How to Apply for EU Citizenship

By Natasha Jackson-Arnautu - Updated June 15, 2017
City of London business and banking aria at sunset

Becoming one of the 495 million citizens living in the European Union requires an attachment by law or nationality to one of the 27 member states, or countries, that belong to the EU because each country keeps its own laws and borders. You cannot attain EU citizenship without being a citizen by law or birth of one of the EU member states or four non-member states. Citizenship in the European Union allows you to live, work, and travel freely in any of the member states, in addition to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

Make an ancestral claim. Many members states of the European recognize ancestry as a legitimate claim for citizenship. If you can prove your parents and in some cases your grandparents as is the case in Ireland, were born in an EU country, you may qualify for that country's citizenship with a shorter waiting period. Other exceptions such as this exist for ancestors of many former Soviet bloc countries.

Choose the country in which you want to live. Citizenship in the EU requires citizenship in one of the EU member states.

Learn the native language fluently of the country where you want to live and gain citizenship. Many countries, such as Latvia, Romania, and Germany require knowledge of the language and culture as a condition of citizenship whether its gained through an ancestral link or naturalization.

Live in a country that is part of the European Union. Citizenship requirements in all EU member states requires some period of residency in the country where you are applying for citizenship. Ireland and Cyprus requires a total of 5 years residency for naturalized citizens.

Apply for citizenship to an EU member state. Your citizenship application will include proof of residency, ability to earn a living, good character, and fluency in the native language. The waiting period for application approval varies by each country in the European Union, and depends on the accuracy of the records provided.


Marriage to an EU citizen still requires a period of residency in your spouse's native country.


Even though some ancestral claims allow citizenship without language requirements, the required forms are in the language of the country.

About the Author

Natasha Jackson-Arnautu is an experienced writer and researcher who specializes in topics ranging from politics to proms. She has worked for online websites like, Elance, and many more. She is the quintessential political junkie with both a bachelor's and a master's degree in political science.

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