 January 1967 - the most important part of the international legal basis for Denmark's treatment of asylum cases.
Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers
Underage asylum seekers are considered unaccompanied if they have entered Denmark without the presence of parents or other adults travelling in place of parents. Learn more.
UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees)
UNHCR is a humanitarian, non-political organisation which grants, among other things, protection and support to refugees and individuals living in refugee-like circumstances.
The Danish Immigration Service User Panel is an advisory information board consisting of representatives from various organisations and authorities. The purpose of the User Panel is to create a forum where representatives can raise debate on problem issues, as well as exchange information relevant to the immigration field. In 2001, 4 User Panel meetings were held.
If a foreign national comes from a country whose citizens are required to hold visas in order to enter Denmark, he or she must obtain a visa before entering the country. A visa is documentation that a foreigner can travel to and remain for a short-term stay in Denmark and the other Schengen member-states.
The Common Visa System is a shared visa register for Danish authorities: embassies, border police, the Danish Immigration Service and the Ministry of Immigration, Refugee and Integration Affairs (in appeals cases). Case processing in the system is digital: visa applications are scanned in at the embassies and - in the event that it is necessary to forward the application - is electronically forwarded to the Danish Immigration Service, which makes a decision and sends a digital reply message back to the relevant embassy. Some embassies have not yet installed this system and must therefore continue to submit visa application forms to the Danish Immigration Service in paper format.
Australian/ New Zealand and Danish citizens aged between 18 and 30 years can receive residence permits for 'working holidays' to Denmark or Australia/ New Zealand respectively. A working holiday is a stay in a country, where the main purpose is a holiday, but which also allows the tourist the right to work during that period. The main goal of the exchange programme is to give young people from Australia/ New Zealand and Denmark better opportunities to get to know each other's cultures. Learn more.