Living in a non EU country? Here are the 9 Best European Citizenships by Descent Programs!

Looking for the world’s highest valued citizenship by descent countries? If so, look no further than the EU!

An EU passport (or residency) grants you access to all other EU countries. This lets you travel and settle anywhere in any of 31 European territories!

And this isn’t just exclusive to EU countries. Some non EU countries can be accessed if you wield an EU passport (such as Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, and Norway).

For example, if you are a French citizen, you have similar residency and work rights in Madrid, Berlin, and Rome - as if you were a citizen of Spain, Germany, or Italy!

But How Valuable is an EU Passport?

European citizenship carries high market value. In fact, many of the citizenship programs there have high price tags.

For example, Malta is an EU nation that lets you buy direct citizenship, and the cost is fairly high. Many investors are willing to pay the €690,000 minimum for citizenship!

They’ll even pay over €1 million if their application includes family members!

The only countries that offer a similar quality program are those in the Caribbean. And they charge so much less than what Malta asks for.

Why? It’s due to the legislation from the EU - forcing Malta to significantly increase its program’s prices (as a way of sifting serious from valueless investors).

Even non EU countries (in Europe) have high prices for citizenship. One is Montenegro, whose citizenship costs three to five times those of Caribbean nations. And it’s all due to speculation that one day, Montenegro may join the EU.

That aside, EU passports are the world’s most sought after. They allow their holders visa free entry to more countries than most. And whatever passport ranking system you check, you’ll always find EU passports topping the lists. In fact, European Union passports allow visa free access to 180+ territories and countries around the world!

The value of European citizenship cannot be overstated. And it’s a reason why many investors worldwide are spending a lot to acquire them!


What you may not know is that some individuals can get European citizenship for free. This is due to Europe’s ancestry policies.

You might be one of those lucky few. You may be descended from a European grandparent (or great-grandparent), and thus be viable for descent citizenship!

Of the 31 territories in Europe’s Single Market, only 17 offer the citizenship ancestry option. We’ll look at the top nine countries that allow descent descent citizenship, picking those whose offer extends to the 3rd generation (i.e., applicants whose great-grandparents carried citizenship).

#1 - Slovakia (to 3rd Generation)

If your ancestor was born in Czechoslovakia (which has now become the Slovak Republic), you have the right to descent citizenship - which in turn grants you residence rights in all European countries!

Around 800,000 Americans may qualify for Slovak citizenship by ancestry. Americans of Slovak ancestry are concentrated in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Also, around 700,000 individuals with Slovak ancestry are estimated to live around the world (outside the US), and may qualify for ancestry citizenship!

Visit the following link for more information on Slovak citizenship descent.

#2 - Poland (Beyond 3rd Generation)

Poland places ancestral limits on who can acquire citizenship.

In fact, it grants descent citizenship to applicants who have ancestors with Polish citizenship (when) the Second Polish Republic was founded in 1919!

The Polish diaspora is one of the most populous in the world. It’s estimated that there are 30 million people globally of Polish descent!

Nearly 10 million Americans identified as Polish-American in the 2020 census. And that excludes those who don’t self-identify as Poles. With that, it’s estimated that there are 19 million Polish Americans overall!

Polish Americans are concentrated in the Great Lakes regions, specifically Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, in addition to Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Non EU countries also have large Polish diasporas. Those include Ukraine (150,000), Australia (200,000), Russia (300,000), Belarus (400,000), Argentina (500,000), Canada (1,000,000), and Brazil (3,000,000).

Visit our website for more information on Polish citizenship by descent.

#3 - Luxembourg (Beyond 3rd Generation)

If a parent, grandparent, or an earlier ancestor carried Luxembourg nationality, applicants can claim descent citizenship. This applies to paternal lineages only.

Applicants are required to provide a birth certificate of their ancestor and other relevant records, which can be obtained on request from Luxembourg’s public records bureaus.

With that, Luxembourg is a small country, with a population of 600,000. As a result, you’ll find its diaspora limited in size. Less than 100,000 people of Luxembourgish ancestry live outside its borders.

#4 - Lithuania (Beyond 3rd Generation)

You can claim Lithuanian descent citizenship if the following applies:

  • Your ancestors (all the way to your great grandparents) were Republic of Lithuania citizens (as it was between 1918 and 1940), or…
  • If your ancestors left Lithuania before its 1990 independence

As with other ancestries, the largest population is in the US (at 650,000). Next is the UK (at 200,000), Brazil (60,000), then Canada (47,000), Argentina (45,000), and finally Russia (32,000).

#5 - Latvia (Beyond 3rd Generation)

Latvia allows descent by citizenship if:

  • Applicants belong to Liv or Latvian ethnic groups
  • Are descended from ancestors exiled from Latvia due to war

Latvia doesn’t set a generational limit on ancestry. This means that Latvian ancestors who are very distant still qualify you for citizenship!

Also, Latvians are some of the smallest European groups worldwide. The US diaspora is at (100,000), with Canada coming in second (at 30,000), and Australia third at (25,000).

#6 - Italy (Beyond 3rd Generation)

Italy grants descent citizenship to anyone who can prove Italian ancestry, regardless of how far back that ancestor is.

While Italian consulates do receive high application volumes, processing times never exceed two years. This is due to a ruling by the Court of Rome, which favored applicants who waited over two years to get their citizenship appointments. And the ruling allows applicants to immediately receive citizenship!

Italy is one of the largest ancestries in North and South America. It’s possible that millions worldwide are eligible for its ancestry program.

With that, population estimates are inaccurate and vary from one source to another.

The most accurate estimates today put Italian descendants at 83 million (outside Italy). The largest Italian populations are in Uruguay (1 million), Canada (1.4 million), Colombia and Venezuela (2 million each), the US (17 million), Argentina (25 million), and Brazil (31 million).

For more information on how to get Italian citizenship by descent - visit our website!

#7 - Ireland (to 3rd Generation)

Ireland manages one of the world’s most demanded descent citizenship policies. This can be seen in the country’s passport ratios, where over 15 million Irish passports exist, compared to only five million residing in Ireland!

What’s excellent about the program is its flexibility. Even if an applicant’s grandparents weren’t born in Ireland, they can still qualify for citizenship (as long as they have a great grandparent born in Ireland).

The Irish diaspora worldwide is one of the largest. It’s estimated that 80 million possible applicants exist around the world.

The US holds the largest population (at 36 million), followed by the UK (at 14 million). Others who live in non EU countries include Australia (around 7 million), Canada (at 5 million), and Argentina (at 1 million).

For more information on how to get Irish citizenship by descent - visit our website!

#8 - Hungary (Beyond 3rd Generation)

In 2010, Hungary amended its nationality law. The changes allow for easier naturalization of people from Hungarian descent, without mastering the Hungarian language or fulfilling a residency period.

Since then, the country has approved over 1 million ancestry citizenship applications!

Regardless, Hungarian descent is rare around the world. Only an estimated 3 million people live in non EU countries.

Around 2 million are in North America. Others live in countries such as Ukraine, Israel, and Serbia - with hundreds of thousands estimated in each country.

#9 - Bulgaria (Beyond 3rd Generation)

Bulgaria is a country that allows descent citizenship, as long as applicants can prove they have Bulgarian ancestry.

There is no generational limit on how far back an ancestor can be (according to Bulgaria’s Citizenship Act - Section 15). Thus, you can naturalize there, even if multiple generations in your ancestry didn’t carry citizenship, as long as you can prove that one ancestor did.

Currently, around 2.5 million ancestral Bulgarians live outside of Bulgaria. The biggest concentrations are in non EU countries.

Most are in Ukraine (between 200,000 and 500,000), followed by the US (at 300,000), then Turkey (at 300,000), the UK (at 100,000), and Moldova (at 100,000).

Get Your European Citizenship Today!

If you fulfill ancestry requirements, you qualify for EU citizenship. That’s an offer you shouldn’t pass up, considering all the benefits you get!

At Global RCG, we’ll help you manage the application process from start to finish. Contact us now and register for a consultation!