(Copenhagen) Already among the most restrictive in this area in Europe, Denmark will impose even stricter conditions for obtaining its nationality, the government announced on Thursday.

To become Danish, applicants will now have to stay in the country until a naturalization handshake ceremony, Absorption Minister Kaare Dybvad Bek has announced.

“Getting Danish citizenship is an important event, which means that if you want to be part of Denmark…you have to live in this country when you become Danish,” he said in a statement.

“You must live in Denmark until you shake hands at the ceremony” which makes naturalization effective, he said.

Until now, naturalized people could settle abroad as soon as a law was passed meaning naturalizations twice a year. The delay between the adoption of this text and the ceremony can reach two years.

The criteria for acquiring Danish nationality are already very restrictive.

Becoming Danish also requires passing a language test and another citizenship test, supposed to validate knowledge of the adopted country.

Nearly one out of two applicants for Danish nationality is rejected.

In 2021, a report by the Institute for Human Rights noted that the number of naturalizations was the lowest in 40 years.