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Most common myths about European citizenship: how to tell the right from wrong

PUBLISHED: 22 June 2020

There are so many speculations and outright lies about obtaining a European passport that it will take days to disperse all the myths. If you do not have time, read this article. We have tried to compile most common misconceptions about a second passport in Europe. At the end, to put theory into practice, we will tell you about the fastest route to European citizenship.

European passport and EU passport: what is the difference

Before we start separating myths from reality, let’s talk terminology. When we say “European passport”, what do we mean? Passports of Belarus or Ukraine are technically European, but it would not be your first choice of investment. You would be looking into becoming national of one of the Western European countries that are part of EU, wouldn’t you? Besides, there are jurisdictions that are not in the EU, but their residents enjoy similar rights and benefits, for example the United Kingdom or surprisingly Montenegro. Therefore, when we say “European passport”, we mean passports of EU and other countries that allow visa-free travel in Europe and worldwide.

Another important thing to consider is that immigration laws of each country are different. There cannot and will not be one simple answer to many questions, because it will depend on the rules of a chosen jurisdiction.

Misconception 1. I can give birth in Europe and get a second passport

Unfortunately, it does not work like that though there are examples when it does. The USA and Canada grant citizenship to anyone who is born in the country. However, nobody guarantees the same to a new-born’s parents.

European states offer citizenship to those who has lived and worked or studied there for a long period of time. When a child is born in Europe, including the UK, they do not normally get a passport automatically, let alone their parents. However, most European countries would grant citizenship to a newly born and their parents if they have been legally living in the country for many years.

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Misconception 2. I will get a second passport by marrying a European

Yes, you will, but only if your marriage is genuine. At the same time, there are many schemes and frauds on the Internet where people are enticed to enter a scam marriage in order to more to Europe.

First, none of the European countries would grant citizenship to a foreign wife or husband straight away after coming to the country; a process of naturalisation normally takes a few years. For example, the UK would require a spouse of a British national or settled person to live in the country for at least 5 years.

Second, never underestimate the competence of European authorities. Immigration officers are dealing with hundreds of couples every year where a foreign spouse tries to relocate to Europe through a scam marriage. They recognise them intuitively and monitor their every move. If you, by not proving to be a happy couple, confirm their suspicions, you can be deported or even persecuted.

Misconception 3. If I become European national, I will have to rescind my first nationality, or I will be penalised

This is both true and false. Not all European countries, even from the Common Market, accept dual nationality. For example, if you become a citizen of Austria or Spain, you will have to rescind your first nationality.

On the other hand, there are countries that would welcome dual and multiple nationals. They are the United Kingdom,  Montenegro, Cyprus and Malta. In other countries you are allowed to have two and more passports, but you must notify authorities about them. in most cases, dual nationals are not eligible to serve in the government

You can read more about dual citizenship in this article.

Misconception 4. I can buy a European passport

If we put aside illegal ways of obtaining citizenship, then this is a myth as well. For example, there are no legal programs in Bulgaria or Romania to get a passport in 6 months by investing certain amount of money. Even if that were true, imagine how other European countries would treat such “citizens” and how you would worry about the authenticity of your passport.

There is a way for wealthy individuals to get a European passport fast and without taking language and other tests. It requires investment in a local economy and has nothing to do with illegal schemes that are offered in the Internet. These official government programs are called residence by investment and citizenship by investment programs.

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Misconception 5. I have money and I can easily get a European passport

This is not true, but not entirely false. Europe should not be viewed as one entity; each country is different and every economy has its needs.

You will be welcome and granted European citizenship by investment in those countries that need foreign investment and where they operate special immigration programs for foreign investors.

Some countries offer residence by investment with minimum requirements leading to citizenship in 5-10 years of living in the country.

European citizenship: 100% facts

You will not be granted a European passport simply for coming to a country to give birth, marry or enter a scam with a European. Is if this opportunity does exist, it does not happen overnight, and it will take years before you become naturalised.

European passport does not always mean that you must revoke your first nationality. Check citizenship laws of each country to know whether dual nationality is allowed and what you can and cannot do as a dual national.

Irrespective of what some unscrupulous companies would promise you, you cannot just ‘buy’ a European passport.

How to get European citizenship

You can obtain a European passport by applying for one of the citizenship by investment programs in Europe where you will be granted a passport in return for your generous contribution to a local economy. Such schemes are offered by Cyprus, Malta and Montenegro.

A few other jurisdictions are ready to give you a residence permit or a Golden Visa that will guarantee visa-free access to that country and within the EU – they are Portugal, Spain, Malta and Latvia.

Immigration to Europe through investment is not cheap. Therefore, be extra careful when choosing an immigration lawyer for a successful relocation. Qualified advisers in Imperial & Legal will help you find a country for your needs and requirements, advise where to invest money, prepare all necessary paperwork and make sure you get your second passport fast and hassle-free.

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