What is citizenship by descent?
Citizenship by Descent (CBA), refers to the process of acquiring citizenship based on one’s familial ties to a particular country. This option is becoming increasingly popular, as it can be a convenient and relatively straightforward way of obtaining citizenship in a foreign country.
In this article, we will discuss which countries offer Citizenship by Descent programs and touch on the eligibility requirements, the overall advantages, and the process.
Which countries offer Citizenship by Descent?
Currently, over 50 countries offer CBAs. Countries that offer CBA programs include but are not limited to the following:
- Africa – Cape Verde, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia
- America – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United States of America
- Asia – Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand
- Europe – Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
- Middle East – Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman
- Oceania – Australia, Fiji, New Zealand
What are the eligibility requirements for Citizenship by Descent?
The eligibility requirements for each country’s program vary significantly. In some countries, such as Italy, no generational barriers are imposed on applicants. Therefore, those with an ancestral link with Italy may qualify for Italian CBA regardless of how far back their ancestral lines extend.
Comparatively, people of French descent can only claim French citizenship from a French parent as each generation must register as French citizens before the citizenship can be passed down to the next generation.
Typically, applicants are required to provide documentation proving their ancestral link to the country of concern and submit birth and marriage registration records of each generation in the ancestral lineage. Some countries may require proof of proficiency in their official languages to support the issuance of a favourable decision on the CBA applications.
The process of obtaining CBA can be lengthy if the documentation required to prove ancestry is not complete, properly translated or legalized, so it is important to begin the process well in advance and consult with an immigration lawyer to determine eligibility and navigate the application process.
What are the advantages of claiming Citizenship by Descent?
The overall advantages of obtaining a second citizenship through CBA include the ability to live and work in the new country without the need for a visa or work permit. This can be particularly advantageous for individuals who wish to move to the country of their ancestors to connect with their heritage, start a business, or pursue educational opportunities.
In addition, CBA can provide access to social services, including healthcare, education, and retirement benefits. Some countries, such as those in the Schengen Area, may also allow citizens to travel freely throughout the European Union, providing additional opportunities for work and travel.
It is important to note that a degree of uncertainty is involved in proving lineage because the immigration authorities may refuse your application if you cannot provide sufficient evidence to support your relationship with your ancestor or if they find that your ancestor had voluntarily renounced or lost his citizenship before you were born.
For more information about Citizenship by Descent
Please feel free to contact us without hesitation.
Harvey Law Group (HLG) has been advising on Immigration and Business Law for more than three decades. With 20 offices around the world including in the United States,
To schedule a free consultation, contact us at +1 352 331 7554 or [email protected] to schedule a visit at
Harvey Law Group USA office located at 1395 Brickell Avenue, Miami, Florida 33131.
About Harvey Law Group
Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm founded in 1992 by Jean-François Harvey. Headquartered in Hong Kong with over 24 offices worldwide, HLG is a leading provider of professional and responsible advisory to high-net-worth individuals on immigration law and business matters.
Our lawyers and employees comprise 20 nationalities, speak over 15 languages, and are licensed to practice in multiple jurisdictions.
For more information about the firm, please visit https://harveylawcorporation.com.