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Second PassportsHow to gain European Citizenship in 7 Ways - Lincoln Global Partners

December 26, 2021by David Lincoln0

How to gain European Citizenship you ask? Well there are a number of ways in which one can acquire a citizenship of a European country. In society we tend to associate one’s citizenship based on where they are from or where they were born. However, citizenship is NOT limited to someone’s birthplace, in fact there are a large number of ways in which individuals can legally acquire citizenship in a country other than their birthplace. 

It is also, in many cases, possible to hold dual or even multiple citizenships. This really depends on the law of each country and if and what circumstances dual citizenship is permitted. Infact as of January 2022, there are currently 64 countries worldwide that permit dual citizenship including the likes of the USA, UK, Canada and Australia to name a few. 

Each of the countries highlighted above attract large numbers of immigrants often looking for new opportunities in a well developed nation. This is also the case across Europe, in particular the European Union. For example in 2019 4.2 million people emigrated to one of the 27 European Union Member states and in the same year 706,400 individuals acquired citizenship.

Part of the attraction behind becoming a citizen of an EU country is that once an individual becomes a citizen of an European Union country they earn the legal right to live, work, study and do business across all 27 member states within the European block. 

Now let’s take a look at the 6 most common ways how to gain European citizenship.

  1. By Birth

Citizenship is acquired through birth by several people, either through jus soli or sanguinis. There is no need for a passport to enjoy all of the rights and perks of birth citizenship. Such Citizenship can be passed down through the generations after it is obtained.

Citizenship By Birth (Jus sanguinis): This Latin word means ‘right of blood‘ and refers to Citizenship obtained via the Citizenship of one or both parents. This implies that regardless of where a person was born, they can inherit the nationality of one or both parents. This is the case in many European countries including Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Citizenship By Birth (Jus soli): This Latin phrase means “right of the land,” and it guarantees Citizenship to anybody born on a country’s territory. Birthright citizenship is uncommon, but it still exists in a few notable countries throughout the world, like the United States and Canada. In fact ‘birth tourism’ is common practice in places like the United States and Canada with pregnant women visiting the country on a tourist visa to give birth on North American soil and secure their children’s right to citizenship (and in many cases an opportunity for a better future) in a North American country.

  1. Naturalisation

Most nations have well-defined national citizenship rules and procedures enshrined in local legislation. The naturalisation procedure can usually be started after completing a suitable permanent residency period as stipulated by the applicable regulations. Before filing for naturalisation, it usually is essential to establish permanent residence in the country of sought Citizenship for a specific number of years.

  1. Refugee Status

Persons who are granted refugee status in a country other than their country of birth or Citizenship can qualify for Citizenship in the land of refuge, thanks to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention) and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, among other international treaties.

  1. Marriage

Marrying an EU citizen typically guarantees a speedy path to residence and, eventually, Citizenship. The procedure is similar to that followed by individuals seeking Citizenship by naturalisation. However, in some European nations, the process can be significantly accelerated. 

  1. Citizenship By Descent (Jus sanguinis, after birth)

How to gain European Citizenship by descent (also known as ancestry. This is the simplest and least expensive option for persons to become eligible for citizenship in a European nation. The Jus Sanguinis rule is applied and one can inherit the nationality of their ancestors. It is generally required that either parent, a grandparent, or, in certain situations, great-grandparents who were born citizens of the European nation in question to qualify for citizenship by descent. The number of generations you may trace back to be eligible for Citizenship by descent is determined by the Citizenship by descent regulations of the nation in question. In Italy for example, Italian dual citizenship poses no generational limits meaning you may go back as far as needed–as long as you don’t skip generations to qualify.

  1. Citizenship By Investment (Easiest, Secure and Fastest Way)

For more than 30 years, numerous nations have provided citizenship-by-investment programs. This remains a popular choice for High Net Worth Individuals seeking ease of travel and the security of a second citizenship. Citizenship by investment is available in a number of Caribbean countries such as Grenada, Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis but also in Europe in Malta, Montenegro and Bulgaria. How to gain European Citizenship the easy way: Invest.

On top of the Citizenship By Investment programs on the market there are a number of residency by investment programs in Europe, otherwise known as ‘Golden Visa Programs’. The Portuguese Golden Visa is particularly attractive since it offers a straightforward pathway to citizenship, yet is far more effective than the citizenship by investment programs available in Europe. Infact, Portuguese Golden Visa residents who spend just 1 week per year in Portugal have the right to apply for citizenship in just 5 years (subject to having a basic A2 level of Portuguese.

David Lincoln

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