Changes to Denmark's policy on reuniting families

Recently, a new bill passed in Denmark's parliament has made immigration easier for spouses of Danish citizens and immigrants in Denmark. The new rules apply for all applications submitted from 15 May 2012.

Policy changes

Overall, the changes will make it easier for immigrant spouses to apply for family reunification in Denmark. The changes include:
  • The application fee is being removed. Therefore, applications for family unification and applications for extension of residence permit or permanent residency on the grounds of family unification can be submitted without paying an application fee. This includes all applications from spouses, cohabiting partners, registered partners, children or on the grounds of other family ties.
  • The immigration test will be abolished and replaced by a new test in Danish language, which the applicant has to complete 6 months after they have been granted a Danish residence permit. The test is still being developed and is expected to come into force on 1 January 2013.
  • The attachment requirement is the criteria necessary to determine that the couple has a strong attachment to Denmark. Previously, the rules required the immigrant applicant to have visited Denmark at least two times and complete a course in Danish on language level A1. This has been abolished. Now, the attachment requirement does not apply if the spouse in Denmark has held Danish citizenship for more than 26 years. The previous limit was 28 years. If the person living in Denmark is not a citizen or was not born here, then the couple's combined connection to Denmark must be greater than their combined connection to another country. Things taken into account in this case include:
    • how long the spouse living in Denmark has lived there,
    • whether one or both of you have family or other acquaintances in Denmark,
    • whether one or both of you have a child under the age of 18 living in Denmark, and
    • how well you and your spouse/partner speak Danish.

Requirements for reunification between spouses

The requirements for reunification between spouses are as follows:
  • The marriage or registered partnership must be recognized by Danish law.
  • If the couple is not legally married or registered partners, the relationship must be of a permanent and lasting nature, and normally the couple must have lived together for at least 18 months at a shared address. If the couple is not married or registered partners, the spouse must assume full responsibility for supporting the applicant.
  • The applicant must pass the test in Danish language 6 months after having obtained a residence permit.
  • The spouse must be able to support him/herself and the applicant, meaning that they have not received public assistance for the past three years prior to the application being submitted.
  • Both partners must be at least 24 years old.
  • The couple must have at least DKK 50.000 (£5,385) in their bank account.
  • The spouse in Denmark must hold a Danish residence permit granted on the grounds of asylum or Protected Status or have held a permanent Danish residence permit for the past three years or more.
If you are granted a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification, you also have the right to work in Denmark. After several years you can apply for permanent residency.

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