- The US allows dual nationality – which means Americans are mostly free to apply for dual citizenship in other countries.
- Most citizenship-application processes can be intensive, expensive, and time-consuming.
- But some nations have policies that make it easier than others to obtain citizenship.
It’s official. I’m an Irish citizen.
I’ve lived in the US my entire life, and I haven’t left for some time. But Ireland’s nationality laws are based on “jus sanguinis,” or “right of blood” in Latin. And unlike those in many countries, Ireland’s rules apply not only to the children of Irish citizens who were born in Ireland, but also to their grandchildren.
My maternal grandparents immigrated to the US from Dublin and Westmeath decades ago. My sisters, mother, and I spent a few months researching the application process and assembling the necessary documents. We just recently heard back that our applications were successful.
Applying for citizenship in many countries can be an intensive, expensive, and time-consuming undertaking. But snagging citizenship status is easier in some countries than in others.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ireland is one of several countries with policies that make it relatively simple for some people to become a citizen. Other countries offer a simplified or brief application process to attract entrepreneurs.
Here’s a roundup of some countries that make it easier to obtain citizenship.
Ireland’s laws make it easy for some people of Irish descent to claim citizenship.
If one of your parents was an Irish citizen who was born in Ireland, you’re a citizen. If one of your grandparents was an Irish citizen who was born in Ireland – or if one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth but was not born in Ireland – you’re eligible to become one. You just need to provide documentation and apply for the Foreign Births Register.
You can check whether you’re eligible for citizenship on the website of Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality.
- Lior Mizrahi / Stringer / Getty Images
Ethnic and religious Jews – as well as their spouses and grandchildren – can gain Israeli citizenship through the country’s law of return.
According to the blog the Nomad Capitalist, people seeking to immigrate to Israel through the law can gain citizenship within months and a passport within a year.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has more information on the law.
If you speak Hungarian and can prove your Hungarian ancestry, you might qualify for “simplified naturalization” under Hungarian law.
According to the Consulate General of Hungary in Los Angeles, it can take officials in Budapest six to nine months to determine whether an applicant qualifies. It also says there are numerous caveats to the rule that reflect the “historical changes of borders and citizenships in Central Europe during the 20th century.”
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You can actually inherit Italian citizenship from your great-great-grandfather.
YourItalianPassport.com breaks down the rule, which includes some pretty intense caveats. You’ll need documentation proving your Italian ancestor lived after Italy’s 1861 unification and did not naturalize elsewhere before July 1, 1912. And it says “neither you nor any of the ascendants in your direct line must have ever renounced Italian citizenship.”
Your female Italian ancestors can pass on citizenship to children born after January 1, 1948.
Confused? The Italian Consulate encourages people to call to determine whether they qualify for Italian citizenship.
According to the Nomad Capitalist, you can receive Macedonian citizenship in six months to a year.
The catch? You need to be able to employ 10 Macedonian citizens and invest €400,000 in a business – that’s about $465,000. But it’s a good option for someone looking to quickly open a startup in Europe.
Macedonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has more information about acquiring citizenship.
Investopedia reports that you can become a Peruvian citizen in two years – for a $25,000 fast-track fee. It takes about three months to secure approval for residency.
Once you’ve been in Peru for two years, you can apply for citizenship. You just need to be able to pass tests on Peruvian history and culture, and the Spanish language.
You can contact the Consulate General of Peru in New York for more information.