Denmark removes ‘silly’ requirement from citizenship application forms

Denmark removes 'silly' requirement from citizenship application forms
Applicants for Danish citizenship will no longer have to remember every beach holiday they've been on in the last decade. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
A requirement for applicants for Danish citizenship to provide details of every single trip outside of the country for the last 12 years has been scrapped by the government.

Since 2017, people hoping to become nationalized as Danes have had to declare every trip outside of the country they have taken in the last 12 years on their application forms, including weekend breaks and other short trips, such as shopping runs to Sweden or Germany.

The requirement was based on the legal criteria for citizenship, which include living in Denmark continuously for at least nine years.

But new Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye believes that there is no need to document such short trips, and they will therefore no longer need to be declared on paperwork.

The citizenship application process has now come under the spotlight and Tesfaye has instructed his ministry to change the application form, Jyllands-Posten reports.

“I’m concerned with ensuring the public does not run into silly requirements like having to remember whether they went to London for a weekend 10 years ago or took a shopping trip to Malmö,” the minister said in a written notification provided to the parliamentary citizenship committee.

“I’m also concerned with ensuring administration of the rules does create any more work than absolutely necessary – for either the public or the (immigration) ministry,” he added.

The criteria of nine years’ residency remains the same (although there are some exceptions to this).

Travel outside of Denmark must still be documented if it had a duration of four weeks or more; if the applicant left the country 10 times in one year or more; in cases of repeated trips to the same destination (for example, every other week); or if all trips add up to over six months spent abroad in one year.

READ ALSO: Applying for Danish citizenship: the process explained

The opposition Liberal party said it will summon Tesfaye to a parliamentary consultation over the change to the application process.

“As I understand the minister’s orientation [to the parliamentary committee, ed.], it would, for example, be possible to take nine short trips to Islamabad without declaring it,” Liberal spokesperson for citizenship issues Morten Dahlin told Jyllands-Posten.

“We are happy to discuss making the application process easier for the well-integrated foreigner who went on a romantic trip to Rome ten years ago. But we should maybe keep an eye on one who went to Islamabad nine times in a year,” Dahlin continued.

The Liberal MP also criticized Tesfaye for making the change without first consulting the committee.

Another party said that it was not concerned by the procedural change and pointed out that all citizenship applicants already have legal permanent residency status in Denmark, given this is another of the requirements to qualify for nationalization.

“So I don’t think (travel history) is relevant in relation to whether (applicants) should be given citizenship. We don’t have thought control,” Peder Hvelplund, spokesperson for the left-wing Red Green Alliance, said to Jyllands-Posten.

“It’s already necessary to get through an absurd jungle of rules before you can even apply for citizenship, so we applaud every little step in the right direction,” Hvelplund added.

READ ALSO: 'I was born in Denmark, but my post-Brexit Danish citizenship application was rejected'

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