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EU Citizenship | How to Become a Citizen



EU Citizenship | How to Become a Citizen

EU Citizenship | How to Become a Citizen. Having an EU passport is highly beneficial in terms of social, economic, and personal security. In addition to living and working anywhere in the EU, you’ll have the opportunity to travel visa-free to most countries across the globe. However, in order to obtain European citizenship, you must meet a number of qualifying criteria to prove that you can integrate into European society and uphold EU laws.

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How to Get European Citizenship?

As listed below, there are three ways to obtain European citizenship:

  • If you have a family member who can give you EU citizenship.
  • Naturalization – if you have lived and worked in an EU country long enough to qualify for citizenship.
  • Investing in an EU country and receiving citizenship is an option if you have enough money to do so.

Descent from a European citizen

Generally, to qualify for EU citizenship by descent, you must have an ancestor born in the EU. However, depending on which country you apply to, you may meet the requirements even if your grandparents or great-grandparents were European citizens.

When you qualify for European citizenship through your ancestry, this is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to obtain a passport in the EU. If you wish to be granted citizenship, your ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.) must not have lost or forfeited their citizenship. Even if they do not live in the EU, they must still be entitled to it.

Which EU Countries Allow Citizenship by Descent?

The EU countries listed below allow citizenship by descent:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Malta
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Netherlands
  • Bulgaria
  • Greece
  • Poland
  • Croatia
  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • Cyprus
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Czech Republic
  • Italy
  • Slovakia
  • Denmark
  • Latvia
  • Slovenia
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • Luxembourg
  • Sweden

EU countries allow citizenship by descent up to the third generation, i.e., from your great-grandparents to you.

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How to Apply for European Citizenship by Descent?

You must gather the required documents, fill out the application form, and submit them to your nearest EU mission abroad in order to apply for EU citizenship through ancestry. The application requires submitting proof that your ancestor was a European citizen, such as a previous passport, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a death certificate, or a refugee document.

The processing time may take several months to a year, depending on the embassy’s workload and the time it takes to verify your ancestors’ EU citizenship.

How Much Does it Cost?

Depending on the country, processing fees for EU citizenship by descent can go up to EUR 1,000, not including legal fees.

Becoming Naturalized in Europe

If you have lived and worked in an EU country for five years (or more, depending on the country), you can become a naturalized citizen. Depending on the pathway you took to citizenship, i.e. work or marriage, the application process for naturalization varies. If you wish to become an EU citizen by naturalization, you must also demonstrate that you speak the language in your country.

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EU Citizenship Through Work

To apply for a work visa, you must have a job offer in the EU and your employer must sponsor you. If you live in the EU for a number of years (5-10), you may apply for naturalization.

According to your qualifications and experience, EU countries issue a variety of work permits—the EU Blue Card is the most common. You must score enough points in the EU Blue Card scoring system based on your education and work experience, as well as other skills, to qualify for an EU Blue Card.

EU Citizenship Through Marriage

Getting citizenship in the EU is also possible by marrying an EU citizen. Naturalization is normally granted three years after marriage in most EU countries. The two of you must, however, meet citizenship requirements (including language requirements) before you can apply if your partner is a foreign citizen.

Citizenship by Investment in Europe

In exchange for investing in an EU country, you can become a naturalized citizen of the country if you have enough funds. This is also known as a Golden Visa.

Citizenship programs vary by country, but the most common investments are real estate or government bonds. After three or five years, you get an EU passport.

In most cases, you only need to spend a few days a year in that country to qualify for citizenship. There is no language requirement.

Most Popular EU Countries With Investment Schemes

Investment schemes for EU citizenship include the following:

  • By purchasing real estate for at least €700,000, you can earn citizenship within three years. Additionally, it offers an expedited investment option that enables you to get a Maltese passport within a year by investing at least €750,000. You can also choose other investment options such as government bonds or donate your money to an approved organization.
  • Portugal offers the most popular citizenship by investment program in Europe. However, you cannot apply directly for citizenship through this program. You gain permanent residence first, and then you can apply for citizenship after five years. In Portugal, real estate is the most common investment, where you must pay a minimum of €500,000 for the purchase.
  • With Spain’s investment program, you can qualify for permanent residency if you invest at least €500,000 in real estate. In the same way as Portugal’s citizenship program, you cannot apply for citizenship directly, but ten years after applying for citizenship, you qualify for a Spanish passport.
  • If you wish to obtain a Greece passport after making your investment, you must live in the country for at least seven years after you make your investment.
  • German citizenship can be obtained if you establish a business in Germany that will benefit the economy of the country. In other words, your business must generate new jobs and economic opportunities for the country. Self-employment visas are required to qualify for the German investment program, and citizenship is granted after six years.

Which Country in Europe is Easiest to Get Citizenship?

The most accessible country to get citizenship in the EU is Portugal. After five years, you get an EU passport after investing in the country. In order to meet the living criteria, you only need to spend 35 days in the country within five years of your investment.

Compared to Malta, it has one of the fastest citizenship programs in the EU-only a year after your investment is complete. It, however, comes with a higher price of €750,000.

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How Long Does it Take to Get EU Citizenship?

Depending on which EU citizenship pathway you qualify for, it can take anywhere from a few months to several years to obtain European citizenship:

  • Citizenship by descent takes six months to a year.
  • Citizenship by naturalization takes five to ten years.
  • Citizenship by investment usually takes one to five years.

How to Get EU Citizenship as an American?

With an American passport, you can obtain EU citizenship through the same citizenship pathways as other foreigners, such as citizenship by descent, naturalization, work, or marriage.

  • Dual citizenship in EU countries
  • Citizenship in both Germany and the United States

Benefits of EU Citizenship

Citizens of EU countries enjoy several benefits, including:

  • Working, living, and studying in any EU country is possible.
  • Whenever you travel abroad, you are protected by the consular services of all EU states.
  • National healthcare plans that are among the best in the country.
  • Voting rights in European Parliament elections.
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EU citizenship offers a range of social, economic, and personal advantages, including the freedom to live, work, and study across the EU. There are three main pathways to European citizenship: descent, naturalization through residence or employment, and citizenship by investment. Each pathway has specific requirements, processing times, and associated costs. Whether through ancestral ties, residency, or financial investment, EU citizenship provides unique opportunities for personal and professional growth.

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Schengen Visa Guide

Permit for Permanent Residents of Germany




Permit for Permanent Residents of Germany

Permit for Permanent Residents of Germany. Working or studying in Germany may lead to permanent residence, and perhaps even citizenship in the future. However, you will only be able to become a German permanent resident and obtain a Settlement Permit if you fulfill certain requirements.

The German permanent residence permit is also known as the Settlement Permit, and it is issued after you have lived and worked in Germany for a specified period of time – usually four years, but certain visa types allow you to apply sooner.

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How Long Until I Can Become a German Permanent Resident?

You must live in Germany for a period of time before you can get a Settlement Permit. As such, you can become a German permanent resident:

  • If you are a skilled worker, after four years.
  • In the case of researchers, after four years.
  • If you have a German university degree or vocational training, after two years.
  • If you are an EU Blue Card holder, the Settlement Permit can be obtained after 33 months. If you are an adequate speaker of German, the Settlement Permit can be obtained after 21 months.
  • If you are a self-employed person, after three years.
  • In the case of freelancers, after five years.
  • For family members of German nationals, after three years.
  • If you are an asylum seeker or refugee in Germany, the five-year period can be shortened to three years if you speak German well and are able to support yourself.

German Permanent Residency Requirements

For permanent residence in Germany, you must also fulfill the following requirements:

  • The income you earn must be sufficient to maintain yourself and your family without relying on public assistance.
  • A large living space is necessary for you and your family.
  • When you lived and worked in Germany, you must have contributed to the statutory pension scheme.
  • You have held a position concurrently with your qualification or degree during your residence in Germany.
  • German is at least a B1 level, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • To prove that you are knowledgeable about German culture, law and society, you must pass the “Life in Germany” test.
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Benefits of German Permanent Residence

As a permanent resident in Germany, you will have access to more benefits than as a temporary resident. These benefits include:

  • Your residence permit does not need to be renewed every few years.
  • No matter what your qualifications or degree are, you can change jobs or start a business.
  • If you lose your job, you will be eligible for German social security benefits.
  • If you want to study at a German university, you can apply for financial aid.
  • German real estate can be purchased with a bank loan.
  • After living in Germany uninterruptedly for eight years, you can apply for German citizenship.

How to Apply for German Permanent Residence?

In order to apply for a German Permanent Residence Permit, you must apply before your current residence permit expires. The process is as follows:

  1. Make an appointment with the local immigration office (German Immigration Office). This is the same office where you first obtained your residence permit.
  2. Complete the settlement permit application form.
  3. As listed below, collect all the required documents.
  4. If you are applying for a settlement permit as the spouse of a German national, you must bring your documents and your application form to the immigration office for your appointment. You will also be required to participate in an interview during the appointment.
  5. Payment of the application fee will be discussed during your appointment. Cash, an EC card, or a bank transfer will be accepted.

We recommend contacting Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte if you need further assistance with the application for German permanent residency. In addition to providing comprehensive guidance and support with residency permit applications, they have many years’ experience dealing with German residency permits.

Processing Time for German Permanent Residency

You will receive a decision about two to three weeks after submitting your application and documents to the immigration authority.

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What Documents Will I Need for the Permanent Residency Application?

The following documents must be submitted when applying for a German Permanent Residence Permit:

  • Your passport.
  • A completed and signed settlement permit application.
  • Here’s a passport-size picture taken recently. The size is 35mm x 45mm, and the background is white.
  • Health insurance proof from Germany.
  • You must submit a confirmation document from your provider if you are enrolled in statutory health insurance.
  • It is important to submit your private health insurance policy and proof that you have paid your contributions if you have private health insurance.
  • Proof of social security contributions.

Income and financial stability proof:

  • Bank statements if you are employed
  • You must file tax returns if you are a freelancer or self-employed person.
  • You need a recognized certificate showing at least B1 level of German language proficiency.

An employment contract, along with:

  • Last six months’ salary statements.
  • Within the last 14 days, you have received a certificate of employment from your employer.
  • German pension insurance certificate.
  • The audit report must be completed by a professional, such as a tax consultant, agent, or auditor, if you are a freelancer or self-employed individual.
  • In the case of retirees, the pension entitlement notice.

Proof that you are a German citizen. Examples include:

  • Registration of Address Certificate.
  • You will need a lease or rental agreement from your landlord.
  • An official German degree or vocational certificate (if applicable).
  • If your spouse is a German citizen, your marriage certificate.
  • Professional license (if you are considered highly skilled).

You may be asked for additional documents depending on your specific situation by the immigration authority. Consult a reliable immigration law expert if you need further legal assistance obtaining such documents or for any other reason during the application process.

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What is the cost of a German Permanent Residence Permit?

Permit types determine the cost of your permanent residence permit:

  • There is a fee of €113 if you are a skilled worker.
  • You will be charged €124 if you are a freelancer or self-employed person.
  • €147 is the fee for highly qualified professionals.
  • You will have to pay €28.80 if you are a Turkish citizen.

Can I Work in the EU With German Permanent Residence?

Those who are permanent residents of Germany cannot work in other EU countries. It will be necessary for you to give up your German residency if you find work in another country, which means you will have to apply for the relevant work and residence permit.

Can International Students in Germany Receive Permanent Residency?

The time you spend in Germany as an international student does not count towards your “residency time” for permanent settlement in Germany.

With a degree from a German educational institution, you have an advantage. Once you graduate, you can apply for a Job-Seeker Visa to search for work, and after two years, if you receive a qualified job offer (and obtain a German skilled-worker residence permit), you can apply for permanent residence.

A skilled worker with a non-German degree will need to wait four years before applying for permanent residency.

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Do I Lose My Permanent Residence Permit If I Leave Germany?

If you go abroad for a short period of time, such as a vacation or a visit home, your permanent residence status will not be lost. However, if you stay abroad for a longer period of time, your permanent residence permit will be revoked.

How Long After Settling Can I Become a German Citizen?

If you have lived continuously in Germany for eight years and meet all other requirements, you may apply for German citizenship. If you require further legal advice relating to gaining German citizenship, we can recommend the services of the German citizenship lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte.

With naturalized German citizenship, you gain the same rights as born German citizens, including the right to travel.

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Obtaining permanent residency, or the Settlement Permit, in Germany involves meeting specific criteria based on factors such as employment, education, or family ties. The duration to qualify varies, ranging from two to five years. Requirements include financial stability, language proficiency, and contributions to social security. The benefits of permanent residency encompass job flexibility, access to social security, and eligibility for financial aid. The application process involves document submission, an appointment with the immigration office, and a processing time of approximately two to three weeks. Permanent residency can pave the way for German citizenship after eight years of uninterrupted residence.

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