Dual citizenship ‘a mess’: Danish People’s Party

The nationalist Danish People’s Party has criticised rules allowing dual citizenship in light of recent diplomatic rows over Turkish referendum campaigning in the EU.

Dual citizenship 'a mess': Danish People’s Party
Photo: Iris/Scanpix

The party’s foreign policy spokesperson, Søren Espersen, says that Danes of Turkish extraction must make a choice between the two countries.

Danish citizens cannot be servants to two countries, says the MP.

“Turkish people are mentally hanging on to a reality other than the one they are part of. If you live here with Danish citizenship, you are part of a Danish reality,” Espersen told newspaper Politiken.

Espersen’s comments come in the wake of a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and a number of other European countries.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Germany and the Netherlands “Nazis” and “fascists” last week after the two countries blocked Ankara politicians from rallying events aimed at foreign-based Turkish citizens eligible to vote in an upcoming Turkish referendum.

Denmark has also requested that an official Turkish visit be delayed.

Espersen has previously said that foreign-based Danes, who would also be affected by a reversal of a 2015 law change allowing dual citizenship in Denmark, should be allowed to vote in domestic elections.

“When you have a Danish passport in your hand, Danish citizenship and the right to move back to the country, then I think it is fair to be allowed to vote,” Espersen told broadcaster DR in 2015.

Danish law currently states that people registered as living abroad may not vote in elections at home.

“I was affected by this myself when I lived in Great Britain. I could neither vote in British nor Danish elections,” Espersen told Politiken.

The MP said that the argument for allowing foreign-based Danes to vote is a different one to the discussion of the Turkish voters with dual citizenships.

“Many live in Sweden now and cannot vote. But they only have one citizenship. The introduction of dual citizenship has created a big mess and it is only going to get worse,” he said.

Earlier this week, Norway's governing Høyre (Conservative) Party voted in favour of allowing dual citizenship in Denmark's northern neighbour – the only Nordic country that currently does not allow double nationality.

Espersen told Politiken that he thinks Danish-Turkish citizens should give up their Turkish citizenship.

For members


Do children born in Denmark automatically get Danish citizenship?

A Danish passport comes with many benefits, and the country allows dual citizenship. But what are the rules for the children of foreign nationals born in Denmark?

Do children born in Denmark automatically get Danish citizenship?

Denmark allows dual citizenship, meaning it is possible for foreign residents to gain Danish citizenship without giving up their old citizenship, if their country of origin also permits dual citizenship. There are a few benefits that only Danish citizens have, such as an absolute right to live and work in the country and the right to vote in Danish parliamentary elections.

Some jobs are only open to Danish citizens as well: you must be a Danish citizen if you wish to be elected to parliament or join the police.

In addition to this, Danish nationals hold EU citizenship, which gives them the right to free movement in EU member states, making it easier for them to live and work in other parts of the bloc.

Danish at birth

Unlike in other countries such as the United States, people born in Denmark do not automatically gain Danish citizenship.

Danish citizenship is granted at birth to children who have at least one Danish parent, regardless of whether the child is born in Denmark or not. For children born before July 1st 2014, this depends on the law in force when the child was born and other requirements may need to be fulfilled.


Dual citizenship

On the September 1st 2015, a new Nationality Act meant foreign residents could gain Danish citizenship without giving up their old citizenship.

It also meant that former Danish citizens who lost their Danish nationality by acquiring a foreign nationality could become Danish citizens again by making a declaration to the Ministry of Immigration and Integration. The new timetable to make this declaration is between July 1st 2021 and June 30th 2026.

Children born abroad: The 22-Year Rule 

Children born abroad to a Danish parent but who have never lived in Denmark, or visited for a lengthy period of time (adding up to at least a year which has to be documented) lose their Danish citizenship at the age of 22, unless it means the person becomes stateless.

Danish children born abroad must therefore apply to retain their Danish citizenship before the age of 22. If they are still living abroad at the time, their connection to Denmark will be assessed. This takes into account the number of visits to Denmark and level of Danish.

The Princess Rule

Children born in marriage to a Danish mother and a father of foreign nationality during the period of January 1st 1961 to  December 31st 1978 did not obtain Danish nationality by birth. As an alternative, Danish mothers had the option to make a declaration by which their child obtained Danish nationality.

Children born during this period whose mother did not make a declaration to this effect may apply for Danish nationality by naturalisation according to the “Princess Rule”.

Does a child born to foreigners need a residence permit?

If you are a child born in Denmark by foreign national parents, you need to apply for a residence permit.

The requirements for qualifying for a residence permit are more relaxed than for children born abroad. The child needs to either be registered as a family member to an EU citizen if under the age of 21, or registered under family reunification if the parents are not EU citizens.

The child’s residence permit will expire when the parent’s residence permit expires and can also be extended with the parent’s permit. It may also be possible for the child to obtain a permanent residence permit aged 18 by meeting more lenient requirements.

READ ALSO: What’s the difference between temporary and permanent residency in Denmark?

When can my child gain Danish citizenship?

If your child is born in Denmark but neither parent is Danish, they have to wait until one parent is granted citizenship.

Danish requirements for citizenship are some of the toughest in the world and you must meet a number of closely-defined criteria in order to be eligible for citizenship by naturalisation.

The wish to include a child in the application has to be stated and they must be under the age of 18, have Danish residency, not have committed any crime and be unmarried. No fee is payable for minors. Children aged 12 or over must give their consent to becoming Danish.

READ ALSO: How to apply for citizenship in Denmark