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The 24-year rule

In order to qualify for family reunification, both the spouse living in Denmark and the foreign spouse, must normally be older than 24.

However, an application for family reunification can be submitted when the younger spouse is 23½ years old.

Dispensation for the 24-year rule

Waivers to the 24-year rule can be granted in special circumstances, such as if the spouse living in Denmark:

  • is a refugee or has a protected status and is at risk of being persecuted in his/her homeland. Read more about refugees
  • has underage children living at home and who have their own connections to Denmark, or has visitation rights with underage children from a previous relationship. Read more about underage children
  • is seriously ill. Read more about serious illness/handicap

Additionally, special dispensations are granted if it is in the best interests of the Danish society to keep individuals with certain job qualifications. The 24-year rule can be waived if the spouse in Denmark has an occupation that is on the Positive List. Read more about the Positive List

Waivers can also be granted if the spouse in Denmark is employed by the state, and holds a position that is especially important to the country’s foreign and security policy. For example, this could apply in the case of military personnel who must be available for peacekeeping or peace-enhancing operations abroad. This practice is described in more detail in the Ministry of Integration’s memorandum of May 26, 2003 (Only in danish).

Last update: 9/30/2013
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Published by: The Danish Immigration Service