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IMMIGRATION

Unsurprising that stricter Danish rules give fewer Muslims citizenship: immigration minister

Denmark’s minister for immigration Inger Støjberg says she is not surprised that fewer Muslims have been approved for Danish citizenship since the government introduced stricter rules in 2015.

Unsurprising that stricter Danish rules give fewer Muslims citizenship: immigration minister
Minister for Immigration Inger Støjberg. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

According to research carried out by newspaper Politiken, 70 percent of new Danish citizenships in 2014 were to people from primarily Muslim countries. That figure has fallen drastically to 21 percent this year.

In the same period, Denmark has begun to allow double citizenship, increasingly the likelihood of nationalisation applications from Western countries.

Støjberg said the figures show that the curbs, which her ministry was responsible for implementing, have had the desired effect.

“There is no doubt that this is because the demands have been increased. For example, the language requirement, being able to provide for oneself, staying away from criminality and passing certain tests,” she said.

“In my view there is no doubt at all that it is much easier to integrate a Christian American than a Muslim Somali,” Støjberg said.

READ ALSO: Immigration minister Støjberg gave incorrect information during parliament hearing

The citizenship rules introduced in 2015 by the then-Liberal government with the support of Denmark’s other right wing parties included more stringent language demands, financial autonomy, a higher score in the citizenship test and stricter rules relating to criminal records.

READ ALSO: Denmark approves tougher citizenship rules (from 2015)

“It is clear that if you come from other parts of the world, you have to exert yourself somewhat harder to, for example, learn the language,” Støjberg said. 

She added she would begin talks over potential further curbs in the coming week.

“I have tightened up [on citizenship] once, and a new set of curbs is now on its way. People that have committed gang crime must not be allowed citizenship,” she said.

“The aim of tough rules is to make Danish citizenship something to strive for,” she added.

For members

DANISH CITIZENSHIP

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.

READ ALSO:

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

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