Your Guide to Getting EU Citizenship
Becoming a European citizen is the dream of many digital nomads from all around the world. The reason for this extremely high demand is very simple indeed: European cities have it all.
History, art, fascinating architecture, great food and drinks, mesmerizing landscapes, and vivid nightlife all blend together in European cities, creating the perfect environment in which everyone aspires to live. Not to mention the effortlessness of traveling around Europe when you live in one of these great cities…
It’s all very appealing, of course, but obtaining EU Citizenship is not a piece of cake. Luckily, we, the GoVisaFree team, are here to unfold multiple ways you can acquire European citizenship and a passport. Proceed to read this article to learn the basics about these procedures and the details of citizenship.
What Is EU Citizenship?
So what exactly is EU citizenship and what perks of it make it so popular?
EU citizenship is overarching citizenship that is bestowed upon all the citizens of the states that are members of the EU. EU citizenship does not overlap the rights provided by national citizenships but rather gives a set of extra rights to the citizens. These rights play a great role in creating the high demand for EU citizenship because they guarantee equality to all citizens besides many other advantages.
EU Citizenship Rights
The set of rights it affords to the citizens is the beating heart of EU citizenship, it constitutes the most crucial building block of the European Union. Let’s have a look at the said rights that make EU citizenship so alluring:
- Residing and visa-free traveling within the EU
- Voting in municipal and European Parliament elections or running as a candidate
- Non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality
- Diplomatic and consular protection (help aided abroad to the citizen by their country of nationality)
- Supporting or launching an initiative of the European citizens to ask the European Commission for proposing legislation on a subject they relate to
- Having circumstantial access to the documents of the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council
- Getting in touch with any of the institutions of the EU in any of the official languages of the EU
- Making complaints to the European Ombudsman and petitioning the European Parliament
Perks of EU Citizenship
There are countless perks to being an EU citizen. While permanent residency and traveling visa-free around Europe seem to be the most intriguing aspects of citizenship for most people, being an EU citizen comes with many other fundamental rights and privileges.
Now, let’s have a look at the origins of European citizenship’s charm:
- Having the privilege of being a citizen of the EU which is very prestigious on the world stage
- Being part of the fellowship of the EU citizens for sharing the same democratic values
- Equal treatment and protection regardless of your nationality, gender, culture, or sexual orientation
- Using mobile networks and online services all over Europe without paying any extra costs
- Being entitled to the right to live and work in whichever European country you like; do business and transfer money effortlessly
- Having protection in the workplace
- Voting and standing as a candidate in the elections
- Diplomatic protection
- Residing in any country you want in the EU without any inconveniences because the police in the border controls are in cooperation with the Member States on this matter
- Equal treatment to all citizens regarding work: social security, wages, hiring, and working conditions
- Protection of small businesses against the negative effects of digitization and globalization
- Getting support for your business from the EU through programs like Erasmus+ and Horizon
- Residing and being a citizen of the Member Countries which have strict regulations as to not pollute the environment or sell contaminated food
- Access to the national healthcare system
- Excellent education facilities
- Holding the right to pass the EU passport to future generations
In short, the feeling of safety and support in terms of finance, healthcare, and democracy combined with the sense of fellow citizenship and equality results in the intense demand to become a citizen of the EU.
Who Can Become an EU Citizen?
Anyone who follows one of the valid procedures can be eligible for EU citizenship. There is common curiosity as to whether US citizens can get EU citizenship or not. The reason behind this curiosity is that, again, there’s great interest in living in Europe among US citizens. This interest derives from benefits like the abundance of investment opportunities, ease of traveling around, convenient tax systems, cryptocurrency leniency, and many more.
How To Get EU Citizenship
There are a few ways to apply for EU citizenship, from among which you need to pick the one you’re eligible for. Find below the three options you have for being a valid applicant:
Becoming EU Citizen Through Naturalization
If you’ve been a resident of one of the EU countries for three to five years and paid your taxes without violating any laws, you’re possibly eligible for becoming an EU citizen through naturalization.
This is probably the most convenient method for obtaining EU citizenship for expats from all around the world. The naturalization process may involve work, marriage to an EU citizen, or establishing a business. You can get an EU passport through naturalization in many of the most favorable destinations in Europe like Portugal and Spain.
Being an EU Citizen By Descent
Becoming an EU citizen by descent, as the title suggests, is the most effortless option to apply for EU citizenship. If you are of European descent, meaning any of your grandparents or parents are from one of the EU countries, you may get EU citizenship by proving your ancestry. A very close friend of mine from the US has recently become an Italian citizen thanks to this route.
Getting EU Citizenship by Investment
Another way of obtaining EU citizenship is to make certain investments in the country of your destination. There are programs like the Golden Visa that provide EU residency or citizenship in return for specific types of direct or real estate investments. If you acquire the right to EU citizenship by holding a Golden Visa, for example, your family members can be included in the program as well.
Becoming an EU Citizen Through Investment
If you’re a digital nomad looking to reside, work or establish a business in a country that is a member of the European Union, becoming an EU citizen by making the relevant investment might be the best suitable option for you. The key here is to have the required funds.
We’ve gathered the countries where it’s most effortless to get EU citizenship by investment for you. See your best options below:
You can get a Maltese passport that is valid between 12-38 months if you invest an amount of a minimum €690,000. Depending on your investment amount and residency period, you can be eligible for citizenship either in three or five years.
You can obtain a residency permit in Spain through the Spain Golden Visa program by investing a minimum of €500,000 in real estate or making a capital transfer of €1 million into Spanish Treasury bonds. Another option to participate in the program is to develop a business in Spain with an investment of at least €1 million. Following a 10-year residency in the country, you’ll be eligible to apply for citizenship in Spain.
Portugal is another country where getting citizenship by investment is relatively pretty easy. To acquire a residency permit by investment in Portugal, you’re required to do one of the following investments:
- Investing an amount of at least €500,000 in Portuguese real estate
- Making at least €1,5 million of a capital transfer to Portugal
- Investing a minimum of €500,000 in Portugal investment funds
- Donating either a minimum of €500,000 to a Portuguese activity of research and development or a minimum of €250,000 for the preservation of the Portuguese national heritage
Here is the deal, unlike most other countries, Portugal Golden Visa doesn’t require you to stay in the country to pursue citizenship.
One of our community members, Barbara, received her residency in Portugal through Golden Visa program. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions that need to be addressed.
You can get a residency permit in Ireland through the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program which offers you the following options:
- Enterprise investment (new or existing): at least €1 million
- Investment fund: at least €1 million in an approved investment fund to be kept at least for 3 years
- Real estate: a minimum of €2 million
- Endowment: a donation of at least €500,000 to an Irish public benefit project
You may be eligible to apply for EU citizenship after residing in Ireland through this program for at least five years. Living in Ireland is a dream for many digital nomads and I must say that this program is getting a lot of attention too.
European Citizenship: The Wrap-Up
There you have it…An introduction to getting a European passport and becoming a European citizen…It’s not an easy journey but definitely worth it. If you have the courage and a good plan, pursue your EU dream. Been there, done that! Once you get your passport, you’ll feel freer than before.
What is the easiest way to get EU citizenship?
The easiest way to get EU citizenship is by proving that you’re of European descent. If this option does not apply to you, you can try to obtain citizenship through naturalization or by investment. Marriage is another option but as this route has been abused, you'll need to prove that your marriage is a real one, not a fake one.
What is a golden passport?
A golden passport is a passport you can acquire by investing in a country that participates in a relevant program that allows you to become a citizen of the said country. These programs are also known as residency by investment programs.
How long can a UK citizen stay in Europe after Brexit?
A UK citizen can stay in any of the EU countries visa-free for at most 90 days in a period of 180 days.
How can I move to Europe permanently?
It is possible to move to Europe permanently by getting a residency permit or citizenship through investment programs such as the Golden Visa.
Which EU country gives citizenship easily?
Malta and Portugal are the easiest countries to get European citizenship by investment.