With a dynamic economy spanning across several different cultures, the European Union is one of the most attractive regions to settle in. Whether it’s for working, retiring, studying or starting a new business, you may be wondering how to get European Citizenship and what benefits it grants.
Being a Citizen of the European Union allows you to move freely within all the member countries, along with the possibility to work, and freely transport and trade goods, services, and capital through EU state borders with no restriction or fees. It also grants you the right to participate in the vibrant European political scene: along with your local county elections, there is a European Parliament with 705 electable representatives, and a Direct Democracy mechanism called European Citizens’ Initiative. Before we begin, it’s worth noting that EU citizenship isn’t acquired by itself, but it’s accessory to being a citizen of one of the member countries of the European Union.
Check for Shortcuts: Obtaining Citizenship by Descent
Check if you can claim citizenship by descent. Countries like Italy or Spain have naturalization programs for sons or grandsons of people with European ancestry. Since both countries have experienced high emigration flows (particularly to North and South America) during the 20th century, this is a popular way to get dual citizenship.
If you’re wondering how to get European Citizenship by descent, consider Spain. Spain features very relaxed immigration programs, including a reduced residence time requirement of just two years for citizens of Spanish-speaking Latin America, as well as Brazil and the Philippines. Citizens of these countries can get dual citizenship.
Any person born to a Spanish mother or father, who was adopted by Spanish parents, or born in Spanish Soil can claim citizenship by descent. One of the documents you’ll need will be your parents’ birth certificates. For more info, contact your local Consulate. A new bill is being treated in the Parliament that seeks to extend Citizenship by descent to the grandchildren of Spanish citizens, so keep in touch with the latest news if you’re of Spanish origin and you’ll be interested in getting European Citizenship in the future.
You can also gain residency in Spain through the residencia no lucrativa program if you count with financial means to settle in the determined period, with an annual income of €25,000 or its equivalent in savings.
Similar to Spain, Italy extends citizenship to any person of Italian descent (iure sanguinis), with no limits of generations by father line, but transmission through the maternal line is possible only for a child born after 1st January 1948.
Applications must be submitted via mail to your corresponding Italian consulate. You can also apply via Marriage with an Italian citizen or after 5 years of residence.
If you’re interested in how to get Italian citizenship, check out this post.
The Entrepreneurial Way: How to Get European Citizenship by Investing
When it comes to Italy, a residence could also be obtained through an Investor Visa which takes around 6 months, by opting into one of these categories:
- €500,000 invested in an innovative startup
- €1,000,000 invested in a Philanthropic initiative
- €1,000,000 invested in an Italian LLC
- €2,000,000 invested in Italian Government bonds
Portugal, a European country that has experienced sustainable growth in recent years, and is a thriving destination for migrants and entrepreneurs, is also a popular choice if you want to obtain European citizenship. The country has an Online Worker Visa program, that is a good way to obtain residency in Portugal. You should have sufficient means to support yourself throughout the duration of the Visa and the exact amount may vary from consulate to consulate, in the range between €15,000 to €50,000 in savings. The process is made through the electronic platform (SAPA Portal).
After six years of residence, you can apply to Portuguese citizenship, and the application fees range from €175–250. To skip the bureaucracy, you can transfer €1,000,000 into a Portuguese bank account, or create 10 jobs in the country.
Belgium, a multicultural and vibrant country, has notably relaxed residence requirements. Initially, securing a job in a Belgian company grants you a residence permit, but you can also set up a company and keep it running for a couple of months. That allows you to apply for a Professional card, which grants you residence.
Once you’ve achieved 5 residence years you can apply for naturalization via mail or phone, which grants you full Belgium Citizenship. The country also grants citizenship based on merit in sports or arts. In all cases, you’ll need to have your birth certificate properly translated and legalized by a Document Translation Services provider, a proof of payment of the registration fee, showing knowledge of one of the national languages, and participation in social and economic life.