Claiming Citizenship Through Your Ancestry: 21 Options

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Ever wondered if your great-grandma’s tales could unlock a new passport for you? Around the globe, some nations embrace descendants of former citizens and extend citizenship based on ancestry. Explore 21 countries that may grant you citizenship due to your family lineage.


The Republic of Ireland permits individuals of Irish descent to claim Irish citizenship. A person must have at least one Irish-born grandparent to be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

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To claim Irish citizenship through ancestry, an individual must provide documents proving their Irish heritage, such as grandparents’ birth, death, or marriage certificates from Ireland. The process typically takes six months to a year after applying the necessary ancestral records and documents.


Italy offers citizenship to certain individuals who can prove their Italian ancestry. According to Italian law, you may be eligible for Italian citizenship through jus sanguinis, meaning “right of blood.” If you have Italian ancestors, you can likely claim citizenship by descent.

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To claim Italian citizenship through ancestry, you must provide documents proving your Italian heritage. This typically means showing birth, death, and marriage certificates for your Italian ancestors. You will need to trace your family tree back to your Italian-born ancestor who emigrated from Italy.


Spain currently extends citizenship to descendants of Spaniards up to the third generation. If an individual’s grandparents were Spanish citizens, they may be eligible to claim Spanish citizenship. Spain also has a provision for Sephardic Jews, acknowledging their historical ties to the country by offering citizenship.

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Sephardic Jews are descendants of Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal until the late 15th century. In 2015, Spain passed a law allowing Sephardic Jews to claim Spanish citizenship without giving up their current nationality.


Poland extends citizenship to individuals who can prove Polish ancestry. According to Poland’s Law on Citizenship, descendants of Polish citizens are eligible to claim citizenship. To qualify, an applicant must provide documentation proving that at least one ancestor was a citizen of Poland after 1920.

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Claiming Polish citizenship allows descendants to reconnect with their family history and Polish roots. Gaining citizenship provides opportunities to live, work, or study in Poland freely. Citizens can also travel within the European Union without a visa.


Portugal generously offers citizenship to individuals who can demonstrate Portuguese ancestry. Descendants of Portuguese citizens are eligible to apply for citizenship through Portugal’s Nationality Law if they can provide documents proving their family lineage.

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Portugal formally welcomes applications from grandchildren of Portuguese citizens. Applicants must provide official documents such as birth, marriage, and death certificates to establish an unbroken line of descent from a Portuguese ancestor.


For those who can trace their family lineage to Hungary, citizenship by descent is available. Hungary offers citizenship to individuals who have at least one Hungarian parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent.

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Once the necessary documents have been obtained and translated into Hungarian, applicants can begin the citizenship process. Individuals start by applying for citizenship verification to the Hungarian consulate or embassy with jurisdiction over their place of residence.


Germany has a complex history that includes events like World War II and the Holocaust. As a way to recognize descendants affected by this history, Germany offers citizenship to those who can prove German ancestry.

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Initially, Germany granted citizenship based primarily on jus sanguinis, or “right of blood,” meaning citizenship was passed down through German parents to their children. However, in 2000, Germany amended its nationality law to also allow citizenship based on jus soli, or “right of soil.” This means people born in Germany to non-German parents can claim citizenship.


Citizenship in Finland can be granted to individuals who can demonstrate Finnish ancestry. Specifically, those with a Finnish parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent may be eligible to claim Finnish citizenship.

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The eligibility criteria for ancestry-based citizenship in Finland are relatively straightforward. Applicants need only show that they are directly descended from a Finnish citizen, whether through biological or adoptive links.


Greece generously extends citizenship to individuals who can demonstrate Greek ancestry. For those with a Greek parent or grandparent, applying for Greek citizenship is an opportunity to reconnect with one’s heritage and gain citizenship in an EU country.

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Once documentation has been obtained and submitted, the application process typically takes 6-24 months to complete. Applicants over the age of 45 may be required to prove they can read, write, and speak basic Greek.


Croatia offers citizenship to individuals who can prove Croatian ancestry. To claim Croatian citizenship through descent, applicants must provide documentation confirming an unbroken line of descent from an ancestor who was a Croatian citizen.

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According to Croatian law, citizenship can be granted to descendants of Croatian emigrants up to the third generation. To qualify, you must prove that your Croatian ancestor left Croatia after 1918 and that you have had no ancestors who were citizens of other countries in the interim.


Austria offers citizenship to those who can demonstrate Austrian ancestry. Individuals with at least one Austrian parent are eligible to claim Austrian citizenship. Descendants of victims of Nazi persecution during World War II may also qualify for Austrian citizenship as a means of making amends for past injustices.

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Austria recognizes citizenship based not only on place of birth but also on ancestry and bloodline. If one or both of an individual’s parents were Austrian citizens at the time of the individual’s birth, that person is entitled to claim Austrian citizenship, regardless of their place of birth.


Denmark welcomes individuals of Danish descent to claim citizenship and connect with their ancestral roots. With a shared history spanning over 1,000 years, Denmark recognizes the enduring bond between the nation and its descendants living abroad.

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Denmark’s citizenship policy aims to strengthen ties between Denmark and its diaspora. Applicants need to provide documentation proving a direct blood relation to a Danish citizen, such as a birth or baptismal certificate.

Czech Republic

To claim Czech citizenship through ancestry, you must provide documentation proving your Czech ethnic origin. This typically means providing birth, marriage, and death certificates for your Czech ancestors.

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The Czech Republic allows citizenship by descent up to the third generation. This means you can claim citizenship through a Czech grandparent. Your Czech roots must be proven through official documents like birth, marriage, or death certificates that establish a direct family line to a Czech citizen.


Bulgaria has a long, rich history spanning over 1,300 years. Descendants who pursue citizenship have the opportunity to connect with their heritage in meaningful ways. They can explore the ancient Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in the 10th century.

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For individuals seeking to reconnect with their Bulgarian roots, citizenship provides an unparalleled opportunity. By meeting the requirements and completing the proper application steps, one can embrace all that Bulgaria has to offer its descendants.


For those interested in reclaiming their Slovak roots, exploring the possibility of Slovak citizenship is an opportunity to connect with heritage and experience the beauty of Slovakia. An individual may be eligible for Slovak citizenship through ancestry if one of their parents was born in Slovakia before 1990.

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In addition to proving ancestry, applicants for Slovak citizenship must meet residency requirements. This means spending a certain amount of time living in Slovakia before applying for citizenship. The residency period depends on the applicant’s age and ability to speak Slovak.


Israel is a land steeped in history and spirituality. It invites individuals to explore ancient cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and immerse themselves in rich traditions. For those seeking Israeli citizenship through ancestry, converting to Judaism is one path.

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Individuals undertake an extensive process of learning Jewish law, beliefs, and practices. Upon completing the conversion, the individual is recognized as Jewish under Israeli law and may claim citizenship. In 1950, Israel passed the Law of Return, granting any Jewish person the right to become an Israeli citizen.


For individuals seeking to reclaim their Latvian heritage, Latvia provides an exciting journey of exploration and cultural immersion. The vibrant capital city of Riga serves as a gateway to Latvia’s past and present.

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Latvia’s citizenship program allows individuals of Latvian descent to reclaim their citizenship and forge a deeper connection with their ancestral homeland. To qualify, individuals must provide sufficient evidence of their Latvian heritage, such as birth certificates, passports, or other relevant documents.


Lithuania is a country rich in Baltic history and culture. It offers those with Lithuanian ancestry a chance to reconnect with their past. Whether your connection is through parents or further back in your family tree, Lithuania invites you to explore this connection.

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Lithuania offers a chance to discover the heritage of your ancestors. Its capital, Vilnius, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a well-preserved historic center, castles, churches, and architecture spanning different eras.


Malta, a small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, offers citizenship to individuals who can prove Maltese ancestry. To be eligible, you must provide documentation showing that you have Maltese bloodlines through either your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents.

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To apply for Maltese citizenship through ancestry, you will need to submit several documents to prove your family’s connection to Malta.


Mexico offers citizenship to individuals who can prove Mexican ancestry. If you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who was born in Mexico, you may be eligible to claim Mexican citizenship through Mexico’s ancestry laws.

Source: Unsplash/Jezael Melgoza

By claiming your Mexican citizenship, you open yourself up to participating fully in Mexican culture. As a true citizen, you can celebrate vibrant traditions like Dia de los Muertos, explore ancient Mayan temples, and enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine.


Romania, a country in Eastern Europe, offers citizenship to those who can prove Romanian ancestry. Descendants of Romanian citizens are eligible to claim Romanian citizenship through naturalization.

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Romania’s scenic landscapes, medieval towns, and fusion of Eastern and Western cultures attract many to explore their origins. The capital city of Bucharest features a historic old town, open-air museums, and a vibrant food scene. The Carpathian Mountains offer opportunities for hiking, while Transylvania evokes images of Gothic churches and Dracula’s Bran Castle.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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