Confusion about Danish citizenship

The Danish Embassy in Bangkok experiences that many parents are very eager to register their child in the Civil Registration System in Denmark to get a personal identification number. The parents believe it makes their child a Danish citizen. But that is not the case.

Passport, citizenship, and personal identification number: How are these linked?

Frequently asked questions at the Danish Embassy in Bangkok regarding Danish citizenship indicate that there exists a misunderstanding among parents who wants their child to be a Danish citizen.

Birgit Sarah Kondrup-Palmqvist Carlstedt, consul at the Embassy, explains.

“Many parents are eager to get the personal identification number, and they think it will make their child a Danish citizen. When we tell them that those two things are not connected at all, they are quite surprised”.

The Civil Registration System in Denmark is a nationwide civil registry that contains the person’s name, address, Danish personal identification number, date and place of birth, citizenship and other information.

The number gives access to different benefits in the Danish welfare system, but only if the person has permanent address in Denmark.

The child can apply for a Danish identification number, when moving to Denmark. However, if the child is born in Denmark, the municipality will give the child an administrative identification number that can be used later on, if the child moves to Denmark.

Want a Danish passport
Birgit believes that many parents focus on getting the Danish personal identification number, because they think it is required to get a Danish passport.

But that is not the case either. It is in fact possible to get a Danish passport even without the identification number.

If the child does not have a Danish identification number, the Danish authorities will just fill out the four last digits in the passport with XXXX – instead of numbers.

Yes to dual citizenship
If just one of the parents is Danish, the child automatically receives Danish citizenship. The specific rules about this can be found in the Danish law ‘Indfødsretsloven’ at the Ministry of Justice’s webpage.

Many children born in Thailand also hold the Thai citizenship, but when the child turns 18, it has to choose between one of the two nationalities.

Read Dual citizenship: a win-win for Danish expats, naturalized Danes

Recently, the Danish Parliament changed this rule and has now approved dual citizenship for everyone. From September 1st, Danes living abroad and foreigners living in Denmark can have dual citizenship. (In case the child turns 18 before the new Danish law comes into power, it is still necessary to apply for maintaining the Danish citizenship).

With Denmark 24 out of the 28 EU countries allow dual citizenship.

As for Thailand’s position on dual citizenship, ScandAsia last year spoke with Morakot Janemathukorn, Minister Counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy in Copenhagen. He said:

“Dual citizenship in Thailand is possible in the cases where articles in the law permit it”.

However, Thai rules still says that a child born abroad to Thai parents, who obtains the citizenship of the foreign country of birth, may retain dual citizenship until reaching the age of 18. At this point, the person must choose which citizenship to retain.