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What Countries Offer Citizenship By Ancestry? Everything You Need To Know

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

Paul Prince

The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.

Dumitrascu Cristina

Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

Prima Lorenzo

I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.

Esty A

I had a consultation with Batya and she was very helpful. She made sure I understood all the information I needed, and was patient with me in gathering documents I needed.

Michael Soffer

I would like to recommend Attorney Yehuda Elcharar. He assisted both me and my company in a complex lawsuit. He handled negotiations that led to a favorable outcome much quicker than expected.

I am extremely pleased with choosing Attorney Elcharar. Many thanks also to the office team, Oz and Chaya, for their assistance throughout the entire process.

Thanks again ????

Shaltiel Devorah

Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.

TarcisioePotira Freitas

I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.

Michael and Ariellah Waizman

For Advocate Joshua Pex.

We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.

The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!

The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.

We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!

Marce Ruth St. Rey

Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.

lynn vonne

Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.

Josh W-S

The firm had a quick response to my last-minute needs, they were helpful in communicating with me in English, and they fulfilled my needs in a timely fashion.

Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.

Heather Lebrun


We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.


We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.

Arielle Bosch

Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.

Morgan Jones

The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!

Michelle Long

Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!

Priscilla Moses

competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended

Amir Abt

The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them

Genaan Abdelall

I cannot recommend Nechama enough! Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication to her clients is unparalleled. From the moment I reached out to her, she provided clear and concise communication, and helped me navigate through a complex legal issue with ease.

Throughout the entire process, Nechama went above and beyond to ensure that I was informed and comfortable with every decision. She demonstrated a deep knowledge of the law, and was able to offer sound advice that ultimately led to a positive outcome.

What sets Nechama apart is her compassionate and empathetic approach to her clients. She truly cares about the well-being of her clients, and it shows in the way she handles every case.

If you are in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend Nechama.

Matthias Oppliger

I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.

Sveta Vashkevich

We (myself and my husband) came to Mr. Joshua Pex – for his professional advice – and we received such human warmth and caring attitude, that our hearts melted …

His attention to our details and our situation peculiarities, combined with his professionalism and knowledge, helped us to map out what needs to be done on our part: we appreciate and recommend You, Mr. Joshua!

Shurouq Hajyassin

We were very satisfied with the consultation we had.
You were very straightforward with us , You tried to help us in every way you could . we really appreciate that.
And of course the fast reply we got from you on our emails and the appointment you gave us .
You deserve more than 5 stars????

Adi Katina

Great Team. With no doubt, this office is actually thee best-leading office in Israel. Simply put, if you want your case to win, just join them, hand in your documents, and celebrate the victory.

Kindest regards,
Adi k.

Dongdiet & Nellie

We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.

Jacob Newberry

A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!

Наталья Мажуга

Great lawyers Joshua Pex and Nechama and Michael Deker who really want to help you and I have very trustful relationships with them. All my cases they took they won. Thank you and let’s keep working together

Sergei m Vashkevich

We came to Mr. Joshua with so many questions (and most of all, with so many concerns and worries) …

When we explained our case to him, first of all, he calmed us down and helped us to see the big picture, which took away our fears;

Then he presented us with a detailed explanation and a few options to explore, and a timeline, how things work and necessary steps to undertake on our part,

We thank and highly recommend Mr. Joshua for showing us so much empathy, care and professionalism (!)

Lauma Zariņa

This is definitely the best lawyer I know!!! very honest and super helpful he really helped me a lot dealing with immigration issues in Israel and it was very successful!
I highly recommend

Kfir Cohen

We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

Greg Olson

We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.

Sophie Cooperman

Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.

Israel iluz

We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.

Tomer Hila Birnbach

I received a recommendation from friends about the firm, and indeed every word is correct, a service team, professional, welcoming, a fair price for the work I requested, I am satisfied

Stuart Safft

I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.

Eden Weiss

Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.

Andreas Kelling

We have been working with Decker, Pex & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.

Gáspár Erőss

If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

Alexander P Gutterman

EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.

Lilian Granovsky

I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.

You may consider it obvious that if your parent or grandparent was a citizen of a particular country, you would automatically inherit citizenship of the country too. While that may be true in many cases, you still need to go through a long and complex application process to actually acquire citizenship by ancestry in most countries. There are multiple reasons why you may want to apply for ancestral citizenship. Some applicants are looking to reconnect with their roots while others may have loved ones or an ancestral home they want to go back to. Others may be looking for new opportunities in their career or business and a second citizenship by descent would help them in their efforts in a new country.

Whatever be the reason, it is important to know what countries offer citizenship by descent and where you can most easily acquire a passport by descent.

What countries offer citizenship by descent?

Not all countries offer you the same easy process of acquiring citizenship by ancestry. In fact, many countries do not atumatically and easily acknowledge the right to citizenship through descent. So you need to be doubly sure that the country you are applying to offers ancestral citizenship.

Some of the countries with ancestry citizenship provisions are listed below.

Citizenship By Ancestry


If at least one of the child’s parents was an Israeli citizen, the child is automatically entitled to Israeli citizenship. However, if one of the parents, particularly the mother, is a foreign citizen, and the Israeli Ministry of Interior has any doubts about the other parent being an Israeli citizen, they may be required to undergo a DNA test to positively establish paternity.

Israel also has another way of offering citizenship to Jews based on heritage. This is the Law of Return, which allows Jews, descendants of Jews, and Jewish converts to apply for Israeli citizenship while retaining their original citizenship in another country.


Portuguese nationality works on the principle of jus sanguinis or citizenship by descent. This means that Portuguese nationality is handed down to a child born to Portuguese parents, irrespective of where the child was born. However, it is important to note that Portugal considers eligibility for citizenship by descent only up to second-generation descendants, that is grandchildren. So you will be eligible for citizenship through descent if either your grandparents or a parent was a citizen of Portugal. You don’t enjoy the same rights by establishing a connection with your great-grandparents who were citizens though.

More relevantly for many Jews of Sephardi descent in Israel and abroad, anyone who can prove their ancestors were exiled Spanish Portuguese Jews is also entitled to Portuguese citizenship.


Austria follows the principle of jus sanguinis, that is the right of blood or citizenship through descent. A child born to an Austrian mother automatically gains Austrian citizenship, irrespective of whether the parents are married or not. In the case of a marriage between an Austrian citizen and a foreign national, the child also acquires Austrian citizenship if only the father is an Austrian citizen.

If the parents are not married and only the father is an Austrian citizen though, the child can acquire Austrian citizenship by the declaration of parenthood by the father or a court of law within 8 weeks. If this 8-week window is passed, other ways of acquiring citizenship have to be followed.

Furthermore, Jews whose distant ancestors were stripped of their Austrian citizenship or had to leave Austria after the Nazi takeover are also entitled to Austrian citizenship by descent.


Germany also follows the right of blood when it comes to citizenship by ancestry. If any one of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents was a German citizen, you may be eligible for German citizenship by ancestry. For anyone born to married parents before 1975, you may be eligible if your father was a German citizen. For children born to married parents after 1975, citizenship can be restored if either your father or mother was a German citizen.

For children born to unmarried parents before July 1993, citizenship could only be claimed if your mother was a German citizen. But after July 1993, a child born to unmarried parents, where only the father is a German citizen, can also claim citizenship.

Germany also offers citizenship by descent if any of your ancestors were stripped of their German citizenship due to persecution under Nazi rule.


Romania also offers ancestral citizenship if any of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were Romanian citizens during their lifetime.


Citizenship through decent in France is also relatively simple. You are considered a French citizen if at least one of your parents was a citizen of France at the time of your birth. You can claim your French citizenship by descent through declaration. However, it is important the parent-child relationship is established with proof when the child is still a minor.


Bulgaria offers citizenship by ancestry up to the third generation. This means if either of your great-grandparents, grandparents, or parents was a Bulgarian citizen, you may be eligible for citizenship too.


Any person whose parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were born in Lithuania may qualify for Lithuanian citizenship by ancestry. For obtaining citizenship by descent in Lithuania, you have to prove that your ancestor was of Lithuanian origin and declare in writing that you self-identify as a Lithuanian. However, to claim your Lithuanian citizenship, you will have to renounce any other citizenship you hold in another country.


Children born to a Dutch mother are considered Dutch citizens by law if the mother had Dutch citizenship at the time of their birth. Children born to a Dutch father and a non-Dutch mother will be considered Dutch citizens by law if the father retained his Dutch citizenship at the time of their birth. Any child born to a Dutch father and a non-Dutch mother can also acquire Dutch citizenship. But the father has to be a Dutch citizen at the time of their birth and acknowledge the child before birth.


Citizenship through descent in England works if one or both of your parents were British citizens at the time of your birth, irrespective of where you are born.


US citizenship can be obtained if a child is born to a US citizen parent (or parents) outside the US, or by naturalization. For US citizenship by naturalization, at least one parent has to be a US citizen and parents need to meet certain minimum physical presence requirements in the US. Also, the child has to be below 18 years of age at the time of application.


Canada offers citizenship through descent to an individual if at least one parent was a Canadian citizen by birth or naturalization. It only offers citizenship by descent up to one generation born abroad. an exception, in this case, is made only for the children and grandchildren of people in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Which is the easiest citizenship by descent?

It is easiest to apply for citizenship by descent in countries like France, Romania, Bulgaria, where you are automatically considered a citizen through descent if one of your ancestors was a citizen during their lifetime. In such cases, all you need to do is prove your ancestry and produce evidence of your ancestors’ citizenship in the country.

These are the easiest citizenship by descent applications, unlike others that have several requirements to be met.

What countries allow dual citizenship based on heritage?

Certain citizenship by descent countries in the EU and elsewhere allow dual citizenship based on heritage. So you can hold both your heritage passport from the country alongside your original passport from your current country of residence. Some of these countries with ancestry citizenship that allow dual citizenship include (but are not limited to)

  • Germany
  • France
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Poland

Other non-EU countries that offer dual citizenship include the USA, Canada, the UK, and a few others.

Consult an immigration lawyer

Citizenship by ancestry can be tricky terrain. Most citizenship by descent countries have a long list of requirements and the criteria are not the same everywhere, as we have seen above. Understanding the requirements of the country you are applying to is the key to ensuring a successful application. Our experienced immigration lawyers can help you understand the legal requirements, help with the paperwork and guide you throughout the application process. Assistance from our immigration lawyers will ensure that you obtain your ancestral citizenship faster and with minimum hassles.

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