Europe passport – How to find out if you can get an EU passport
Following the Leave vote, being a British citizen may no longer guarantee the right to live and work in the EU – and people are getting worried.
While they will not change overnight, Britons can ultimately expect the “European Union” line at the top of their passports to be gone when they apply to renew their documents.
As a result, many are seeking alternative ways of gaining an EU passport. So what does make you eligible?
When it comes to digging for familial roots in the EU, Ireland is the natural choice for most, with its closeness both geographically and culturally.
If either of your parents was an Irish citizen born in Ireland, or if you were born in Ireland to Irish parents, you are automatically entitled to citizenship, and if any of your grandparents were born in Ireland, you are eligible for citizenship by descent, but you must first register your birth on the Foreign Births Register.
If your parents were foreign nationals legally resident in Ireland for three out of the four years prior to your birth, you are also entitled to citizenship, and if at least one of your parents was an Irish citizen but not by birth, ie by naturalisation or marriage, you can become an Irish citizen after registering your birth on the Foreign Births Register.
All EU countries have different rules with regards to citizenship rights for spouses of natives.
For example, the spouse of a French national can apply for nationality, and must be able to prove that they have been married for five years and live together, or four years if the couple can prove continuous residence in France for three years since the wedding.
In Spain you have to be married for 10 years before you have the right to apply for a Spanish passport. It is the same in Greece, but if you have a child with the resident it is reduced to three years.
Meanwhile, Finland requires you to have been married to a Fin for four years, although you can also obtain citizenship by simply living there for five years.
If there are no potential links through descent or marriage, the final option is open only to those with the right kind of bank balance: buying your way in to EU nationality. A “citizenship by investment” scheme is offered by many countries.
According to KPMG, Cyprus is “the ‘jurisdiction of choice’ for many high net worth individuals and their families”. The price tag is an investment of €5 million in the island.
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