European Citizenship By Ancestry Connections
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European Citizenship by Decent
This program is offered by Southern Ireland and other European Countries allowing applicants to apply for European Citizenship through their Ancestry Connections.
Citizenship by Ancestry Connections is the most popular program for UK and Overseas clients seeking EU Citizenship as it offers proven results within a shorter time-frame
Citizenship by Descent – If you have a parent, grandparent, and in some cases a great grandparent who was a citizen of a European country and you meet certain conditions (which can often be nebulous or arbitrary) you can become a citizen of that country.
Application fee for European Countries that allow Ancestry Connections Searches: 300 Euros per applicant.
This fee covers the cost of extensive searches and checks to ensure the applicant qualifies for European Citizenship by Ancestry Connections program by one of the European Countries that support this program
If the applicant is successful, they will receive an official letter from the Government Immigration Office confirming their Legal Right to European Citizenship by Ancestry Connections.
Citizenship by descent is the most common means of obtaining citizenship in Europe, or at least it is the first option that comes to mind when most people consider the process. While common in Europe, some of these programs can be very arbitrary and time-consuming.
Germany only allows citizenship by descent to be traced back one generation. In other words, if your parent was a German citizen at the time of your birth, you can claim German citizenship.
Germany is very selective about who is allowed to obtain German citizenship by descent and even more restrictive of who can keep their second citizenship. However, if an individual acquired another citizenship at birth, they can usually maintain dual citizenship once approved for German citizenship by descent.
Following Trump’s election, many US citizens with German parents decided to claim their German citizenship by descent.
While Greece has a very liberal policy of allowing its citizens living abroad to hold dual citizenship and transmit their Greek citizenship to their children indefinitely from one generation to the next, the one caveat is that you must prove that you are an ethnic Greek.
Technically, a child of a Greek citizen is automatically considered a Greek citizen at birth, but they must be registered. If this was not done, an ethnic Greek can apply for citizenship by naturalization if they can prove that at least one parent or grandparent was born a Greek citizen.
Similar to the Greek citizenship by descent program, there is technically no limit on how far back into your family tree you can go to find a Hungarian ancestor.
While most of the few new Hungarians obtaining citizenship through ancestry do so going back three generations, you could go back even further if you could establish a paper trail that connected each generation to the next… and all the way to you.
It is rare to see a citizenship by descent program be so generous in its timeline, but don’t get your hopes up. Hungary has not been so foreigner-friendly as of late and you can expect to run into a lot of roadblocks along the way.
I’m helping someone right now get Irish citizenship by descent and I would have to say that it is the least arbitrary program of them all. It is straightforward and relatively easy.
You are automatically considered an Irish citizen if you were born in Ireland to an Irish citizen or an Irish resident of at least 3-4 years at the time of your birth. You also qualify if you were born outside of Ireland to an Irish citizen born in Ireland.
You can also obtain Irish citizenship by registering with the Foreign Births Register if:
- You were born outside of Ireland to Irish citizens also born outside of Ireland, and your grandparents were Irish citizens born in Ireland; OR
- You were born outside of Ireland, your parents were born outside of Ireland but were registered on the Foreign Births Register before you were born, and your grandparents were born outside of Ireland to Irish citizens born in Ireland.
Whereas Ireland’s program is simple and efficient, Italy’s citizenship by descent process can take forever.
I have one friend who has been waiting three and a half years for his Italian passport. Someone with a decent income could pay as much as $800,000 or more in taxes in that amount of time while they sit around and wait for the Italian government to approve their application.
That said, Italy does allow you to go back to at least your great grandparents, if not further in order to claim citizenship by descent. However, if your goal is to get a passport for financial purposes, you’ll often be better off just buying a passport in St. Lucia and getting your passport in a matter of four or five months.
In Lithuania, you are typically allowed to go back three generations – i.e., great grandparents – it’s just a matter of proving the family connection via your own birth certificate and the birth certificates (and sometimes marriage certificates) of everyone in your family tree back to the ancestor with Lithuanian ties.
Each document must be notarized in the country or state (in the US) where the document was issued. For the most part, you have to rely on the archives in Vilnius by using a local attorney to help you. I have gone through the process and it is hard to prove.
Another important note is that the Lithuanian government has gone back and forth on whether or not to allow dual nationality and even whether they should allow ancestral citizenship cases at all. If you still want to give it a try, the process usually takes about a year and a half to complete.
Like Hungary, Poland has been feeling particularly anti-foreigner as of late. So, while they still offer a citizenship by descent program, they have recently added a Polish language requirement that has made the process even harder than it already was.
The basic condition for claiming Polish citizenship by descent is that you have Polish ancestors who left the country after Poland became an independent country in 1918. That means you’ll have to use ancestors who were born in the twentieth century.
Poland also requires that you maintain an unbroken chain of citizenship in order to qualify. If your great grandfather qualifies, but your grandfather gave up Polish citizenship to become a citizen of another country, you’re out of luck.
The United Kingdom
The UK also offers a limited form of citizenship by descent. It is only available to children of British citizens and does not extend back any further.
If you were born outside the UK on or after January 1, 1983, to a UK citizen, you can claim your British citizenship. However, if you were born outside the UK to a UK citizen who gained their citizenship through the descent process, you no longer qualify for citizenship by descent.
All of these citizenship by descent programs come with their own timelines, citizenship requirements and potential roadblocks. Most, besides Poland, do not have a language requirement. They can take as little as nine months in Ireland to potentially years in other countries.
At the very least, I would encourage you to start the residency process somewhere else when you start one of these programs because it’s never guaranteed and they can deny you for nebulous reasons.
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