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Schengen Visa Guide

EU Citizenship | How to Become a Citizen

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EU Citizenship | How to Become a Citizen

EU Citizenship | How to Become a Citizen. Having an EU passport is highly beneficial in terms of social, economic, and personal security. In addition to living and working anywhere in the EU, you’ll have the opportunity to travel visa-free to most countries across the globe. However, in order to obtain European citizenship, you must meet a number of qualifying criteria to prove that you can integrate into European society and uphold EU laws.

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How to Get European Citizenship?

As listed below, there are three ways to obtain European citizenship:

  • If you have a family member who can give you EU citizenship.
  • Naturalization – if you have lived and worked in an EU country long enough to qualify for citizenship.
  • Investing in an EU country and receiving citizenship is an option if you have enough money to do so.

Descent from a European citizen

Generally, to qualify for EU citizenship by descent, you must have an ancestor born in the EU. However, depending on which country you apply to, you may meet the requirements even if your grandparents or great-grandparents were European citizens.

When you qualify for European citizenship through your ancestry, this is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to obtain a passport in the EU. If you wish to be granted citizenship, your ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.) must not have lost or forfeited their citizenship. Even if they do not live in the EU, they must still be entitled to it.

Which EU Countries Allow Citizenship by Descent?

The EU countries listed below allow citizenship by descent:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Malta
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Bulgaria
  • Greece
  • Poland
  • Croatia
  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • Cyprus
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Czech Republic
  • Italy
  • Slovakia
  • Denmark
  • Latvia
  • Slovenia
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • Luxembourg
  • Sweden

EU countries allow citizenship by descent up to the third generation, i.e., from your great-grandparents to you.

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How to Apply for European Citizenship by Descent?

You must gather the required documents, fill out the application form, and submit them to your nearest EU mission abroad in order to apply for EU citizenship through ancestry. The application requires submitting proof that your ancestor was a European citizen, such as a previous passport, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a death certificate, or a refugee document.

The processing time may take several months to a year, depending on the embassy’s workload and the time it takes to verify your ancestors’ EU citizenship.

How Much Does it Cost?

Depending on the country, processing fees for EU citizenship by descent can go up to EUR 1,000, not including legal fees.

Becoming Naturalized in Europe

If you have lived and worked in an EU country for five years (or more, depending on the country), you can become a naturalized citizen. Depending on the pathway you took to citizenship, i.e. work or marriage, the application process for naturalization varies. If you wish to become an EU citizen by naturalization, you must also demonstrate that you speak the language in your country.

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EU Citizenship Through Work

To apply for a work visa, you must have a job offer in the EU and your employer must sponsor you. If you live in the EU for a number of years (5-10), you may apply for naturalization.

According to your qualifications and experience, EU countries issue a variety of work permits—the EU Blue Card is the most common. You must score enough points in the EU Blue Card scoring system based on your education and work experience, as well as other skills, to qualify for an EU Blue Card.

EU Citizenship Through Marriage

Getting citizenship in the EU is also possible by marrying an EU citizen. Naturalization is normally granted three years after marriage in most EU countries. The two of you must, however, meet citizenship requirements (including language requirements) before you can apply if your partner is a foreign citizen.

Citizenship by Investment in Europe

In exchange for investing in an EU country, you can become a naturalized citizen of the country if you have enough funds. This is also known as a Golden Visa.

Citizenship programs vary by country, but the most common investments are real estate or government bonds. After three or five years, you get an EU passport.

In most cases, you only need to spend a few days a year in that country to qualify for citizenship. There is no language requirement.

Most Popular EU Countries With Investment Schemes

Investment schemes for EU citizenship include the following:

  • By purchasing real estate for at least €700,000, you can earn citizenship within three years. Additionally, it offers an expedited investment option that enables you to get a Maltese passport within a year by investing at least €750,000. You can also choose other investment options such as government bonds or donate your money to an approved organization.
  • Portugal offers the most popular citizenship by investment program in Europe. However, you cannot apply directly for citizenship through this program. You gain permanent residence first, and then you can apply for citizenship after five years. In Portugal, real estate is the most common investment, where you must pay a minimum of €500,000 for the purchase.
  • With Spain’s investment program, you can qualify for permanent residency if you invest at least €500,000 in real estate. In the same way as Portugal’s citizenship program, you cannot apply for citizenship directly, but ten years after applying for citizenship, you qualify for a Spanish passport.
  • If you wish to obtain a Greece passport after making your investment, you must live in the country for at least seven years after you make your investment.
  • German citizenship can be obtained if you establish a business in Germany that will benefit the economy of the country. In other words, your business must generate new jobs and economic opportunities for the country. Self-employment visas are required to qualify for the German investment program, and citizenship is granted after six years.

Which Country in Europe is Easiest to Get Citizenship?

The most accessible country to get citizenship in the EU is Portugal. After five years, you get an EU passport after investing in the country. In order to meet the living criteria, you only need to spend 35 days in the country within five years of your investment.

Compared to Malta, it has one of the fastest citizenship programs in the EU-only a year after your investment is complete. It, however, comes with a higher price of €750,000.

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How Long Does it Take to Get EU Citizenship?

Depending on which EU citizenship pathway you qualify for, it can take anywhere from a few months to several years to obtain European citizenship:

  • Citizenship by descent takes six months to a year.
  • Citizenship by naturalization takes five to ten years.
  • Citizenship by investment usually takes one to five years.

How to Get EU Citizenship as an American?

With an American passport, you can obtain EU citizenship through the same citizenship pathways as other foreigners, such as citizenship by descent, naturalization, work, or marriage.

  • Dual citizenship in EU countries
  • Citizenship in both Germany and the United States

Benefits of EU Citizenship

Citizens of EU countries enjoy several benefits, including:

  • Working, living, and studying in any EU country is possible.
  • Whenever you travel abroad, you are protected by the consular services of all EU states.
  • National healthcare plans that are among the best in the country.
  • Voting rights in European Parliament elections.
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Conclusion 

EU citizenship offers a range of social, economic, and personal advantages, including the freedom to live, work, and study across the EU. There are three main pathways to European citizenship: descent, naturalization through residence or employment, and citizenship by investment. Each pathway has specific requirements, processing times, and associated costs. Whether through ancestral ties, residency, or financial investment, EU citizenship provides unique opportunities for personal and professional growth.

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Schengen Visa Guide

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a French Visa?

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What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a French Visa?

What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a French Visa? The same visa policy does not apply to every foreigner and every territory of France. Therefore, visa exemptions are heavily influenced by dissimilar factors, primarily the nationality of the foreigner, the territory of France the applicant seeks to visit, the foreigner’s residence status in the Schengen Area or specifically in France, and the purpose of the visit.

France’s territories are divided into three parts, each with its own visa policy:

  • French European Territory
  • French Overseas Départments or Regions (DOM)
  • French Overseas Territories (TOM)

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in European French Territory?

The Schengen Area includes France. As a result, its European territory complements those of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, also members of the Area.

For entry and stay in the European French Territory, you need a French Visa.

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions?

For short stays (up to 3 months) to Guadeloupe (and its dependencies: Saint Martin, Saint Barthélémy), French Guyana, Martinique, Réunion, the following foreign nationals do not require a French visa:

  • Andorre,
  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brunei,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Canada,
  • Chile,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Croatia,
  • El Salvador,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Hong-Kong (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
  • Ireland,
  • Japan,
  • Macao (titulaires du passeport de la Région administrative spéciale seulement),
  • Malaysia,
  • Mexico,
  • Monaco,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Panama,
  • Paraguay,
  • Singapour,
  • South Korea,
  • St-Marin,
  • Switzerland,
  • The Holly See,
  • United Kingdom,
  • United States,
  • Uruguay and
  • Venezuela. 

Note: Those from the above countries are allowed to enter and stay in French Overseas Départments and Regions without a French Visa, except for the following categories of foreign nationals who MUST have a French Visa:

  • Individuals from the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela, or Singapore wishing to work in these countries,

  • Students from the United States, citizens who hold diplomatic, official, or other service passports, and intend to stay in these French territories in a diplomatic or official mission, or journalists who intend to stay in these French territories for journalistic purposes

It is not possible for foreign nationals from the above excluded countries to enter or stay in French Overseas Départments or Regions without obtaining a French Visa through the French Visa Application process.

Who Needs a French Visa to Enter and Stay in French Overseas Territories? 

In French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and its dependencies (Terrires Australes et Antartiques Françaises (TAAF)), Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the following foreign nationals may travel without a French Visa for short stays (up to 3 months):

  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brasil,
  • Brunei,
  • Croatia,
  • Canada,
  • Chile,
  • Costa Rica,
  • El Salvador,
  • Guatemala,
  • Honduras,
  • Hong-Kong * (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
  • Japan,
  • Macao* (passport holders of the special administrative area exclusively),
  • Malaysia,
  • Mexico,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nicaragua,
  • Panama,
  • Paraguay,
  • Singapore,
  • South Corea,
  • United States and
  • Uruguay.

These countries have nationals who can enter the French overseas territories without a French visa, but cannot stay more than three (3) months or ninety (90) days:

  • Andorra,
  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Ireland,
  • Monaco,
  • Norway,
  • Netherlands,
  • Saint Marin,
  • The Holly See and
  • United Kingdom.

Note: Foreign nationals from the above countries are permitted to enter and stay in the French overseas territories without a French visa, with the exception of the following categories:

  • Brazilians, Canadians, South Koreans, Americans, Japanese, Australians, Malaysians, Mexicans, Singaporeans seeking gainful employment in these areas,

  • Nationals of the United States wishing to get a job there or to enter and stay there for journalistic purposes

  • In order to enter and stay in Overseas French Territory of New Caledonia, Hong Kong and Macao nationals will need a French visa.

Other foreign nationals from the above list cannot enter or stay in the French Overseas Territories without undergoing the French Visa Application procedure and getting the appropriate French Visa.

Conclusion 

French visa policies demands careful consideration of nationality, purpose, and destination. France categorizes its territories—European, Overseas Départments/Regions, and Overseas Territories—each with unique visa regulations. While some nations enjoy visa exemptions, specific categories necessitate visa acquisition for entry and extended stays.

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