Andrew Parker

25 Countries That Extend Citizenship Based on Ancestry

Did you know that your family tree could open some doors to a new passport? In some countries, you can get citizenship simply because you’re a descendant of someone from there. Today, we’re looking at 25 countries that do just that.


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If you’ve got an Irish grandparent, you’re in luck because Ireland allows people with at least one grandparent born there to claim citizenship. It’s a great opportunity to connect with your roots and also get the benefits of working and living in any EU country. What could be better than celebrating St. Patrick’s Day knowing you’ve got a real link to the Emerald Isle?


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Italy’s pretty famous for its “jus sanguinis” policy, where they pass citizenship down from parent to child. If your ancestors kept their citizenship until their descendants were born, then you could qualify. And best of all? There’s no limit on how many generations back you can go with claiming this.


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In Poland, if you can prove that your ancestors were Polish and left the country after 1920, you might be able to claim Polish citizenship. You’ll need to provide your birth and marriage certificates, along with other documents, to show that you pass. This could be the perfect way for you to get an EU passport and go back to your Polish roots.


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Hungary will give you citizenship if you can prove you’ve got Hungarian ancestry and a basic understanding of the Hungarian language. You’ll be able to reclaim a part of your heritage while enjoying Hungary’s rich culture and history. And, like some of the other countries on this list, you’ll also be able to live or work anywhere in the EU.


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Portugal allows anyone with a Portuguese grandparent to apply for citizenship, although you’ll also need to learn the language. But it’s just a small step toward becoming a part of this vibrant culture. Getting citizenship here will open the door to one of the warmest European countries, both in climate and community spirit.


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Greece will give citizenship through descent if you had a parent who was a Greek citizen when you were born. Like with most of these ancestry claims, there’s a lot of paperwork to go through, and it’s not an easy process. But the payoff? Definitely worth it. You’ll get access to some pretty breathtaking landscapes and a very rich history.


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Germany’s got a pretty strict policy compared to some of the other countries on this list, as it only allows citizenship if both your parents were German citizens when you were born. But unlike some of the others, there are some historical exceptions. For example, if you were a descendant of someone who fled Germany during the Nazis or was persecuted by them, you should be able to claim citizenship.


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If your ancestors were Lithuanian citizens who emigrated between 1940 and 1990, you might be eligible for Lithuanian citizenship. This policy is meant to help families reconnect after they’ve been separated. A Lithuanian passport may give you a chance to rediscover your family history without the interruptions of geopolitical issues.

The Czech Republic

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The Czech Republic will give citizenship to anyone who can prove their ancestors were Czechoslovakian citizens. It might sound simple, but you’ll have to look through some pretty old records if you want to show your family ties. Even so, getting a Czechoslovakian passport makes traveling across Europe much easier.


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The Spanish government temporarily made laws to allow citizenship to any descendants of Sephardic Jews who were kicked out of the country in 1492. This was a way for Spain to fix some historical wrongs. The law’s changed again around this, but there are still ways to claim Spanish citizenship through your ancestry.


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If you’ve got Armenian roots, it doesn’t matter how far back they are because you might be able to apply for Armenian citizenship. The government is trying to create some strong bonds with the international Armenian community and help them celebrate the country’s history. This includes giving them a passport.


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Slovakia has made it pretty simple to claim citizenship, so long as you can prove that your ancestors were Slovakian citizens. Even with all the work of digging up your family records, it’s worth it. There are so many things to do and beautiful sights to see in this European country.


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Have some Serbian grandparents born back in the homeland? Then you might be in line for citizenship. This path requires more than just filling out forms, as you’ll also have to help keep your connections to Serbia alive. It’s a country that’s well-known for its vibrant traditions and the people’s warm hospitality, so here’s the chance to get back to your roots.


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Anyone with up to third-generation Latvian descent can claim citizenship in Latvia. Getting this won’t just mean you’ll be able to travel around the EU easier, although that’s always nice. This is your ticket back to the ancestral homeland to explore your culture and heritage in a way you can’t do in America.


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People who have parents from Bulgaria can claim citizenship there so they can visit and live there. Just imagine being able to explore those beautiful mountains and peaceful beaches without the worry of a visa. It’s a chance for you to enjoy the country’s festivals and rich culinary scene that Bulgaria is famous for.


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Romania’s ready to welcome anyone who can trace their family back to some Romanian roots, as long as they haven’t given up their claims. And why wouldn’t you want to? Think of it as a way to rediscover your Eastern European history in the heart of the Carpathian mountains and the Black Sea.


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Israel’s Law of Return means that any Jewish person around the world is welcome to become a citizen in the Holy Land and get a new passport. This rule gives these people the chance to return to their homeland and be connected to a place that’s rich with history. You’ll be living in the land of your ancestors.


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If you’ve got Croatian roots and a working knowledge of the language, then citizenship could be yours. It’s a chance for you to bond with a nation with stunning scenery and some truly delicious food in this Adriatic nation. And for anyone who likes cultural things, there’s plenty of famous art for you to look at.


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Norway’s rules are definitely tough as they’re asking for people who have had a continuous connection to the country. If that’s you, then it’s worth it. Your passport will allow you to reclaim a piece of breathtaking Norwegian life in a place where beauty and tranquility come naturally.


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Looking to move to a country with some of the best beer and chocolate around? Then Belgium could be the one for you, as long as one of your parents had Belgian citizenship when you were born. Getting citizenship here will give you all the perks of being an EU citizen while also being able to attend some of the coolest festivals around.

The Netherlands

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Anyone born to a Dutch parent may be able to claim a passport from the Netherlands. It’s a country that’s famous for its openness and progressive values, which some people might find pretty appealing. Living here, you’ll get to experience those iconic landscapes and artistic heritage in real life.


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Becoming a Swedish citizen is pretty easy if you’ve got a Swedish grandparent. You’ll have the freedom to be part of a community that’s a leader in sustainability and innovation. But it’s not just the tech, as you can also see the northern lights and take part in some of the most unique summer solstice traditions on the planet.


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Finland often tops the list of countries with the best education system in the world, and if you’ve got some Finnish ancestry, you could be part of this. You’ll get to enjoy living in a place where the focus is on your quality of life and green living over anything else. Ready to enjoy those long summer days and magical winter nights?


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Iceland is a place where you can see nature in all its drama, including volcanic fields and iceberg-dotted shores. You’ll get a pretty warm welcome even in the coldest places, as long as you’ve got some Icelandic roots. It’s a place where everyone knows each other, and creativity is just as important as breathing.


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During Nazi occupation, many Austrians fled the country for their safety, and now, Austria is trying to welcome them back. Anyone whose ancestors did this may be able to claim citizenship here in a country that has plenty of musical and architectural heritage. It’d be a pretty meaningful journey back home.

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