New Opportunities to Acquire Foreign Citizenship by Descent in 2023

What countries will grant citizenship by descent in 2023? What new opportunities have appeared? How can you enlarge your collection of passports? We answer these and other related questions in the text below. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to have more information on the topic!

citizenship by descent

What is citizenship by descent?

You can apply for foreign citizenship by descent if you have ‘roots’ in the foreign country. If your parents, grandparents, or in some cases even great grandparents originated from a foreign country, you may qualify for its citizenship by descent. What you will have to do is supply proof of your ancestors’ origin.

The popularity of second citizenship programs is growing and immigration agents report an increase in the number of applicants for second passports. Acquiring foreign citizenship by descent is one of the most attractive opportunities because it is an affordable option and it does not take too much time, as a rule.

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You can obtain a second passport even if you don’t have ancestors who were born abroad. If you have a clean police record and a substantial amount of capital, you can acquire foreign citizenship by investment. Our experts will be happy to assist you in choosing the best citizenship-by-investment program and apply for a second passport. You are welcome to request a free consultation on the matter!


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It is not impossible to become a citizen of a foreign country even if you don’t have any relatives there. When you spend five or more years in a foreign country living there on legal grounds, you can ‘naturalize’ there. However, citizenship by naturalization is a long process and legalizing your prolonged stay in a foreign country may be a rather difficult task. On the other hand, if at least one of your ancestors comes from a foreign county, acquiring its citizenship by descent is going to be comparatively easy.

In addition to that, acquiring foreign citizenship by descent is going to come at a lower price compared to acquiring second citizenship by investment. As far as the timeframes of citizenship acquisition are concerned, there are going to be very much the same whichever of the two options you choose.

The perception of the people holding dual (or triple) citizenship has been changing for the better over the recent years. They are not suspected any longer of having criminal intentions when acquiring foreign citizenship. Consequently, the number of multiple citizenship holders has also been growing. Citizenship by descent opportunities have always existed but currently they attract more and more attention. Experts believe that the tendency is going to continue in 2023.  

Do you believe you have no ancestors who were born in foreign countries? Chances are that you might be mistaken. We strongly recommend that you should carefully study your genealogical tree. When you do so, you may be able to find a ‘door’ to another country and a second passport. This would be an opportunity to enhance your transboundary mobility, improve your lifestyle, lessen your tax burden, and increase your wealth.  

Please do not ignore this recommendation! You have to realize that new citizenship-by-descent opportunities appear regularly. We must admit, however, that some of them disappear sometimes, which means that professional advice on the matter will always be useful. Below we discuss some new citizenship-by-descent opportunities that have recently become available.

New citizenship-by-descent opportunities

The following citizenship-by-descent opportunities have become available now:

  • Austria: The country has not been very popular with people seeking foreign citizenship because Austria allows having dual citizenship only in exceptional cases. Thus, if you become a citizen of Austria by naturalization, for example, you have to renounce your present citizenship. Recently, however, the Parliament has introduced some amendments to the national legislation that can pave the way to the Austrian passport for some people. Now the victims of Nazi crimes and their direct descendants can qualify for Austrian citizenship without having to renounce citizenship of their home countries.
  • Slovakia: Since the beginning of 2022, the requirements to the candidates for Slovakian citizenship have been softened considerably. Now children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of Slovakian/ Czechoslovakian citizens can qualify for passports of Slovakia. The country is an EU member state, which certainly makes acquiring its citizenship a highly attractive opportunity. The key condition is that your ancestor should have been a citizen of Czechoslovakia at some point if you are to qualify for citizenship of Slovakia. The state existed between 1918 when Czechoslovakia declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I and 1993 when the two republics peacefully split, each of them becoming an independent state. Thus, the descendants of the people who were born on the territory of Slovakia can acquire citizenship of the country in an accelerated manner. The local authorities will not approve any application automatically but if you can prove that your father or grandfather, for example, was born in Czechoslovakia, you stand a good chance. It is important to note that you would not have to demonstrate the knowledge of the Slovakian language nor the Slovakian history and culture when applying for citizenship of the country by descent. If you applied for citizenship of Slovakia by naturalization, you would.
  • The USA: Some countries have simplified the procedures of their citizenship acquisition by making use of modern technologies. In particular, they accept DNA tests as proof of ancestry now. Thus, even if you don’t have the documents that could confirm that an ancestor of yours was born in the country, taking a DNA test would suffice. Since recently, the United States of America has joined the group of countries that accept DNA tests as proof of ancestry.

We must note that sometimes opportunities to acquire citizenship of a foreign country by descent disappear, unfortunately. Consider the example of Spain and Portugal: both of these Iberian states used to have citizenship schemes for the descendants of Sephardic Jews who lived there in the Middle Ages but then were driven away.

Such a scheme was available in Spain between 2015 and 2019. A similar scheme was launched in Portugal in 2015 but by 2022, the conditions for acquiring Portuguese citizenship have been toughened for the descendants of Sephardic Jews. Now they have to own property in Portugal and pay regular visits to the country if they are to qualify for citizenship. The Portuguese authorities believe that the descendants of Sephardic Jews have to demonstrate having ‘strong ties’ with Portugal, the home country of their ancestors.

Countries that offer citizenship-by-descent opportunities

Today, around fifty countries will grant citizenship to foreign-born descendants of their nationals. The most popular of them include the following ones:

  • Australia;
  • Austria;
  • Argentina;
  • Bahrain;
  • Brazil;
  • United Kingdom;
  • Hungary;
  • Germany;
  • Greece;
  • Denmark;
  • Dominican Republic;
  • Israel;
  • Ireland;
  • Spain;
  • Italy;
  • Canada;
  • Kenya;
  • Colombia;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Kuwait;
  • Lithuania;
  • Luxembourg;
  • Mexico;
  • Nigeria;
  • Netherlands;
  • New Zealand;
  • Norway;
  • Oman;
  • Poland;
  • Portugal;
  • Romania;
  • Singapore;
  • Slovakia;
  • Slovenia;
  • United States of America;
  • Thailand;
  • Taiwan;
  • Turkey;
  • Fiji;
  • Philippines;
  • Finland;
  • France;
  • Czech Republic;
  • Chile;
  • Switzerland;
  • Sweden;
  • Estonia;
  • Republic of South Africa;
  • South Korea

Citizenship of the EU countries by descent

There are dozens of opportunities to acquire citizenship by descent but some national programs are especially popular. In particular, the demand for European citizenship by descent has increased dramatically over the recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a European passport can be a valuable asset to have and a growing number of people from other parts of the world have started to explore all sorts of opportunities to obtain passports of European countries.

The holder of an EU passport has great global mobility and the right to live, work, bank, and invest in any of the member states without any restrictions.

An EU passport holder traveling in other parts of the world is entitled to seek assistance and protection in the consulate of any EU country in a foreign land. He or she is also entitled for social aid, medical care, and educational subsidies in any country that is a member of the European Union.

With all these advantages in mind, it is not surprising that the popularity of European citizenship by descent programs has been growing. Italy in particular is especially popular with people from outside Europe because the country imposes no restrictions as to the age of the applicants for citizenship.

You can count on acquiring Italian citizenship if an ancestor of yours was an Italian citizen and he or she had never denounced nor lost his/ her Italian citizenship. The number of generations between yourself and your Italian ancestor does not matter, as a rule.

France is also popular with foreigners applying for citizenship of the country by descent. France offers the children of French citizens an opportunity to acquire valuable European passports regardless of their place of birth, knowledge of the French language, or ties with France.

The Hungarian legislation also allows the descendants of Hungarian citizens to apply for citizenship of the country even if they were born somewhere else and they don’t have the knowledge of the Hungarian language, history, and culture. This makes Hungary another attractive opportunity to acquire EU citizenship by descent.

An alternative method of acquiring foreign citizenship

Can you acquire foreign citizenship in a fast way if you don’t have ancestors from other countries? The answer is yes. A favorable genealogical tree is not the only asset that can help you obtain a second passport. You can become a citizen of a foreign country if you marry a person who is already a citizen of the country, for example. Alternatively, you can join the armed forces of a foreign country, which will also make you qualify for citizenship. If you are a person of special talents, you can also be granted foreign citizenship as a reward. Otherwise, you can acquire foreign citizenship by investment.

The latter option is probably the most realistic one. Investing in real property in a foreign state can make you eligible for obtaining the passport of the country. There are countries that will grant you citizenship in exchange for a donation to the state fund. Basically, you can ‘buy’ foreign citizenship. The essential requirement to meet (in addition to making the investment) is having a clean police record.

Foreign citizenship by investment is a legal opportunity to obtain a second passport. Some countries will issue a passport to you if you start a business company on their territories, or create a few new jobs there, or purchase zero-interest Government bonds, or deposit some money in a local bank. Whatever investment option you choose, you will have to retain the property/ bonds/ company, etc. in your possession for a certain period to keep your foreign citizenship. When the obligatory period of ownership is over, you are free to sell the property back. In this way, you will be able to return at least part of your initial investment and keep the foreign passport at the same time. The following countries are currently administering citizenship-by-investment programs:

#CountryMinimum required amount of investmentRemote citizenship acquisition
1Antigua and BarbudaUS$100,000+
7North Macedonia€200,000
8St Kitts and NevisUS$125,000*+
8St LuciaUS$100,000+
* The price is going up to US$150,000 in June 2023.

The Caribbean countries in the list above probably make the most attractive offers. They do not charge too much for their citizenship and the speed of application processing is rather high whatever Caribbean state you choose to obtain a ‘golden passport’. However, other alternatives should not be discounted either! Every person will have his or her own preferences and main goals so each case has to be treated individually.

Professional assistance in acquiring a second passport

No country that grants citizenship to foreign investors requires that they should renounce their present citizenship. This means that you can retain your home country’s passport plus have an alternative identification document too. You can use your second passport to enter a large number of foreign states without having to apply for visas. Besides, the document can give you access to some new banking and investment opportunities in foreign lands. Acquiring foreign citizenship is not as easy as squeezing a lemon though. You will certainly need some professional assistance in the process.  

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