Having a second passport is a perfect way to future-proof your life. The starting point is to begin by looking at the list of the easiest countries to get citizenship for free, as well as those you can pay for.
If you don’t meet the requirements for free citizenship, then you can consider buying citizenship – It’s arguably not really expensive.
Before we begin, let’s look at the different types of citizenship.
- Types of Citizenship
- Easy Countries For Citizenship By Birth Place
- Easy Countries For Citizenship By Descent
- Other Countries That Offer Ancestry Program
- Citizenship To Descendants Of The Persecuted
- Portugal Sephardic Jewish Citizenship
- Austrian and German Citizenship For Nazi Victims
- Israel Citizenship: Israel’s Law of Return
- Easiest Countries To Get Citizenship By Investment
- Antigua and Barbuda CBI
- Malta CBI
- St Kitts and Nevis CBI
- Vanuatu CBI
- Citizenship By Naturalization
- Countries With The Quickest Citizenship By Naturalization
- Countries With a 3 Years Residence Requirement:
- Countries With A 4 Years Residence Requirement:
- Some Countries With A 5 Years Residence Requirement:
- Easy Visas and Residence Permits That Can Lead To Citizenship
- Cross Border (Country To Country) Agreements
- Residency By Investment
- Spain Golden Visa
- Portugal Golden Visa
- Mauritius Residency By Investment
- Latvia Residency By Investment
- Retirement Visas
- Things That Impact Where You Can Easily Get Citizenship
- Countries With Unrestricted Birthright Citizenship
Types of Citizenship
Below are the four major pathways to citizenship:
- Citizenship by Birth Place.
- Citizenship by Descent.
- Citizenship by Naturalization (Includes Citizenship by Marriage, etc).
- Citizenship by Investment.
Easy Countries For Citizenship By Birth Place
We have listed some of the easy countries where you can easily obtain “Birthright citizenship”. Once a child is born in any of the countries listed below, they automatically become citizens of the country.
The only people not eligible for this kind of citizenship are children of occupying forces or diplomats. Some of the countries where you can easily obtain citizenship by birth include:
- St Kitts and Nevis
There are more, but the ones listed above are some of the easiest.
Easy Countries For Citizenship By Descent
Your bloodline is important to many countries. Jus sanguinis is known as the “Right Of Blood”, and with this rule, you can reach right back into history. Below are some of the easiest countries to obtain citizenship by descent:
If you have any trace of Italian heritage, then you could be eligible for citizenship. All you need is an ancestor who was once an Italian citizen.
There’s a restriction as the lineage is not to be broken. Thus, no ancestor should revoke their Italian nationality nor become a citizen of another country before their next in line was born.
Ireland allows you to go back up to three generations. This means if you have a great-grandparent of either gender, then you can obtain Irish nationality. The entitlement is not affected by where or when you were born.
You and your parent must be registered on the Foreign Births Registry. To obtain Irish citizenship from your great-grandparent, then your parent who’s of Irish descent must have registered in the Irish Foreign Births Register between the years 1956 and 1986, or if you were born after 1986 they need to have registered before you were born.
In 2011, a new Hungarian nationality law was passed. The law applies to descendants of anyone who was a Hungarian citizen before 1920 or between 1941 and 1945.
The law includes areas that formerly used to be part of Hungary but are presently neighboring countries such as Romania and Slovakia.
Provided you have an unbroken link, and you’re a descendant of a family that meets the requirement, then you’re qualified to be a citizen of Hungary. You are also required to speak basic Hungarian before you apply.
Just like Italy, Poland has a similar rule for citizenship by descent although Poland’s own goes back to 1920, just after 1918 independence.
Your claim should be based on any ancestor having dwelled in Poland as a Polish citizen after that time. Although you can still claim citizenship if you have an ancestor who satisfies those criteria.
You are also recognized as a citizen if your Polish nationality was passed on unbroken. Thus, if any of your ancestors revoked their Polish citizenship before the birth of the next generation, you will not be eligible.
Other Countries That Offer Ancestry Program
- United Kingdom
Citizenship To Descendants Of The Persecuted
Several European countries give citizenship to descendants of victims of state persecution. This include:
Portugal Sephardic Jewish Citizenship
If you can prove you descended from the Sephardic Jewish community, you could be eligible for Portuguese citizenship. The community was persecuted as well as expelled from the Iberian peninsula about 1492.
Austrian and German Citizenship For Nazi Victims
Descendants of those persecuted on religious grounds, political, sexual orientation, or as a result of racism during the Nazi dictatorship could be eligible for Austrian citizenship or German citizenship.
Israel Citizenship: Israel’s Law of Return
The Law of Return is not a citizenship by descent program; it has a broader scope. To be qualified, you must be one of the following:
- Descended from a Jewish citizen.
- A practicing Jew, including converts from another religion.
- Married to someone eligible under the Law of Return (including same-sex partnerships).
Those who qualify will need to live in Israel for three (3) months before they obtain citizenship. They will also live in Israel for one year before they will be given a passport.
Easiest Countries To Get Citizenship By Investment
I know this could be new to some people, but yes! You can actually obtain citizenship in some countries by investing in that country. Some can even give you a great return on your money.
Antigua and Barbuda CBI
A one-time donation of at least US$100,000 to the Antiguan National Development Fund program allows you to apply for citizenship. Meanwhile, with the sum of US$125,000 you can score citizenship for a family of five (5) and over.
You will also be required to pay a processing fee of USD$25,000 for up to a family of four. Additionally, you are required to pay USD$15,000 for each dependent after that.
With a passport from Antigua and Barbuda, you will be able to access 126 visa-free countries like Canada and much of South America.
Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is an easy pathway to European Union citizenship. Although this doesn’t come cheap. You are required to make a non-refundable €650,000 donation to the Malta national development fund.
Then, you’ll need to invest €150,000 in Malta securities or Government Bonds listed on the Malta stock exchange. The investment must be held for a minimum of five (5) years.
Lastly, you will need a property in Malta. You can possibly purchase one or more for around €350,000 or rent for more than €150,000 per year.
St Kitts and Nevis CBI
To qualify for St Kitts and Nevis CBI citizenship, you will need to invest more than US$200,000 in a pre-approved real estate project. You can sell the property after seven years.
Alternatively, invest in a pre-approved real estate project of upwards of US$400,000 for each main applicant. The property can be sold after five years.
There are two (2) sets of fees payable.
- The first is US$7,500 a processing fee for the main applicant. And, each individual dependant over 16 years will be liable for a US$4,000 processing fee.
- The second is a US$35,047 one-off fee on approval of the citizenship for the main applicant. This fee is US$20,047 for a spouse and US$10,047 for all other dependents. The dependents’ fee is applicable regardless of their age.
Vanuatu has one of the fastest Citizenship by Investment programs in the world (It takes less than two months).
The process is easy. Candidates must prove that they are worth more than $500,000 as the first step. Then, donate $130,000 to the government development fund, then pay your $5,00 application fee and finally collect your passport.
Citizenship By Naturalization
Citizenship by naturalization is the best bet for lots of people who may not be able to meet other requirements for becoming a citizen of another country. The process requires four (4) steps.
- Move to a country as a permanent or temporary resident.
- Legally reside in the country for the naturalization period.
- Pass any required cultural, language, or nationality exams.
- Apply for your new nationality and passport.
Countries With The Quickest Citizenship By Naturalization
Below is a list of the countries with the fastest standard citizenship by naturalization. Meanwhile, Peru has a two-year residency requirement. Below are the countries:
Countries With a 3 Years Residence Requirement:
- Honduras (with only one year for Central-American nationals and two years for Spaniards as well as Ibero-Americans.)
- Serbia (Joint fastest European citizenship by naturalization.)
- Poland (The fastest EU citizenship by naturalization.)
Countries With A 4 Years Residence Requirement:
- Brazil (3 years if you own a qualifying business or property.)
Some Countries With A 5 Years Residence Requirement:
- Czech Republic (Czechia)
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom (UK)
Easy Visas and Residence Permits That Can Lead To Citizenship
The first step to becoming a citizen through this pathway is to first obtain a residency permit in another country. Below are some of the accessible residence options that you can consider.
Cross Border (Country To Country) Agreements
Below are some agreements between countries that allow citizens of the countries involved to work and live in each other’s countries. After a period of residency, you can become a citizen of that country. Below are some agreements:
- European Economic Agreement (EEA) is an agreement between all 27 EU countries, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. Citizens of these countries can work, live, and move freely in the EEA Area.
- The Nordic agreement between Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway.
- The Trans-Tasman Agreement between New Zealand and Australia allows citizens of both countries to work and live freely in each other’s countries.
- The MERCOSUR agreement makes it easier for citizens of South American countries to get residency in each other’s countries.
NOTE: If none of the agreements above benefits you, then below are other options for you.
Residency By Investment
Governments of different countries offer residency visas if you invest in their economy. Surprisingly, some countries sell citizenship to foreigners. Below are countries you can become residents by investment:
Spain Golden Visa
You can apply for the Spanish Golden Visa when you invest €500,000 in real estate. After 10 years of residency and proof of basic Spanish, then you can apply for citizenship. Alternatively, you can purchase €1,000,000 shares or a €1,000,000 bank deposit. You can also invest €2,000,000 in government bonds.
Portugal Golden Visa
If you can invest above €350,000 in shares or property, then you can apply for Portugal golden visa. Also, you must visit Portugal at least once every year for a few weeks over five years. Additionally, you’ll need to take some Portuguese language lessons, and after that, the powerful Portuguese passport could be yours.
Mauritius Residency By Investment
This island paradise leaves its door opened to investors. There are two (2) main options for Mauritius Residency by Investment.
- Invest more than $375,000 into a qualifying Mauritian business and you’ll get a 20-yer residence permit.
- Buy an approved property for more than USD375,000 as an investment or for your residence. You become eligible for residency just as long as you own the property.
The two (2) pathways lead to Mauritius citizenship for both you and your family.
Latvia Residency By Investment
Latvia presents a lot of residency options for investors and foreigners. Each investment class has a different threshold.
- Share Capital (Business with less than 50 employees) – €50,000
- Share Capital (Business with over 50 employees) – €100,000
- Real Estate – €250,000
- Government bonds – €250,000
- 5-year fixed deposit in a Latvian bank. – €250,000
The government of many countries leaves its doors open to retirees, usually those above over 45 years old. To be eligible for the retiree visa, foreigners often have to show that they have a regular income. The income could be from an investment, pension, or other passive income.
Below is a list of the retirement visas that are available and their monthly income requirement.
- Honduras – USD$ 600
- Argentina – $500 (The Argentina Pensionado visa)
- Guatemala – USD$ 1,000
- Nicaragua – USD$ 600 (and USD$150 for each family member. You must be over 45 years of age)
- Costa Rica – USD$ 1,000. Importantly, you need to be able to prove that this income will last for your lifetime.
- Panama – USD $1,000 (The Panama Pensionado Visa)
- Mauritius – USD$1,500 (The Mauritius Retirement Visa)
- Portugal – USD S1,250 (The Portugal D7 Passive income Visa)
- Thailand – USD$ 2,000 (Or a deposit account of USD$ 25,000. You must be over 50 years of age.)
- Aruba – USD$ 2,300 (You need to be over 55 years of age)
- Spain – USD$ 2,600 (The Spain non-lucrative visa)
- Vanuatu – USD$ 2,800 (This amount needs to be transferred to a commercial bank in Vanuatu)
- Malaysia – USD$ 2,500 (You need to be over 50 and show approx. USD$ 83,000 in assets)
- United Kingdom – USD$ 2,900 (You must be over 60 and have an existing connection to the UK)
Things That Impact Where You Can Easily Get Citizenship
- The country you were born in.
- The nationalities you presently hold.
- Your ancestry. Specifically, where your parents, as well as grandparents, are from and your family history.
- The status of your relationship. Who is your partner? and what are their nationalities?
- The amount of money you have available to spend or invest on a second passport.
- What are the available pathways to residency for your chosen country?
- The length of days or years you are willing to live in your desired country of citizenship.
Countries With Unrestricted Birthright Citizenship
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- St Lucia
- Saint Kits and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines