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DANISH CITIZENSHIP

Citizenship test in Denmark: The new ‘Danish values’ questions faced by applicants

Denmark’s citizenship test has been expanded from 40 to 45 questions with a new set of questions aimed at assessing the ‘Danish values’ of would-be new citizens.

Denmark's flag Dannebrog flying in Copenhagen. The country's citizenship test has been expanded to include questions about national values.
Denmark's flag Dannebrog flying in Copenhagen. The country's citizenship test has been expanded to include questions about national values. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

According to the government, which introduced the new questions with the backing of parliament earlier this year, the additional questions do not make the citizenship test harder.

Candidates taking the Danish citizenship test on Wednesday become the first to take the exam in its new format.

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Since 2015, the Danish citizenship test (indfødsretsprøven), held twice annually, has consisted of 40 multiple choice questions on Danish culture, history and society. The pass mark on the test is 32/40.

With the extra questions on Danish values now added to the test, the pass mark becomes 36/45. Additionally, at least 4 of the 5 Danish values questions must be answered correctly.

A few – but not many – exemptions apply meaning some people do not have to take the citizenship test. This includes children under 12 or people from Norway or Sweden, or people from the Danish minority in German region Schleswig-Holstein.

But this means adults who have lived their entire lives in Denmark, but are not Danish citizens because their parents aren’t Danish, are required to take the test and prove they have adopted Danish values if they want to become citizens and thereby have the right to vote in elections and the other rights conferred by citizenship.

The Danish values questions can revolve around topics including free speech, gender equality and the relationship between law and religion.

The test – which has a maximum time of 45 minutes – will be taken by 3,438 persons on Thursday, according to official figures. The time limit has not been increased from earlier tests, despite the extra questions.

The new test was voted through parliament by the Social Democratic government in April this year with the support of conservative parties, rather than its usual allies on the left wing.

The spokesperson for citizenship with the left-wing party Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), Peder Hvelplund, called the new questions “odd” in comments given to broadcaster DR.

“I can easily find Danes who also are members of parliament whom I absolutely do not share values with. That makes neither their nor my values something that isn’t Danish. They’re just different,” Hvelplund told DR.

The government’s citizenship spokesperson Lars Aslan Rasmussen rejected the argument that the Danish values in the test are subjective.

Rasmussen said the test should fulfil the function of showing the applicant understands the society of which they would like to be a part.

“I actually think it’s very simple. Should girls be allowed to do the same things as boys, does Denmark have the death sentence? These are very simple questions which I think you should be able to answer if you live in Denmark,” he told DR.

He also noted that the test should not be passable by “answering questions you’ve revised from a booklet”.

The Danish citizenship test is held twice yearly, normally at the end of June and the end of November. The November 2021 tests are the first with the new questions.

People who passed the old version of the test will not be required to retake it in order to apply for citizenship.

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DANISH CITIZENSHIP

Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

One of the requirements for fulfilling criteria for Danish citizenship through naturalisation is a clean criminal record. Does this mean fines for traffic offences could disqualify you?

Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

Denmark is known for its strict rules on citizenship and a range of criteria must be met before you can become a Danish national.

The requirements fall into several broad categories, one of which being that you must have no criminal convictions.

The other categories relate to employment status, length of residency in Denmark, debt and personal finances and knowledge of language and culture. You can read about them in detail in our guide to applying for Danish citizenship.

In April 2021, the government agreed new citizenship rules, adding new curbs on who can be granted Danish nationality and building on the earlier 2018 citizenship rules.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new tightening of citizenship rules

Under the April 2021 rules, persons with previous convictions for which they have received conditional or unconditional prison sentences are permanently barred from being granted Danish citizenship.

Additionally, people who have received fines of at least 3,000 kroner for breaking certain laws are required to wait for a suspension period of four years and six months before being acceptable for naturalisation.

On its website, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration states that a condition of a citizenship application making it to parliament – where it is given final approval – is that “you have not committed certain types of acts for which you can be penalised, or that any suspension period related a punishable act has expired”.

This means that if you are fined for breaking certain laws, you can be suspended from applying for citizenship for a given period.

Fines under 3,000 kroner do not generally result in a suspension.

If you have received a fine for “violating the traffic laws, this can… impact your possibility of becoming a Danish citizen. At least for a while,” the ministry states.

For example, a fine of 3,000 kroner or more results in a suspension period of four and a half years from the date the offence is registered. As such, you could not become a Danish citizen until four and a half years after this date, regardless of whether you meet the other criteria.

This includes fines given for all forms of traffic offences, including speeding tickets, the ministry notes.

It should be noted that police speeding fines are often less than 3,000 kroner, depending on the offence.

For example, driving at 59 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone (the speed limit in most urban areas), usually gives a fine of 1,200 kroner. The same fine would be given for driving at 130 km/h on a section of motorway where the speed limit is 110 km/h.

If you drive at 110 km/h where the limit is 80 km/h, you can be fined 2,400 kroner.

Fines go up in certain circumstances: driving over 140 km/h adds an extra 1,200 kroner to the fine, followed by another 600 kroner for each additional 10 km/h.

Additionally, breaking the speed limit by 30 percent or more often results in an additional 1,200 kroner being added to the initial fine.

Speeding in areas where the normal speed limit has been reduced due to roadworks results in the fine being doubled.

Reports in Danish media have described cases of individuals who have lived in Denmark since childhood having their citizenship applications turned down because of speeding fines.

Repeat offences (or other offences for which fines are issued) can result in the suspension period being extended by 3 years for each offence. Only penalties which would have resulted in suspension in isolation – in other words, fines of over 3,000 kroner – can extend the suspension.

There are conditions under which you can apply for dispensation: if your traffic fine is not for driving under the influence of alcohol and is between 3,000 and 3,500 kroner; or if you have been concurrently fined up to 5,000 kroner for several offences which do not give fines over 3,500 kroner in isolation.

However, dispensation would require a member of parliament’s citizenship committee to argue your case for dispensation within the committee, the ministry states. In other words, you’d need an MP to agree to speak on your behalf.

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