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Australian citizenship by descent - possible loss of Danish citizenship

Important information about possible loss of Danish citizenship for individuals, who have acquired Australian citizenship by descent before 01/09/2015

Disclaimer

The following description of the Danish and Australian rules as well as the process that the individual has to go through before a Danish passport can be issued (again), has been carefully drafted and translated into English by the Danish Consulate General in Sydney after close consultation with the Danish Nationality Division (Indfødsretskontor) under the Ministry of Immigration and Integration and the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. We stress that the Nationality Division under the Ministry of Immigration and Integration is the competent Danish authority in all matters regarding Danish citizenship and should be consulted if there are any doubts or concerns regarding the rules and process described or its translation into English on this website. 

Should you have any questions to the information on this page please do not hesitate to contact the Danish Embassy in Canberra or the Consulate General in Sydney or the Nationality Division in Copenhagen directly. 

Possible loss of Danish citizenship

For individuals who were born outside of Australia and acquired Australian citizenship by descent before 01/09/2015, there is a chance that the Danish citizenship was lost when the individual acquired Australian citizenship by descent.

Who does this information apply to?

This information applies to all individuals (children and passport applicants) born outside of Australia to a Danish parent and an Australian parent, where the individual acquired Australian citizenship by descent before 01/09/2015, when the new Danish Nationality Act on dual citizenship came into effect. 

This information does not apply to individuals (children and passport applicants) born in Australia to a Danish parent and an Australian parent or individuals who have acquired Australian citizenship by descent after 01/09/2015.

Australian law on citizenship by descent

According to Australian law, a child born outside of Australia does not acquire Australian citizenship automatically by birth regardless of one (or both) parents being Australian citizens.  Under both the 1948 Act and the 2007 Act a person (or their responsible parent) is required to make an application for Australian citizenship and the person will only become an Australian citizen on registration or approval. An application for Australian citizenship by descent is processed individually as any other application for Australian citizenship and can either be granted or refused. It is therefore not considered merely a registration of a birth right but a proactive application. If approved, the child acquires Australian citizenship from the day the approval is granted and the citizenship registered with the Australian authorities. That means that the child’s Australian citizenship is acquired after birth and by application.  

Danish law and possible loss of Danish citizenship

Before 01/09/2015 Danish law did not allow dual citizenship to a great extent. Prior to 01/09/2015 according to the Danish Nationality Act §7 (in Danish only), the Danish citizenship is lost if a person acquires foreign citizenship 'by application' or 'by expressed consent'

Example:

A child is born on the 1st of January 2014 in Denmark to a Danish mother and an Australian father. The child acquires Danish citizenship automatically by birth through the Danish mother but does not acquire Australian citizenship automatically through the father. The child is born with Danish citizenship only. The parents then apply for Australian citizenship by descent for the child. The application is approved by the Australian authorities and registered on the 20th of February 2014. The child is an Australian citizen from the 20th of February 2014 but has from birth until the 20th of February only been a Danish citizen.

The Danish citizenship can in this example have been lost on the 20th of February 2014.

Danish passport

As Danish passport issuing authorities, Danish missions must ensure that the passports we issue are only issued to Danish citizens. Because of the possibility of the Danish citizenship being lost, a Danish passport cannot be issued to an individual in the above situation until his/her case has been tried by the Danish Nationality Division. Only if the Nationality Division finds that the Danish citizenship was not lost at the acquisition of Australian citizenship by descent and a certificate of Danish citizenship is issued to the individual, can a Danish passport be issued (again). Please note: This applies to all individuals in the described situation regardless of whether the individual has previously been issued a Danish passport.

What to do

Before a Danish passport can be issued, the applicant’s case has to be tried by the Danish Nationality Division under the Ministry of Immigration and Integration by submitting an application for a certificate of Danish Citizenship. The application form and information on how to apply (in Danish only) can be found on the website of the Ministry of Immigration and Integration.

In order to reach a decision the Nationality Division requires among other thins a copy of the certificate of Australian citizenship but also a copy of the original application form for ‘Australian citizenship by Descent’ which one or both parents signed. The application form for Australian citizenship by descent itself is essential to the case processing. Should the individual (or parents) not have kept a copy of the original application form, it is possible to acquire one from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. A copy can be obtained by submitting ‘Form 424A Request for access to documents or information’ to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The processing time is between one and six months. The applications are saved indefinitely and transferred to the National Archives of Australia after 30 years. Once a copy of the original application for Australian citizenship by descent has been obtained, the application for a certificate of Danish citizenship can be submitted.

Please note: Sometimes the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is not able to locate the original application form. If this is the case then a statement to this effect from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection should be enclosed with the application for a certificate of Danish citizenship to document this.

In the meantime

The current processing time for applications for certificates of Danish citizenship is 10 to 12 months. While the Nationality Division is processing the application the individual will have to travel on his/her Australian passport to the extent possible. In special cases we can grant dispensation for a temporary Danish passport while the Nationality Division is processing the application. For enquiries about this option, please contact the Danish Embassy in Canberra or the Consulate General in Sydney.

If the Danish citizenship is lost

Should the Nationality Division find that the Danish citizenship was lost when Australian citizenship by descent was acquired, it is now possible to reacquire Danish citizenship by declaration to the State Administration. Reacquisition of Danish citizenship is made possible by the new law on dual citizenship which came into effect on 01/09/2015. Reacquisition of Danish citizenship is only possible within a period of 5 years from 01/09/2015 until 31/08/2020. You cannot commence the process of reacquiring Danish citizenship until a decision has been made by the Nationality Division in your case. It has to be established first by the Nationality Division whether the Danish citizenship was lost or not and ONLY if the citizenship was lost should you commence the process of reacquiring Danish citizenship.

For information on how to reacquire Danish citizenship by declaration please see our website on dual citizenship.

Once the Danish citizenship has been reacquired and a certificate of Danish citizenship has been issued by the State Administration, it is again possible for the individual to apply for a Danish passport. 

Children born outside of Denmark

If the individual (child or passport applicant) was born outside of Denmark as well as outside of Australia (for example in Singapore), the above rules and process applies as well as the 22-year rule. If the Nationality Division finds that the Danish citizenship was not lost when the child acquired Australian citizenship by descent, the child’s Danish citizenship will still fall under the 22-year-rule and the Danish citizenship will lapse on the child's 22nd birthday unless Danish citizenship is retained according to the 22-year rule. For more information on the 22-year-rule and retention of Danish citizenship, please see our website about the 22-year-rule.

Who to contact

Should you have any questions to the information above please do not hesitate to contact the Danish Embassy in Canberra or the Consulate General in Sydney. You can also contact the Nationality Division directly on telephone number: +45 61 98 40 00 Mondays and Thursdays between 9 am and 11 am Danish time.

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