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European Journal

Denmark: Trouble In Europe's Wedding Paradise

Denmark is famous for making it easy for most people to get married - especially couples from two different countries. These "bi-national" marriages can be complicated in Europe - particularly if one of the partners is from a non-EU country.

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A prospective couple may have to overcome a number of bureaucratic hurdles. It's a lot easier in Denmark - for example, in the sleepy town of Tønder, on the border with Germany. Say the couple is Danish and German, there will be no problem for the Dane to get a residency permit in Germany. If the German’s partner is non-EU, that person will also get a residency permit in Germany. If the Dane’s partner is from a non-EU country and the couple want to stay in Denmark, that person from the non-EU country will not get a residency permit. That’s because of the restrictive immigration policies adopted by Denmark's previous conservative government. As a result of these complications, many "bi-national" couples have now decided to get married in Malmö, in southern Sweden.