If you’ve got parents, grandparents (and in some cases even great-grandparents) from Germany, Italy, Ireland or several other countries, then you may be part of what I call ‘the lucky bloodline club’.
In this article you’ll learn how to take advantage of this and how to get citizenship by descent as well as a valuable second passport through your ancestry.
In This In-Depth Article…
- What is Citizenship By Descent
- Benefits of a Second Passport & Citizenship Through Ancestry
- How to get Citizenship By Descent
- What if you do NOT qualify for Citizenship by Descent
- Countries that offer Citizenship By Descent
Looking for a second passport & citizenship? Citizenship by descent is just one option… Even if the ancestry option doesn’t work out for you, you can still get a second passport.
Download our free guide on to learn more.
Being part of the lucky bloodline club is a very big deal. There are countless numbers of people who spend upwards of $500,000 to buy a second citizenship. Others uproot their families and move abroad for up to 7 years to get citizenship through naturalization.
They do this because they realize the incredible value of a second citizenship and passport. After all — a second passport gives you the lifelong benefit of more options to live, work, invest, travel and do business around the world.
And not just for you… but for entire generations to come, because you’ll be able to pass these benefits on to your children and grandchildren… There are not a whole lot of investments in the world that pay such a great return…
What does Citizenship By Descent mean?
Citizenship by descent is a form of birthright citizenship. It means that if you have ancestors (such as parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents) from a country, you may be eligible to become a citizen of that country yourself.
It’s also oftentimes referred to as jus sanguinis (Latin for “blood rights” or “law of the bloodline”).
So, this means that even if you were born in the US and only have American citizenship, you can obtain foreign citizenship by ancestry. This includes the right to a second passport, which can give you more freedom than your current passport allows.
Benefits Of a Second Passport & Citizenship Through Ancestry
Citizenship through ancestry is particularly common in Europe, which means it is one of the easiest ways to get European citizenship and a European second passport.
This 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.
A second passport & citizenship also ensures that, no matter what happens next in your country, you always have another place to go. To live. To work. To do business. To retire. And in some cases, even seek refuge.
That way, when things go south, you can go north. Taking yourself and your family out of harm’s way.
That’s what your ancestors did when they came to America.
And there may come a time when you decide going back to the country of your ancestors is in your family’s best interest.
Ultimately, a second passport is all about options – the more options you have for you and your family, the more freedom you will experience.
How to get Citizenship By Descent
The process for gaining citizenship through ancestry is usually straightforward. However, it can be difficult at times, depending on the country and its bureaucratic procedures.
For most countries the application process is simple enough that you can do it yourself. But you may still want to consider hiring a professional immigration lawyer or professional genealogists to help you with the research and application.
If you believe that you have foreign ancestry, you should begin the process to see if you qualify for citizenship through your bloodline.
Here are the steps to get a second passport & citizenship through your ancestry:
Step #1: Determine if you have ancestry that could lead to citizenship by descent
First, begin by talking to some of your relatives. Ask them to guide you through your family history. This includes finding which countries you have ties to, where your grandparents might have emigrated from and what claims to citizenship some of your ancestors might hold.
Second, visit the consular website of the country where you think you might be eligible to acquire citizenship. Look for answers to the questions:
- How many generations back can you go?
- Through one or both parents?
- What documents do you need?
Most countries will allow you to claim citizenship if your parents were from that country. And some countries allow you to claim citizenship by descent through your grandparents, great-grandparents or even further.
You’ll also find a list of popular countries that offer citizenship through ancestry and their requirements further down in the article.
Step 2: Determine if you are eligible
Requirements for eligibility vary from country to country, but usually have to demonstrate an uninterrupted lineage going back from the ancestor who was born in that country all the way to you.
Most often “uninterrupted” means that no ancestor renounced or lost his citizenship before passing it on to the next descendant in your lineage.
For example, if your grandfather moved from Italy to the US and naturalized as a US citizen, he would have given up his Italian citizenship.
But if your father was born before your grandfather got his US citizenship, your grandparent would have passed on his Italian citizenship by descent to your father before he lost it. The lineage would not be broken.
(To get an even better idea of this works, I encourage you to . Although it is specific to Italy, it is a great example of how this process works.)
Important Note: Tests that show your DNA is partially from another country are not relevant to Governments. They are more concerned with the documentation that you can provide. They want you to prove that you qualify to claim citizenship through ancestry.
Step 3: Start gathering all required documents
Once you’ve determined that you are entitled to citizenship, start going through the list of requirements and gathering all the documentation you need to prove that you are eligible to claim citizenship through ancestry.
This usually will include your birth certificate, as well as those of your ancestors, marriage and/or divorce certificate (if it pertains to your family history), naturalization certificates (if applicable) and your current passport.
These documents usually need to be apostilled and translated into the country’s local language.
Step 4: Submit your application
Most countries also require you to make an appointment at the local consulate to review and verify your application in person.
And if everything goes well, soon after you’ll finally hold your new second passport in your hands.
Pro-Tip: It is common that embassies are hopelessly overwhelmed with requests for these appointments and it can take months or even years until they can see you.
Therefore it’s usually best to make the appointment as soon as possible and continue collecting your documentation while you wait for it.
What if you do NOT qualify for Citizenship By Descent…
Although getting a second passport & citizenship through your ancestry is by far the easiest, cheapest and quickest option, it’s NOT the only one.
If it turns out you are not eligible or if your application is declined, don’t lose hope. There are other options…
In fact, there are four ways to obtain a second passport & citizenship and one of them can be very low cost and is available to EVERYONE.
I encourage you to learn more about that option inside our free report .
Countries that offer Citizenship By Descent
Next you’ll find a list of countries that grant citizenship by descent and their eligibility requirements.
And if you are already a member of, Sovereign Man: Confidential (SMC), you also have access to much more in-depth intelligence reports for each of these countries.
SMC is our flagship service designed to help you internationalize your life and ensure that no matter what happens next in the world, you’ll thrive.
German Citizenship By Descent
German-Americans represent 17% of the total US population and are the largest ethnic group in America.
On top of that the German passport is considered the best in the world, because it offers visa-free travel to 177 nations across the globe.
But unfortunately, German citizenship law is stricter than most nations. Germany’s immigration authorities are not interested in any ancestors beyond your parents. So, claiming citizenship through your German grandparents is not an option.
You can claim your German citizenship by descent if…
- You were born before 1975 as the legitimate child of a German citizen father.
- You were born after 1975 as the legitimate child of a German citizen father or mother.
- You were born after June 1993 as the illegitimate child of a German citizen father and paternity is proven before you turn 23.
But despite Germany’s strict laws, there is another potential option for you to claim German citizenship:
The German Citizenship Project
Article 116 of the German Constitution states that descendants of Germans who had their citizenship revoked between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 on political, racial, or religious grounds may have a right to reclaim their German citizenship.
So, if you have ancestors who had their citizenship taken away under Nazi rule, you are might be eligible to claim German citizenship by ancestry.
Note that this law doesn’t just pertain to Jews: It’s for those whose ancestors were persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds. If your grandfather was a Communist and persecuted for this, then you might be eligible for German citizenship.
Italian Citizenship By Descent
Gaining Italian citizenship through ancestry is fairly straightforward. You can go as far back as a grandparent or even a great-grandparent to claim citizenship through your bloodline.
Italian citizenship law is built upon the idea of ‘uninterrupted lineage’. This means that no ancestor at any time renounced their Italian citizenship before passing their citizenship to their children.
For example, if your grandfather immigrated to the US and naturalized as a US citizen, he would have renounced his Italian citizenship. However, if your father was born before your grandfather gained US citizenship, then your father would have inherited Italian citizenship by descent. The lineage would still be intact.
There are some exceptions and challenges you will have to consider though.
One of them is “The Rule of 1948”: It states that that women cannot pass citizenship to children born before January 1st, 1948. This means that if your grandmother was born in 1922 and your father was born in 1942, you would not be eligible for citizenship.
Although many people think this rule makes it impossible to obtain citizenship for them, there is some good news:
In 2009 the Italian Supreme Court finally recognized the inherent sexism in this ruling and rejected it. But, to show how slow the Italian government moves, this 2009 ruling has still not been integrated into Italian law.
If your application is affected by this rule, it will initially be rejected. But you can take this rejection to court and get it appealed.
Pro-Tip: One little-known benefit of having Italian citizenship is that you can very quickly and easily get permanent residency in Panama using the “The Mutual Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty”.
And Panama residency is an excellent option, because of its territorial tax system…
The Fast Track Option…
And although Italian citizenship by descent is an excellent option, there is one downside… It’s the perfect example of slow, Italian bureaucracy. It can take up to 1.5 years to get appointment to review your application– depending on how busy your local consulate is.
But, there is a little-known Italian citizenship by descent expedited fast-track option that cuts the entire process to just a few months. It’s certainly not for everyone, but for a lot of people it is a fantastic option.
We’ve covered it in-depth for members of our flagship international diversification service, Sovereign Man: Confidential.
Usually it costs $995 per year to join and get access to this report. But since so many Americans qualify for Italian citizenship by descent, we’ve decided to make that intelligence report free for readers of this article for a short time.
And even if you don’t have Italian ancestry, I still encourage you to download it, because it is such a great example of how the process works.
Irish Citizenship By Descent
Ireland has one of the most straightforward processes for obtaining citizenship through descent. They allow you to trace your Irish ancestry back to your grandparents and in certain cases even great-grandparents.
If either of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are also an Irish citizen.
If you have a grandparent who was born in Ireland, then you are also entitled to Irish citizenship by descent.
This is true even if you and your parent were born outside of Ireland.
In those cases you can start by registering yourself in the Foreign Birth Register and then applying for citizenship.
It gets a little more complicated if you need to go through a great-grandparent. In that case, you are only eligible if your parent had registered himself using the same procedure.
If you were born in or before 1986, your parent must have been registered between 1956 and 1986. And if you were born after 1986, he must have been registered before you were born.
The Irish government’s website has a questionnaire that can help you determine whether you qualify for Irish citizenship by descent and provides more information here.
Polish Citizenship By Descent
Poland’s citizenship laws are built around the idea of “uninterrupted lineage”. So, you have to make sure that no Polish ancestor in your lineage renounced their Polish citizenship at any time.
The good news is that Poland is generous with how far back you can trace your ancestry. If you have a great-grandparent who was born in Poland, then you could claim citizenship through descent.
The bad news is that Poland is very strict with respect to documentation. This is true despite the nation’s complicated war history. The burden of proof is on you and the problem is that many family histories were destroyed by war.
Unfortunately, no matter the circumstances, no matter how tragic the family history, the Polish government will demand proper documentation. Officials see everyone’s war history as more or less equally tragic.
That’s why we generally recommend getting professional help by someone who’s very familiar with Poland’s citizenship by descent procedures, such as a law firm or professional genealogist.
(We can only give recommendations on trusted and vetted contacts to our premium members as publishing that information online would overwhelm our contacts.)
Greek Citizenship By Descent
If you have a parent or grandparent that was born in Greece, then you may be able to claim Greek citizenship through descent. This is very good news.
The bad news is that the process is not necessarily easy, because of the Greek bureaucracy hell.
Article 10 of the Code of Greek Citizenship states that any Greek born in another country can apply for the Greek citizenship.
To obtain your Greek citizenship by descent, you’ll have to proof your lineage from your Greek ancestor all the way to you.
The first critical document you’ll need is a birth certificate registered with the local authority (either a Municipal Register or the Male Register of Greece) of your ancestor.
It is important to note that the Greek government is very strict about documentation. Only certificates issued by Greek municipal authorities are accepted.
So, your ancestor must be registered at a municipality of a town or village in Greece. This certificate needs to include a municipality number, which is proof that your ancestor is Greek by birth.
Then you’ll need birth, death, and marriage certificates for all subsequent ancestors, whether in Greece or abroad. Any foreign certificates must be translated and certified by an apostille.
Lithuanian Citizenship By Descent
Lithuanian law allows you to trace your ancestry back three generations.
The first thing to assess is when exactly your ancestor(s) left Lithuania.
If at least one of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents were Lithuanian citizens and left Lithuania during or after the World War II, then you are likely eligible for dual Lithuanian citizenship.
That means, of course, that you can get Lithuanian citizenship/passport and still keep your current citizenship, according to Lithuanian law.
If at least one of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents were Lithuanian citizens before the WWII, but emigrated from Lithuania before 1940, then you can still get Lithuanian citizenship… but in this case, you’d have to renounce your current citizenship to swear singular allegiance to Lithuania.
And if your ancestors left Lithuania before 1918, then you are generally not eligible for citizenship in Lithuania, but you might be eligible in Latvia.
No matter which ancestor you choose for this process, you must prove that you are related to each person in the chain. This could include a parent, grandparent and great-grandparent.
For example, if your great-grandparent was a Lithuanian citizen, but you cannot find the necessary documents for your grandfather’s citizenship status, the application will be incomplete.
Like most countries once under Soviet control, finding documentation can, at times, be tricky. So, a lawyer that can guide you through the process would be helpful. Also, you can consult a professional genealogical services firm.
Latvian Citizenship By Descent
Latvia allows you to trace your ancestry all the way back to your great-grandparents. This is a very generous way for you to obtain Latvian citizenship through your bloodline.
There are two main options for obtaining Latvian citizenship by descent.
First, you can become a citizen through ancestry if one of your parents possesses Latvian citizenship.
Second, you can obtain Latvian citizenship from a grandparent or great-grandparent. There are two routes you can take. Both depend upon when your ancestor held Latvian citizenship.
If your ancestor left Latvia because of Soviet or Nazi occupation, there is a straightforward approach to obtaining citizenship through your bloodline.
You will need to show proof that your ancestor or ancestors left Latvia as a result of the occupation. And, you will need documentation that proves that your ancestors were citizens of Latvia on June 17, 1940.
The other route is a bit challenging, but still possible. This route requires that your ancestor or ancestors are of Latvian origin and lived in Latvia at some point between 1881 and 1940.
This route widens the timeframe, but it also adds a major requirement: You need to display an ability to communicate in and understand the Latvian language.
Armenian Citizenship By Descent
The process of applying for Armenian citizenship through ancestry is straightforward. Armenian law allows you to trace your ancestry back to your grandparents.
Armenian Law clearly states that an individual with at least one parent who holds Armenian citizenship can claim citizenship through ancestry.
If you have an Armenian grandparent, the process is a bit more difficult, but still possible.
For you to claim citizenship through a grandparent, one of your parents needs to go through the process first. Once a parent obtains Armenian citizenship, then you will be able to go through the process yourself and claim citizenship through your parent.
Although this process requires some patience and research, gaining a second passport can prove invaluable. Gaining citizenship through your bloodline comes with many benefits, and each country on our list offers a range of opportunities for you and your family.
The financial benefits are also important. Your second citizenship has the potential to significantly reduce your tax burden.
US citizens who establish residency abroad can also take advantage of the “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion” provision: This can allow you to earn over $100,000 per year, tax-free.
And, by obtaining a second passport, you are passing on these opportunities to your children.
This is what it all comes down to: increasing your options. A second passport opens up new opportunities on where to travel, where to live, where to do business and where to retire.