My Experience with the Danish Family Reunification Process
About 4 times a month someone reaches out to me on Instagram asking me questions about my experience with the Family Reunification process in Denmark which got me thinking, “How many people have the same question but don’t reach out?” So here is everything you need to know about my experience in hopes that it helps you with yours!
So you are marrying a Dane & aren’t from the EU? Tillykke! It is an elite club that is pretty awesome but also can be seriously stressful. You are about to begin the journey that is the Danish Family Reunification process and start your life as an immigrant and I bet you have questions, because well it is a complex process that is very hard to navigate.
I went through the Family Reunification process throughout 2017 so this is my experience during that time, however, some rules and standards have changed since then so always keep an eye on www.nyidanmark.com for your requirements & deadlines.
The application process
I started my application/turned it in days after my marriage in 2017. I filled out almost all the documents (there are A LOT, FYI) and had my husband assist where needed. I recommend filling out the application on the Danish forms while having the English application open on your computer to follow along. I would also make a copy to be on the safe side. Once your application is complete you head to the Danish Immigration Service Center in Østerbro. Keep that in mind since there is also a place to get visa’s for work in Islands Byrgge, I made that mistake.
The submission process
When you go to turn in your application, two things happen (make sure to get a ticket for both activities at the same time to reduce waiting.) You will need your biometrics recorded & to turn in your application. I recommend going to the Immigration center when they first open to beat the crowds. Your biometrics is a photo of you & if I remember correctly (it’s been two years) digital finger printing. You then wait for the next number to be called to go over your application to ensure all forms are filled out & away you go. Both things need to be paid for & you will need your passport for both as well. I submitted by myself & was scared I would need my husband’s passport but I did not since his CPR was on the forms.
Now the hard part is over & also begins…
NOTE: You CAN stay in Denmark while your application is being process. I was not aware of this at first but it is a really big thing to know. If you want to leave the country at any time during your application process, you have to go back to immigration to receive a re-entry permit.
The decision process
Your application is out of your hands now, all you can do is follow the rules & wait. The rules are tough & any sign of disobeying can cause jail time, deportation & a risk of not being allowed back in Denmark. You can not work, intern, volunteer or really do anything during this waiting period. As I said, I submitted in February and didn’t get a decision until November. That was a lot of months of doing nothing. Fortunately, and unfortunately, with the new Danish school rules, language classes are not all free so I would assume you could start your Danish studies since it would be out of pocket anyway.
The only advice I can give for the decision process phase is to try and keep your spirits up. If you worry about the results all the time, it will be a long waiting period. I definitely had my good & bad days while waiting my decision but making friends who were in the same boat as I was really helped the process. About halfway through the processing of our application, the immigration did reach out to us for clarification on our living situation since we did not have our lease attached to the application. This was scary but also positive, just because something is missing doesn’t mean you are count out, they will reach out.
What the approval process
My approval story is not a normal one, a little more on that here, so it was all very sudden and rushed for me. This part is kind of a blur due to the hectic nature of needing to get it all done in a short amount of time since we missed the approval document & I was days away from being removed from the system.
NOTE: It is VERY important to check your partner’s e-Boks REGULARLY during this process as well as your regular mailbox. This is how our approval was missed for almost 2 months.
With the approval, we went to the bank to provide our collateral, which in 2017 was around 56,000 DKK. The bank then puts the money in an account linked to you but not accessible to you. The Kommune is the true owners of this bank account now. The bank can only react to the account with Kommune permission.
From what I remember, the bank gave us a letter saying “yes they have this account” and then we took that letter to the Komunne. Once your Komunne receives the collateral, they will send you another letter telling you to go get a CPR number. This needs to be done in a particular amount of time so don’t take your time with this. That CPR card is your lifeline in Denmark & without it, you basically don’t exist.
The Kommune will also let Immigration know that you have submitted your collateral and your resident card will be sent to you in the mail. You MUST have your CPR card & Resident card on you at all times to prove that you are indeed allowed to stay in the country.
Now you can finally begin to start your life in Denmark. When I was approved, there was a 6 month deadline to pass the Danish A1 Exam so my focus became that. I also had an integration meeting with my Kommune to set a plan for a year, two years, 5 years etc to ensure my integration into Danish society. This plan consists of agreeing to pass A1, continue my Danish lessons and get a job.
Although receiving that “accepted” letter is a sigh of relief, you aren’t truly safe for at least 4-8 years. This summer I have to apply for my visa extension which is nerve-wracking even though I follow the rules & my integration plan. My plan is to apply for Permanent Resident after 8 years not the fast-tracked 4 years so until then, I will keep renewing my visa & hoping I get extended each time. To make it clear, Permanent Resident is NOT a citizenship, it is just a visa that from my understanding does not need to be re-applied for every few years.
I hope this helped some of you going through the process or about to go through the process & remember you are not alone in this.
& read it later