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LIVING IN DENMARK

Danish politicians could reject more citizenship applications under new proposal

Two parties on Denmark’s far right want to change the procedure by which the country rubber-stamps citizenship applications so that some applications are easier to reject. The governing Social Democrats could be open to the idea.

Danish politicians could reject more citizenship applications under new proposal
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

A proposal by the far-right Nye Borgerlige (New Right, NB) party would change the way the Danish parliament processes citizenship applications so that individuals can be more easily rejected, according to a report by newspaper Politiken.

The plan has received the backing of the Danish People’s Party (DF) , the other anti-immigration party on Denmark’s far right. Significantly, it also has signs of support from the governing Social Democrats, the newspaper writes.

Under Danish law, citizenship can only be granted to foreign nationals via legal nationalisation: applications must actually be voted for by a parliamentary majority.

Accepted applications are normally processed via bills put in front of parliament twice yearly, in April and in October.

NB wants to change this practice so that, instead of approving a single bill with hundreds of (pre-approved) citizenship applications, parliament can more easily reject individual claims by splitting them into different bills.

The party wants to discriminate claims based on the nationality of the applicant, according to Politiken’s report.

“We favour, for example, that persons from so-called ‘Menapt’ countries [Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, ed.] be put on a separate bill so they can be voted against,” NB citizenship spokesperson Mette Thiesen told the newspaper.

“We want to be able to vote for the people who really deserve a citizenship, but not those who we absolutely don’t think should have it,” Thiesen added.

People who apply for Danish citizenship must fulfil a series of criteria and pass a citizenship test, and their claims are assessed by the Ministry of Immigration and Integration prior to being sent for the parliamentary bill. As such, the applications that come before parliament have already fulfilled the legal criteria.

Negotiations over potential changes to citizenship rules are ongoing between Danish parties. Earlier this week, the centre-right Liberal party said it wanted assessment of applicants to include a personal interview to determine whether that person has “Danish values”.

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Thiesen told Politiken that “of course” politicians could sort citizenship applicants based on source country if they so wish.

“We’re the ones giving out citizenship. It’s not a right to get Danish citizenship,” she said.

It should be noted that, even if applications were voted for in different bills, it would still require a parliamentary majority to reject them.

The Danish People’s Party said it backed the idea. The party has previously voted against bills formalising citizenship applications.

“We would actually like to vote yes to many Nordic citizens and people from South Schleswig [German border region, ed.], but because we oppose so many from Middle Eastern and Muslim countries getting citizenship, we vote no to the bills as they are. And thereby end up voting no to some people who we really want to have citizenship, and that situation is a shame,” DF citizenship spokesperson Marie Krarup told Politiken.

The spokesperson for the governing Social Democrats, Lars Aslan Rasmussen, appeared open to the suggestion in a comment given to the newspaper.

“The premise itself, that there are special problems with people from those Menapt countries, we recognise that,” Rasmussen said.

Member comments

  1. Really scary approach!

    Proposal now is not even to test Danish values, not sort of Canadian grading system where education, experience or recognition are basis for citizenship? Not even combination, where Danish values can grant you even 90% of points and academic degree, experience and job other 10 points and lets say Menapt citizenship deduction of some points, while still leaving chance for people who want to apply.

    I do understand that they want white people in, yet key risk there is that someone should keenly control those politicians (i.e. supreme court) so Denmark does not end up forcing former Menap and now Danish citizens to wear yellow crescent, than live in certain city blocks with final step of arranging “naturalization” or “value appreciation” camps for people… Remember, German Nazi ideology also started from huge support of local population and seemingly good proposals for German people.

    Why don’t journalists ask those questions of their politicians? Or is it populistic opinion?

    1. Geoff, with all due respect I can understand the reason. I can not understand response. It is adequate if a third grader or uneducated person comes up with such response measures, but not a mature educated European politician.

      As one smart man said “If you dare to criticize, propose a solution”. So here is solution instead.

      1) Both Before granting citizenship or even access to country. PET cooperation with CIA, FSB and others. And its not expensive, can come up with the cost equal to 3-4 politicians fired. This way you will have at least 90% security on background of person you accept (both past and future of him/her, relatives, religiousness extent etc.)
      2) Change legislation, on extending PET rights to surveillance of religious communities. I.e. field undercover presence in mosques and other religious services to track any extremist motives before they even become a problem.
      3) Increase responsibility margins for both participants of religious groups with heavy fines for non reporting (if found/proved guilty) to their families. This falls under judicial concept of criminal inaction (omission).
      4) Cultural exchange events for all cultures facilitated by local communes working for everyone, every religion and nation – this facilitates opening/broadening view of those asylum seekers and others from EMENA region.
      5) track social development trends over 4-8 years of those seeking citizenship, i.e. if they lived a decent life, paid taxes, received education, helped community etc.

      If they break or about to break law (as in case above), strip off the citizenship and send back home for sure!

      Yet again, if we are to go nationalistic way straight forward it is not good neither in short not in long run.

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For members

DANISH CITIZENSHIP

How do Denmark’s citizenship rules compare to Sweden and Norway?

We take a look at how Denmark’s citizenship requirements compare to other Scandinavian countries.

How do Denmark’s citizenship rules compare to Sweden and Norway?

Gaining citizenship of one Nordic country grants you rights in the others, such as making it easier to move there, work there, and even become a citizen. So, where is it easiest to become a citizen, and where will you be waiting the longest?

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Denmark

Length of stay: 9 years

Normally, you must have lived in Denmark for nine consecutive years (without living elsewhere for more than three months) in order to qualify for Danish citizenship.

This period is reduced in some cases: for refugees it becomes eight years, citizens of Nordic countries need a two-year stay and people married to Danes qualify after 6-8 years, depending on the length of the marriage.

Other exceptions are made for those who have taken a significant portion of their education in Denmark, who may qualify after five years. If you moved to Denmark before your 15th birthday, you can become nationalised after you turn 18.

EU and non EU citizens must have a permit for permanent residency in Denmark for a minimum of two years before applying for citizenship.

Language test

Applicants must have passed the national Prøve i Dansk 3 language test, the final exam in the national Danish language school system. This involves a reading, writing, speaking and listening test which equates to B2 Danish.

There are certain exemptions from the language requirements. Residents of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, as well as Swedish and Norwegian speakers, do not need to document Danish proficiency. Dispensation can be given for applicants with certain types of illnesses and disabilities, and different rules apply to children.

Citizenship test

A condition of getting Danish citizenship is to demonstrate knowledge of Danish society, culture and history, by having passed a citizenship test (indfødsretsprøve).

In April 2021, the existing citizenship test, consisting of 40 multiple choice questions, was supplemented with five extra questions about “Danish values” such as equality, freedom of speech and the relation between legislation and religion. 

The pass mark is 36/45 and at least four of the five Danish values questions must be answered correctly. 

Children under 12, Swedish and Norwegian citizens, and people from the Danish minority in German region Schleswig-Holstein do not need to take the citizenship test.

Other requirements

  • Sign a declaration pledging allegiance and loyalty to Denmark and Danish society and promising to abide by its laws.
  • Be free of debt to the public sector and be financially self-sufficient.
  • Have no criminal convictions.
  • Hold a full-time job or been self-employed for three and a half of the last four years. 
  • Attend a ceremony, declare you will uphold Denmark’s laws, values and principles and shake hands with an official.

You also need to submit paperwork to prove your identity, current nationality, residency and economic activity in Denmark.

Processing time and fees

At the end of 2021, the processing time for applications was approximately 14 months, according to the immigration ministry. The fee is 4,000 Danish kroner (~€537).

After this time, you receive a letter notifying you that you can expect to be accepted for citizenship at the next round of parliamentary procedure (which happens twice yearly), provided you still fulfil the requirements at that time.

Once the new law making you a citizen comes into force, you will be sent a declaration that you have been accepted for citizenship with one final condition: you attend a ceremony, declare that you will uphold Denmark’s laws, values and principles, shake hands with an official and become a citizen.

Photo by lilzidesigns on Unsplash

Sweden

Length of stay: 2-5 years

EU and non EU citizens can apply for Swedish citizenship after living in Sweden for five continuous years with right of residence. 

In some cases, this period can be even shorter.

Nordic citizens who have lived in Sweden for at least five years can become Swedish citizens through notification. This involves filling out a form and sending it to the local country administrative board, with a fee of 475 kronor.

The alternative is to submit an application for citizenship to the Migration Agency, which Nordic citizens can do after living in Sweden for two years. No other requirements below are needed for Nordic citizens.

EU and non-EU citizens who have lived with a Swedish citizen for at least two years can apply for citizenship earlier, after three continuous years in Sweden. However applicants will be asked to show that they have adapted well to Swedish life. This could be shown through learning the language, proving you can support yourself, or through the length of your marriage.

The requirement for continuous residency in Sweden means that if you spend more than six weeks abroad in any given year, it will extend the period of time until you can apply for citizenship.

For non-EU citizens, the process for getting citizenship is just the same as for EU citizens, except there is an additional requirement for a permanent residence permit. Permanent residency for non EU citizens is usually granted after four years of living in Sweden.

Other requirements: No outstanding debts or recent crimes

In addition to length of stay, EU and non EU citizens must have “conducted themselves well in Sweden”, and the Migration Agency will request information on whether you have debts or have committed crimes in the country.

An application can be rejected if a person has unpaid taxes, fines, or other charges. Debts to private companies passed on to the Swedish Enforcement Authority could also impact the application, even if they are paid, as two years must pass after payment to prove you’re debt-free. If you’ve committed a crime, there’s also a qualifying period before citizenship can be granted which depends on the sentence. 

An automated test (in Swedish) can be filled in here to see if you meet those requirements. 

Language and citizenship test: May soon be required

While Swedish language skills and knowledge of Swedish society are not currently a requirement for citizenship, this could change in the future. In January 2021, the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Migration put forward proposals to introduce an A2 language exam for would-be Swedes, with exceptions for vulnerable individuals who have made a reasonable effort to learn the language. There are also proposals for a knowledge test about Swedish society.

These proposals will be subject to a long political process before they can be put into law, so at present the requirements are proof of identity, duration of residency in Sweden, and no record of serious criminal offences or debts.

Processing time and fees

The Migration Agency says applicants should expect an average of 39 months between submitting their application and becoming Swedish. Readers of The Local have reported the process taking anywhere between a couple of weeks to over three years. The application costs 1,500 SEK (~€150).

Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

Norway

Length of stay: 6-8 years

EU and non EU citizens can apply for Norwegian citizenship after living in Norway for eight years out of the past eleven years and if they have held residence permits that were each valid for at least one year during that time.

A new rule, which came into effect in January 2022, means that if you have sufficient income, you can apply after six years rather than eight. Currently sufficient income is 319,997 kroner (~€30,520), but this can change annually.

Those with Norwegian spouses, registered partners, or cohabitants can apply after living in Norway for three of the last ten years. 

Nordic citizens over the age of 12 can apply for Norwegian citizenship after two years living in Norway and do not need to fulfil any further requirements below.

Language test

EU and non EU citizens have to pass an oral Norwegian language test at either A2 or B1 level. A2 refers to an elementary level of Norwegian, and B1 is considered semi-fluent. 

The change to the language requirement from A2 to B1 will apply from autumn 2022 at the earliest, according to the UDI

Citizenship test

Applicants must pass a citizenship test (statsborgerprøve), or a social studies test if aged between 18 and 67. The tests must be taken in Norwegian, either Bokmål or Nynorsk.

For the citizenship test, applicants need to answer at least 24 of 36 multiple choice questions correctly to pass. Topics included in the test are history, geography, democracy, welfare, education, health and working life in Norway.

Other requirements

After filling in an online application, applicants have to deliver a series of documents in person, including birth certificates, marriage certificates (if applicable), a full list of entries into and departures from Norway, at least seven years of tax returns, and a police report certifying “good conduct”.

Processing time and fees

It costs 6,500 kroner to apply if you are over 18. However, the fee is cheaper or completely waived if you are a Nordic citizen, previously held Norwegian citizenship, or are under 18 years of age. 

Applications take around 16 months to process but this can vary.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to apply for Norwegian citizenship

Roundup

Even if Sweden decides to include a language and citizenship test in their application process, the country will remain the easiest and cheapest in Scandinavia in which to become a citizen, although there’s a downside – it also has the longest processing time for citizenship applications.

Here’s the roundup.

Swedish citizenship

Application Fee: ~€150 (1,500 Swedish kronor) 

Length of time living in country: 3-5 years 

Language level needed: None, but this may change

Citizenship test: None, but this may change

Other requirements: No record of serious criminal offences or debts

Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Processing time: Around 39 months

Norwegian Citizenship 

Application Fee: ~€250 (2,500 Norwegian kroner)

Length of time living in country: 6-8 of the past 11 years

Language level needed: A2 Norwegian, soon to change to the more difficult B1 Norwegian

Citizenship test: Yes

Other requirements: A full list of entries into and departures from Norway, at least seven years of tax returns, and a police report certifying “good conduct”.

Dual nationality allowed: Yes thanks to a law change in 2020 

Processing time: Around 16 months

Danish citizenship

Application Fee: ~€537 (4,000 Danish kroner)

Length of time living in country: 9 years

Language level needed: B2 Danish

Citizenship test: Yes

Other requirements: No record of serious criminal offences or debts and be financially self-sufficient; sign a declaration pledging allegiance and loyalty to Denmark and its laws; hold a full-time job or been self-employed for three and a half of the last four years; attend a ceremony.

Dual nationality allowed: Yes 

Processing time: 14 months – 2 years

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