As awareness around dual citizenship and its benefits grows, inquiries for foreign citizenships have never been higher. Citizenship-by-Ancestry (“CBA”) programs, which offer foreign citizenships through bloodlines, are especially popular due to their simplicity and affordability.

Whilst numerous migrants today uproot their families and move abroad for several years to secure citizenship through naturalization, those with a qualifying ancestor may apply for CBA without relocating to the country of interest.

Additionally, unlike investment-based immigration programs that require applicants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain citizenship or residency rights, CBA offers applicants the opportunity to apply for foreign citizenships at significantly reduced costs – about USD 5000 – USD 25,000 depending on the program of concern.

“If you do not think you have any ancestors with foreign nationality, we urge you to take a closer look at your family tree, as you may find an ancestry link that could be your door to a second nationality and passport, which could profoundly impact your residential mobility, lifestyle, tax burden, and career opportunities,” said Mr. Jean-Francois Harvey of Harvey Law Group, an international business and immigration law firm.

Increased Demand for Citizenship By Ancestry in the European Union

Today, over 50 countries around the world offer some form of CBA pathway. Some of the notable CBA destinations include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Among these CBA options, we see in particular a recent surge in demand for European Union (“EU”) CBA, as people increasingly recognize the value of having an EU passport in the midst of the pandemic.

“Upon becoming an EU citizen, you will not only secure a powerful passport that enhances your global mobility, but you will also have the right to live, work, and study anywhere in the EU. In cases of emergencies, EU citizens may seek consular assistance and protection from any EU embassy. They may also apply for social securities, healthcare subsidies, and education benefits from any EU member state,” Mr. Harvey pointed out.

Given these benefits, it is hardly surprising that various EU countries are popular destinations for CBA. Italy, for example, offers one of the most sought-after CBA programs because the country does not impose any generational limits on its applicants. In most cases, Italian CBA applicants may claim citizenship from their Italian ancestors as long as the ancestor of concern never lost or renounced his Italian citizenship.

France is also a popular CBA destination, as it offers children of French citizens the opportunity to apply for a powerful French passport irrespective of their place of birth, French language abilities, or ties to France.

The Hungarian citizenship law similarly allows descendants of Hungarian citizens to apply for CBA regardless of where they were born or whether they have any knowledge of Hungarian history or culture, making this another attractive CBA pathway for those looking to secure EU citizenship.

Recent Relaxation of Citizenship by Ancestry Rules in Some Countries

Due to increased global tolerance towards dual nationality and further relaxation in CBA rules in certain countries, some of the traditionally less popular CBA options are also gaining traction. For example, although Austria is traditionally not a popular destination for securing second citizenship as the country does not recognize dual nationality, it recently opened up a new path allowing victims of Nazi persecution and their direct descendants to claim Austrian citizenship without giving up their existing citizenships. Moreover, the Slovak Citizenship-by-Ancestry program further eased its requirements in 2022 to offer more Slovak descendants the opportunity to acquire citizenship and passport in Slovakia.

Notably, some countries, such as United States, now accept DNA tests as proof of one’s genetic link to a qualifying ancestor, thereby empowering migrants to establish their CBA claims even where insufficient documentary evidence concerning their family heritage is available.

“Whilst countries around the globe loosen their Citizenship-by-Ancestry rules, we have seen a five-fold increase in demand for CBA. We expect this trend to continue in 2023, as toleration of dual citizenship becomes the new norm,” said Mr. Harvey.

If you are interested in applying for Citizenship-by-Ancestry or learning more about the above-mentioned immigration programs, please do not hesitate to contact us at Our lawyers would be delighted to conduct a free eligibility assessment and advise if you may qualify to apply for Citizenship-by-Ancestry in your country of interest.

Author: Polly Ho (Associate)

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