This time around we took a look at the 10 easiest countries to gain citizenship in EU, trying to see where you’d have an easier time if you wanted to move. When you want to move abroad, you have to take into account a long list of things, including whether or not getting citizenship in that particular country is a viable possibility or not.
Now, going back to the basics – what does it mean to have citizenship? Well, it’s the status of a person that is recognized under a country’s law as being a legal member of said state. This awards people more security within the country, as well as a sense of belonging, as their lives become more and more integrated with those of their neighbors and colleagues.
Being a citizen comes with rights and duties; it’s a social contract according to old concepts. The right to vote, for instance, is at the same time a social duty. Being a citizen is usually seen as being an active participant in all aspects of the state’s life.
However, you don’t have to be a citizen to live in another country. Upon moving to a different country you can request a right of stay, which means you have the right to reside within the country for a number of years, find a home, get a job, go to school, get social assistance, benefit from welfare and more. When you’re a citizen of a member state of the EU, you also gain the status of citizen of the Union, which gives you the right of free travel between the nations of the Union.
More often than not, when you want to become a citizen of another country, you need to have lived there for a number of years. In countries of the European Union that’s between five and ten years as a general rule.
There are multiple ways to become a citizen. One of them is, obviously, being born to parents that are already citizens of a certain state, or being born within the borders of said state. Another way is marrying a person that’s a citizen, although even in that situation you have to respect some other rules too before earning citizenship of your own.
The most common way to gain citizenship is though naturalization. This implies living in a country for a number of years, learning the language, and becoming involved in the social and cultural life of the nation. People also need to take a test to prove they have adapted to life within the country. (If you’re looking for a vacation before you get to work on picking a country in the European Union to set roots in, you might want to take a look at our list of 10 easiest countries to get laid in around the world.)
In order to create our list we took a look at all 28 member states and their legislation regarding offering citizenship to foreigners. We found quite a few similarities between them all, but they’re not identical by all means.
Out of all the nations we picked those with the shortest waiting period before you can apply for citizenship, and then ruled out the countries that don’t allow dual citizenship. We’re also going to focus on the naturalization process, since that’s where differences start occurring.
So here are the 10 easiest countries to get citizenship in EU that we’ve succeeded to find.
Situated in Central Europe, there’s Hungary, a country with nearly 10 million citizens, that’s been a member of the European Union since 2004. The country has a vast history and a lot of beautiful cities so, if you’re interested, this can be a pretty great choice.
There are quite a few requirements, however. You must have lived in the country for at least eight years before applying, have no criminal record and knowledge of the language and culture within Hungary. Preferential treatment is offered to applicants with Hungarian parents or heritage or those who have married a Hungarian citizen or have children born there.
On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean sits Portugal, a beautiful country whose only neighbors are the seas and Spain. The country has some 10 million citizens, according to a recent census, and has been a member of the European Union since before it had this name. More specifically, Portugal joined the European Economic Community in 1986.
If you want to become a citizen in Portugal you have to follow quite a few rules, but none too surprising. You need to be at least 18 years old, to have basic knowledge of Portuguese, have a clean criminal record and have lived in the country for at least six years.
One of the coolest Nordic countries in Europe is Finland. With some 5.5 million citizens, the parliamentary republic has its capital in Helsinki. They joined the European Union in 1995 and they’ve been prospering ever since.
Becoming a citizen of Finland comes with a few conditions, much like in all other countries. You need to have at least five years of continuous residence or a total of seven years since the age of 15. You’ll also need to know Finnish, Swedish or the Finnish sign language. Having dual citizenship is permissible in Finland, so you don’t need to worry about renouncing your original one. But you mustlove saunas.
Ah, the island life! Who wouldn’t want to live in a sunny place, enjoying the sea and the weather? Well, if you’re planning to uproot your life and have your eye on Malta, then you’re in luck. The country is found in the Mediterranean sea, south of Italy, and has under half a million citizens. It’s been a member of the European Union since 2004, benefitting from everything that comes with the membership card.
If you want to apply for citizenship in Malta, then you need to have a clean criminal record, know the language and have a permanent residence there for at least the last five years. There’s also another possibility, dubbed the Malta Individual Investor Programme. This allows people to “buy” their way into the country. For instance, if you make a significant nonrefundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund, you can get some perks. And when I say significant, I mean that you have to donate €650,000 as the main applicant, while the spouse and minor children need to add €25,000 to the sum. Adult children, dependent parents and grandparents need to donate an extra €50,000.
There’s also the alternative of buying property of at least €350,000 in Malta and owning it for at least five years. Bond investments of at least €150,000 are also an option. In Malta, money talks.
Situated in southeast Europe, Bulgaria is a country that entered the European Union in 2007 and has Bulgarian as the official language. According to the 2011 census, the country has over 7.3 million citizens.
In order to become a citizen here, you have to live in the country for at least five years before writing the application. You also need to have a clean record, proof of a steady job and to know your way around the language.
In Bulgaria there’s also the option of investing financially in the country and cutting some years off the waiting period. This is a pretty good option for entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses into Eastern Europe, while also trying to relocate. The benefits vary depending on the investments, but one of the guarantees seems to be the right to permanent residency.
Located in Eastern Europe, bordering Bulgaria, you’ll find Romania. With nearly 20 million citizens, Romania joined the European Union in 2007 and has been trying to adapt ever since, although things are looking up nowadays.
If you want to move and become a citizen of Romania, you need to tick a few things off the list. You need to be at least 18 years old, prove that you have legal opportunities for a decent living, have a clean criminal record and speak Romanian, with minimum knowledge about the local culture. You must know the national anthem and constitution if you want to have a chance to get citizenship. You must also live in Romania for at least 5 years before applying.
There’s also a fast track for getting your citizenship in Romania, which is why it takes the 5th place among these easiest countries to get citizenship in EU. For instance, the time can be cut in half if you’re a well-known personality abroad, a citizen of the European Union, or have invested over €5 million in Romania.
4. Czech Republic
Located in central Europe, the Czech Republic is a country of some 10 million citizens. It joined the European Union back in 2004 and has a long history dating back to the 9th century.
If you want to become a citizen here, you need to hold a residency permit for at least five years before applying. Although in the past the country’s laws indicated that you had to renounce your other citizenship when applying for Czech nationality, they have waived this rule, following the trend within the European Union concerning this matter.
You also need to be proficient in the language, but after five years of living in a foreign country you’re bound to learn a thing or two. Otherwise, we’re sure there are classes you can take. Having a clean criminal record is also important when applying for citizenship here.
Home of the Vikings, Sweden is one of the coolest European countries. Situated in the cold northern area of the continent, Sweden has nearly 10 million citizens nowadays. The country has been a member of the European Union since 1995 and it is thriving as a nation.
If you want to become a citizen of Sweden, you must be at least 18 years old, have no criminal record, permanent right of residence and have lived within the country for at least five consecutive years. The number goes down to two years if you’re already a citizen of another Nordic country.
The country that is home to the Eiffel Tower extends from the Mediterranean Sea, to the English Channel and even the North Sea, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. France is a massive state that is home to over 66 million people.
If you want to become one of the country’s citizens, then you must respect some rules. For instance, you have to live in France for at least five years before applying for citizenship. This is also the same number of years you must spend within the country before being able to apply for permanent residence, which is renewable. While you could do this over and over again, you wouldn’t have the same rights as the rest of the citizens.
1. United Kingdom
Off the coast of mainland Europe lies the British Isles. There, you’ll find the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, although no one ever uses the full name. The UK has over 64 million citizens and it has been a member of the European Union’s predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973.
In order to become a British citizen, you have to be at least 18 years of age, have no criminal record, and know English and details about life within the UK. You also must live in the country for at least 5 years before you apply for citizenship and spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during this period.
Overall, this is the very easiest of the 10 easiest countries to gain citizenship in EU thanks to the rules it has. It won’t be long before the rules all across the European Union gain a more uniform shape, but you can still use this list to your advantage in the meantime!