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Denmark is one of the easiest countries in the world for international couples to get married, but the application process can be confusing if you’re not familiar with it. The Danish Agency of Family Law is the governing body in Denmark that approves weddings in Denmark.
In this article we will describe what the Danish Agency of Family (AFL) is and is not.
The Danish Agency of Family Law is a small department of under 30 people, which handles over 15,000 marriage applications every year. They are responsible for ensuring that all unions are legal, preventing proforma marriages, and even ensuring that nobody is being married against their will… All of which is a huge responsibility to undertake.
If your documents are not complete, correctly presented, and properly submitted, the Danish Agency of Family Law (AFL) will delay or reject your application. They can’t offer advice or guidance to individual couples on how to avoid this either. This is because they are not an advocacy service; they are a government department following set rules.
Many people think the AFL is designed to help couples to get married in Denmark, but this is not the case. In fact, they actually have bad reviews on Trustpilot, just because people misunderstand what they do.
The Danish Agency of Family Law is responsible for processing marriage applications, but that is all. They’re not designed to assist you in making that application.
Lots of couples getting married in Denmark contact the AFL to ask questions about the application process or because they don’t understand the documents required to get married in Denmark, but the Danish Agency of Family Law can’t help with that.
GMiD provides the type of advice and advocacy that the AFL does not offer. Our job is to help you to navigate the requirements of the AFL smoothly, easily, and promptly.
With this in mind, we’ve written this easy-to-understand guide to the Danish Agency of Family Law to explain what they do, and also what they do not do.
We’ll provide some practical advice on the AFL too, and where to go for help making an application to get married in Denmark.
What the Danish Agency of Family Law is NOT
Let’s start by explaining what the Danish Agency of Family Law is not.
- The Danish Agency of Family Law is not a commercial agency or advocacy organisation. They provide a professional service and will always treat you with respect, but they’re not a customer service organisation.
- The Danish Agency of Family Law is not able to offer one-to-one help or advice for your marriage application or personal situation. They do offer some general guidance via their website, but apart from this they simply assess marriage applications, approve or deny them, and sometimes ask for further information from couples if they need it.
- The clerks at the Danish Agency of Family Law are there to administrate and handle the paperwork for applications to get married in Denmark, but not to advise individual couples on how to fill out an application.
The Danish Agency of Family Law does not offer a telephone helpline service. If you do call the AFL, you probably won’t be able to speak to someone in the marriages department itself, and even if they really want to help you, they’re not able to provide direction for individual enquiries.
The AFL is NOT an advocacy or advice organisation.
When you call the Danish Agency of Family Law, you get through to the general department that handles adoptions, divorces, and many other things relating to family law as well as marriages.
The department is small and gets hundreds of calls every day, and so the AFL strongly encourages contact by secure email and digital document submission instead.
However, Getting Married in Denmark is a dedicated wedding bureau, and the AFL benefits from our services just as much as the couples that retain us! This is because they know that we can cut down on errors and problems that couples submitting a wedding application on their own might make, which wastes the AFL’s time.
We have a direct bureau line to call and email the Danish Agency of Family Law’s wedding department as a result of this, which can help to speed up your application and ensure more complex applications are handled correctly.
So, what is the Danish Agency of Family Law?
The Danish Agency of Family Law’s main job is to prevent what is known as a proforma marriage (also sometimes called a sham marriage or a marriage of convenience). Proforma marriages are usually used by people who only want to gain Danish citizenship, or citizenship of another EU or EEA country. In Denmark, proforma marriage is prohibited.
The AFL Law assesses all marriage applications, and makes the final decision to approve or reject an application too. If they have any doubts or suspicions about a couple’s application to get married in Denmark, the AFL might invite the couple to a face-to-face interview before making a decision, which we’ll talk about in more detail later on.
How fast does the AFL respond to applicants?
The work of the Danish Agency of Family Law is performed under the remit of Danish Marriage Law, which requires the AFL to reply to all applicants with their initial answer within five working days.
If your application was submitted correctly and there were no problems, this answer could be approval to get married. This is one of the reasons that getting married in Denmark is so popular, because the process can be very fast.
However, getting an answer of “yes” immediately is not guaranteed; that first reply might also be to ask for further information about your application, to query your documents, or for various other reasons.
Using a service like Getting Married in Denmark to handle and submit your application can help to ensure that this initial response is a “yes,” because everything is in order from the start!
Also, while the Danish Agency of Family Law has to reply to that initial application in five working days, any replies they make after that can take much longer.
Getting things wrong with your initial application can lead to long delays, because the AFL has no rules for the speed of later replies; but they still have to meet that five-day deadline for new applications, which means that new applications are handled before older ones.
What happens at an interview with the AFL?
Some couples are invited for a face-to-face interview with the Danish Agency of Family Law, which is almost always because the AFL wants to make sure they’re not trying to enter into a proforma marriage.
If you are invited to an interview and don’t attend it, your application to get married in Denmark will be rejected.
Both members of the couple attend an interview at the same time, but they’re interviewed separately. This is to ensure that they both tell their own version of events, and also, to ensure that neither member of the couple is being coerced.
You won’t be told immediately after the interview what the result is, and the outcome will be sent to you by email. This can mean an anxious wait, but the answer will arrive between one and eight days later, so won’t be too long.
If you are called for an interview with the AFL, don’t panic! This doesn’t automatically mean they assume you’re trying to enter into a proforma marriage, just that they have some queries.
Getting Married in Denmark can help you to prepare for the interview and explain what to expect on the day, and make sure you have everything you need in support of your interview too.
Some helpful information about the AFL
This section will provide some more information about the Danish Agency of Family Law, and what you can do if you’re unhappy with the decision the AFL makes about your application.
The structure of the AFL
- The Children Unit.
- The Conflict Unit.
- The Unit for Probation of Marriage, or The International Marriage Application Office.
The AFL is not just there to deal with international weddings, but takes care of various different things relating to the law, families, and relationships. The overall Agency itself is divided into two parts, one of which is administrative, and the other legal.
There are a total of 10 local branches of the Danish Agency of Family Law; but only one of them can be used for anything to do with international marriage applications, and so this is the only one you need to know about!
The International Marriage Application Office
If both you and your partner are Danish citizens or citizens of another Nordic country, you don’t need approval from the Danish Agency of Family Law to get married in Denmark.
The same is true if you both have a legally issued temporary residence permit in Denmark or a legally issued time-limited residence permit in Denmark; or any combination of these things between you.
If both of you have one of the above documents, you don’t use the Danish Agency of Family Law to handle your marriage application, but the Borger.dk instead.
Contacting the AFL
Contacting the Danish Agency of Family Law isn’t always easy on your own. An advocacy service like Getting Married in Denmark will help you to make this process much easier.
You have to use email to communicate with the AFL, and messages back from the AL will be sent to the email address you used on your marriage application. However, to reply in your turn, you need to log into the Danish Agency of Family Law’s secure online platform.
You cannot send physical mail to the AFL; even the documents required to get married in Denmark need to be uploaded digitally.
In theory, you can contact the AFL by other means:
- By phone, on 7356 7000 (from outside of Denmark, dial +45 7356 7000).
- In person, for a required AFL interview only, at Rugårdsvej 55A, 5000 Odense C
Calling the Danish Agency of Family Law is unlikely to help you. This is a general enquiries line and they cannot access individual applications or advise on marriage applications.
The Danish Agency of Family Law does not offer a drop-in or advice service, and you cannot submit documents to the AFL in person.
Visiting their office without an appointment won’t help with your application, and you won’t be given any advice. The only reason to attend the Danish Agency of Family Law in person is if you have been called for an interview.
Can you appeal against the Danish Agency of Family Law’s Decision?
Mistakes can happen, and the AFL might make a decision that is unsatisfactory, or outright incorrect.
If you are unhappy with the decision the Danish Agency of Family Law makes about your marriage application, there is a procedure in place to make an appeal against it.
You have to follow a set procedure to complain, and you don’t have long after the event to make an appeal to the AFL.
Depending on the nature of your complaint, the time you have to submit it can be as short as 7 days, or a maximum of 4 weeks from the date the issue you’re complaining about happened. How long the appeal takes depends on the complaint itself.
If you miss the deadline to make a complaint, it won’t be heard; and for this reason alone it is wise to retain a service like Getting Married in Denmark to help to ensure that you don’t miss your chance.
How can you complain about the Danish Agency of Family Law?
You have to make sure you make your complaint to the right place, and this might vary depending on what happened.
- The first thing to do is contact the AFL directly, to ensure that your complaint goes to the right place. We can help our customers with this.
- You may be asked to fill out a digital complaint form, and submit it online via the AFL’s secure server.
- Remember, always fill out your complaint properly and have any supporting documents in order, otherwise your complaint may not be heard.
- You have to go through the proper channels to complain about the Danish Agency of Family Law; if you try to make a complaint by phone or in person, your complaint will be rejected and in the meantime, the deadline remaining to make your complaint properly will be running out.
Where to go for help with the Danish Agency of Family Law?
Many couples getting married in Denmark run into problems or delays when they handle their own application, because they don’t know how the Danish Agency of Family Law works.
Denmark is by far one of the easiest countries in Europe (and the world) for international or multinational marriages, but it still has rules and procedures in place, and criteria that you must meet. Making an error on your application can result in the delay or even rejection of your request to get married in Denmark; but most such mistakes can be avoided.
GMiD has already helped over 3,000 couples with successful applications, handling everything from start to finish… From submitting initial applications to giving the news of a successful approval, which is the best part of what we do here, and something we get to share with couples almost every day!
Contact Getting Married in Denmark – not the Danish Agency of Family Law – if you need advice, advocacy, or assistance with your application, and we’ll help to ensure that everything goes to plan.