Citizenship by Descent

Obtaining citizenship in a country based on one's ancestors' nationality

What is citizenship by descent?

Citizenship by descent or Descent refers to the process of obtaining citizenship in a country based on one’s ancestors’ nationality, rather than being born or naturalized in that country.

This method of obtaining citizenship has become increasingly popular, especially in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it provides individuals with opportunities for increased mobility, career prospects, and lifestyle options. (View the program)

Citizenship-by-Ancestry Citizenship by ancestry Harvey Law Group Citizenship By Investment Citizenship by Descent

Citizenship by Descent keypoints?

  1. Eligibility based on ancestry: Citizenship by descent allows individuals to obtain citizenship in a country based on their ancestors’ nationality, rather than being born or naturalized in that country.
  2. Varied eligibility requirements: Each country has its own specific eligibility criteria for citizenship by descent, which may include having parents, grandparents, or even more distant ancestors who were citizens of the destination country.
  3. Benefits of dual citizenship: Obtaining citizenship by descent offers numerous benefits, such as the ability to live, work, and study in the destination country without a visa, access to consular assistance and protection, and a second passport that can enhance global mobility.
  4. Application process: The application process for citizenship by descent typically involves completing an application form, gathering required supporting documents (such as proof of lineage), and submitting the application to the relevant immigration authority. Processing times vary between countries.
  5. Expert assistance: Due to the complexities of citizenship by descent applications and the various eligibility criteria, it’s advisable to consult with immigration experts, such as those at Harvey Law Group, to ensure a successful application and maximize your chances of obtaining dual citizenship.

Eligibility for Citizenship by Descent

Country-specific requirements

Each country has its own requirements for eligibility when it comes to obtaining citizenship through Descent. It’s important to research and understand these requirements before starting the application process.

Ancestors’ citizenship

You may be eligible for citizenship through Descent if you have ancestors who are/were citizens in the destination country. This can vary depending on the specific country and their citizenship laws.

Advantages of Citizenship by Descent

No visa requirement

Acquiring citizenship through Descent allows you to live, work, and study in the destination country without having to obtain a visa.

Consular assistance and protection

As a citizen, you are entitled to seek consular assistance and protection from the destination country’s diplomatic authorities.

Second passport

Obtaining citizenship through Descent provides the opportunity to acquire a second passport, enhancing one’s global mobility.

Social securities, healthcare subsidies, and education benefits

Citizenship through Descent also allows you to apply for social securities, healthcare subsidies, and education benefits in the destination country.


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    Application Process for Citizenship by Descent

    Completing application form and gathering documents

    The first step in the application process is to complete the required application form and gather necessary supporting documents, such as proof of lineage.

    Submitting application to immigration authority

    Once the application form and documents are prepared, submit your application to the relevant immigration authority in the destination country.

    Processing time

    Processing times for citizenship by Descent applications vary between countries, so it’s essential to be patient and prepared for a potentially lengthy process.

    Countries that offer the Citizenship by Ancestry

    Citizenship by Descent
    Continent Countries Offering Citizenship by Descent
    Africa Cape Verde, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia
    America Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, United States
    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

    *Note: The above is a non-exhaustive list of countries that offer citizenship by descent options.

    COVID-19 Pandemic and Citizenship-by-Descent Popularity

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of having a second passport, as travel restrictions have limited people’s mobility. As a result, inquiries for foreign citizenship, particularly citizenship-by-Descent options, have surged.

    Pathway to Obtaining Second Citizenship

    Citizenship-by-Ancestry provides a direct pathway to foreign citizenship through the applicants’ bloodlines. More than 50 countries worldwide offer some form of citizenship-by-Ancestry, each with its own eligibility criteria, process, and complexity.

    First Step for Citizenship-by-Descent

    The first step in determining eligibility for citizenship-by-Ancestry is to identify the ancestor you’re claiming citizenship through and the country you want to become a citizen of. Requirements vary by country, with some allowing citizenship through a parent, grandparent, or even more distant ancestors.

    Country-Specific Requirements and Examples

    Each country has unique requirements for citizenship-by-Ancestry. For example, Italian citizenship requires proof of an ancestral link to an Italian ancestor who never lost or renounced their citizenship. For Irish citizenship, there’s a special route for people with Irish great-grandparents who have lived in Ireland for about three years before applying.

    Citizenship-by-Descent Process

    The citizenship-by-Descent process typically involves gathering required supporting documentation, including proof of lineage, and submitting an application form either online or at a local consulate. The process can take anywhere from eight months to three years, depending on the country and individual circumstances.

    Potential Uncertainties and Challenges

    Proving lineage can be uncertain, as immigration authorities may reject your application if you cannot provide sufficient evidence supporting your relationship with your ancestor or if your ancestor voluntarily renounced or lost their citizenship before you were born. It is advised to consult with immigration experts to better determine your eligibility for citizenship-by-Descent.

    Advice from Immigration Experts

    The international law firm Harvey Law Group, specializing in immigration law, highly recommends taking a closer look at your family tree to uncover potential ancestry links that could lead to a second nationality and passport. Their expert team can guide you through the complex process of citizenship by ancestry, ensuring that you are well-prepared for a successful application.

    By working with Harvey Law Group, you can navigate the intricacies of various countries’ eligibility criteria, enhancing your chances of obtaining dual citizenship and reaping the benefits of increased residential mobility, lifestyle, and career opportunities. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to transform your life with the support of experienced immigration professionals at Harvey Law Group.


    Citizenship by descent or Descent offers a unique opportunity for individuals to gain the benefits of dual citizenship, including increased global mobility, access to social services, and enhanced career prospects. Understanding the eligibility criteria and application process for the country you’re interested in is essential, and consulting with immigration experts can help ensure a successful application.


    Please contact us at [email protected] to complete a free eligibility assessment.

    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


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