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Which EU Countries Offer Citizenship by Ancestry?

Which EU Countries Offer Citizenship by Ancestry?

The Complete List Of EU Countries Offering Citizenship By Ancestry

Let’s start with numbers. Currently, 17 EU countries offer citizenship by ancestry.

Citizenship is offered for proven ancestry up to great-grandparents. Some go beyond that to even more distant relatives.

And in the EU climate, how far an ancestry goes back matters. After all, citizenship in one EU country allows residency and work rights in others.

This means that EU countries with lenient citizenship by ancestry requirements get more applicants.

More on Qualification

It’s estimated that tens of millions of non-EU citizens qualify for ancestry citizenship, though that number doesn’t include those who suffered from persecution. This means it doesn’t include individuals whose ancestors are refugees from war or domestic/racial conflicts.

The countries that aren’t on the list include Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. They don’t offer ancestral citizenship and are not EU member states.

However, they do belong to EU’s single market. Thus, citizenship there comes with similar residency and work rights to EU member citizens.

Geographical Representation

The majority of those who qualify are concentrated in North America (specifically Brazil and Argentina) and Oceania.

Some do live in Africa. They’re concentrated in South Africa for the most part. However, little numbers are to be found there or in Asia.

American Population with European Ancestry

In 2016, 41% of the population reported themselves as having European ancestry. That amounts to almost 133 million individuals.

That number only includes those knowledgeable of their ancestry and those who bothered to report.

In a less detailed survey, up to 72% of Americans identified themselves as Caucasian – which may represent the extent of those qualifying.

South American Numbers

Latin America data shows that 32% to 40% report themselves as having European descent. This amounts to 180 million to 220 million individuals, and at least 50% of South American reports come from Brazil.


This means that 500 million people outside Europe could possibly European ancestry. Regardless, most will fail to offer evidence for that or qualify.

Some may fail to show an ancestor who is two to three generations removed. But if they do, they may be in luck, because some European countries lack a limit on generational applicability.

If the applicant has a convincing argument and evidence, then hypothetically, getting citizenship by ancestry is easy.

However, ancestry arguments aren’t the only defining factor. For example, a country like Italy only allows an applicant to trail their ancestry up to the establishment of Italy’s current state.

What About Europe’s List of Countries?

Six countries offer citizenship up to the second generation. They are:

  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Portugal

Three offer up to the third generation. They are:

Countries that may offer beyond the third generation include:

  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia

What do you think?


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