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.
If the spouse in Denmark has been granted temporary protected status in accordance with Aliens Act Section 7 (3), he/she must normally has had his/her residence permit extended after the first 3 years of residence in order to qualify to sponsor an individual applying for family reunification. Read more about temporary protected status
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
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
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
Further requirements if you spouse/partner in Denmark is not a Danish/Nordic citizen
- Your spouse/partner in Denmark must hold a residence permit granted on the grounds of asylum or protected status in accordance with Aliens Act Section 7 (1) or (2) or Section 8, or have held a permanent Danish residence permit for the past three years or more
- Your spouse/partner in Denmark hold a residence permit that has been extended after the first 3 years in accordance with Aliens Act Section 7 (3)
- 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.