At last - Double Citizenship

by Elizabethann Burke
After forty years of campaigning, at last we are successful and the Danish Government on 1st September 2015 finally allowed dual citizenship. So those of us with a British passport living in Denmark could now apply for a Danish passport as well as keeping our British passports.
Advantages of becoming (also) Danish

1. The right to vote in General elections: important to have a voice where we pay our taxes.

2. Possibility of applying for certain jobs restricted to Danes, e.g. police force, armed forces, members of parliament, some jobs in Greenland.

3. Convenience of having two passports, eg. use one for entering Israel and the other for travelling to Egypt. Also the cost of visas is sometimes different – eg. a tourist visum to Turkey or Egypt is more expensive for Brits, and for other countries Danes have to pay more than Brits.

4. Purely emotional. The feeling of belonging in the country where you live but unwilling to give up the passport of your youth.

Becoming Danish does not alter your tax, pension or health-care status.

How to apply
It is not to be undertaken lightly, as it requires work, money and lots of patience. You need:

1. A good knowledge of Denmark, which is tested by an exam.

2. Fluency in the Danish language, tested by written and oral exams.

3. Lots of documentation, so keep all those all certificates, etc.

4. A clean background that can stand intensive investigation.

5. A sound economy where you can prove you are not a burden on the State.

6. Money – you have to pay for the exams, the application and later for an extra passport.

7. Plenty of time – it can take a two or three years.

First, go to the information site on the Ministry of Justice (Justitsministeriet) and find out if you are eligible. If so,

1. Find a language school, pay and apply to take the Danish exam, which is held in June and December all over the country.

2. Apply and pay the VUC to sit the exam on knowledge of Denmark, also held twice a year. The material to be learned is on the net, not in a printed book.

3. If you pass both exams, from the net print out the 12 pages of the application form. Gather all your documentation.

4. Apply to your Council with the form showing you have not received financial help.

5. Take the application with copies of all your documents to the designated police station, who will give you a receipt.

6. In time the police will send you an appointment for an hour-long interview. Take the fee and the original documents with you.

7. After a successful interview the police will send your application to the Ministry of Justice where you will have to wait about 18 months for a reply.

8. If you are approved, your name will go on a list to be passed as a new law by the Government, either in the spring or autumn.

9. When the law is passed you will be informed, you will need to fill out another form, and can then apply for your Danish passport.

We are many Brits who have recently gone through the above procedure to point 7, and thought our acceptance were just a matter of time. But in October 2015 the Danish government had second thoughts and started making new conditions for applying for Danish citizenship, and unfortunately also applied this retrospectively to applications already waiting for final approval. So now we are all wondering how it will affect us. As EU citizens can we expect more rapid approval, or will we also be subjected to further restrictions?

The tightening of the rules poses more questions no-one seems to be able to answer. Eg.

1. How good is your Danish? Many applicants who passed the Danish exam called Dansk 2 cannot carry out a conversation or write a letter in Danish. Now the requirement will be the much harder Dansk 3, but not if you have been self-supporting for 8 years, where Dansk 2 will still be acceptable. Will this apply to those already approved and waiting at the Ministry? Will we have to take the Dansk 3 test (and pay) again?

2. The exam on Denmark. is to be made more difficult and longer. Will we have to take this new exam, even though we have passed the ‘old’ exam according to the rules? Pay again?

3. Criminal record. How is this defined? We read of an applicant who accidentally set fire to his hedge and another with 2,000 DKK in speeding fines, who had their applications delayed by an extra four years before they could apply again. What about parking fines?

4. Terror background. Did your parents vote Communist in the 1930s? Did you get arrested in your teens for sitting down in a Ban the Bomb demonstration? Is your name to be found on a petition against Barsebäck atomic power station/protest against Bush and Blair bombing Iraq/ protesting against closure of your local school? Do you travel frequently to the Middle East? Are you active on Facebook in a group the PET do not approve of? Do you get e-mails/phone calls from ‘suspicious’ people/organisations?

5. Self supporting. How many years will they go back? Perhaps you were unemployed eight years ago? What about not being able to find a job so you can pay back your student loan? What about a non-tax-paying housewife supported by her husband? Is your old age pension, that you have paid contributions for throughout your working-life, a partial government subsidy?

Watch this space for (hopefully) answers to these questions as time goes and we hope it all becomes clearer. The British European will keep you informed of progress!