The acquisition of Danish citizenship by children

Special rules apply to the acquisition of Danish citizenship by children

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A child born on or after 1 July 2014 will automatically acquire Danish citizenship at the time of birth if the father, mother or co-mother is Danish. For children born before that date, it will depend on the law in force when the child was born.

A child can generally only become a Danish citizen through inclusion in a bill of naturalisation as a minor, i.e. with one of their parents.

However, a child can become a Danish citizen on the basis of a bill of naturalisation as the main person (i.e. alone) if the child is unable to be included in a bill as a minor with one of their parents.

Special rules also apply to certain groups of children who may become Danish citizens as the main person. This applies to adopted children, amongst others.

It is a general condition for a child to become a Danish citizen as the main person, and thus be subject to the special conditions applicable to children, that the child is under 18 years of age at the time of adoption of the bill. However, there is an exception for people born outside marriage to a foreign mother and a Danish father.

Special rules apply to stateless children born in Denmark.

Start Declaration concerning minors (for use in pending cases)

A child can generally only become a Danish citizen through inclusion in a bill of naturalisation as a minor, i.e. with one of their parents.

A child may acquire Danish citizenship as a minor, i.e. together with a parent, if they fulfil the following conditions:

  • the child is unmarried;
  • the child is under the age of 18;
  • the child lives in Denmark and is legally resident i.e. has an independent residence permit (for third-country nationals) or a valid residence certificate (EU citizens);
  • the child has not been charged with or committed a crime that precludes citizenship or triggers a qualifying period;
  • the parent with whom the child is included in a bill has joint custody of the child;
  • the other parent (if he or she has joint custody) has given his or her consent.

In the case of adopted children, it is also a condition that the adoption is valid under Danish law.

If you have any questions concerning your child’s residence permit or grounds for residence, you can contact the Danish Immigration Service or the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (EU Citizens).

The conditions applicable to minors must be met at the time the parent becomes a Danish citizen. If the parent's acquisition of Danish citizenship assumes attendance of a constitutional ceremony, the parent (applicant) will not become a Danish citizen until he or she attends such a ceremony.

A child who wishes to be included as a minor must be stated in the relevant parent's application for Danish citizenship through law (naturalisation). No fee is payable for minors.

Declaration concerning minors

If you decide you wish to have your child or children covered by your application for citizenship after you have submitted the application to the Ministry of Immigration and Integration, you must complete the declaration concerning minors.

This also applies if you have already been informed by the Ministry of Immigration and Integration that you expect to be included in a bill of naturalisation, and

  • you subsequently have one or more children
  • you have one or more children who have subsequently become resident in Denmark
  • you have subsequently gained joint custody of one or more children and now wish the child/children to be covered by your application for Danish citizenship.

Children aged 12 or over must give their consent to becoming Danish.

The following children can become Danish citizens by law as the main person (as the main applicant):

  • Children who are unable to become Danish citizens with a parent
  • Certain adopted children
  • Children born outside marriage to a foreign mother and a Danish father from 11 October 1993 to 30 June 2014 inclusive
  • Children who have not become Danish citizens on the basis of separation
  • Children born stateless in Denmark.

Submitting the application

Applications for Danish citizenship by naturalisation must be submitted by sending the paper-based application form to the Ministry of Immigration and Integration:

Udlændinge- og Integrationsministeriet (Ministry of Immigration and Integration), Indfødsret, Slotsholmsgade 10,1216 København K.

If the applicant lives abroad, the application may be submitted to the local Danish local representation office. In the case of adopted children, applications for Danish citizenship can be submitted together with the application for adoption. The application will be sent by the adoption authority directly to the Ministry of Immigration and Integration.What shall I bring when I hand in the application 

What shall I bring when I hand in the application 

The following must be enclosed with the application:

  • Applicant’s birth certificate
  • Copy of adoption order and any recognition by the National Social Appeals Board or the Agency of Family Law (adopted children only)
  • Documentation of any sole custody
  • Copy of any Danish residence permit for the applicant
  • Any marriage certificate for the parents (not adopted children)
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport (excluding blank pages)
  • Copy of the Danish parent’s Danish passport (excluding blank pages)
  • Copy of the Danish parent's birth certificate
  • Copy of certificate of competence in Danish (final examinations of primary school and part I of secondary school) (not applicants born to a Danish father and a foreign mother)
  • Copy of certificate confirming passing of the 2015 naturalisation test (citizenship test) (not applicants born to a Danish father and foreign mother)
  • Receipt for payment of any fee (applicants over 18 years of age)

Special guidelines apply regarding the documentation requirements for foreign documents.

Application fee

No fee is payable for applications for Danish citizenship for applicants under 18 years of age. For applicants aged 18 or over, a fee of DKK 3,800 is payable for applications for Danish citizenship. The fee is payable once only. The fee must be paid to the authority to which the application is submitted. 

Children who are unable to become a Danish citizen with a parent can apply for Danish citizenship as the main person.

Children can normally only be included in a bill of naturalisation as the main person if they are unable to be included in a bill as a minor of one of the parents.

This applies even if the parent does not fulfil the conditions for becoming a Danish citizen (e.g. the requirement for competence in Danish) and even if the parent does not wish to acquire Danish citizenship.

A child can be included in a bill of naturalisation as a minor when one of the parents who is a not a Danish citizen has joint custody of the child and is resident in Denmark.

Conditions

A child who is unable to become a Danish citizen with a parent as a minor must normally fulfil all the general conditions for inclusion in a bill of naturalisation as the main person. The child must therefore fulfil the following conditions:

  • Minor: It is a condition that the child is under 18 years of age until adoption of the bill that the child is included in. This applies even if the application is submitted before the child’s 18th birthday.
  • Residence in Denmark: The child must normally live in Denmark.
  • Residence: The child must normally have resided in Denmark for a continuous period of nine years.
  • Criminal record: In the case of children aged 15 and over, it is a condition that the child has not committed certain types of crime. If the child has been found guilty of other crimes or has been sentenced, the child can only become a Danish citizen after a certain qualifying period.
  • Debt to the public sector: The child must normally not have any overdue debts to the public sector.
  • Self-sufficiency: The child must normally fulfil the general self-sufficiency requirement. This means that the child must not have received support under the Act on social policy or the Integration Act during the past two years, and that the child must not have received support under the Act on social policy or the Integration Act for a combined total of more than four months during the past five years.
  • Competence in Danish and the citizenship test of 2015: In the case of children under the age of 12, there is no requirement for documentation of the child’s competence in Danish or documentation of the child’s knowledge of Danish social affairs, Danish culture and history.

In the case of children over the age of 12 who have not yet passed the final examinations of primary school and part I of secondary school (9th or 10th grade) and who are not expected to pass these examinations by the time of adoption of the bill in which they are included, a statement from the applicant's school that the applicant’s competence in Danish and knowledge of Danish social affairs, Danish culture and history is at a level which corresponds to what can be expected of a child in the grade concerned will be accepted as sufficient documentation of the child's competence in Danish and knowledge of Danish social affairs, Danish culture and history.

Children over the age of 12 who have passed the final examinations of primary school and part I of secondary school (9th or 10th grade) or who are expected to do so by the date of adoption of the bill in which the child is included must pass the final examinations in the Danish disciplines with the exception of general conduct with an average grade of at least 6 (according to the 13-point scale) or 2 (according to the 7-point scale). The child must also document that he or she has passed the 2015 citizenship test

Certain adopted children automatically become Danish citizens upon adoption.

An adopted child who is adopted by Danish citizens and who has not automatically become a Danish citizen upon adoption can become a Danish citizen through inclusion in a bill of naturalisation as the main person. This also applies in the case of second-parent adoption.

It is sufficient for one of the adopters to be a Danish citizen. It is a condition that the adoption is valid under Danish law.

If the adoption was carried out under foreign law, the Agency of Family Law's statement must be enclosed with the application for Danish citizenship.

Conditions

The adopted child must normally fulfil the following conditions:

  • Minor: The child must be under the age of 18 until adoption of the bill in which the child is included. This applies even if the application is submitted before the child’s 18th birthday.
  • Periods of stay and residence in Denmark: Children who are adopted by a Danish citizen before the age of 12 do not need to fulfil the residence requirement or the requirement concerning a residence in Denmark.
  • Children who are adopted by a Danish citizen between the ages of 12 and 18 are subject to requirements regarding residence in Denmark and a minimum of two years’ continuous residence.
  • Criminal record: In the case of children aged 15 and over, it is a condition that the child has not committed certain types of crime. If the child has been found guilty of other crimes or has been sentenced, the child can only become a Danish citizen after a certain qualifying period.
  • Debt to the public sector: The child must normally not have any overdue debts to the public sector.
  • Self-sufficiency: The child must normally fulfil the general self-sufficiency requirement. This means that the child must not have accepted support under the Act on social policy or the Integration Act during the past two years, and that the child must not have received support under the Act on social policy or the Integration Act for a combined total of more than four months during the past five years.
  • Competence in Danish and the citizenship test of 2015: For children under the age of 12, there is no requirement for documentation of the child's competence in Danish or documentation of the child's knowledge of Danish social affairs, Danish culture and history.

For children over the age of 12 who have not yet passed the final examinations of primary school and part I of secondary school (9th or 10th grade) and who are not expected to pass these examinations by the time of adoption of the bill in which the child is included, a statement from the applicant’s school that the applicant's competence in Danish and knowledge of Danish society, culture and history Danish social affairs, Danish culture and history are at a level which corresponds to what can be expected of children in the grade concerned will be accepted as sufficient documentation of the child’s competence in Danish and knowledge of Danish social affairs and Danish culture and history.

Children over the age of 12 who have passed the final examinations of primary school and part I of secondary school (9th or 10th grade) or who are expected to do so by the date of adoption of the bill in which the child is included must pass the final examinations in the Danish disciplines with the exception of general conduct with an average grade of at least 6 (according to the 13-point scale) or 2 (according to the 7-point scale). The child must also document that he or she has passed the Naturalisation test of 2015 citizenship test. 

In certain cases, children born outside marriage to a foreign mother and a Danish father can become a Danish citizen subject to certain special conditions.

A child born outside marriage to a foreign mother and a Danish father between 11 October 1993 and 30 June 2014 inclusive can become a Danish citizen through inclusion in a bill of naturalisation as the main person without fulfilling the general conditions.

If the child was born abroad and becomes a Danish citizen before he or she reaches the age of 22, they will be covered by the rules regarding retention of Danish citizenship.

A child born outside marriage to a foreign mother and a Danish father during the period from 11 October 1993 to 30 June 2014 inclusive will automatically have acquired Danish citizenship in the following situations:

  • If the child's parents were married at the time the child was born;
  • If the child’s parents have subsequently married;
  • If the child was born in the Kingdom of Denmark (Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands) on or after 1 January 1999.

A child born on or after 1 July 2014 will automatically acquire Danish citizenship at the time of birth if the father, mother or co-mother is Danish.

Processing of the application

It is a requirement that the applicant was born outside marriage to a foreign mother and Danish father during the period 11 October 1993 to 30 June 2014 inclusive. The application must include the following:

  • Documentation of the father's citizenship: It is a condition that the father had Danish citizenship at the time the child was born. A copy of the father’s valid Danish passport and birth certificate or citizenship certificate must therefore be enclosed with the application.
  • Documentation of the relationship between the child and the Danish father: It is vital that the relationship between the child and the Danish father is confirmed. The child's birth certificate must therefore be enclosed with the application. If the birth certificate is foreign, special guidelines may apply to verification of the document. The relationship can also be verified through the applicant and the Danish father having a DNA test.
  • Documentation of custody: If the applicant is under 18 and both parents have joint custody, both parents must sign the application form. If one parent has sole custody, documentation of this must be submitted to the Ministry of Immigration. If this documentation is foreign, special guidelines may apply concerning verification of the document. 

If a child's parents have been separated and this has prevented the child from acquiring Danish citizenship as a minor and the parents become reunited, the child can apply for Danish citizenship as the main person.

Children who have not become a Danish citizen as a minor upon naturalisation of one of their parents entirely as a result of the parents’ separation can be included in a bill of naturalisation if it is demonstrated that the parents have resumed cohabitation and the effects of the separation have ceased.

This solely applies to applicants who were under 18 years of age at the time of adoption of the bill and who did not acquire the citizenship as a minor of one of their parents because, at the time, the parents had ceased cohabiting and the naturalised parent did not have joint custody.

Last updated: 25 November 2021