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How to Acquire a Second European Passport

Jordan Levy-Bograd
Jordan Levy-Bograd

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Our law office helps Israeli and American citizens obtain a second European passport. We assess your situation to suggest a straightforward route to EU citizenship. The avenues are discussed below – here’s a summary:

Since the expansion of the European Union, every fifth Israeli is eligible for EU citizenship. Those who arrived to Israel from one of the EU member countries, escaping Nazi persecution or surviving the Holocaust, can leverage the opportunity to stay and study/work in the EU. For security, lifestyle and investment reasons, Israelis are actively looking to Europe as a second residence that they can travel to as and when required or desired.

Right of blood, land or birth also entitles American and Israeli citizens to European citizenship. Citizenship by investment is the other option that rewards foreign investors with residency and citizenship. Answers to how do you get a second passport follow below.

Correcting historical wrongs

How to Acquire a Second European PassportBy the First World War, the Jews of Hungary were integrated into the Hungarian society. The Hungarian government sought to form an alliance with Adolf Hitler, following his rise to power in 1933. In 1938, anti-Jewish policies made an appearance, marking the beginning of many persecutions, culminating in the Holocaust of Hungary between 1941 and1945. The Hungarian citizenship opportunity corrects the historical wrongs suffered by the Jewish community in the country.

Jews of Hungarian origin can file to receive Hungarian citizenship if they have Hungarian parents or a heritage of Hungarian origin, such as a grandparent, even from the 19th century. Evidence of family relationships and a basic knowledge of the Hungarian language is needed. Our law office helps you arrange for documents that prove your Hungarian ancestry.

Portuguese Citizenship for Sephardi Jews

The Alhambra Decree enacted in 1492 gave Jews from the Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Aragon the option to convert to Christianity or exile. Dissenters faced expulsion and sought refuge across the border, in Portugal, before being expelled there as well. Under the Decree-Law 30-A/2015, Sephardic Jews and their descendants can apply for Portuguese citizenship.

Applicants seeking a second European passport must prove ties with a Portuguese Sephardic community, including showing their Portuguese ancestry and tradition. Documents that can be submitted as evidence are:

  1. A certificate from a Sephardic community recognized under Portuguese law.
  2. A certified document from the applicant’s Jewish community.
  3. Certified documents attesting to the applicant’s family ties with Portuguese Sephardim.

Right of Blood or Land

Polish Citizenship

Polish citizenship is based on the “right of blood” or Jus sanguinis. It automatically qualifies anyone of Polish descent to obtain Polish citizenship, with no limit to the number of generations separating the applicant from their Polish ancestors.

If you’re of Polish descent, you will need to undergo an initial eligibility verification check, which involves providing proof that at least one of your ancestors was a Polish citizen. Furthermore, you must check whether the Polish citizenship was passed from one generation to the next, without missing a generation in the chain.

Our law office can help expedite the process of applying for Polish citizenship. Talk to us for more information on getting a second European passport today.

Lithuanian Citizenship

If your ancestors were Lithuanian citizens before June 15, 1940, or if you were a Lithuanian citizen prior to that date, you can apply for a Lithuanian passport. Requirements include showing that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or any of these, lived in Lithuania for at least ten years before 1914, owned property, and had a permanent place of employment.

The other way in which you become eligible for Lithuanian citizenship is if you’re the wife or widow of a Lithuanian citizen. Documents that serve as evidence include; a Lithuanian and foreign passport and birth certificate issued before 15 June, 1940; other documents confirming Lithuanian citizenship; documents indicating the applicant’s military service in the Lithuanian army, or residence in Lithuania, until 15 June, 1940.

French or Dutch Citizenship

If one of your parents is a French citizen, even if you were born in Israel, you can claim French citizenship. You can also get your second European passport if your spouse is French or if their ancestors were French citizens or eligibile to it (even if they born in French colonies) and you meet other required criteria. You can claim Dutch nationality if you were born before 1 Jan, 1985 and your father was a Dutch citizen at the time of your birth, or if you were born after 31 December, 1984 and your mother was a Dutch citizen.

Citizenship based on investment

How to Acquire a Second European PassportYou may be wondering how to get a second passport if you can’t prove ancestry and ties to the countries above. There’s another route, and it has become an increasingly popular one given the benefits it brings in return, and the relatively short time within which it allows you to acquire European citizenship. Quite a few EU member states welcome non-EU citizens to make investments in their country in exchange for a European passport.

A minimum investment of $250,000 qualifies you for EU citizenship. That said, requirements vary by EU member state. Our law office helps you explore your legal options and make a judicious choice that clears the path for a second European passport.

Bulgarian Citizenship

Let’s look at how citizenship by investment works for someone seeking Bulgarian citizenship. Bulgaria is a promising destination for several reasons. It has a diverse culture and a pleasant temperate climate. The country has the lowest personal income tax rate – a flat 10%, as well as conditional tax exemptions on world income. As a citizen, you gain the right to own land in any EU country.

A look at the investment requirements for Bulgarian citizenship:

  • At least one year of permanent residency status.
  • An investment of BGN 1 million (€ 511,864/$625,000) in a government bond portfolio for a period of five years. At the end of this term, the full amount will be returned without any accrued interest.
  • You can invest that amount in a Bulgarian company undertaking a Priority Investment Project; provided it was deemed important to the economic development of the Republic of Bulgaria or regions thereof.
  • An LLC-investment can also be considered. It involves investing €257,000/$313,000 in a Bulgarian company, as a shareholder with no less than a 50% share of the capital.

Israeli citizens who were born in Bulgaria are eligible to receive Bulgarian citizenship if they left Bulgaria between 1948-1950 (the mass Aliyah). But if the migration occurred in the years other than those just mentioned, the next option is to provide proof of having resided in Bulgaria for at least three years consecutively. Children of parents who were citizens of Bulgaria can also apply for a Bulgarian passport. Marriage to a Bulgarian citizen is another route to a second European passport.

Contact us for advice

As you can see, many paths lead to European citizenship. A clear and complete understanding of eligibility and evidence that must be produced, is necessary to avoid futile efforts. Get in touch with our law office to know the next steps.

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