Family reunification with a Danish citizen under EU rules
You are a family member to a Danish citizen who exercised his or her right to free movement and established genuine and effective residence in another EU country. You resided and lived together as a family with the Danish citizen in the other EU country. You now want to return to Denmark. EU countries, as used below, refers to EU countries, EEA countries and Switzerland.
Normal processing time
Who can apply for family reunification with a Danish citizen under EU rules?
You may be covered by the EU rules as a family member to a Danish citizen if you are the spouse of a Danish citizen, or if you are under the age of 21 and the child of either the Danish citizen or the Danish citizen’s spouse.
Registered partners and cohabiting partners over the age of 18 are treated as spouses. Cohabiting partners are people who live at a common address and are involved in a long-term relationship.
Family members other than those mentioned above can, in certain situations, be covered by EU rules if a number of specific conditions are met.
You must be able to document that you are a family member to the Danish citizen.
If you are a spouse, you must submit your marriage certificate.
If you are a child of the Danish citizen and/or his or her spouse, you must submit a birth certificate or certificate of naming that indicates the name of your parents.
If you are related to the sponsor in some other way, this must be documented with relevant certificates.
Depending on the country in which the marriage or birth took place, the certificate may be required to be either legalised or to have an apostille endorsement. In some cases, it may also be necessary for the certificate to be authenticated.
Your relationship must be genuine and not established solely for the purpose of obtaining grounds for residence. You must sign a sworn declaration under the penalty of perjury attesting to this.
SIRI can call you in to an interview to assess whether your relationship is genuine.
If you have a child under the age of 21 who has resided with you and your Danish family member in the other EU country, the child may be covered by EU rules. A separate application must be filled in and submitted for the child.
If you have a child under the age of 18 who will accompany you to Denmark and the Danish family member is not the parent, you must also pay attention to the following:
If you apply for an EU residence document for your child without the child’s other parent moving to Denmark, you must document that you have the right to take the child with you. This is something you can do either by documenting that you have full custody of the child or by presenting written consent from the other parent regarding the child’s relocation to Denmark with you.
Documentation of full custody must be a legally valid decision granting custody.
The other parent can give consent verbally to SIRI by appearing in person for identification with you and the child, or by giving written consent in front of a notary, after which you submit together with the application form. If the consent is not in Danish, English or German, it must be translated into one of these languages by an authorised translator after the document has been notarised.
What are the conditions?
There are a number of factors that you must be aware of and conditions that must be met before you can obtain a residence document as a family member to a Danish citizen under EU law.
Normally, the Danish citizen has exercised the right to free movement if he or she has stayed in another EU country as one of the following:
• worker or retired worker
• self-employed or retired self-employed person
• service provider or retired service provider
• student at an institution approved or financed by the public sector - who can support him- or herself during the stay
• person with sufficient funds (self-supporting). This means that the Danish citizen has sufficient income or funds to self support and support of any family.
If the Danish citizen continues to work in Denmark after travelling to another EU country, then he or she is not considered to be a worker in the EU country in which residence is taking place. The income from work in Denmark may instead result in the Danish citizen being considered to be self-supporting by the country of residence.
There is no minimum requirement for the length of stay in the other EU country that the Danish citizen has resided in, but it is a condition that the Dane has established genuine and effective residence in the country.
This implies that an individual has lived in that country and made arrangements in such a way that he or she has actually resided in the country. There must be a genuine and effective relocation to the country, and not, for example, just a short-term stay in a hotel room.
There must not be a significant time gap between the Danish family member’s exercising of the right to free movement in another EU country and the application for family reunification under EU law.
Your Danish family member must therefore continue with the activity EU law gives the right to pursue in the other EU country (for example, being a worker) until the return to Denmark.
If the Danish citizen for a certain period of time immediately prior to return to Denmark terminated the activity that EU law gives the right to pursue in the other EU country, the he or she will normally not be covered by EU rules when returning to Denmark, and you will therefore not be able to derive a right to reside from your Danish family member.
If the Danish citizen who has exercised the right to free movement in another EU country has already returned to Denmark, then one of the following conditions must also be met:
• you, as a family member, must have travelled to Denmark at the same time as the Danish citizen or in connection with his or her entry
• the application for family reunification under EU law must be submitted at the same time as, or in connection with, the Danish citizen’s return to Denmark.
If you do not submit an application for family reunification under EU rules until after the Danish citizen's return to Denmark, SIRI will make a concrete assessment of whether your application can be considered to have been filed in connection with it.
The return to Denmark implies in this connection that it has been undertaken for the purpose of establishing genuine and effective residence and the exercise of the right to family life. A brief visit here in the country does not, in and of itself, imply that you and the Danish citizen are considered to have returned to Denmark.
You must have resided in the other EU country and lived together as a family with your Danish family member. You are not necessarily required to have resided with the Danish citizen during the entirety of his or her stay in the other EU country. It is not a condition that you have obtained a residence permit in the other EU country.
If you are a family member to a Danish citizen who lives in Denmark and who has not exercised the right to free movement in another EU country, you cannot obtain a residence document in Denmark under EU rules. Instead, you can apply for family reunification under the national rules (Aliens Act) in the Danish Immigration Service. Read more about that here.
In very special cases you can, as a family member to a Danish citizen, be covered by EU rules, even if the Danish citizen has not established genuine and effective residence in another EU country. This would be the case if, for example, the Danish citizen lives and is self-employed in Denmark and in this capacity provides cross-border services to other EU countries to a certain extent, and consequently uses a certain proportion of working hours on business trips to other EU countries. This can also be the case if the Danish citizen lives in Denmark and is a worker under EU law in another member state and, as a result, regularly travels there (cross-border worker), or is employed in Denmark by a domestically based employer, but within the framework of employment contract performs a certain amount of weekly work in another member state (business trips). There will be additional conditions tied to residence on these grounds.
What rights do an EU residence document give me?
An EU residence document is proof of a right that you, as an EU citizen (or the family member to an EU citizen), have when you enter Denmark, if you meet the conditions for grounds for residence under EU rules. This means you have the right to reside, work or study in Denmark with or without an EU residence document.
In Denmark, you will, however, in many situations need a Civil Registration System (CPR) number. You must present your EU residence document to your municipality of residence to be given a CPR number (and health insurance card and the like). The information below explains the rights an EU residence document (and CPR number) conveys to you, as well as the limitations that are placed on your residence.
With an EU residence document in Denmark, you are entitled to partly user paid Danish lessons. However, you must have turned 18 and have your Danish address registered in the Danish National Register.
Your municipality of residence is obliged to offer you Danish lessons and refer you to a language centre.
If you have not been offered Danish lessons within a month after registering your address in Denmark, you can contact your municipality.
You will be taught together with other foreign nationals who have arrived in Denmark recently.
As an EU citizen, you may freely enter Denmark and you may begin to work upon arrival. You do not need a permit to work in Denmark.
There is no limit on the number of hours you may work while living in Denmark. This also applies if you are studying in Denmark.
You do not need an EU residence document in order to begin work. This is the case even if you have – or have applied for – a residence document as a worker, as a self-supporting individual or for some other reason.
If you are a third-country citizen and fulfil the conditions for grounds for residence as a family member to an EU citizen, you have the same rights to reside and work in Denmark as the EU citizen.
You also have the right to reside in Denmark while your application for an EU residence document as a family member to an EU citizen is being processed.
However, whether you, as a third-country citizen, have the right to work while the application is being processed depends on whether you meet the conditions for the grounds for residence as a family member to an EU citizen.
During your residence in Denmark as a family member to a Danish citizen under EU rules, the Dane must normally be able to support him- or herself and the family financially, including you.
Depending on the Danish citizen’s grounds for residence in the other EU country before the return to Denmark, your right of residence could be affected if one of you – or you both – receives benefits regulated by the Act on Active Social Policy, such as cash benefits.
If that happens, your right of residence can be terminated and you can lose your right to be in Denmark.
Benefit payments from the municipality or any other public authority to a foreign national are reported to SIRI. SIRI will then assess whether this affects your grounds for residence.
If the Danish citizen, while in the other EU country, was a worker under EU law – and the Dane continues to have employee status, as defined by EU rules, after the return to Denmark – receipt of the abovementioned benefits will not in and of itself result in termination of your right of residence.
If you plan to live and work in Denmark, there are several things you need to consider. Depending on your situation, there may be more important information you need to be aware of.
The website lifeindenmark.dk contains information about:
• NemID digital login solution
• Obtaining a civil registration number (CPR)
• Obtaining a health-insurance card
• School and childcare
• Danish-language courses
• Car registration and driving licenses
How long can I stay in Denmark?
You can stay in Denmark for as long as you continue to meet the conditions for your grounds for residence.
As an EU citizen, you may freely enter Denmark.
If you plan on remaining in Denmark for less than three months, you do not need to apply for an EU residence document. If you are seeking employment, you may remain in Denmark for up to six months before obtaining a residence document.
If you plan on being in Denmark for longer than three months, or six months if you will be seeking employment, you need to apply for an EU residence document. If you have a residence document, you may remain in Denmark indefinitely, provided you meet the conditions for your grounds for residence. There is no date of expiry for residence documents.
If your grounds for residence are terminated – e.g. if your familial relation to the Danish citizen is terminated – you must apply for a new residence document on other grounds – e.g. as a worker or person with sufficient funds. If you are uncertain whether you meet the conditions for new grounds for residence, you must contact SIRI.
If you are a third-country citizen and accompanying family member to a Danish citizen under EU rules, you have the right to stay in Denmark while we process your application. If you have received a residence card, it will be valid for as long you meet the conditions for your grounds for residence. There will be an expiry date on your residence card, but your EU right of residence will be terminated if you no longer have grounds for residence in Denmark. Regardless of your situation, you must apply for an extension of your residence card when it expires.
If you continuously have met the conditions for grounds for residence in Denmark under EU rules for five years, you can – regardless of whether you are a citizen of an EU state or a country outside the EU / EEA and Switzerland – apply for a permanent right of residence under EU rules. If you hold a permanent right of residence you do not necessarily need to continue to meet the conditions for your original grounds for residence. Please note, however, that your permanent right of residence can lapse if you reside outside of Denmark for an extended period. Read more about that here. [Link]
What happens if I no longer meet the requirements?
If you have grounds for residence under EU rules as a family member to a Danish citizen who has returned to Denmark after having exercised the right to free movement in another EU country, and you no longer meet one or more of the conditions, your grounds for residence will normally be terminated.
This would be the case if, for example, you were divorced from the Danish citizen, if the Danish citizen left Denmark, or if you can no longer derive the right to residence from the Danish citizen because he or she no longer meets the conditions.
If you will be leaving Denmark in connection with the changed situation you do not need to do anything about your grounds for residence. All you need to do is to inform the Civil Registration System that you will be leaving Denmark. You can do this on-line at lifeindenmark.dk (requires NemID).
If you would like to remain in Denmark, SIRI can help you determine whether you have other grounds for residence.
If you are an EU citizen yourself and you believe you meet the conditions for other grounds for residence than as a family member to a Danish citizen, for example, as a self-supporting individual or worker, you can submit an application on these grounds.
SIRI will write to you to inform you if it is considering making a decision that could affect your grounds for residence. In such instances, you will have the opportunity to provide information or documentation to support extending your residence.
If you no longer meet the conditions for grounds for residence under EU rules, your ties to Denmark will be considered as one of several factors that could influence whether you retain your right to residence. Other factors include how long you have lived in Denmark and your work history here.
Can my family qualify for an EU residence document?
Grounds for residence under EU rules as a family member to a Danish citizen are derived, and thus not independent grounds for residence.
If you have grounds for residence because you are a family member, your family cannot obtain an EU residence document based on their relationship with you. In other words, your family cannot derive a right to reside from your own derived right of residence.
In some cases, your family will be able to obtain an EU residence document as family members to the Danish citizen. This requires, amongst other things, that your family member has resided in the other EU country together with you and the Danish citizen.
Family members of an EU citizen who originally had grounds for residence as a family member but who now holds a permanent right of residence under EU rules can obtain a derived right of residence.
What more do I need to know before I apply?
Applications for a residence document under EU rules should be submitted to the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).
The ‘How to Apply’ tab to the right provides more information about the application process, as well as the application form itself.
As a rule, SIRI makes its decision based on the information and documents that you submit together with the application form. In some cases, SIRI will need to contact you for further information.
Please note that SIRI will only request information from you. Your employer, for example, will not be contacted to provide information.
Likewise, SIRI will not provide information about your application to others than you. If SIRI is contacted – by telephone or in writing – by anyone other than you requesting information about your application, the request will normally be turned down.
You may grant SIRI permission to give information about your application to others than yourself. To grant someone else permission to receive information, you must submit a power of attorney in advance. The power of attorney needs to indicate by name the individuals authorised to receive information about your application.
If you state in your application that you are being represented by a solicitor, you do not need to submit a power of attorney. Solicitors, due to their profession, are automatically granted power of attorney. If you are being represented by a solicitor, SIRI will send all correspondence about your application to your solicitor.
In this tab, you can read about the application process. You must submit your application to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).
You can submit your application in person at one of SIRI's branch offices in Copenhagen, Odense, Aalborg, Aarhus or Aabenraa.
If you are applying for permanent residence, you can submit your application digitally via our contact form. This means that you do not have to appear in person to submit the application. You will find the link to the contact form under step 3 - Submit the application.
Before reading this tab about submitting an application for EU residence, we recommend that you read about the conditions for residence as an accompanying family member of an EU-citizen etc. in the 'Need to know' tab to the left.
It is a good idea to gather the necessary documents before you start to complete the application form.
You can use the checklist below.
You must bring the following to your appointment with SIRI:
Examples of documentation for the Danish citizen have had genuine and effective residence in another EU country:
The Danish citizen's grounds of residence in another EU country:
Your stay in the other EU country with your Danish family member:
Examples of documents that support your family affiliation with the Danish citizen:
Expect to use
per person to complete the application
You and your danish family member must each complete a part of the application form
In this step you have access to the relevant application forms
The appplication forms contains instructions for how to complete it and what kind of documents you must submit along with the form.
The form cannot be completed or submitted online. It must be printed out, completed and submitted in person at one of our branch offices together with the relevant documentation.
If you are applying for permanent residence, you can submit your application and documentation digitally via SIRI's contact form.
Application form for family reunification with a spouse, partner etc.
Application form for family reunification for children below 21 years of age
Application form for family reunification for other family members
Application form for permanent residence (after five years residence in Denmark)
You can submit your application in person at SIRI’s branch offices in Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, Aalborg and Aabenraa.
Remember to book an appointment at SIRI
If you are applying for permanent residence, you can submit your application digitally via our contact form. You can access the contact form here
You can see the normal case processing time to the right of this tab. When we make a decision in your case, you will receive an answer.
SIRI will contact you or your employer if we need further information to process your case. In some cases, we will need to obtain further information, e.g. from other public authorities, including SKAT and the police and relevant authorities abroad.
You have the right to reside and work in Denmark while you wait for an answer.