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Denmark: Dual Citizenship Recognized

(Oct. 16, 2015) On September 1, 2015, with the entry into force of amendments to the Act on Danish Citizenship, Denmark started recognizing dual citizenship. (Lov om ændring af lov om dansk indfødsret, LOV nr 1496 af 23/12/2014 [Act on Amendments to the Act on Danish Citizenship, Law No. 1496, Dec. 23, 2014], RESINFORMATION.DK.) The amendments mean that Danish citizens living abroad can obtain a second citizenship while keeping their Danish citizenship, and that foreign residents of Denmark applying for Danish citizenship can now also retain their current citizenship. (Id.)

The amended law also has a retroactive provision that allows former Danish citizens who renounced their citizenship in order to become citizens of another country within the last five years to again become Danish citizens, through notification to the State Administration. (Id. § 3; Bekendtgørelse af lov om dansk indfødsret, LBK nr 422 af 07/06/2004 Gældende (Indfødsretsloven) [Announcement of the Act on Danish Citizenship, LBK No. 422 of June 7, 2004 (Act on Danish Citizenship)], RETSINFORMATION.DK.)

More Stringent Citizenship Requirements Planned

To become a Danish citizen through naturalization, an applicant must meet residency requirements as well as take a language test and a society and history test. (Act on Danish Citizenship; Bekendtgørelse om statsborgerskabsprøven, BEK nr 370 af 08/04/2014 [Regulation on Citizenship Tests, Regulation No. 370, Apr. 8, 2014] RETSINFORMATION.DK; Cirkulæreskrivelse om naturalisation (CIS nr 9253 af 06/06/2013) [Executive Decree on Naturalization (CIS No. 9253 of June 6, 2013)], RETSINFORMATION.DK.)

The amended law took effect only days after the Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration announced on August 25, 2015, that the government is considering tougher requirements for those wanting to become Danish citizens. (Denmark Considers Changes to Citizenship Requirements, THE LOCAL.DK (Aug. 25, 2015).) The Minister is expected to raise the Danish language proficiency requirement for prospective citizens to meet the level of a ninth grader instead of a seventh grader. (Regeringen vil gøre det sværere at få dansk statsborgerskab, POLITIKO (Sept. 2, 2015).)  It has also been reported that the Minister wishes to increase the required time for which the applicant has been self-supporting (that is, received a salary rather than government benefits) from two and a half of the last five years to four and a half of the last five years. (Id.)

Under the Danish Constitution, Danish citizenship can only be acquired by law, meaning that the Danish Parliament signs a law in which the names of the applicants for citizenship are specified. (Danmarks Riges Grundlov (Grundloven) [Danish Constitution], Law No. 169 (June 5, 1953), art. 44, ¶ 1, RETSINFORMATION.DK.)