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Danish nationals born abroad: The 22-year rule and retention of Danish citizenship

As a general rule, Danish nationals born abroad lose their Danish citizenship when reaching the age of 22. However retention of Danish citizenship may be granted provided certain conditions are fulfilled.

As a consequence of the 22-year-rule Danish passports can only be issued to children born abroad until their 22nd birthday. In order to have a Danish passport issued after the 22nd birthday, you must present a certificate of retention of Danish citizenship along with the passport application.

Application for retention of Danish citizenship

According to the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration (in Danish only), retention may be granted in the following cases:

  1. If you have resided in Denmark before turning 22.
    The Danish authorities generally consider a continuous stay of minimum 3 months as sufficient to meet this requirement. It is a requirement that you were registered in the Danish Civil Register (CPR) with a residential address in Denmark during your stay. Residence in another Nordic country for a minimum of 7 years is considered equal to residence in Denmark.
    OR
  2. If you visited Denmark on holidays, stays etc. before turning 22.
    Your stays in Denmark counted from you were born till you turn 22 must when combined add up to a minimum of 12 months.

Even if you do not meet one of the two conditions mentioned above, you may still be granted retention of Danish citizenship. The Nationality Division at the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing assesses all applications individually. Among other things they will consider:

  • The total duration of your visits to Denmark
  • Whether the visits indicate some association with Denmark; e.g. are they relatively recent or did they occur many years ago
  • The number of times you visited Denmark
  • Your knowledge of the Danish language (the Danish Embassy in Canberra or one of the consulates may be requested to conduct an interview with you in Danish)
  • Your association with Denmark through contact with Danish relatives or through Danish associations in Australia

Your application must reach the Danish Embassy in Canberra or one of the Consulates in Australia/New Zealand/Fiji or the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing no later than the day before you turn 22.

If you apply after you turn 22, you must apply for proof of Danish nationality. You can read more about this here.

When to apply

If your application contains documents from the authorities in any of the countries below, you should submit your application between your 21st birthday and your 22nd birthday. An application submitted before the 21st birthday will in this case be processed as an application for a certificate of Danish citizenship  - not as an application for retention - and a new application for retention will have to be submitted after the 21st birthday.

  • Europe (However original documents endorsed with an Apostille or legalisation stamp is required from the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbajdjan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakstan, Kirgizistan, Kosovo, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan)
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Turkey

If your application contains documents from other countries, you should submit your application between your 20th and 21st birthday. An application submitted before the 20th birthday will in this case be processed as an application for a certificate of Danish citizenship  - not as an application for retention - and a new application for retention will have to be submitted after the 20th birthday.

How to apply

Step 1: Complete Application Form and Payment of Processing Fee
A completed application form is a requirement for an admissible application.
The Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing's processing fee of DKK 1200 must be paid, using the registration number (registreringsnummer) and account number (kontonummer) listed here.

When paying the processing fee with a bank transfer, your bank may require the address of the bank in Denmark. It is:
Danske Bank, Statens betalinger
Girostrøget 1
0800 Høje Taastrup

Please note that your CPR-number or full name (including middle names or initials) must appear in the subject line of the payment.

Step 2: Collect Documents
A document checklist can be found in section 5 of the application form.
For quick and efficient processing, please ensure that all the required documents in the checklist are submitted with your application. Failure to submit all the required documents may result in delays or rejection of your application.

Step 3: Submit the Application
You can send the application and documents by mail directly to the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing in Denmark at the following address:

Udlændinge-, Integrations- og Boligministeriet
Slotsholmsgade 10
DK-1216 København K
Denmark

Alternatively, you can submit your application through one of the Danish missions in Oceania. Please note that if you choose to submit your application with a Danish mission, there is an additional handling fee according to The Executive Order on Payment for Services provided by the Danish Foreign Service. The fee schedule can be found here.

The handling fee covers the Danish mission’s involvement in the following steps:

  • Reception of application form and supporting documents. Embassy or consulate signature and date of reception on the application form. Please note: the Embassy or Consulates are not responsible for checking contents.
  • Hand out of receipt.
  • Shipment to the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing.
  • Reception of the decision from the Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing.
  • Hand out of the decision to applicant or shipment to applicant by mail according to agreement.

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