I’ll admit that I lucked out.
Nearly 15 years ago, I discovered that I was eligible for a European citizenship because of my Italian ancestry. And the best part was that it cost me next to nothing…
Without even knowing it yet, you may find that you have the same luck as me.
There are three ways of how you can get a European Citizenship (and an excellent Second Passport)…
- Option #1: Descent & Ancestry [The Cheapest & Easiest Way]
- Option #2: Investment [The Quickest Way]
- Option #3: Naturalization [Anyone Can Do This]
Back then I hadn’t yet realized all the power and benefit of having a second citizenship and passport. But it sure seemed like a good idea.
The way I figured, another citizenship just meant having more options. I knew enough to understand that, with an Italian passport, I could live and work anywhere in the EU. And that struck me as a major benefit.
It took a long time – probably an entire year just to assemble the paperwork. It was a nice project, actually, because it gave me a great reason to spend time with my mother chasing around documents together.
Then there were the multiple appearances at the consulate. The Byzantine bureaucratic hurdles.
I remember at one point I paid them a small fee – it was probably just fifty euros or so. I had paid them the equivalent in dollars.
But the process took so long that the dollar lost value against the euro, so months later they sent me a letter asking me to send more money!
I’ll never forget the day, though, when the FedEx envelope finally arrived.
Inside was my very first second passport. I was officially not only a citizen of the US, but of Italy, too. It was incredible. And one of the things that got me started on my journey.
Suddenly I realized that I was no longer beholden to one nation. That no single government had exclusive authority over me. I had more options. I had more freedom.
It was a feeling I’d never had before. It was like I had been missing something for my whole life, but never even knew it until that exact moment. Then I wondered how I had ever gotten along before without a second passport and citizenship.
I cannot overstate the benefits of this. Having a second passport is something I call the ultimate insurance policy.
We have health, car and life insurance to mitigate financial risks. Generally, we don’t question the value of insurance. And we especially don’t question the value when we’re in a car accident or have to visit the hospital.
But, there’s a missing piece of risk mitigation that no too many consider (congrats to you on this page – you’re among the few thinking about your international options). And that’s why a second citizenship and passport are so valuable.
A second citizenship and passport ensure that, no matter what, you always have a place to go. To live. To work. To do business. To retire. And in some cases, even seek refuge.
And being a European citizen is particularly valuable, because it will give you the right to live, work and do business in all 28 European Union countries — like France, Spain, Germany and Sweden.
If you’re not finding the right employment opportunities at home, for example, you can broaden your search to Europe. And if you have children, they would get access to the excellent European education system at a fraction of the price.
Now, obtaining a second citizenship – whether in Europe or elsewhere – often takes time to establish, sometimes years. So, it’s advisable to start thinking about your options now.
And if you are a British national who wants to get European dual citizenship, you should hurry, before your EU benefits expire.
Here are the three ways of how to get a European Citizenship & Passport…
Option #1: Get European Citizenship By Descent & Ancestry [The Cheapest & Easiest Way]
The first and easiest way to get a European citizenship & passport is through your ancestry and descent. You may be eligible for European citizenship by descent if you have parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents from Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland and many other countries.
This type of citizenship is known as jus sanguinis and is commonplace across most of Europe.
Ireland and Poland, for example, will grant citizenship if you can prove that you have a parent or grandparent from there.
Hungary will go even further back if you can prove ancestry way back from the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Your ancestors can also get you the world’s most valuable passport that’s right here in Europe: Germany. German passport holders can travel visa-free to 177 nations around the globe. (By comparison, a US passport enables citizens visa-free travel to 174 countries.)
Germany even has a special citizenship project for individuals who were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds. And this program applies to descendants, too.
So, with the right ancestry and documentation, you could be on your way to a second passport the EU in only a matter of months and it could potentially cost you next to nothing.
To get a better idea of how this process works, you can .
And to learn which other countries offer this easy way to get European citizenship, you can take a look at our in-depth article on citizenship by descent.
Option #2: Get European Citizenship By Investment [The Quickest Option]
If you scoured your ancestral tree and didn’t find any option for citizenship by descent, another solution is to buy a citizenship in a EU country.
In scrambling for money, many governments are turning to selling citizenship to well-heeled foreign investors.
There are two types of programs:
1. Golden Visas where governments trade permanent residency in exchange for a significant investment (for example in real estate) and after several years of residency allow you to naturalize as a citizen. Spain and Portugal offer this program.
Both the Spanish and Portuguese Golden Visas’ real estate investment minimum is €500,000… plus expect government and legal fees to add another €20,000-30,000, depending on your family size.
But, you’re not stuck with a half-million property just sitting there. In Portugal, for example, you can rent your residential or commercial property for income. Also, Portugal allows investors to combine the value of a number of properties to reach the required investment minimum for citizenship by investment.
After a total of six years in Portugal, you can apply for citizenship.
2. Expedited Citizenship By Investment Options where you receive your European citizenship very quickly and without having to reside in the country for several years first. But these options will also cost a lot more money.
Malta and Cyprus are two choices. In these countries, the governments have taken to naturalizing foreigners who make a very large economic investment and meet other qualifications.
In Malta, for example, they require the main applicant to contribute €650,000 to the National Development and Social Fund (and €25,000 each for a spouse and minor children). Plus, you must purchase a house with a value of €350,000 or rent with an annual minimum of €16,000. Finally, you must invest at least €150,000 in government-approved financial instruments – stocks, bonds, etc.
This may seem a high hurdle to clear, but within 12 months of maintaining Maltese residency, you’ll obtain citizenship and a passport for visa-free travel to 169 countries. Plus, future generations will benefit… they are eligible for Maltese citizenship by ancestry.
You can learn more about how and where to buy a passport in our in-depth article on citizenship by investment.
Option #3: Get European Citizenship Through Naturalization [Anyone Can Do This]
Thirdly, lacking the right ancestry or a pile of cash, there is also the option to trade some of your time.
After a fixed number of years of continuous residency, in many countries you can be eligible to apply for European citizenship through naturalization.
Belgium is one of the easiest European countries to get citizenship in.There, you need just five years of residency before you can be eligible to apply for naturalization.
What makes it particularly attractive is the fact that you don’t even need to spend the preponderance of that time in the country.
To learn more about this option, .
Keep in mind that while some of the paths to obtaining second citizenship are much quicker than others, none of them are instantaneous.
So, it pays off to get started in the process sooner rather than later.
After all, it’s hard to imagine that you’d be worse off – especially if you’re a member of the lucky bloodline club – for taking advantage of this.
More options mean more freedom, and that’s always a good thing.