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Your Introduction to Citizenship by Descent

What is Citizenship by Descent

Citizenship is a basic right that's existed for millennia - the very concept dates back to Ancient Greece. It provides those that hold it the right to be active participants in their community, through owning property, contributing economically, and being involved in political and administrative affairs - whether by running directly or merely voting in the process.

For centuries, people have moved around the world, establishing new roots far and wide. Citizenship by Descent (also known as Citizenship by Ancestry) provides the opportunity to return to those roots. It's a process by which individuals can gain the citizenship of their ancestors.

In the case of countries with jure sanguinis ('by right of blood'), such as Italy, it is granted to individuals provided they can prove their bloodline traces back to the country they're applying to become a citizen of. This could come via parents, grandparents or in some cases, great-grandparents.

Which Countries Give Citizenship by Descent?

There are many countries that offer citizenship by descent. However, it's important to consider that the rules and requirements can differ significantly depending on the country you're looking to become a citizen of.

For example, some countries will allow individuals to trace back as far as three (great-grandparents). Others have stricter regulations in place, only allowing an individual to go back a single generation (parents).

It's also important to consider that some countries stipulate that applicants renounce their original citizenship to become a citizen.

How to Get Citizenship by Descent?

You need to be able to provide evidence that demonstrates your lineage to the ancestor whose citizenship you're looking to obtain. Depending on the country in which you're applying to become a citizen, this will require you to provide birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates and address registers - essentially anything that can legally support your claim.

Our Citizenship by Descent Programmes

Italy
Shutterstock 1829125160
Italy

Italy is uniquely positioned when it comes to obtaining Citizenship by Descent - it's considered a birth right. Through jure sanguinis ('by right of blood'), it's passed from generation to generation. There are no limits on how far removed you can be from your last Italian-born-ancestor.

Find out more
  • You need to have had an Italian ancestor who was alive after March, 17 1861.
  • Did your Italian ancestor ever gain citizenship in another country? If so, it must have occurred after July 1, 1912, and after the birth of his or her child.
  • Are there women in your direct ancestral line? If so, the children of these women must have been norn after January 1, 1948, to pass on Italian citizenship.
Poland
Poland shutterstock 4074065
Poland

There's ample opportunity for one to become a Polish citizen by descent. You simply need to prove, via civil documentation, that you have a Polish ancestor who was born and resided in Poland (or former territories of Poland) after 1920.

 

 

 

Find out more
  • You need at least one ancestor (a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent)
    who was born in Poland or a former Polish territory.
  • Your ancestor must have resided in Poland or a former territory of Poland
    until after 1920.
  • Your ancestor must have maintained their Polish citizenship until the day of
    your birth or the day they died.
Ireland
Ireland CBD2
Ireland

The Irish Citizenship-by-Descent programme offers multiple ways of gaining Irish Citizenship. Simply gather the relevant documentation, proving you were born in Ireland before 1st January 2005, or have an ancestor who was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth.

 

 

Find out more

If you were born on the Island of Ireland prior to 1st January 2005, you are automatically an Irish citizen. If not, one of the following must be true:

- Your parent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth.
- Your grandparent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your parent’s birth.

- Your great-grandparent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your grandparent’s birth, and your grandparent registered your parent in the Foreign Births Register before you were born.

Italy
Shutterstock 1829125160

Italy is uniquely positioned when it comes to obtaining Citizenship by Descent - it's considered a birth right. Through jure sanguinis ('by right of blood'), it's passed from generation to generation. There are no limits on how far removed you can be from your last Italian-born-ancestor.

Find out more
  • You need to have had an Italian ancestor who was alive after March, 17 1861.
  • Did your Italian ancestor ever gain citizenship in another country? If so, it must have occurred after July 1, 1912, and after the birth of his or her child.
  • Are there women in your direct ancestral line? If so, the children of these women must have been norn after January 1, 1948, to pass on Italian citizenship.
Poland
Poland shutterstock 4074065

There's ample opportunity for one to become a Polish citizen by descent. You simply need to prove, via civil documentation, that you have a Polish ancestor who was born and resided in Poland (or former territories of Poland) after 1920.

 

 

 

Find out more
  • You need at least one ancestor (a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent)
    who was born in Poland or a former Polish territory.
  • Your ancestor must have resided in Poland or a former territory of Poland
    until after 1920.
  • Your ancestor must have maintained their Polish citizenship until the day of
    your birth or the day they died.
Ireland
Ireland CBD2

The Irish Citizenship-by-Descent programme offers multiple ways of gaining Irish Citizenship. Simply gather the relevant documentation, proving you were born in Ireland before 1st January 2005, or have an ancestor who was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth.

 

 

Find out more

If you were born on the Island of Ireland prior to 1st January 2005, you are automatically an Irish citizen. If not, one of the following must be true:

- Your parent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth.
- Your grandparent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your parent’s birth.

- Your great-grandparent must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your grandparent’s birth, and your grandparent registered your parent in the Foreign Births Register before you were born.