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Investment Citizenship

The Easiest Countries To Get Citizenship: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 22 August 2022

Many people want to get citizenship in a country for various reasons. Some want the freedom that comes with it, some just like the idea of being able to say they are a citizen of a certain nation. For many others, it is about safety and security in their lives. Whatever your reason for wanting citizenship in another country is, you can find out if you qualify by checking out this list. 

In this guide, you’ll get information on the following:

…and much more. Let’s begin.

Types of Citizenship

Let’s begin with the types of citizenship. Following are the types of citizenship you can obtain:

Citizenship by Investment

Some countries offer citizenship in exchange for some financial contribution. The amount may vary from country to country depending on various factors like the type of investment, the number of applicants, etc.

Citizenship by Birthplace

You are a citizen by birth if you were born in the country. This is regardless of your parents’ citizenship. For example, if you’re born in Brazil, then you’ll be a Brazilian citizen too. Canada is the same. 

Citizenship by Descent

If at least one parent is a national from that nation or a child born abroad to a national of that nation, then one may be able to get citizenship by descent. Citizenship by descent is also applicable in the case of ancestors.

Citizenship Through Naturalization

You can apply for naturalization if you fulfill certain requirements or qualifications, and if it is possible in that country. It means applying for citizenship on the basis of your own will after satisfying some legal conditions. In other words, you want to become a citizen of that country of your own will. 

Ways To Get Citizenship

RouteBaseStay requirementLanguage & Culture Test
Through ancestryBlood relativesNoDepends on the country
NaturalizationLiving in the country for a periodYesYes
MarriageRegistered marriageYesDepends on the country
InvestmentInvestmentsDepends on the countryDepends on the country

The Easiest Countries To Get Citizenship: Residency by Investment Route 

Many countries allow you residency visas in lieu of investment in their economies. Golden Visa by Spain and Portugal are great examples. 

Portugal 

Portugal offers residency to individuals who invest in real estate, qualifying Portugal Golden Visa funds, donation, or capital transfer. When you get your Golden Visa, you’ll get the right to live in Portugal. However, you have the option of living somewhere else and visiting Portugal only for seven days per year. A basic Portuguese language test is also applicable.

General Requirements

  • You’ve kept your investment in Portugal for five years
  • You’ve met the minimum stay requirements
  • Your criminal record is clean
  • You have no outstanding tax payments in Portugal
Portugal Golden Visa:
The Ultimate Guide Read More >

Spain 

To acquire residency in Spain, you’ll need to make an investment worth of minimum €500,000 under Spain Golden Visa program. To apply for citizenship, you need to prove that you’ve met the 10 years residency requirement, along with proof that you know Spanish.

General Requirements

  • You’ve stayed in Spain for at least 183 days per year, in 10 years
  • You’ve kept your investment in Spain
  • You have no outstanding tax payments in Spain
  • You have a basic understanding of Spanish culture and language
Spain Golden Visa:
The Ultimate Guide Click to read >

Curaçao

Curaçao is another Caribbean country that offers citizenship by residency. The advantage of the Curaçao Investor Permit program is that it’s a route to Dutch citizenship as Curaçao is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The minimum investment amount is $280,000.

Easiest Countries To Get Citizenship by Investment

Following are some citizenship by investment countries:

Malta 

Malta’s Individual Investor Program, or MIIP, provides an easy and straightforward way to obtain European Union citizenship. The program allows you to get Maltese citizenship through donation and investment. If you have lived in the country for 36 months, you’ll be required to contribute €600,000; and if you have lived there for 12 months, the contribution amount is €750,000. Furthermore, a real estate investment worth €700,000 or a property lease for a minimum yearly rent of €16,000 will be required for Malta citizenship by investment.

General Requirements

  • You’re over the age of 18
  • Your criminal record is clean
  • You’re able to meet the investment and donation requirements
  • You have an international health insurance policy
  • You can provide biometric data
  • You meet the minimum stay requirement

Antigua and Barbuda 

You can acquire citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda by making a one-time donation to the country’s national development fund of a minimum of $100,000. Another option is investing $400,000 in a government-approved real estate project. You’ll need to keep the investment for five years. An Antigua and Barbuda passport offers you visa-free travel in 151 nations across the world. Antigua and Barbuda is one of the easiest countries to get citizenship by investment.

General Requirements

  • You’re over the age of 18
  • Your criminal record is clean
  • You’re able to meet the investment and donation requirements
  • Your health is in good condition
  • You meet the minimum stay requirement
  • You’re willing to take the oath of allegiance
Antigua and Barbuda:
Citizenship by Investment Read More

St. Kitts and Nevis 

Under this citizenship program, you have to make an investment of over $200,000 or $400,000 in a government-approved real estate project. If you opt for the $200,000 route, you’ll be required to keep the investment for seven years. This period is five years for the $400,000 method.

Another option is to make a donation to St. Kitts and Nevis Sustainable Growth Fund, valuing a minimum of $150,000. This is non-refundable.

General Requirements

  • You’re over the age of 18 and you have a clean criminal record
  • You’re able to meet the investment requirements
  • You can prove the source of your funds

Turkey

Turkey is one of the countries that offer citizenship easily. If you’re interested in Turkish citizenship by investment, one popular option is real estate acquisition in the country. The minimum amount is $400,000. The process is quick and you may expect to get your citizenship in less than six months.

General Requirements

  • You’re over the age of 18
  • You have a clean criminal record
  • You’ve made a qualifying investment
  • You’ve never stayed in Turkey illegally

Countries That Offer Citizenship by Birth

If you are born in the United States, you’re eligible to become a citizen of the US. However, children born to diplomats and other recognized government employees from other countries, will not be granted US citizenship even if they are born on American territory.

Below are some other countries that offer citizenship by birth:

  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Fiji
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Uruguay

Easy Countries To Get Citizenship by Descent

Many countries have citizenship by descent programs that allow applicants who are born outside of the country to obtain a passport. Following are the countries where you can get easy citizenship by descent:

Italy

Italian citizenship by descent is one of the easiest to obtain. You may be eligible for citizenship if you have Italian heritage. To acquire citizenship, you must have an ancestor who was a citizen of Italy on March 17th, 1861 or was born in the country after that. The restriction is that the lineage must not be broken. It means that no ancestor has revoked their nationality or acquired citizenship of another country prior to their next in line being born. 

Poland 

Similar to Italy, Poland citizenship also requires you to have an ancestor born in the country post-1900. If you have an ancestor meeting the criteria, you may be eligible for citizenship. Moreover, your lineage must be unbroken for Poland to recognize you. 

Hungary

In 2011, the Hungarian nationality law was passed. If your family meets the eligibility criteria, you may be eligible to obtain citizenship. According to the law, you may be eligible if you have an ancestor born in the country prior to 1920 or between 1941 and 1945. Furthermore, the law also covers areas that used to be a part of Hungary but are now countries like Romania and Slovakia. You must show how that lineage is unbroken and must speak basic Hungarian. 

Other Countries Where You Can Apply for Citizenship by Descent

  • Ireland 
  • United Kingdom 
  • Spain 
  • Romania 
  • Portugal 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Lithuania 
  • Latvia 
  • Israel 
  • Greece 
  • Germany 
  • Armenia 

Countries With the Easiest Citizenship By Naturalization 

The wait for naturalization depends on the country and circumstances. For some countries, the wait is merely two years, whereas others can take ten years. Many countries provide shorter residency qualification time frames for certain groups, including adopted children, spouses, refugees, etc. 

Two-Year Residence Requirement

Following are the countries that hold two-year residence requirements:

  • Argentina
  • Peru

Three-Year Residence Requirement 

Following are the countries that hold three-year residence requirements:

  • Poland 
  • Paraguay 
  • Israel
  • Serbia
  • Honduras 
  • Ecuador 
  • Canada

Four-Year Residence Requirement 

Below are the countries that have four-year residence requirements:

  • Ethiopia 
  • Brazil 

Countries With a Five-Year Residence Requirement

Following countries have a five-year residence requirement for citizenship:

  • Ireland 
  • Chile 
  • Albania 
  • Belgium 
  • Barbados 
  • Australia

Naturalization Timeframe in Different Countries

5+ Years10+ Years15+ years20+ years
BelgiumBulgariaAndorraBahrain
CanadaCzech RepublicAustriaBhutan
PortugalItalyChinaEquatorial Guinea
RussiaLithuaniaPalauKuwait
SwedenSpainSaudi ArabiaLiechtenstein
USASwitzerlandUAESyria

Income Visas 

A lot of countries provide residency if you are able to prove an income that will meet your living expenses. The income may come from an offshore business, investment, or a pension. 

Residency visas have different restrictions and requirements. For instance:

  • If you are a freelancer earning a minimum of  €800 monthly, you may be eligible to obtain a Freiberufler visa that allows you the residency rights to reside and be employed in Germany. 
  • If you have an annual income of €26,000, you could be eligible for residency in Spain. The non-lucrative visa is valid for a year, and after five years, you can apply for permanent residency in the country. 
  • D7 Passive income visa of Portugal implies that an annual income of  €7,200 is enough. 
  • If you want residency in Nicaragua, you need to show a monthly income of $750 and $150 for each dependent for a residency visa. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What countries are easy countries to get citizenship?

In general, Caribbean countries are considered to be easy countries to get citizenship. They usually offer citizenship in three to six months, on the condition that you make the qualifying investment and meet the other criteria.

Which EU country offers citizenship easily?

If you’re willing to make an investment, Malta is one of the easiest countries on the citizenship by investment list. The amount of the investment depends on your residency status, which is either 12 months or 36 months. Apart from the investment, you’re also required to make a donation. 

Does my country of citizenship affect my second or third citizenship?

In general, no. However, if your country of citizenship doesn’t allow dual citizenship, this could be a problem. This is why it’s important to seek legal assistance before you commit yourself to citizenship by investment program and make any investment.

Do citizenship by investment countries require a stay in the country?

If the program you’re applying to is a direct citizenship program, you don’t have to stay in the country. You make your application and get your passport in three to six months. However, if it’s a residency by investment program, you’ll usually need to meet a minimum stay requirement. This is seven days on average for Portugal, while it’s just one day for Spain.

Are there any free citizenship countries?

If you’re looking to get citizenship for free, you can check the naturalization route. It allows you to seek citizenship in a country after you’ve lived there for a period, which is usually a minimum of five years. 

How many citizenships can you have?

The answer to how many citizenships can you have question depends on your home country and preferences. For some people, two passports will suffice. But for some, three passports can work better. This depends on your business and lifestyle needs. If you’re doing business in EU countries, you can benefit from an EU passport which will allow you to travel visa-free. 

Is there citizenship by investment countries list?

There is no official citizenship by investment countries list, but for guidance and more information, you can check out our Golden Visa countries article and see some of the most popular countries that offer citizenship by investment.

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