European Citizenship Advantages and Disadvantages
Millions of Israelis are entitled to European citizenship due to their family origins. This means that they may become citizens of the European Union and enjoy its many benefits. But what exactly are the advantages of an EU passport and are there any disadvantages?
The Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh immigration law firm in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem specializes in arranging foreign citizenships such as Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish, Hungarian, and more. Using the help of our skilled staff increases the chances of obtaining citizenship and may even significantly reduce the time of treatment.
European Citizenship Advantages and Disadvantages
The European Union has been recently expanding, with more and more new countries becoming EU members. Today, most European countries are recognized as full EU members, and their citizens enjoy a variety of top quality benefits that do not exist elsewhere. This article presents the great advantages of being an EU citizen, alongside the varying disadvantages that exist between certain citizenships.
European Citizenship Benefits – What does a European passport provide?
- Employment in Europe – Once you receive your European passport, you may work legally in all EU countries without restrictions. You will enjoy a higher salary than is customary in Israel, as well as higher quality work conditions, especially in Western Europe.
- Residence in EU countries – The first benefit is the right to live in all EU countries. We are talking about prosperous countries like France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and more, which are considered very attractive emigration destinations. The European passport is a visa that allows you to live in Europe for an unlimited period of time.
- Subsidized academic studies – A large number of European universities and colleges offer low-cost or even full-subsidized study options for citizens of EU countries. There are higher-education institutions that offer quality courses exclusively to EU citizens. In addition, due to the fact that, in most European countries, local students are preferred, tens of thousands of Israelis cannot be accepted to these leading academic institution. However, once you have a European passport, you will be given preference in acceptance to European higher-education institutions.
- Free entry into countries such as the United States – You will be able to enter countries that Israelis do not have access to without a visa, or that they cannot enter at all with an Israeli passport. For example – the United States, Qatar, Venezuela, Malaysia, Indonesia, and more.
- Starting a business and buying real estate – European passport holders have the option of buying real estate and registering a company in the EU countries. Regarding the latter – it is important to say that the tax rate in many European countries is low and stands at only 10%. In addition, there are additional customs benefits reserved exclusively for EU citizens.
- Freedom of movement – European passport holders have the option of moving throughout the EU countries and also in the countries that are signatories to the Schengen acquis. This includes countries such as Switzerland, Romania, Ireland, etc.
- Consular protection – Consular protection is provided through European consulates in countries where there is no Israeli consulate.
- Work permit outside Europe – Many countries grant EU citizens preferential permits to work within their borders. These include countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
- Medical treatment in EU countries – European citizens enjoy medical treatment in a variety of EU member states, at a similar price as local residents. This also includes some of the advanced Scandinavian countries.
- Entry into Europe without the need for a visa – According to the current assessment of the situation (February 2021), starting in 2022, Israelis will be required to issue a visa in order to fly to Europe. If you hold a European passport, this requirement will not be imposed on you.
- Opening new life paths – Being recognized as a European citizen can change your life, as well as the lives of your children. Many European countries offer living conditions and quality of life which in Israel cannot always be found. This includes many diverse areas, such as health, employment, schooling, convenient weather, and improved living and pension conditions. For this reason, there is no doubt that European citizens enjoy many significant benefits over Israelis.
European Passport Disadvantages – Differences Between EU countries
There are differences between EU countries in the conditions under which citizenship may be obtained. In other words, there are countries whose constitution is different from others, making it more difficult to obtain citizenship.
At the same time, there are differences in passport rights between countries. Here is a summary of several disadvantages that are worth noting, arranged by countries:
- If you are interested in obtaining citizenship based on residency, you must pass a language test. But, if you are of Polish descent and want to become a citizen – you will not be required to pass this test.
- A disadvantage worth noting is that you may be required to serve in the Polish army in the future. However, as of February 2021, this is not required.
- It is important to know that the process of obtaining citizenship may be long and, in the end, unfruitful. However, it is worth remembering that, with thorough treatment by a lawyer skilled in the field, it is possible to obtain citizenship at the end of the process without any special problems.
- Being born before 1951 means that citizenship will be granted only if the father was Polish. In cases where the mother was a Polish citizen and was born before said year, the descendants will not be eligible.
Bulgaria – European Passport Disadvantages
- If you have a criminal record, even if it has become obsolete, it is not possible to obtain Bulgarian citizenship without clearing said record.
- Bulgaria has not yet changed its local currency to euros. As a result, it is still somewhat less advanced than the other bloc countries.
- Bulgaria is among the few countries where it is still possible to buy citizenship with money.
- As of February 2021, Bulgarian citizens are not allowed to visit the United States freely without a visa. However, this restrictive legislation will soon change. The only reason this change is taking longer than it should is because of the corona pandemic.
- Bulgaria is not a signatory to the Schengen acquis, which has created a bridge between most European countries without the need for border coordination. Therefore, Bulgarian citizens must undergo border control during transit between European countries.
- If you are looking to invest in Romanian citizenship, it is worth knowing that Romania, like Bulgaria, does not participate in the Schengen Area. This is why you will have to go through various border-control procedures during transit between European countries, in case you are thinking of traveling in the beautiful continent.
- Another difficulty in obtaining Romanian citizenship is the language test, which is considered relatively complex. Along with this test, you will also have to pass a test examining your background in law, geography, and history. This fact makes it a bit difficult to obtain citizenship and requires spending long hours learning the language.
- Citizens of Romania are required to obtain a visa in order to fly to the United States.
- The average waiting time to receive a passport is about three years; however, it may take up to four years.
Hungary – European Citizenship Advantages and Disadvantages
- There are actually two ways to obtain a Hungarian passport – the long way and the short way. The long way requires living in Hungary for eight consecutive years. In contrast, the short way is much different and takes about a year. It is advisable to get in touch with a lawyer who specializes in the field in order to understand the matter properly.
- You will be asked to pass a language test that is not considered to be very difficult.
- Hungarian law states that, until 1957, only descendants of Hungarian fathers are recognized as Hungarian citizens. This means that descendants of Hungarian mothers, if the mother was born in Hungary up until the indicated year, cannot obtain citizenship.
- Greek citizens must obtain a visa in advance in order to fly to the United States.
- You must pass a language test, which is not considered complex compared to the other citizenships.
- In addition to the language test, you will also be tested at the Greek Embassy on your knowledge of Greek history and culture.
- If you were thinking of obtaining Greek citizenship by investment, due to not having Greek origins, the citizenship cannot be obtained by direct investment. In this case, you will receive a residence permit in the country on the basis of investment.
Lithuania – Disadvantages of European Citizenship
- In 2015, a compulsory recruitment law was enacted in Lithuania. The law requires men aged 19–26 to enlist in the Lithuanian army under compulsory service for a period of nine months.
- If a child was born in a country other than Lithuania and one of the parents is a Lithuanian citizen, the parent must report the birth of the newborn to the Lithuanian authorities. In addition, he must present various documents concerning the child, such as a birth certificate, obtained from the foreign country in which the child was born.
- Marriage – It is obligatory to report the marriage to the Lithuanian authorities if one of the spouses is a Lithuanian citizen. The above will be done by submitting documents officially confirming the marriage that took place in the foreign country. This process also applies in the case of divorce or widowhood.
Contact Details – European Citizenship Advantages and Disadvantages
Over time, our firm has handled thousands of applications for foreign citizenship. For more information and an initial check for the eligibilities mentioned, please contact us through the numbers listed at the bottom of the page or via the listed e-mail address.