We’ve written before about the European Union’s “Right to Be Forgotten” laws (see our post on Making A Murderer’s Ken Kratz and his potential to be forgotten here), and we’ve talked a great deal about defamation and privacy concerns. Today we’re excited to offer the third in our series of blog posts that talk about what it takes to secure citizenship in each country of the European Union. (Part I of this series. Part II of this series.)We’ll be working through the list of EU countries alphabetically, in groups of five or so, and will store them under a new category in our blog, so these references will be easy to find in the future. Today, we’ll be discussing:
If you are considering gaining citizenship in an EU country, please note that our resources are basic outlines only, and are intended to give you a starting point on your journey. Each country’s requirements are different, and laws are constantly evolving. Please take the time to verify the requirements of the country where you plan to gain citizenship with its consulate or other official representative in your area. Revision Legal’s posts will not take the place of securing individual legal representation and should not be considered a substitute for direct discussion with the country where you plan to gain citizenship.
There are four different avenues that can earn a person German citizenship:
- Parents have German citizenship
- Parents have a residence permit
- Naturalization of family members
Germany, as a general rule, does not recognize dual citizenship. If the child with dual citizenship is under 18 years they can maintain dual citizenship until they turn 18. Once 18, the naturalization office requires, in writing, the individual’s choice of which citizenship they wish to retain. If they maintain their German citizenship, the office requires proof that the other citizenship has been renounced. An application can be made to continue holding dual citizenship where the other country is a EU nation or Switzerland, or the applicant can prove undue hardship in renouncing their other citizenship.
(1) If both of a child’s parents are German, the child will automatically receive German citizenship, whether born abroad or on German soil. If the parents are not married and only the father carries German citizenship, proof that the child and father are related is required for the child to receive citizenship in Germany.
If the child was born prior to 1975 and only one of the parents was German, it must be the father who carries the German citizenship for it to be passed on to the child. For children born after 1975, it does not matter whether it is the mother or father holding German citizenship.
(2) If neither parent has German citizenship, a person can be granted citizenship if one of the parents has lived in Germany for more than eight years with a residence permit. In addition to this, both parents need to have had a non-restricted residence permit or have the right to move freely as EU-citizens. This is only the case for children born after 2000; children born prior to this do not automatically receive German citizenship.
(3) A person can naturalize and obtain German citizenship if they have lived in Germany with a residence permit for at least eight years. They would need to have a residence permit or the right to free movement as a EU citizen or have a family member that is a EU citizen. Only certain residence permits allow for naturalization after eight years; for example, a permit for studies is not sufficient to gain citizenship.
Once citizenship has been obtained through naturalization, the individual will need to renounce their former citizenship, or request an exception either as a citizen of another EU country or Switzerland, or if renunciation of the other citizenship would result in undue hardship.
(4) A married spouse and minor children can be naturalized to Germany without living in Germany for eight years. The spouse can be naturalized under unique requirements – they have to have lived in Germany for at least three years lawfully, and the marriage must have lasted at least two years in Germany and still be continuing. For minor children, the application for naturalization can only be made after the child has turned 16 years of age.
As a result of the Greek Citizenship Code, passed in March 2010, there are eight different avenues through which Greek citizenship can be obtained. However, in November 2012 the Greek government froze all applications for foreigners with no Greek origin, and as of yet, this has not been changed. This leaves five ways of obtaining Greek citizenship:
- Birth on Greek soil to a Greek mother and/or father
- Claim Greek origin through an ancestor
- Enlistment in the Greek Armed Services
Laws in Greece regarding citizenship are not applied retroactively.
Under incredibly rare circumstances, Greece may bestow an honorary citizenship on an individual, this only happens where the individual has done ‘extraordinary things to promote Greece.’
If you obtain Greek citizenship, and your current nation does not object, you can hold dual citizenship. For example, neither the US nor Greece prevent dual citizenship between their nations as long as the individual meets the requirements to carry citizenship in each country.
(1) A person born in Greece, and with at least one Greek parent, willautomatically receive Greek citizenship.
(2) If a person was born outside of Greece, but their mother and/or father were born in Greece, you can obtain citizenship. The Greek government will also consider grandparents born in Greece to determine whether or not citizenship should be granted.
(3) Children under the age of 18 years, born outside wedlock, but legally recognized by a Greek national that was born in Greece can obtain Greek citizenship.
(4) Children under the age of 18 years that were legally adopted by Greek nationals/ citizens may receive Greek citizenship.
(5) Foreigners holding no Greek ethnic origin that are admitted to military academies as officers or non-commission officers of the armed services, or enlisted as volunteers, acquire Greek citizenship beginning when they are admitted to the forces or enlisted.
Some of the ways that used to be available to individuals to obtain Greek citizenship included birth to non-Greek parents that hold long-term residency within Greece, attending school under the age of 18 in Greece, and naturalization. These three options remain frozen for the time being.
There are four main ways to obtain Hungarian citizenship:
- Anyone who lost their Hungarian citizenship falling within a specific legal reasoning is entitled to reclaim it.
- Laws that may have forced people to give up their Hungarian citizenship include – Act X of 1947, Act XXVI of 1948, Act LX of 1948 on Hungarian Citizenship, or Act V of 1957 on Citizenship
- Hungarian citizenship ceased as a result of expatriation between September 15, 1947 and May 2, 1990
- Forced resettlement in Germany
- A person born before October 1, 1957 who did not obtain Hungarian citizenship at the time due to the laws in effect at the time, whose mother is a Hungarian citizen and whose father is foreign, is entitled to Hungarian citizenship
- A stateless person, born in Hungary to foreign parents, may apply for citizenship
A Hungarian citizen who obtains American citizenship does not have to relinquish your Hungarian citizenship. The same goes for those who hold American citizenship and wish to obtain Hungarian citizenship. Prior to 1990 this was not the case; however, the United States has changed how they interpret US law on acquisition of another nationality, making dual citizenship a possibility.
(1) During World War II and for a period of time after, many laws were put in place forcing Hungarians to abandon their citizenship. Hungary has since repealed these laws and allowed former Hungarians to reclaim their citizenship. There are very specific laws the Hungarian government focuses on, listed above. Additionally, if Hungarians lost citizenship as a result of expatriation or resettling in Germany by force, they can now regain their Hungarian citizenship.
(2) Regardless of where a person lives, if they were born prior to October 1, 1957 to a Hungarian mother and a foreign father, and the reason they did not automatically obtain citizenship in Hungary is due to the laws that had been in effect at the time, such as those listed under (1), they may now obtain Hungarian citizenship.
(3) A person born in Hungary to foreign parents who did not automatically obtain citizenship of the State where their parents held citizenship may apply to obtain citizenship in Hungary.
(4) To meet the requirements for naturalization of Hungarian citizenship, a person must have lived in Hungary for eight consecutive years and have held a permanent residence card. The residence card may be held as an immigrant, permanent resident, person recognized as a refugee, or a person entitled to freedom of movement and stay. However, holding a criminal record, or beingunder prosecution when applying for citizenship will disqualify an applicant.An applicant’s naturalization cannot violate the public and national security of Hungary, and they must pass an examination in constitutional studies in the Hungarian language.
In some cases, individuals will qualify for “preferential naturalization” in Hungary. There are two different avenues of preferential naturalization depending on how long an applicant has been living in Hungary. If they have resided in Hungary for three consecutive years and meet the following requirements, they can apply for citizenship:
- Have been living in a valid marriage with a Hungarian citizen for that time, orsuch marriage was terminated as a result of the spouse’s death,
- Have a minor child that is a Hungarian citizen,
- Was adopted by Hungarian citizens and have reached the age of majority,
- Was recognized as a refugee by Hungarian authorities, or
- Is stateless
An applicant who has resided in Hungary for five consecutive years and meetsthe following requirements can apply for citizenship:
- Was born in the territory of Hungary, or
- Established residence in Hungary before reaching the age of majority,
For minor children adopted by Hungarian parents, the adopted parents can apply immediately for citizenship of the child, despite where the child was born. For minor children not adopted, the time constraints may be reduced if one of the parents are Hungarian or the child’s application is submitted with the parents’ for citizenship.
There are three main ways Irish citizenship can be obtained:
- Birth in Ireland
- Through descent
Because of Ireland’s inclusion of citizenship through descent, dual citizenship is not viewed as an issue. This is common in many European Union countries where citizenship includes ‘jus sanguinis’ or citizenship by descent.
(1) A person born in Ireland with either one or both parents holding Irish citizenship is automatically granted Irish citizenship as well.
(2) Irish citizenship can be carried three generations out for those not born in Ireland under certain circumstances. If at least one parent was born in Ireland and their child is born outside of Ireland, that child (‘A’) gets Irish citizenship.A’s child (‘B’) will get Irish citizenship because A holds citizenship, however, because B is of the second generation born outside of Ireland, B will need to register with the Foreign Births Register. If B’s child (‘C’) is also born outside of Ireland, C can have Irish citizenship, but only if B registered for their own citizenship prior to C’s birth. Similar to B, C would also need to register with the Foreign Births Register. Whether or not this can go past three generations born outside of Ireland is unclear. Their Immigration Services website only goes as far as the third generation in its explanation.
(3) To apply for naturalization, a person must meet specific requirements and apply to the Minister for Justice and Equality, who has sole discretion to accept or deny an application, regardless of whether or not all requirements are met. To apply for Irish citizenship based on residence, one must:
- Be of full age (18 years or older, unless married, then under 18 is acceptable)
- Be of good character
- Have one year of continuous residence in Ireland immediately prior to the application date, and, in the eight years prior to the one year, have held residence for at least four years within Ireland
- Intend in good faith to continue to reside in Ireland
- Make a declaration of fidelity to Ireland and pledge loyalty to the State, as well as undertake to faithfully observe the State’s laws and respect its democratic values
The Minister for Justice and Equality may waive the requirements listed above in unique circumstances, such as:
- The individual is of Irish descent or Irish association, or is a parent or guardian applying on behalf of a minor of Irish descent/association
- The person is the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen
- The person has been a resident abroad in public service
- The person is recognized as a stateless person or refugee
If an applicant’s partner holds Irish citizenship and is living in Ireland there is a unique set of requirements to meet for naturalization to Ireland. Similar to the list above, the applicant must be of the right age, be of good character and have been married or have had a civil partner for at least three years and be living together.
There are four main ways Italian citizenship can be obtained:
- Automatic Acquisition
- Acquisition by Claim
- Under Special Laws
Italy allows for and recognizes dual citizenship, so an applicant doesn’t have to give up their current citizenship in order to gain Italian citizenship. Of course, this depends on where an applicant currently holds citizenship; certain nations will not recognize dual citizenship and require applicants to choose which citizenship they would like to maintain.
(1) Italian citizenship is passed from parent to child without limitation on the generation. So, children of Italian citizens can gain Italian citizenship themselves, provided none of the child’s ancestors has ever renounced their own citizenship. This applies to individuals born on Italian soil or outside of Italy.
If the child is born on Italian soil to parents that are unknown, stateless, or cannot pass their citizenship on to their child, or where the child is of unknown parentage, found on Italian soil and citizenship cannot be ascertained, Italian citizenship will be given.
(2) In contrast to automatic acquisition explained under option 1, only foreign descendants of Italian citizens, up to the second degree, can claim citizenship. However, the descendant must have either served in the Italian military, be employed by the Italian government, or have resided in Italy for at least two years prior to turning 18. (The difference between a claim and automatic acquisition is unclear.)
Foreigners born on Italian soil, whether or not they are of Italian descent, can claim citizenship after continuous legal residence in Italy up to the legal age (18 years).
Finally, in terms of ‘acquisition by claim,’ foreigners can claim citizenship through marriage to an Italian citizen.
(3) The length of residence required to naturalize to Italy varies depending onthe applicant’s current citizenship:
- 3 years – Descendants of former Italian citizens up to the 2nd degree, and foreigners born on Italian soil
- 4 years – Citizens of another EU country
- 5 years – Stateless persons and refugees, and adult foreigners over 18 years that were adopted by Italian citizens
- 7 years – Children adopted by Italian citizens before 1983
- 10 years – Non-EU citizens
If the applicant has been employed by the Italian Republic for at least five years, whether in Italy or abroad, there is no legal residence requirement.
(4) There are multiple laws under which citizenship can be obtained as well, each with their own set of requirements to be met. Some of the laws look at those who had been born in or formerly resided in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Others look at Italian nationals whose property had been confiscated and ceded to the Yugoslav Republic.