Easiest countries to get citizenship
In almost all the countries of the world, a person automatically becomes a citizen upon their birth. This does not require any additional fees or steps. It is automatic. And such is known as citizenship by birth.
However, there are multiple scenarios in which a person may desire to renounce their citizenship and take up another country, or in countries that allow dual citizenship, to become a citizen of a second country as well? This is most common in the case of immigrants. While many aspiring emigrants are satisfied with simply relocating, many others wish to go a step further and establish citizenship in their new home country.
Every country has its own immigration and citizenship rules. As a result, while the world includes many countries that are easy to migrate to, it is also home to many countries that are hard to migrate to, with stricter requirements and more complex procedures. The process of obtaining citizenship follows the same pattern. Easier countries tend have simplified processes and minimal costs and/or requirements for obtaining citizenship. Most also offer multiple methods by which one can become a citizen. So today I will share with you the easiest countries to get citizenship around the world.
Methods of Obtaining Citizenship in a Country
1. Citizenship by Birth
The only method of obtaining citizenship based upon one’s geographical location at the time of birth. Countries with birthright citizenship grant citizenship to any person born within that country’s borders. Oftentimes, citizenship is granted even if the parents are citizens of a different country. Birthright citizenship has led to “birth tourism”, in which expectant mothers deliberately travel to a particular country to give birth, so their child will be a citizen of the country they are visiting. I know a lot of Nigerian women that travel to USA to give birth and come back after that because it gives instant American citizenship to the baby.
2. Citizenship By Marriage
Young people who are immigrants in certain countries can often access a quicker path to citizenship by marrying a citizen of their new home country. But the length of time it takes after the marriage to obtain citizenship varies from country to country. Spain, for example, offers citizenship to immigrants after a single year of marriage to a national.
Netherland also have a very flexible policy for granting citizenship by marriage. If you live with your partner for a continuous period of 3 years you’re automatically qualified to apply for Netherland citizenship.The beautiful thing about this is that it doesn’t matter if you live or stay outside the country. As long as you stay together with your spouse during the period you’re qualified to apply. Germany, Columbia, Brazil, Malta are also among the countries that grant citizenship by marriage.
3. Citizenship by Descent/Ancestry
You can inherit nationality. Most commonly, this is from your parents. So if your parents are citizens of a particular country you automatically inherit the citizenship whether you live in that country or not. But in some cases it goes beyond the parents as one can also inherit citizenship from ancestors hundreds of years ago. But it depends on the country. Ireland, Israel and Poland are among the top countries that offer this kind of citizenship.
4. Citizenship by Investment
Countries can grant nationality to people who contribute to their economies by investment or donation. In many countries, this can be one of the quickest and simplest ways to become a citizen. Simply make a substantial investment (or establish a major business) in that country. This is another method that is quite popular among immigrants and expatriates. The only challenge with this is that it involves substantial amount of financial investment and only the rich can afford it. Though the price varies from countries to countries but generally it costs between $200,000-$600,000 to secure. Vanuatu, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia and Malta are among the handful of countries around the world that currently offer citizenship by investment.
5. Citizenship by Naturalization/Residency
Arguably the most popular method of obtaining citizenship among immigrants and expats anywhere in the world. So if you are a resident of a country, there is a process to become a national. In most countries this is quite straightforward. But the disadvantage is that it takes so many years. Some countries path to citizenship by naturalization can take as long as 20 years.
While this method of obtaining citizenship will not disqualify anyone based upon their marital status, ancestry, or country of birth, it does require a significant time investment. Another important point about citizenship by residency is that most companies require that in those years you live in their country that you be gainfully employed. But it still doesn’t end there. Once you complete the number of years having been gainfully employed, you are also required to to write a qualifying exam. The exam provides a sort of evidence of the candidate’s devotion to their new country via some combination of language and/or general knowledge of the country.
6. Citizenship by Military Service
In some countries all you need to obtain citizenship irrespective of the years you have stayed in the country nor your financial investment is for you to accept to serve in the country’s military.
7. Citizenship by Special Abilities
Yes, one can also gain the citizenship of a country by demonstrating special abilities. If you are an Athlete for example and the country where you live discover that you have the ability to bring them medals in an Olympic they can easily offer you citizenship. It is also available to scientists, doctors, engineers and even artists. In some cases in order to further entice the individual, the citizenship is extended to the family members. UAE is one popular country that offers citizenship by special ability.
Why Another Citizenship?
So why do some individuals decide to pursue another citizenship other than that of their birth? Well, there are multiple reasons for this. It all depends on the individual seeking this and it varies from one person to the other. But here are the most common reasons people go for another citizenship.
1. Visa Free Travels
One of the best features of a good passport is the number of visa-free travels which the holder enjoys. There are countries which offer visa-free travel. Visa-free travel will help you to enjoy traveling across the world. It is also good to note that the visa-free travel privileges can vary from one country to the other depending on their passport policies. For example if you are a holder of the passport of any of the Caribbean nations like St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and Grenada you may be able to travel visa free to about 140 countries, including all European Union countries, the UK, Russia, Turkey, Singapore and Hong Kong.
So typically, there are individuals that secures citizenship with any of these countries so that it can make it easy for them to travel to other countries of the world. This is particularly important knowing that having the freedom to travel, live, and work in multiple countries is a huge advantage if you want to live and work internationally or retire in another country.
2. Citizenship for their children
Of course if you become a citizen of any country it is almost certain that the children you have will automatically become citizens also. For example if you are Nigerian and later secure a UK passport your children will automatically become citizens of the same country. In fact, you will be surprised at the number of people seeking second citizenship just for the sake of their children.
3. Rights to vote and be voted for
It makes sense to be part of the process of choosing who leads you. Most countries have the policy that only citizens are permitted to vote in elections. So even if you live in a certain country for years without been a citizen you lose the right to vote in elections. It is even more difficult to stand for election yourself. But once you become a citizen, you have the opportunity to vote and be voted for in national or state elections. So if you have a dream of becoming an American president someday the first step is to start by seeking citizenship of America.
4. Eligibility for government jobs
In most countries government jobs are only available to passport holders of that country. So your chances of getting good jobs automatically reduces ones you are a non-citizen as you are excluded from all government jobs.
5. Endless Business Opportunities
Having second citizenship is a great way to open doors and explore new entrepreneurial opportunities. Access to new markets, both established and emerging, comes with second citizenship. If you have a business that relies on international trade, having second citizenship can open doors to new business partners and customers.
6. Greener Pastures
Unemployment in most countries have made a lot of people to seek second citizenship where they will have better chances of getting well paid jobs. Majority of the people that travel out of Nigeria do it specifically for the purposes of getting a better life out there. And if the country they travel to favours them, they start thinking of getting citizenship especially if such country is among the easiest countries to get citizenship.
7. Security and Stability Reasons
Most people leave their countries and travel to other countries because of insecurity in their home country. And if the insecurity continues they will begin to seek for second citizenship especially if the country is among the easiest countries to get citizenship.Just few days a go a news broke out about a Nigerian man that resigned from a job that pays him 24 million naira annually ($56,470) to travel UK for his masters. Many people were surprised at that, but you see it is not always about the money. He may be looking at the rising insecurity in Nigeria. And he may also be doing it for the sake of the children.
This is particularly common for those from countries with political or economic instability. But truth be told, in today’s uncertain world everyone seems to need a second passport as a backup plan. There may be some unforeseen circumstances such as war, market crashes, natural disasters, political unrest and other emergencies. Peace of mind is invaluable amidst the world’s uncertainty. Having second citizenship may just be your escape route.
8. Access to better education and better healthcare
Through second citizenship, you can take advantage of education and healthcare benefits not available in your home country.
For families with children, access to quality educational institutions can be a significant advantage. Providing the best quality education for your children means opening a brighter future for them, complete with limitless opportunities.
9. Scholarship opportunities
For young people with so much inclination to education pursuit second citizenship can be an advantage. This is because there are certain scholarship opportunities that are reserved for citizens of certain countries. So if you are not a citizen of such country you are automatically disqualified.
10. Renunciation of Citizenship
Is it not true that there are certain countries that gives its citizens more disadvantages than advantages? Countries that limits the growth and progress of its citizens than aid them? A mere presentation of certain countries’ passport automatically closes the door for the individual holding it. In such case you can actually have some persons wishing they can undo the alliance with such countries. And guess what? You can undo your citizenship of a country. But before you consider renouncing your citizenship of a particular country there is every need you have another country you can call your own.
So if your home country is such that burdens its citizens, you can consider a second passport from any of the easiest countries to get citizenship.
Factors to Consider in Looking for Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship
As you have seen above, there are several ways of becoming a citizen of a given country. But the requirements also differs based on the route you choose. So certain factors can enhance or inhibit your chances of getting the citizenship of any country. So in looking for easiest countries to get citizenship you need to consider the following factors.
- Which nationalities do you already hold?
- Which country were you born in?
- Who is your partner and what is the status of your relationship, and what are their nationalities?
- What is your ancestry, specifically, where are your parents and grandparents from, and what is your family history?
- How much money do you have available to invest or spend on a second passport?
- Which options are available as pathways to residency for your chosen country?
- How long are you willing to live in a country before becoming a citizen of that country
Satisfactory and honest answers to these questions will help you make a decision on which of the easiest countries to get citizenship you should go for. It will equally help you in making the decision of which of the citizenship options that is best for you.
Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship
When it comes to the easiest countries to get citizenship it depends on the route to citizenship you seek. So I will share the easiest countries to get citizenship under the various citizenship types.
1. Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship by Birth
Jus Soli (or the law of the soil) gives anyone born in the country the right to citizenship. This rule is also sometimes called “birthright” citizenship. Most American countries practice this law.
To claim this, all you need is to be born in a country that uses this rule. It doesn’t matter why your parents were there at the time of your birth. It is also not important what their immigration status was. In fact, it is irrelevant how long your mother have been in that country before you were born. Even if your mum is still at the airport when she suddenly got into labour and you are born, you have earn the right to that citizenship.
The easiest countries to get citizenship by birth are:
- St Kitts and Nevis
- The United States of America (USA)
2. Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship by Ancestry
There are many countries that care so much about your bloodline. And they are always willing to offer citizenship to anyone traced to their country by blood. Jus sanguinis is “the right of blood,” and you can reach back to your ancestral home and become a citizen with this rule.
The easiest countries to get citizenship by ancestry are:
3. Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship by Investment
Malta’s Individual Investment Program (MIIP) offers a quick and easy way for European Union citizenship. But just like ny other citizenship by investment it doesn’t come cheap.
You’ll need to have an income of more than €100,000 or have savings of €500,000.
You’ll make a €650,000 non-refundable donation to the Malta national development fund.
Then, you’ll need to invest €150,000 in Malta Government Bonds or securities listed on the Malta stock exchange. You must hold the investment for a minimum of five years.
Finally, you’ll need a property in Malta. You can purchase one for more than €350,000 or rent for more than €150,000 per year.
Meet those requirements, and this is one of the easiest countries to get European citizenship.
2. Antigua and Barbuda
You can acquire citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda by making a one-time donation to the country’s national development fund of a minimum of $100,000. Another option is investing $400,000 in a government-approved real estate project. You’ll need to keep the investment for five years. An Antigua and Barbuda passport offers you visa-free travel in 151 nations across the world. Antigua and Barbuda is one of the easiest countries to get citizenship by investment because of the relative low amount you are required to pay.
- You’re over the age of 18
- Your criminal record is clean
- You’re able to meet the investment and donation requirements
- Your health is in good condition
- You meet the minimum stay requirement
- You’re willing to take the oath of allegiance
Other countries with a relative ease of citizenship by investment are:
St. Kitts and Nevis
You can also get citizenship by investment in Canada and United Kingdom but the investment is much higher. United Kingdom for example will require you invest as much as 2 to 10 million pounds.
4. Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship by Naturalization
The most important factor in becoming a citizen by naturalization is time investment. But how long you have to wait for naturalization is different depending on the country and your circumstances. Some countries can be as short as two years, while others as long as 15 to even 20 years.
Many counties offer shorter residency qualification periods for refugees, spouses, adopted children, and other groups too.
But guess what?
The fastest naturalization period isn’t necessarily the easiest country to get citizenship; it is just the quickest!
But let’s go ahead and look at the countries that offer the fastest naturalization period.
It is a well documented fact that Argentina has the fastest standard citizenship by naturalization policy in the world, but which other countries makes the cut?
Countries with 2 years citizenship requirement:
Countries with 3 years citizenship requirement:
- Honduras (with just one year for Central-American nationals and two years for Spaniards and Ibero-Americans.)
- Poland (fastest EU citizenship by naturalization.)
Countries with 4 years citizenship requirement:
- Brazil (Three years if you own a qualifying property or business.)
Some countries with 5 years citizenship requirements:
5. Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship by Marriage
Here are the top countries with the easiest requirements to get citizenship by marriage:
From our discussion so far you can see that there are different reasons people want to get another citizenship in addition to that of their home countries. Some might be for security, education or healthcare reasons. Others may be for the opportunity to travel round the world easily. Others even get second citizenship as a status symbol.
There are also different routes to obtain citizenship of another country including citizenship by investment, citizenship you marriage, citizenship by naturalization, citizenship by birth etc.
The easiest countries to get citizenship depends on the route you have chosen. For example if you want citizenship by naturalization you might consider Argentina or Peru. If you want citizenship by investment then go to Malta, Grenada or Antigua and Barbuda.
But the starting point of all of these is to find legal ways of migrating to any of the countries you are seeking their citizenship.