Citizenship of the European Union (EU) is afforded to qualifying citizens of European Union member states. It was given to the citizens of member states by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, at the same time as the European Community was gaining its own legal identity. The treaty established a direct legal relationship between that new legal identity and its citizens by establishing a directly elected European Parliament and the ability for citizens to bring cases directly to the ECJ, and has been in force since 1993. European Union citizenship is additional to national citizenship. EU citizenship affords rights, freedoms and legal protections to all of its citizens.
Citizenship of the EU also confers the right to consular protection by embassies of other EU member states when a person's country of citizenship is not represented by an embassy or consulate in the country in which they require protection. EU citizens also have the right to address the European Parliament, European Ombudsman, and EU agencies directly in their own language, provided the issue raised is within that institution's competence.
EU citizens also enjoy the legal protections of EU law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and acts and directives regarding, for example, protection of personal data, rights of victims of crime, preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, equal pay, protection from discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. The EU also has an office of European Ombudsman whom EU citizens can approach directly.
However, the treaty provisions were interpreted by the European Court of Justice not as having a narrow economic purpose, but rather a wider social and economic purpose. In Levin, the Court found that the "freedom to take up employment was important, not just as a means towards the creation of a single market for the benefit of the member state economies, but as a right for the worker to raise her or his standard of living". Under the ECJ caselaw, the rights of free movement of workers applies regardless of the worker's purpose in taking up employment abroad, to both part-time and full-time work, and whether or not the worker required additional financial assistance from the member state into which he moves. Since the ECJ has held that a recipient of service has free movement rights under the treaty and this criterion is easily fulfilled, effectively every national of an EU country within another member state, whether economically active or not, had a right under Article 12 of the European Community Treaty to non-discrimination even prior to the Maastricht Treaty.
In the case of Martinez Sala, the European Court of Justice held that the citizenship provisions provided substantive equal treatment rights alongside those already granted by union law. The case of Baumbast  later established that the right to equal treatment applies equally to both economically active and inactive citizens. Despite these broad interpretations, the landmark case of Dano  combined the criteria of freedom to move and equal treatment, citing them as inter-dependant, subsequently limiting the scope of Martinez Sala.
Voting in municipal elections: a right to vote and stand in local elections in an EU state other than their own, under the same conditions as the nationals of that state (Article 22)
Accessing European government documents: a right to access to European Parliament, Council, and Commission documents (Article 15).
Petitioning Parliament and the Ombudsman: the right to petition the European Parliament and the right to apply to the European Ombudsman in order to bring to his attention any cases of poor administration by the EU institutions and bodies, with the exception of the legal bodies (Article 24)
Right to free movement and residence: a right of free movement and residence throughout the Union and the right to work in any position (including national civil services with the exception of those posts in the public sector that involve the exercise of powers conferred by public law and the safeguard of general interests of the State or local authorities (Article 21) for which however there is no one single definition);
Freedom from discrimination on nationality: a right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality within the scope of application of the Treaty (Article 18);
Right to consular protection: a right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other Member States when in a non-EU Member State, if there are no diplomatic or consular authorities from the citizen's own state (Article 23): this is due to the fact that not all member states maintain embassies in every country in the world (14 countries have only one embassy from an EU state).
Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in this Treaty and by the measures adopted to give it effect.
EU Citizenship is destined to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States
The ECJ has held that this Article confers a directly effective right upon citizens to reside in another Member State. Before the case of Baumbast, it was widely assumed that non-economically active citizens had no rights to residence deriving directly from the EU Treaty, only from directives created under the Treaty. In Baumbast, however, the ECJ held that (the then) Article 18 of the EC Treaty granted a generally applicable right to residency, which is limited by secondary legislation, but only where that secondary legislation is proportionate. Member States can distinguish between nationals and Union citizens but only if the provisions satisfy the test of proportionality. Migrant EU citizens have a "legitimate expectation of a limited degree of financial solidarity... having regard to their degree of integration into the host society" Length of time is a particularly important factor when considering the degree of integration.
The ECJ's case law on citizenship has been criticised for subjecting an increasing number of national rules to the proportionality assessment.
1. Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Union. 2. Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.
State employment reserved exclusively for nationals varies between member states. For example, training as a barrister in Britain and Ireland is not reserved for nationals, while the corresponding French course qualifies one as a 'juge' and hence can only be taken by French citizens. However, it is broadly limited to those roles that exercise a significant degree of public authority, such as judges, police, the military, diplomats, senior civil servants or politicians. Note that not all Member States choose to restrict all of these posts to nationals.
New member states may undergo transitional regimes for Freedom of movement for workers, during which their nationals only enjoy restricted access to labour markets in other member states. EU member states are permitted to keep restrictions on citizens of the newly acceded countries for a maximum of seven years after accession. For the EFTA states (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), the maximum is nine years.
Following the 2004 enlargement, three "old" member states—Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom—decided to allow unrestricted access to their labour markets. By December 2009, all but two member states—Austria and Germany—had completely dropped controls. These restrictions too expired on 1 May 2011.
Following the 2007 enlargement, all pre-2004 member states except Finland and Sweden imposed restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, as did two member states that joined in 2004: Malta and Hungary. As of November 2012, all but 8 EU countries have dropped restrictions entirely. These restrictions too expired on 1 January 2014. Norway opened its labour market in June 2012, while Switzerland kept restrictions in place until 2016.
Following the 2013 enlargement, some countries implemented restrictions on Croatian nationals following the country's EU accession on 1 July 2013. As of July 2013, all but 13 EU countries have dropped restrictions entirely. The UK Home Office has announced a bill to this effect.
There is no common EU policy on the acquisition of European citizenship as it is supplementary to national citizenship. (EC citizenship was initially granted to all citizens of European Community member states in 1994 by the Maastricht treaty concluded between the member states of the European community under international law, this changed into citizenship of the European Union in 2007 when the European Community changed its legal identity to be the European Union. Many more people became EU citizens when each new EU member state was added and, at each point, all the existing member states ratified the adjustments to the treaties to allow the creation of those extra citizenship rights for the individual. European citizenship is also generally granted at the same time as national citizenship is granted; likewise it is removed at the point of removal of national citizenship). Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that:
"Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship."
While nationals of Member States are citizens of the union, "It is for each Member State, having due regard to Union law, to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality." As a result, there is a great variety in rules and practices with regard to the acquisition and loss of citizenship in EU member states.
In 2002, with the passing of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, EU citizenship was extended to almost all British overseas territories citizens when they were automatically granted full British citizenship (with the exception of those with an association to the British sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on the Island of Cyprus). This has effectively granted them full EU citizenship rights, including free movement rights, although only residents of Gibraltar have the right to vote in European Parliament elections. In contrast, British citizens in the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have always been considered to be EU citizens but, unlike residents of the British overseas territories, are prohibited from exercising EU free movement rights under the terms of the UK Accession Treaty if they have no other connection with the UK (e.g. they have lived in the UK for five years, were born in the UK, or have parents or grandparents born in the UK) and have no EU voting rights. (see Guernsey passport, Isle of Man passport, Jersey passport).
at least one of whose married parents is an Austrian citizen
out of wedlock and whose mother is Austrian citizen
who is foundling and is found out under the age of 6 months
Austrian nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
born to Austrian parents
born after January 9, 1983 and if parents are married at the time of birth, Austrian citizenship of either the mother or the father is sufficient
born before or on January 9, 1983: father must have been an Austrian citizen; children born to an Austrian mother married to a non-Austrian father do not qualify. If parents are not married, however, a father cannot pass on Austrian citizenship, whereas a mother can
should the parents happen to marry at some time after birth, citizenship is automatically granted to child retroactively. If the child is over 14 at that time, child's consent is needed.
6 years' residence if married for at least 5 years (and general citizenship conditions are met, including German language proficiency)
6 years' residence if born in Austria, citizen of another EEC country, granted asylum, or "exceptionally integrated"
depending on fulfillment of other conditions, up to 30 years' residence
Only allowed with special permission or if dual citizenship was obtained at birth (binational parents [one Austrian, one foreign] or birth in a jus-soli country such as USA and Canada)
who is foundling (but such citizenship can be revoked if later established both parents were foreign citizens)
Croatian nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
Conditions: born to Croatian parents
born after March 1, 1991 and if parents are married at the time of birth, Croatian citizenship of mother the father is required
should the parents happen to marry at some time after birth, citizenship is automatically granted to child retroactively. If the child is over 14 at that time, child's consent is needed.
8 years' residence (can be shortened)
8 years' residence
sufficient knowledge of Croatian language
Yes, but persons seeking to become Croatian citizens by naturalisation are to renounce foreign citizenship unless applying by 'privileged naturalisation' (e.g. descendants of Croatian emigrants)
whose parents are both stateless, and at least one of whom is a Czech permanent resident
Holders of a Czech permanent residence permit for at least 5 years (or 3 years for EU citizens), with real/factual residence in Czechia totalling at least half the relevant period (absences not exceeding 2 months (or 6 months for serious reasons) not being relevant)
Holders of a Czech permanent residence permit (at the date of the application), and lawfully resident in Czechia for 10 years, with real/factual residence in Czechia totalling at least 5 years (absences not exceeding 2 months (or 6 months for serious reasons) not being relevant)
The child (legitimate or natural) is French if at least one parent is French.
4 years' marriage; also, after 5 years outside France
5 years of continuous residence.
This condition is reduced to 2 years for:
Persons who have completed successfully 2 years of higher education in a French school/university.
Persons who have done exceptional contributions to France (civil, scientific, economic, cultural, sports).
The continuous residence condition is waived for:
Persons who have served in the French military.
Persons who are refugees in France.
Persons for whom French is their mother tongue or who have been enrolled for 5 years in a French-language institution in a country where the official language or one of the official languages is French.
Greek nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
Member of recognised historical Greek community abroad in countries of ex-USSR
Ethnic Greek of different citizenship accepted to military academies, or inscribes to serve to the army, or enlists as a volunteer in time of war
Child or grandchild of a Greek Citizen
3 years of continuous residence in Greece and has an offspring from the marriage
10 years' residence in the last 12 years
5 years' residence in the last 12 years for refugees
Sufficient knowledge of Greek language, Greek history, and Greek culture in general
Athlete of an Olympic Sport, with 5 years' residence in the last 12 years, who fulfills the conditions of being a member of the Greek National Team of that sport, as these are stated by the international laws for that sport
are automatically an Irish citizen if he or she is not entitled to the citizenship of any other country.
entitled to be an Irish citizen if at least one parent is:
an Irish citizen (or someone entitled to be an Irish citizen).
a resident of the island of Ireland who is entitled to reside in either the Republic or Northern Ireland without any time limit on that residence.
a legal resident of the island of Ireland for three out of the 4 years preceding the child's birth.
Irish nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
if at the time of birth, at least one parent was an Irish citizen.
if you have an Irish citizen grandparent born on the island of Ireland. The parent would have automatically been an Irish citizen. Grandchild can secure citizenship by registering themselves in the Foreign Births Register. Citizenship gained via the Foreign Births Register can only be passed on to children born after the parent themselves were registered.
3 years of marriage or civil partnership to an Irish citizen. Three-years of residency out of the most recent five year period is required.
5 years of residency in Ireland, of which 1 (one) year immediately before application
The residency period can be waived, in the discretion of the Minister of Justice, for a person of "Irish descent or associations".
Italian nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
(Rules are in place that permit the recognition of Italian nationality for many members of the Italian diaspora, even generations after departure. The rules are complex.)
Citizenship was accorded ethnic Italians born in the territory only in/after 1863.
After this, Italian citizen fathers could pass down citizenship.
Mothers pass down citizenship only for children born in/after 1948.
A child gaining another citizenship by birth may also gain Italian citizenship by parentage, with no interference. If such a child is an Italian citizen, he/she can pass on citizenship subject to the rules above, like any other Italian citizen.
A person naturalising to a foreign state loses the right to pass on citizenship to any children he/she may have after naturalisation.
A father's later naturalisation also retroactively annulled the child's citizenship if the child was born before 1910.
2 years of legal residence in Italy (3 years if living abroad) through naturalisation
10 years' residence, no criminal record and sufficient financial resources
7 years' residence for children adopted by Italian citizens
5 years' residence for refugees or stateless individuals
4 years' residence for EU member states nationals
3 years' residence for descendants of Italian grandparents and for foreigners born in Italy
Persons born in Malta between 21 September 1964 and 31 July 1989
Persons born outside Malta between 21 September 1964 and 31 July 1989 to a father with Maltese citizenship through birth in Malta, registration or naturalisation
Persons born on or after 1 August 1989, inside or outside Malta, to at least one parent with Maltese citizenship through birth in Malta, registration or naturalisation
Maltese nationality is acquired by descent under the following condition:
Direct descendant, second or subsequent generation, born abroad of an ascendant who was born in Malta of a parent who was also born in Malta.
5 years of marriage to a Maltese citizen (if de jure or de facto separated, then still living together five years after the marriage) or a widow/widower of a Maltese citizen five years after the marriage
the non-Dutch citizenship is obtained by birth (through a parent with non-Dutch citizenship or birth in a jus soli country)
the non-Dutch citizenship is acquired through jus matrimonii (acquired automatically through marriage)
the non-Dutch citizenship is obtained by naturalisation and the person has lived in the naturalized country for at least five years before turning 18
Dutch citizenship is obtained by naturalisation when married to a Dutch national
Dutch citizenship is obtained by naturalisation by a refugee
Dutch citizenship is obtained by naturalisation and the person is unable to renounce his current nationality due to various reasons (military service, high renunciation fees, or prohibited from renouncing by the country's laws)
Dutch citizenship is obtained by naturalisation and the person is a citizen of a country that is not recognized by the Netherlands
Dutch citizenship is obtained by naturalisation as a minor.
Persons over 18 with multiple nationalities must live in the Netherlands or the EU for at least one year out of every ten years, or receive a Dutch passport or a nationality certificate every ten years.
Children born or found in Poland acquire Polish citizenship when both parents are unknown, or when their citizenship cannot be established, or if determined to be statelessness.
Polish nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
Certain descendants of Polish citizens, even after multiple generations, can apply for recognition:
Polish citizenship begins 1920.
Acquisition of foreign citizenship prior to 1951 led to the loss of Polish nationality.
After this, any Polish citizen transmits nationality to all his/her children and nationality is only lost by explicit request.
These children can pass on nationality as well.
Descendants of Polish-language/ethnic persons in some neighboring countries including Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine et al., can apply for Karta Polaka which gives many of the same rights as Polish citizenship but serves as a substitute when acquisition of Polish citizenship would result in the loss of the person's earlier citizenship.
3 years of marriage to a Polish citizen and 2 years' residence in Poland as a permanent resident, or
Grant of citizenship by presidential decree (discretionary with no set conditions for grant)
3 years of residence with permanent residence permit card under the condition of speaking Polish language proven by certificate
2 years of residence with permanent residence permit card acquired on the basis of marriage with Polish citizen and condition of speaking Polish language proven by certificate
1 year of residence with permanent residence permit card acquired on the basis of Polish ethnicity or by possessing Pole's Card and condition of speaking Polish language proven by certificate
10 years of lawful residence (under any type of residence permit/visas) and possession of permanent residence card with condition of speaking Polish language proven by certificate
Grant of citizenship by presidential decree (discretionary with no set conditions for grant)
Yes but in Poland, Polish identification must be used and the dual citizen is treated legally as only Polish
A person who is not descended from a Portuguese citizen becomes a Portuguese citizen at the moment of birth, by the effect of the law itself, if that person was born in Portugal and:
would otherwise be stateless
is a foundling
is born to non-citizen birth parents one of whom, at least, is resident in Portugal at the time of the birth (independently of the legality of such residency), but only if that parent resident in Portugal was also born in Portugal, and provided that such residency in Portugal is not due to service to a foreign State.
A person who is not descended from a Portuguese citizen and who is not covered by the conditions for automatic attribution of nationality by birth in Portugal set out above, has a right to declare that he or she wants to become a Portuguese citizen, and that person becomes a natural-born Portuguese citizen, with effects retroactive to the momement of birth, upon the registration of such declaration in the Portuguese Civil Registry (by application made by that person, once of age, or by a legal representative of that person, during minority), if that person was born in Portugal and:
had, at the date of birth, a birth parent legally resident in Portugal for at least 5 years, either enjoying Treaty rights (namely, the European Union freedom of movement, for citizens of other Member States of the Union, or the special conditions for settlement in Portugal by citizens of the Member States of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries), or in possession of any of the categories of residence permit issued by the Portuguese State, but provided that such parent's residency in Portugal was not due to service to a foreign State.
Portuguese nationality is transmitted by descent under one of the following conditions:
a child becomes a Portuguese national at birth, and nationality is recognised by the law itself if at least one of the parents of that child is a Portuguese national and the birth takes place in Portugal or in a territory administered by Portugal. (That form of transmission of nationality, combining descent from a Portuguese parent and birth in Portugal is the main form of transmission of the Portuguese nationality). No registration is necessary for the transmission of nationality in that case.
Nationality is also recognised by the law itself at birth to a child born outside Portugal, provided that the said child has at least one Portuguese parent, and the birth takes place outside Portugal due to the parent's service to the Portuguese State abroad. No registration is necessary for the transmission of nationality in that case,
Nationality retroactive to the moment of birth is recognised by the law to a person born outside Portugal if at least one of the birth parents is a Portuguese national, but only if that person's birth is registered before the Portuguese Civil Registry or if a declaration by that person, stating that he or she wants to be a Portuguese citizen, is lodged with the Portuguese Civil Registry. The registration of the birth can be applied for, as a matter of right, at any time during the person's life, by the parents, by another legal guardian of a minor, or by the person himself, if the person is already of age (18 years old or older), and also by the legal guardian of an incapacitated adult. The registration of the birth or of the declaration, can be made at any time during the person's life, but the descendants of that person cannot ask for the registration under this rule after that person is dead. Thus, if one generation is skipped, the next generation cannot register under this rule. Registration can be made either in Portugal or by means of a Portuguese Consulate abroad. If the registration is applied to by means of a Consulate, the Consulate processes the request and sends the necessary papers to the central registry office of the Portuguese Civil Registry in Lisbon. Given that the registration produces legal effects retroactive to the moment of birth, the person, once registered as a Portuguese citizen, is recognised by law as a natural born citizen.(Sons and daughters of that person, even if born before the moment of that person's registration, and even if born outside Portugal are therefore themselves able to apply for registration as Portuguese citizens, because their parent is a Portuguese citizen since birth. Accordingly, this form of transmission of nationality, combining descent and registration, allows for the transmission of Portuguese nationality by parentage from generation to generation indefinitely, even if the members of the successive generations are born outside Portugal and never reside in Portugal, provided that registration is not skipped by one generation). Many descendants of Portuguese immigrants, especially in Brazil and other Lusophone countries, hold dual nationality, being recognised as natural born Portuguese citizens upon registration under that rule.
Nationality retroactive to the moment of birth is recognized by law upon registration to a grandson or granddaughter of a Portuguese citizen who, having demonstrated that he or she has an effective connection to the Portuguese national community, declares to the Portuguese Civil Registry his or her will to become a Portuguese citizen, provided that, at the time of such declaration, the person has had no criminal conviction for a crime punishable under Portuguese law with a prison term of 3 years or more. The effective connection to the Portuguese national community is assumed by the law itself in certain cases (legal residence in Portugal for three years with registration as a taxpayer and as a user of the national health service, plus knowledge of the Portuguese language, or legal residence in Portugal for five years), and in other cases (ownership of real estate in Portugal, or constant travel to Portugal, or membership of Portuguese cultural associations abroad, or legal residence in Portugal for less than three years, etc.) it needs to be evaluated by the Government by means of an administrative procedure submitted by the Registrar to the Justice Minister. Once connection to the national community is ascertained (either by the Registrar recognising that the law itself assumes such connection or by the decision of the Justice Minister) interested person is then invited to register his or her birth at the Portuguese Civil Registry, and the attribution of nationality becomes a matter of right. The process becomes moot if the interested party does not follow through with the birth registration within six months of being notified to do so. Once the birth is registered, the interested person is thereafter recognized as a natural-born citizen. This form of attribution of nationality for grandchildren of Portuguese citizens, created in 2017, combining descent and registration of birth but requiring evidence of effective connection to the Portuguese community, is available for descendants of Portuguese nationals who otherwise would not be able to become natural-born citizens because the registration of one generation was missed. Because the nationality is retroactive to the moment of birth, sons and daughters of that new citizen, even if born before registration and outside Portugal, then become themselves able to be recognized as natural-born citizens as a matter of right, by having their births registered under the rule of registration for sons and daughters of Portuguese citizens.
A person married to a Portuguese national for at least 3 years can apply to be registered as a Portuguese national as a matter of right, provided that the registration is applied for during the marriage (and not after its dissolution by death or divorce). Nationality takes effect upon registration and is not retroactive, and is not lost by the dissolution of the marriage.
Naturalisation can be granted at the State's discretion to persons who are of age and who reside in Portugal for at least six years on a valid permit, provided that they demonstrate knowledge of the Portuguese language and have never been convicted of a crime punishable under Portuguese law with a prison term of 3 years or more.
Naturalisation can be granted to persons who do not reside in Portugal, or who do not satisfy the condition of residing in Portugal for at least six years on a valid permit, provided that the person applying is a second degree relative (grandson or granddaughter, or a sibling) of a Portuguese citizen.
the Portuguese Government can also grant naturalisation to foreigners who are of age and who meet neither the six-year legal residency requirement nor the knowledge of the Portuguese language requirement, provided that the person was a Portuguese national in the past, or that the applicant is held to be a descendant of Portuguese citizens, or a member of Portuguese communities abroad, or provided that the applicant is found to have rendered, or is expected to render in the future relevant services to the Portuguese State or to the national community.
Minors born in Portugal to foreign parents can by be granted Portuguese Nationality by the Government, if, at the time of the request made on their behalf by their legal representatives, they have completed the first cycle of the basic education in Portugal, and if one of the parents legally resides in Portugal for at least five years. The requirements of being of age at the time of the request and of legally residing in Portugal for at least six years are waived with respect to a minor meeting those conditions, but the minor must still demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language, and must not have been convicted to crimes that carry under Portuguese law a prison penalty of three years or more.
the Portuguese Government can also grant naturalisation to foreigners who prove that they descend from Portuguese Sephardic Jews and who demonstrate that they belong to a traditional Jewish Sephardic community of Portuguese origin;
Nationality is granted as a matter of right (and not by naturalisation in the strict sense), but without retroactive effect, to a person who is a son or a daughter of someone who acquires Portuguese Nationality by naturalisation, provided that the person was a minor at the time of the parent's naturalisation, and provided that the person in question, either represented by his parents or by another legal guardian (during minority or incapacity), or by himself (once of age) applies to be registered as a Portuguese national.
Romanian nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
Persons with a Romanian ancestor up to 3 generations back may be eligible for citizenship:
Persons with at least one parent, grandparent or great-grandparent, born anytime before 1940 in a location that was in the Kingdom of Romania between 1918 and 1940 (including Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina) and can demonstrate competence in the Romanian language, are eligible for restoration of citizenship.
Persons with a parent or grandparent still registered as a Romanian citizen, may apply for clarification of their own citizenship. Romanian citizenship is NOT automatically lost by naturalisation to a foreign country.
5 years' residence in Romania
8 years' residence
4 years' residence (EU citizens), but requires permanent residency which is typically issued after 5 years
Slovak nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
After 5 years' residence in Slovakia, and living in Slovakia without any immigration restrictions at the time of application
8 years' residence (5 years until a permanent residence is acquired plus 3 years of permanent residence)
Dual citizenship is only permitted to Slovak citizens who acquire a second citizenship by birth or through marriage; and to foreign nationals who apply for Slovak citizenship and meet the requirements of the Citizenship Act.
A child born in Slovenia is a Slovenian citizen if either parent is a Slovenian citizen. Where the child is born outside Slovenia the child will be automatically Slovenian if:
both parents are Slovenian citizens; or
one parent is Slovenian and the other parent is unknown, is of unknown citizenship or is stateless.
A person born outside Slovenia with one Slovenian parent who is not Slovenian automatically may acquire Slovenian citizenship through:
an application for registration as a Slovenian citizen made at any time before age 36; or
taking up permanent residence in Slovenia before age 18.
Children adopted by Slovenian citizens may be granted Slovenian citizenship.
Slovenian nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
A person of "Slovenian origin" up to the fourth generation in direct descent or a former Slovenian citizen may be naturalised without any residence requirements.
A person who is married to a Slovenian citizen for at least two years may be naturalised after one year's residence in Slovenia
A total of 10 years' residence in Slovenia, including 5 years' continuous residence before the application
Dual citizenship is generally permitted in Slovenia, except for certain persons seeking to become Slovenian citizens by naturalisation they are to renounce any foreign citizenship (the requirement to renounce foreign citizenship may be waived upon special application).
Swedish nationality is acquired by descent under one of the following conditions:
Person: whose mother is a Swedish citizen,
or born in Sweden whose father is a Swedish citizen
whose father is a Swedish citizen and married to the mother (also later marriage)
3 years' marriage in case residing in Sweden, 10 years in case living abroad with a Swedish spouse and has 'strong ties' to Sweden, by family visits and such
5 years' normal residence permit (not the time limited residence/work permit/Study Permit) and must hold Swedish permanent residence permit at the time of applying or person with a visa intended for settlement in Sweden with 5 years' residence in Sweden.
British nationality is acquired by descent under one of several conditions. See separate article section of "British by descent" for details.
3 years' residence (must be without any immigration restrictions on date of application)
5 years' continuous residence, with at least 12 months' residence without any conditions (the last year of which without any immigration restrictions, i.e. Indefinite Leave to Remain or permanent residence as an EU citizen)
Loss of EU citizenship due to member state withdrawal
The general rule for losing EU citizenship is that European citizenship is lost if member state nationality is lost, but the automatic loss of EU citizenship as a result of a member state withdrawing from the EU is the subject of debate.
One school of legal thought indicates that the Maastricht treaty created the European Union as a legal entity, it then also created the status of EU citizen which gave an individual relationship between the EU and its citizens, and a status of EU citizen. Clemens Rieder suggests a case can be made that "[n]one of the Member States were forced to confer the status of EU citizenship on their citizens but once they have, according to this argument, they cannot simply withdraw this status.". In this situation, no EU citizen would involuntarily lose their citizenship due to their nation's withdrawal from the EU.
Another school of legal thought indicates that the Maastricht treaty created the European Union as a legal entity, but it does not have a direct legal relationship with its citizens and EU citizenship is not comparable with any other citizenships and is not additional to the member state citizenship. EU citizenship is only a special feature that member states can offer their citizens. The relationship between an EU citizen and the EU as an organization, is therefore only legally through the member state. In this situation, when the member country leaves, the ex-member country can no longer offer that special feature to its citizens, thus (for example with respect to Brexit) British citizens would no longer be EU citizens.
It is likely that only a court case before the European Court of Justice would be able to properly determine the correct legal position in this regard, as there is no definitive legal certainty in this area. As of 7 February 2018, the District Court of Amsterdam decided to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, but the state of the Netherlands has appealed against this referral decision.
All citizens of Greenland are eligible for EU citizenship under its OCT status, even following Greenland's withdrawal from the EU in 1985, because they remain eligible for Danish passports (which confer EU citizenship) or Greenlandic (which do not). Greenland, however, was not a member state of the EU and is not a sovereign nation state unlike, for example, the United Kingdom.
As a result of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the opinion of both the European and British governments has been that British citizens would lose their European citizenship and European citizens would lose their automatic right to stay in the UK. To account for the problems arising from this, a provisional agreement outlines the right of UK citizens to remain in the EU (and vice versa) where they are resident in the Union on the day of the UK's withdrawal. The only exception to this is citizens who possess dual citizenship with an EU state. This eligibility includes the majority of British citizens from Northern Ireland, who are automatically entitled to Irish citizenship as part of the Good Friday Agreement.
European Citizens' Initiatives to challenge Brexit
“Citizenship of the Union is intended to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States” (inter alia: Grzelczyk, paragraph 31; Baumbast and R, paragraph 82; Garcia Avello, paragraph 22; Zhu and Chen, parag. 25; Rottmann, parag. 43; Zambrano, parag. 41, etc.)
“Article 20 TFEU precludes national measures that have the effect of depriving citizens of the Union of the genuine enjoyment of the substance of the rights conferred by virtue of their status as citizens of the Union” (Inter alia: Rottmann, parag. 42; Zambrano, parag. 42; McCarthy, parag 47; Dereci, parag. 66; O and Others, parag. 45; CS, parag. 26; Chavez-Vilchez and Others, parag. 61, etc.)
Based on the argument presented by "EU Citizenship for Europeans" and its creator, Brexit is a textbook definition of a Member State depriving a European citizen of his or her rights as EU citizens, and therefore a legal act is necessary in order to protect not just rights but the status of EU citizen itself. Despite variances in interpretation of some points of law raised by the Initiative, the European Commission's decision to register the initiative confirms the strength and merit of the initiative's legal argument.
A proposal made first by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator, to help cover the rights of UK citizens post-Brexit would see UK citizens able to opt-out of the loss of EU citizenship as a result of the general clauses of the withdrawal agreement. This would allow visa-free working on the basis of their continuing rights as EU citizens. This, he termed, "associate citizenship". This has been discussed with the UK's negotiator David Davis. However, it was made clear by the UK government that there would be no role for EU institutions concerning its citizens, effectively removing the proposal as a possibility.
Denmark obtained four opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty following the treaty's initial rejection in a 1992 referendum. The opt-outs are outlined in the Edinburgh Agreement and concern the EMU (as above), the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) and the citizenship of the European Union. The citizenship opt-out stated that European citizenship did not replace national citizenship; this opt-out was rendered meaningless when the Amsterdam Treaty adopted the same wording for all members. The policy of recent Danish governments has been to hold referendums to abolish these opt-outs, including formally abolishing the citizenship opt-out which is still technically active even if redundant.
Around 500,000 British people applied for Irish citizenship during the first half of 2017 with the possible intention of keeping European Union Citizenship after Brexit.
^ abArnull, Anthony; Dashwood, Alan; Dougan, Michael; Ross, Malcolm; Spaventa, Eleanor; Wyatt, Derrick (2006). European Union Law (5th ed.). Sweet & Maxwell. ISBN 978-0-421-92560-1.
^Dougan, M. (2006). "The constitutional dimension to the case law on Union citizenship". European Law Review. 31 (5): 613–641.. See also Case C-209/03R (Dany Bidar) v. London Borough of Ealing and Secretary of State for Education and Skills, para. -.
^Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.
^Case C-396/90Micheletti v. Delegación del Gobierno en Cantabria, which established that dual-nationals of a Member State and a non-Member State were entitled to freedom of movement; case C-192/99R v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p. Manjit Kaur. It is not an abuse of process to acquire nationality in a Member State solely to take advantage of free movement rights in other Member States: case C-200/02Kunqian Catherine Zhu and Man Lavette Chen v Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Nationality law (German: Staatsbürgerschaftsgesetz) in the Republic of Austria is based on the principle of jus sanguinis. In other words, one usually acquires Austrian citizenship if a parent is Austrian, irrespective of place of birth.
Belgian citizenship is based on a mixture of the principles of jus sanguinis and jus soli. In other words, both place of birth and Belgian parentage are relevant for determining whether a person is a Belgian citizen. It is regulated by the Code of Belgian Nationality.
In some circumstances citizenship is granted to children born in Belgium to non-Belgian parents; however, this is not the case in which the parents are temporary or short-term visitors.
Bulgarian nationality law is governed by the Constitution of Bulgaria (article 25 and 26) of 1991 and the citizenship law of 1999 (with changes made in various years through to 2009).It is mainly based on jus sanguinis; however, it is possible to obtain citizenship after 5 years of residence in Bulgaria. Naturalisation is available on the basis of residence in certain types of status; marriage or on the basis of origin or at the discretion of the government of Bulgaria to persons of merit. The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice is in charge of processing citizenship applications.
Every Bulgarian citizen is also a citizen of the European Union.
Slovak nationality law is the law governing the acquisition, transmission and loss of Slovak citizenship. The Citizenship Act is a law enacted by the National Council of Slovakia in regard to the nationality law following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 2010, it was controversially amended to disallow former citizens from voting, which was said to have affected the 2012 election to some degree.
The citizenship law of the Czech Republic is based on the principles of jus sanguinis or "right by blood". In other words, descent from a Czech parent is the primary method of acquiring Czech citizenship (together with naturalisation). Birth on Czech territory without a Czech parent is in itself insufficient for the conferral of Czech citizenship. Every Czech citizen is also a citizen of the European Union. The law came into effect on 1 January 1993, the date of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, and has been amended in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2005. Since 1 January 2014, multiple citizenship under Czech law is allowed.
Danish nationality law is ruled by the Constitutional act of Denmark (of 1953) and the Consolidated Act of Danish Nationality (of 2003, with amendment in 2004).
Danish nationality can be acquired in one of the following ways:
Automatically at birth if born in the Kingdom of Denmark and at least one of the parents has Danish citizenship.
Automatically at birth if born outside the Kingdom of Denmark and at least one of the parents has Danish citizenship.
Automatically if a person is adopted as a child under 12 years of age
By declaration for nationals of another Nordic country
By naturalisation, that is, by statute
Automatically at birth if either parent is a Danish citizen, regardless of birthplace, if the child was born on or after July 1, 2014.In December 2018, the law on Danish citizenship was changed so that a handshake was mandatory during the ceremony. The regulation would, among other things, prevent members of islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir to receive citizenship as they would never shake hands.
Estonian citizenship – based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis – is governed by a law promulgated on 19 January 1995 by the Riigikogu which took effect on 1 April 1995. The Police and Border Guard Board (Estonian: Politsei- ja Piirivalveamet) is responsible for processing applications and enquiries concerning Estonian citizenship.
Resolution Concerning the Citizenship of the Democratic Republic of Estonia, the first Estonian citizenship law was adopted by the Estonian National Council on 26 November 1918. According to this law, all people who
1) were permanent residents on the day the law came into force on the territory of the Republic of Estonia;
2) prior to the Estonian Declaration of Independence on 24 February 1918 had been subjects of the Russian State;
3) were entered in the parish registers or originated from the territory of Estonia,regardless of their ethnicity and faith were proclaimed Estonian citizens.
The Citizenship Law adopted in 1922 defined the principles of succession by applying the jus sanguinis principle.
Nationality law of Greece is based on the principle of jus sanguinis. Greek citizenship may be acquired by descent or through naturalization. Greek law permits dual citizenship. A Greek national is a citizen of the European Union, and therefore entitled to the same rights as other EU citizens.
Hungarian nationality law is based on the principles of jus sanguinis. Hungarian citizenship can be acquired by descent from a Hungarian parent, or by naturalisation. A person born in Hungary to foreign parents does not generally acquire Hungarian citizenship. A Hungarian citizen is also a citizen of the European Union.
The current Hungarian nationality law came into force in 1993. By changes made in January 2011, every person who was a Hungarian citizen or a descendant of a person who was a Hungarian citizen before 1920 or between 1941 and 1945 and speaks Hungarian may apply to become a Hungarian citizen, even if they do not live in Hungary.
Dual citizenship is permitted under Hungarian law.
The Latvian nationality law (Latvian: Pilsonības likums) is based on the Citizenship Law of 1994 (as at 2013, amended four times, most recently through the amendments approved by the Parliament of Latvia on May 9, 2013). It is primarily based on jus sanguinis.
Lithuanian nationality law automatically grants citizenship to persons born within the current borders of Lithuania. Citizenship may also be granted by naturalization. Naturalization requires a residency period, an examination in the Lithuanian language, examination results demonstrating familiarity with the Lithuanian Constitution, a demonstrated means of support, and an oath of loyalty. A right of return clause was included in the 1991 constitution for persons who left Lithuania after its occupation by the Soviet Union in 1940 and their descendants. Lithuanian citizens are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.
Portuguese nationality law is the legal set of rules that regulate access to Portuguese citizenship, which is acquired mainly through descent from a Portuguese parent, naturalisation in Portugal or marriage to a Portuguese citizen.
In some cases, children born in Portugal to non-citizens may be eligible for Portuguese citizenship. However this does not apply to children born to tourists or short-term visitors. Portuguese citizenship law is complicated by the existence of numerous former colonies and in some cases it is possible to claim Portuguese citizenship by connection with one of these jurisdictions. The most notable of these are Portuguese India (annexed by India in 1961), East Timor and Macau.
Overall the present Portuguese nationality law, dated from 1981, privileges Jus sanguinis, while the precedent law, of 1959, was based on the principle of Jus soli. This shift occurred in 1975 and 1981, thus basically making it difficult to access naturalization not only to first generation migrants, but also to their children and grandchildren. Only very recently, in 2006, was this situation slightly changed, but still stressing Jus sanguinis.
In recent years, Portugal created the Golden Visa Program, which provides a way for non-EU residents to gain residency.
The Romanian nationality law addresses specific rights, duties, privileges, and benefits between Romania and the individual. Romanian nationality law is based on jus sanguinis ("right of blood"). Current citizenship policy in Romania is in accordance with the Romanian Citizenship Law, which was adopted by the Romanian Parliament on March 6, 1991, and the Constitution of Romania, which was adopted on November 21, 1991.
Slovenian nationality law is based primarily on the principles of Jus sanguinis, in that descent from a Slovenian parent is the primary basis for acquisition of Slovenian citizenship. However, although children born to foreign parents in Slovenia do not acquire Slovenian citizenship on the basis of birthplace, place of birth is relevant for determining whether the child of Slovenian parents acquires citizenship.
Slovenia became independent from Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991, and transitional provisions were made for the acquisition of Slovenian citizenship by certain former Yugoslav citizens.
Dual citizenship is permitted in Slovenia, with the exception that those acquiring Slovenian citizenship by naturalisation are normally required to renounce any foreign citizenship they hold.
Swedish nationality law determines entitlement to Swedish citizenship. Citizenship of Sweden is based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis. In other words, citizenship is conferred primarily by birth to a Swedish parent, irrespective of place of birth.
In general, children born in Sweden to foreign parents do not acquire Swedish citizenship at birth, although if they remain resident in Sweden they may become Swedish later on.
Swedish law was significantly amended with effect from 1 July 2001 and from that date, dual citizenship is permitted without restriction.
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