Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I married a Dane

The title is as good a place to start as any. I married a Dane so that's where I will begin.

I'll start by stating that we had an unusual engagement and honeymoon quite simply because we never saw one another. We were engaged in December 2005 and throughout the wedding planning, I didn't see Ole again until one week before the wedding! That's what happens when your fiance lives on the other side of the globe.

We were married at the end of July. We immediately headed for the Danish embassy in NYC where I completed a 4 page application to gain legal residency in Denmark. While we were completing the application and speaking with the embassy we were told.. "You know this can take up to 7 months?" I guess they have to say that but still, were we going to suddenly not bother if it was going to take too long?

4 pages for me... Ole came home to Denmark (leaving me behind in Seattle) and ... over 100 pages for him.

After completing the paperwork, we waited. Denmark is a country where a citizen can actually call a government office and speak with someone personally - ask for them by name even! Ole called the immigration folks after a couple of weeks to check the status. They told him it was a slow period (good) but that they hadn't yet opened the mail (bad). If it's slow, why aren't they opening the mail? This was simply beyond my comprehension but okay, at least we had made contact. The guy at immigration then wanted to know if everything necessary was in the package and when he was told it was, he said he'd go ahead and open it and start working on it. Gee thanks!

We received an initial approval, not yet official, near the beginning of October and that's when the real chaos began! Every try to move overseas? Definitely NOT the simplest process. Ever try it with 4 cats in tow? More on that later.

About that initial approval thing. The Danes have this wonderful socialist system. If something should happen to you, the government will take care of you, to an extent. With that in mind, you're also not allowed to be a slacker! So, before final approval could be given, Ole had to put up the "no-slacker guarantee'. Okay, the Danes don't actually call it that, but that's what they really mean. Essentially, give the government the permission to take his money if I'm just a lazy, no good, take advantage of the government kind of gal. Yep, a financial guarantee that I wasn't just coming to Denmark to live off their generosity... without paying my fair share of the highest taxes in the world.

Collateral Arrangements
The person currently residing in Denmark must provide a transferable guarantee of 55,241 Dkr. to cover the municipality's possible, future outgoings to help the spouse/ partner. Please note that for applications submitted in 2005 the figure is 54,158 Dkr.

In order for the requirement of an economic collateral arrangement to be fulfilled, a transferable guarantee must be issued by a financial institution. Only the person currently residing in Denmark can sign the transferable guarantee as guarantee claimant.

The person currently residing in Denmark must provide the transferable guarantee upon the Danish Immigration Service's request. The transferable guarantee is valid for seven years from the issuing of the residence permit and is irrevocable.

The collateral arrangement can be cut down by half upon request, after the foreigner has passed his or her final Danish language test or provided evidence of having completed a Danish course of education.

Yes, you read that correctly.. I must learn the language. Can you imagine if the US started requiring a financial guarantee and insistence upon learning English?

With the approval process near completion, my final planning of how exactly to get myself to Denmark went into full swing...


  1. Hi Ping!!! How exciting to read your blog -- and to know someone else out there is reading mine!!! Please post more as I'm dying to know what's happening in your story. Are you here in DK yet? So trippy you're from Seattle, too! I read your post and cracked up as it's nearly identical to my experience. But isn't it crazy how you CAN actually talk to a live person in a government office??? I'll be checking in to see how things are shaping up for you... (And we moved here with a dog, so I completely understand all of the airline/USDA/vet certificate/vaccination woes...) - Erin

  2. Hi,
    I ve married a dane too. I am in the process now. And it costs 58000 odd DK today!
    I am impressed that u ve learnt danish n i intend to do it too.
    It helps wen u read th someone been thr b4....

  3. Hi!

    u know its crazy, im really glad i bumped into this blog, i have to sya i can relate to this except were not in the married process yet, but i was checking all the things u have to do, and i was so freaked out, it just seems like a lot of paperwork! and what about learning danish? i can only say "jeg taler ikke Dansk" it so hard!!
    but anyway congrats for ur wedding ad i hope all the process goes well, keep us updated i wanna hear how it went



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