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February 18, 2022

14 Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe

A lot of people want to have a passport issued from any of the European Union countries because of its various benefits. The good news is that there are many countries in Europe that are offering citizenship to the individuals from non-European nations. In this post we are going to discuss about the 14 Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe.

The passport issued by any of the European nations allows you to work and freely move into the entire European Union. A lot of Americans and other nationals have already taken their second passport from one of the European Union nations.

Though it is possible to get citizenship in European Union by marrying a citizen of those countries, or residing in any of those countries for a longer time to apply for your citizenship in which you need to meet certain criteria. But if that is not an option for you then you can get citizenship in Europe by investment in many countries. Yes, you heard it right! You can get citizenship in Europe by investing in  a country that offers citizenship by investment in Europe.

In some countries, you can gain citizenship without any residence, but in other cases you can be fast-tracked to naturalization and citizenship in a short time.

Keep in mind that every country has different rules and regulations for granting citizenship. For instance, in some countries you are allowed to keep dual-citizenship, whereas in some you can only keep one citizenship. In some countries you have to stay in that country for a specific time to qualify for applying citizenship, whereas in some countries you need to spend only a few months to acquire your citizenship. Here’s the list of 14 Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship in Europe.

We will also discuss the process of obtaining your citizenship in each of these countries and cost of acquiring that citizenship. Keep in mind that the cost discussed here does not include the certified translation of documents which can easily run into several hundred euro depending on how many documents you need to get translated, expenses of your travel, stay, and fee of the legal experts.

Portugal

Portugal offers citizenship by both Residency and Investment. To get citizenship in Portugal you need to reside in Portugal for five years and also learn basic Portuguese language skills. Also, in order to apply for the Citizenship in Portugal you need to bring your passport, birth certificate, a list of prior nations you’ve lived in, and a criminal record certificate with no significant offences.

Portugal also offers golden visa called Portugal Golden Visa that requires a minimum investment of €250,000 in the country. With this you will be issued a 5-year resident permit with very little stay requirements in the country.

To be eligible for a Golden Visa in Portugal, you must make one of the following investments:

  • Purchase a property worth at least €500,000. If you purchase in a low-density area, the investment amount is €400,000.
  • Invest €350,000 in a property in a Portuguese urban regeneration area. If you invest in a low-density area, the investment amount is €280,000. The project should qualify for investment by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service – SEF.
  • Invest at least €350,000 in a qualifying Investment Fund. The investment options are regulated by the Portuguese CMVM (Securities Market Commission), and usually include venture capital investment in real estate or start-up tech companies.
  • Make a capital transfer of at least €1 million in a Portuguese bank account.
  • Purchase company shares worth at least €1 million.
  • Invest at least €1 million in a company or create at least ten jobs for Portuguese nationals.
  • Invest at least €350,000 for the creation of a commercial company or to reinforce the share capital of a commercial company, through which you create at least five full-time jobs.
  • Make a capital transfer of at least €350,000 for research activities in science or technology by either public or private scientific research institutions.
  • Make a capital transfer of at least €250,000 to support the arts or reconstruction of national heritage.

Before choosing a program to invest in, you will have to consult experts in the matter. That will save you money, time, and a lot of hassle.

  • Application Fee: €200
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: A2 Portuguese
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Ireland

Marrying an Irish citizen is one of the ways to get Citizenship in Ireland. People who are born to Irish or British parents in Northern Island can choose from getting an Irish passport or UK passport and citizenship. Also, people having Irish ancestry like parents or even grandparents can get Irish citizenship easily.

But, if you don’t have any of these options with you then you can go for the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme. In this programme you have to invest €500,000 in any Irish educational establishment or a charitable organization. Also, you need to spend at least 5 years in Ireland to become eligible for applying into this programme. This program is popularly known as Ireland Golden Visa.

  • Application Fee: €175 on application, €1,500 if approved
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: None
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Sweden

If you are thinking to get your citizenship in Sweden then the good news for you is that you need not learn any new language to qualify for citizenship. But, Sweden requires you to stay in Sweden for at least 5 years to qualify for citizenship. But, if you are married to a Swedish national this time can be reduced in three years instead of five years.

But, your marriage to the Swedish citizenship should be of at least two years. In this case you need to prove to the immigration and naturalization authorities that you have enough money to support yourself and you have adapted successfully to Swedish lifestyle and culture.

While brief visits overseas are allowed, but that should not exceed six weeks or it may delay your citizenship process. This time limit of staying the Sweden is counted after you get your residence permit. The time you have stayed in Sweden prior to that would not be counted. Also, there shouldn’t be any type of criminal offences in your name and you should be debt-free.

Also, you should note that the process of citizenship may take up to 40 months from the date you have applied for your Swedish citizenship. So, apply for Swedish citizenship if you have patience and time for it.

  • Application Fee: ~€150 (1,500 SEK)
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: None
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

United Kingdom

Though United Kingdom is not a part of European Union after the Brexit, but still its worth if you want to apply for citizenship in UK. Marrying a British citizen of course is an option to get British citizenship but if that is not the option for you then you can choose the investment route. UK has different type of options on offer to give you citizenship.

But there are also few things that are required like to be eligible for British citizenship, you must have resided in the UK for at least five years, passed the ‘life in the UK’ test, and be able to demonstrate an intermediate command of the English language.

You are offered three options:

  • Invest £2 million for five years- you will need to renew your permit once, and you can apply for permanent residence after five years.
  • Invest £5 million for three years– you can apply for permanent residency after three years
  • Invest £10 million for two years – you can apply for permanent residence after two years

Application Fees: Per person £1,623 + £1,200 (Health surcharge)

  • Application Fee: £1330
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: B1 English
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Belgium

You can apply for Belgian citizenship if you have lived in Belgium for at least 5 years and you know any of three national languages i.e., Dutch, French, and German (A2 Level). Also, you need to show that you have you’re your taxes regularly, and have no criminal offences.

  • Application Fee: €50
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: A2 French, Dutch or German
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Belgium doesn’t have any Citizenship by Investment program so you only have the option to live for 5 years in Belgium and then apply for citizenship.

France

France offers the citizenship in shortest time-frame if you meet certain conditions. If you finished your postgraduate degree in a French university you can apply for citizenship in just two years. But, for others time is five years. To apply for French citizenship, you should know that you need to prove that you have successfully integrated into the French culture, you can speak and understand French language, and know about the French culture, history, and politics.

To apply for citizenship you will need two copies of the application form – demande d’acquisition de la nationalité francaise – as well as a valid passport, certified translations of your birth certificate and your parents’ birth certificates, tax returns in French language and January and December payslips from the previous three years, a rental agreement or proof of home ownership in France, a clean criminal record, and a B1 visa.

Following the submission of your documents, you will be invited to an interview that would be conducted French language in which you will be expected to demonstrate your understanding of the French way of life. You might be asked questions related to civic life and politics, so it’s a good idea to read the citizenship handbook known as the Livre de Citoyen before you go for this interview.

It may take up to 2 years of time for the French government to grant you citizenship based on how best you answered the questions and your submission documents in proper order.

  • Application Fee: €55
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: B1 French
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

The Netherlands

Netherlands also offers citizenship to foreign nationals if they have resided in the Netherlands for five years in a row, passed the civic integration exam, and be willing to profess his/her support for the Dutch state at the final citizenship ceremony.

Also, Netherlands doesn’t allow dual citizenship so if you are going to become a citizen of the Netherlands then you will have to relinquish your previous citizenship. But this time is reduced to three years if you are married to a Dutch citizen and it is 2 years if one of your parents is a Dutch citizen.

  • Application Fee: €925
  • Length of time living in country: 5 years
  • Language level needed: A2 Dutch
  • Dual nationality allowed: No

Germany

You can apply for German citizenship if you have lived in Germany for at least six years, have B2 level of proficiency in German language, and you have finished an integration course at your local Volkschochschule.  There is a lot of paperwork in German Naturalization and citizenship.

If you have spent eight years in Germany and you can skip the integration course, but you need to prove the B1 level of German language and also pass a citizenship test with questions about German politics and culture.

Germany doesn’t allow dual citizenship so if you are taking German citizenship you will have to relinquish your other citizenship. In order to apply for German citizenship, you need to submit your passport, certified translation of your birth certificate, previous year’s tax returns, proof of valid health insurance, also proof of your residence in Germany.

  • Application Fee: €255
  • Length of time living in country: 6-8 years
  • Language level needed: B1 German
  • Dual Citizenship: No

Norway

To become a Norwegian you need to spend at least seven years in Norway and you should have a valid residence permit in Norway. In 2020 Norway enacted a law to allow foreign nationals seeking Norway citizenship to keep another citizenship. The good part in the Norway citizenship is that you can take few small breaks and go out of Norway and that would still be counted as your residence in Norway while applying for citizenship.

You can apply for your citizenship in Norway by filling up an online form and submitting required documents like marriage certificate, a complete list of your entry and departure from Norway, seven years of tax returns, certificate of good conduct from the Police, also you need to pass a one-hour citizenship test in either of the two written versions of Norwegian (Bokmi or Nynorsk).

  • Application Fee: ~€250
  • Length of time living in country: 7 of the past 10 years
  • Language level needed: A2/B1 Norwegian
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Denmark

In order to become a Danish citizen, you must not only have lived in the nation for over a decade, but also have an excellent command of written and spoken Danish. While many European countries accept A2 or B1 language skills, the Danish government requires most migrants asking for citizenship to earn the Prve I Dansk 3 language certificate, which is equivalent to B2 Danish. Passing the Prve I Dansk 2, which is equivalent to B1 Danish, will suffice if you can demonstrate that you’ve been financially independent for the preceding 8.5 years and haven’t relied on government’s financial support.

After you’ve completed your nine years and know all about the Danish community, culture, politics, you’ll be asked to sign a declaration declaring your patriotism and commitment to Denmark and Danish society, as well as your promise to follow its laws. You must also submit papers proving your identification, current nationality, residency, and economic activity in Denmark, as well as pass a citizenship test that includes questions about Danish culture, politics, and life.

The last step in the process is to attend a ceremony you meet with the local authorities and shake hands with them, answer their questions, and satisfy them that you have now adapted to the Danish culture and community.

If you need to gain residency first, then the Denmark Startup Visa is a popular route for tech entrepreneurs. The Denmark Startup Visa application process takes 6 weeks for your business plan to get approved and in another 1 month you will get your resident permit.

This startup visa program offers applicants 2-year residency permits. After 6 years, applicants can obtain permanent residency status (or in 4 years under certain requirements). Still the citizenship is allowed only after 9 years of Danish residency.

  • Application Fee: €510 (3,800 DKK)
  • Length of time living in country: 9 years
  • Language level needed: B2 Danish
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Austria

To get citizenship in Austria you need to spend 10 years of continuous residence in Austria. This is not the only condition to become an Austrian citizen rather there are a few more. You also need to fill out an application form and submit a number of documents like your passport, birth certificate translated in German, your address proof in Austria, B1 level of German language skills, and also a completed citizenship test, have proof of sufficient funds that shows you can support yourself and your family.

Also, you will have to relinquish your previous citizenship if you want to accept the Austrian citizenship.

  • Application Fee: €130 to apply, €1,100-1,500 if granted
  • Length of time living in country: 10 years
  • Language level needed: B1 German
  • Dual nationality allowed: No

Italy

To get citizenship in Italy you need to stay in the country for at least 10 years. Though Italy automatically gives citizenship to the children born from the Italian mother or father anywhere in the world. So, getting Italian citizenship through the Italian ancestry even if it from the grandparents, or great-grandparents is easy and doesn’t require the person to stay in Italy for 10 years, rather they can apply for Italian citizenship after 3 years of stay in Italy.

For the employees of the Italian state this waiting time is half i.e., they can apply for Italian citizenship in just 5 years of stay in Italy. The citizen of EU nations can apply for Italian citizenship after 4 years of stay in Italy.

If that is not the option for you then you can get Italian citizenship by Investment route. The Italy Residence by Investment Program is designed for foreign investors who are committed to making a significant contribution to the country’s economy, granting them Italian residence and visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area.

Successful applicants of Italy’s residence by investment program can apply for a permanent residence permit after five years of legal residence in Italy. After ten years from the initial granting of the visa, investors may apply for citizenship by naturalization. The minimum requirement can be either:

  • €2,000,000 invested in government bonds
  • €1,000,000 loan to an Italian limited company,
  • €1,000,000 philanthropic donation
  • €500,000 invested into an innovative start-up

Aside from residency, the individuals seeking to get Italian citizenship must demonstrate intermediate Italian language skills, adequate financial resources to support oneself, and a clean criminal record to be eligible for an Italian passport. New Citizens of Italy must swear an oath of allegiance to the state after completing the process.

  • Application Fee: €250
  • Length of time living in country: 10 years
  • Language level needed: B1 Italian
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

Spain

To get citizenship in Spain you need to stay in Spain for 10 years and learn basic level of Spanish language. Citizens of Chile, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, and individuals of Sephardic descent, can be fast-tracked and they can apply for citizenship after two years of stay.

Refugees in Spain can apply for citizenship after five years. Also, to get Spanish citizenship you need to relinquish your previous citizenship as Spain doesn’t allows for dual citizenship. You need to get all your documents translated in Spanish language and get certificate of good conduct from your local police or from the police of the place you have been residing in for last 5 years.

If you know basic Spanish you can easily pass the multiple-choice citizenship test that usually asks questions about the Spanish life and culture. Once your application is approved, the final step is to pledge allegiance to the King and promise to follow Spain’s laws and constitution. Keep in mind that some citizenship petitions may take two to four years to process.

Another way to get Spanish citizenship is through the Spain Investor Visa. This visa is processed in 3-4 months. There are 4 investment options to qualify for the Spain Investor Visa. The investment must be held for a minimum of 5 years and the investment requirement is €2m investment in public debt, or €500,000 investment in real estate, or €1m investment in shares or bank deposits, investment in a business project in scientific and technological innovation (no minimum amount).

  • Application Fee: €60-100
  • Length of time living in country: 10 years
  • Language level needed: A2 Spanish
  • Dual nationality allowed: No

Switzerland

If you are thinking to get citizenship in Switzerland then you may have to wait for a little longer. The minimum residency requirement in Switzerland is ten years. Though the local areas where you are living inside the Switzerland may have different residency requirements. In some areas the minimum residency requirement is eight areas.

To qualify for applying citizenship in Switzerland you also need to learn one of the Switzerland’s national languages to stand a chance. They usually require A2 level in written and B1 in spoken French, German, or Italian. Besides this you also need to demonstrate a particular level of integration in the society and culture, be financially secure and show your bank accounts for last three years, have no criminal offences.

Now this is not all, there is more to the complexity of getting citizenship in Switzerland. The local residents may also have say in your eligibility for Switzerland citizenship, so it’s a good idea to keep good relations with your neighbours. Try to become member of local organizations and participate in local events of your village and town as you may be asked questions about your local participation in your town or village.

  • Application Fee: €90 (100 CHF) on a federal level, plus Canton fees
  • Length of time living in country: 10 years
  • Language level needed: A2/B1 German, Italian or French
  • Dual nationality allowed: Yes

So, this the list of 14 easiest countries to get citizenship in Europe but still you will need experienced consultants to help you file your citizenship application, and get all your documents right so that you don’t get rejection on your application. If you need Visa Ray team to help you do contact us.

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