分类: citizenship by descent

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Mobility Standard #5 – Citizens of Bitcoin, Ancestry-Based Citizenship, and Sovereign Individuals

Our guest this week is Yuri Lau, a Dutch national who has been living in Argentina for the last 16 years and who is now working on investment migration solutions tailored for crypto-investors through the company he co-founded; Citizens of Bitcoin.

We spoke to Yuri about Citizens of Bitcoin and how he aims to tailor mobility packages specifically suited to crypto-investors. We also discussed how the increasingly large share of global assets that are non-tangible and geographically non-fixed opens up opportunities for sovereign individuals to bargain with states and to make countries compete for them.

Ahmad Abbas brought up a potential new incentive scheme for high-performing employees of multinationals: Company sponsorship of CBI applications through the bond investment options of the Caribbean. We explored the feasibility of such solutions and how they would work in practice.

Citizenship by descent solutions is becoming an increasingly recognized – and utilized – avenue to enhanced freedom of travel and settlement. We ask: Why is that market only now getting so much attention and does it represent a threat or an opportunity to investment migration?

Finally, Rogelio suggests DNA test-kit companies, like 23andMe, should become RCBI-introducers by informing their users, whenever European ancestry is discovered during analysis, that they may qualify for citizenship in the EU.

All of that, and a great deal more, in today’s episode of the Mobility Standard.

Timestamps
  • 06:30 – Citizens of Bitcoin
  • 08:10 – The virtualization of assets and how it enables sovereign individuals
  • 13:00 – The complementarities of monetary and physical mobility
  • 14:20 – Competition between states for the best citizens and free individuals bargaining with states
  • 19:00 – Citizenship as employee performance bonus: Companies sponsoring CBI applications through the bond route
  • 26:05 – Tailoring investment migration to crypto-investors; What are their pain points?
  • 29:00 – Citizenship by descent/ancestry: Why is this market only now growing quickly and is it a threat or an opportunity for the investment migration industry?
  • 37:45 – Rogelio gives away his best business ideas for free.

The post Mobility Standard #5 – Citizens of Bitcoin, Ancestry-Based Citizenship, and Sovereign Individuals appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

The Complete List of EU Citizenship by Ancestry/Descent Policies

17 countries inside the European Economic Area offer EU citizenship to grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or sometimes even more distant descendants of European citizens.

Because citizenship in one EEA/Single Market country grants the right to live and work in all of them, these citizenships consistently rank among the world’s most desirable.

Tens (potentially hundreds) of millions of non-Europeans qualify for citizenship by descent. We’ve assembled a complete list, as well as an interactive map, of which European (EEA/Single Market) countries offer citizenship by ancestry.

For the purposes of this overview, we’ll ignore the various citizenship by ancestral persecution solutions, such as the ones that apply to people descending from those stripped of citizenship in Nazi-controlled Germany and Austria or from Sephardic Jews in Spain and Portugal.

How many people qualify for European citizenship by descent?

Outside of Europe itself, descendants of European citizens are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Americas. While there are certainly considerable numbers of European descendants living in Africa and Asia (not to mention Oceania, where the preponderance of inhabitants have European ancestry), the largest groups – in absolute terms – are found in North, Central, and South America.

Map showing concentration of European descendants

In 2016, in the United States, 133 million Americans (41% of the population) reported they were of European ancestry. That number, however, includes only those who had first-hand knowledge of their European ancestry (or cared to report it): Some 244 million Americans (72%) of the population, self-identified as “White or Caucasian”, many of whom simply consider themselves “Americans”, rather than, for example, Irish-Americans or German-Americans.

In Latin America, moreover, an estimated 32-40% of the population (179-220 million people) are of European descent, and nearly half of them live in Brazil.

All told, more than half a billion people outside of Europe have some claim to European ancestry. Not all of those will be able to prove it, of course. Fewer still will be able to demonstrate they have a European ancestor only two or three generations removed.

A number of European countries, however, don’t place a particular generational limit on citizenship eligibility through ancestry. If you can convincingly argue, through your evidence, that your ancestor was Hungarian, for example, there is – at least hypothetically – no limit on how many generations back you can go. Nomad Capitalist provides an illustrative example:

[…] someone with the last name Almasy – one of the most common Hungarian last names – would almost certainly be able to obtain Hungarian citizenship. 

The difference between Italy’s program and the citizenship program in Hungary is that Italian ancestry can only be claimed so far back as Italy existed in its current state. 

Yet, in Hungary, if you can establish a paper trail that connected each generation to the next, and then all the way to you, you’d be eligible to apply. 

Now, thanks to the growing popularity (and diminishing cost) of genealogical research and DNA testing, the number of non-Europeans able to argue convincingly that they are of European descent is rising.

List and interactive map of European citizenship by descent policies

The list below will tell you which countries currently offer citizenship by descent, along with a link to the source where you can find more information on eligibility requirements, exemptions, processing times, and so on.

Country Citizenship by Ancestry Eligibility
Austria 1st generation only
Belgium 1st generation only
Bulgaria 3rd generation
Croatia 2nd generation
Cyprus 1st generation only
Czech Rep. 2nd generation
Denmark 1st generation only
Estonia 1st generation only
Finland 1st generation only
France 1st generation only
Germany 1st generation only
Greece 3rd generation
Hungary 3rd generation or earlier
Iceland 1st generation only
Ireland 3rd generation
Italy 3rd generation or earlier
Latvia 3rd generation or earlier
Liechtenstein 1st generation only
Lithuania 3rd generation or earlier
Luxembourg 3rd generation or earlier
Malta 2nd generation
Netherlands 1st generation only
Norway 1st generation only
Poland 3rd generation or earlier
Portugal 2nd generation
Romania 2nd generation
Slovakia 3rd (Legislation pending)
Slovenia 2nd generation
Spain 2nd generation
Sweden 1st generation only
Switzerland 1st generation only

If you'd like to find a law firm that specializes in assisting with the often complex procedure of applying for citizenship by descent in one of the above European countries, you may reach out to the editor on cn@imidaily.com to request an introduction.

More Intel & Data

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17 countries offer EU citizenship to grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or sometimes even more distant descendants of European citizens. See our complete list and interactive map.

26% of respondents in this year's Investment Migration Executive Survey said North America was their fastest-growing source market. That's up from 0% in 2019.

The revision indicates that while 2020 was still a dismal year for the program, it was 133% better than previously signaled.

 

The post The Complete List of EU Citizenship by Ancestry/Descent Policies appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Bulgaria Grants EU Citizenship by Descent Up to 3rd Generation: Hundreds of Thousands Qualify

 

If you can prove that you have a Bulgarian parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent, you are eligible for citizenship in Bulgaria – and, by extension, the right to live in any of the 27 member states – thanks to a recent change to Bulgaria’s citizenship law.

The change is of considerable consequence for the hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian descendants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Russia, and elsewhere who now have a practical route to citizenship in the European Union.

Legal basis of Bulgarian citizenship by origin applications

Bulgarian Citizenship by Origin is based on provisions in the Bulgarian Citizenship Act. In March this year, the Bulgarian Parliament partially amended the legislation governing Bulgarian citizenship by origin. 

Pursuant to Section 15 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, a person who is not a Bulgarian citizen may acquire Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization if he/she meets one of the following requirements:

  1. is of Bulgarian origin; or
  2. has been adopted by a Bulgarian citizen under the conditions of full adoption;
  3. one of his parents is a Bulgarian citizen or has died as a Bulgarian citizen.

Subsection 1 of Section 15 of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act is thus the provision that entitles a person of Bulgarian origin to naturalize as a citizen.

Bulgarian citizenship by origin – 2021 amendments

The 2021 amendments envision that as part of the Bulgarian citizenship by origin procedure, the applicant must provide official evidence of his/her Bulgarian origin. These must be documents issued by Bulgarian or foreign government bodies. 

Pursuant to the amendments in the Citizenship Act, the relationship is now limited to a Bulgarian ancestor up to the applicant’s great-grandparents’ generation. 

The documents the applicant presents must contain information about the names of the ascendant and his/her relationship to the applicant.

In essence, this means that a Certificate of Bulgarian origin issued by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad is no longer part of the application set. The Certificate was previously an inevitable and time-consuming step, which however did not guarantee approval, and was duplicated by subsequent procedures. Its removal is therefore to be welcomed.

FAQs about Bulgarian citizenship by origin
  • Do I qualify for Bulgarian citizenship by origin?
    Bulgaria applies a broad criterion to determine who qualifies on the basis of origin. Generally, if you are aware that you have Bulgarian ancestors, you are likely to qualify.
  • What are the steps to acquiring Bulgarian citizenship by origin?
    The process of acquiring Bulgarian citizenship based on origin and collating the necessary documents can be daunting.

    Applying for Bulgarian citizenship on the basis of your origin is generally a matter of long-term planning rather than something you can hope to benefit from immediately (though there are situations of restoration of citizenship or where Bulgarian nationality had not been lost, and in which a travel document is available much sooner).

    Тhe decision on granting citizenship can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months, though this can be shortened in special cases. Such cases are those where the use of nationality may be required by the applicant as a matter of genuine urgency and applications may combine origin with merit (under art. 16 of the Citizenship Act) to result in an accelerated review (eg, where there is a humanitarian reason or the applicant has contributed to Bulgaria – scientifically, economically, culturally or otherwise and is of Bulgarian origin).

  • Can I reside in Bulgaria even before obtaining citizenship?
    This is possible under certain circumstances.
  • Can my family also obtain Bulgarian citizenship?
    Your children, of any age, can also obtain Bulgarian citizenship once you become one. Your spouse can also become a Bulgarian citizen. Your spouse will be able to live, work, and study in any of the 27 EU member countries. However, the spouse of a Bulgarian citizen can only obtain Bulgarian citizenship by residing, or by investing, in Bulgaria.

More Policy Updates

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If you can prove that you have a Bulgarian parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent, you are eligible for citizenship in Bulgaria – and, by extension, the right to live in any of the 27 member states – thanks to a recent change to Bulgaria’s citizenship law.

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The post Bulgaria Grants EU Citizenship by Descent Up to 3rd Generation: Hundreds of Thousands Qualify appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Czechia: Hidden Citizenship-by-Descent Gem? New Data Suggests So

 

 

Since September 2019, Czechia has allowed the descendants of former Czech and Czechoslovak citizens to the second generation (grandchildren) to claim citizenship by descent, thanks to Section 31(3) of an amendment to the Act on the Citizenship of the Czech Republic (“ACCR”). Former citizens have been allowed to claim their lost Czech or Czechoslovak citizenship since the new Czech Citizenship Act was passed into law back in 2014.

Czechia’s 2019 amendment is the penultimate law among the Visegrád countries furthering the region’s complete trend towards liberalization of citizenship by descent. As we wrote in March, Czechia’s southern neighbor, Slovakia, is currently on deck with its pending citizenship draft amendment proposing citizenship by descent to third generation descendants (great-grandchildren). 

Key Eligibility Point of Czech Article 31(3) Amendment

Article 31(3) applies to children and grandchildren of Czech or Czechoslovak citizens, given that those ancestors have lost their citizenship at some point. 

An important element of this law is that these descendants may claim their citizenship “by declaration” which means they are legally entitled to citizenship, taking discretion out of the hands of Czech authorities in the adjudication of the application (so long as they meet the formal requirements). Furthermore, this means applicants neither have to provide evidence of good character nor possess any Czech language skills.

The condition of loss of Czech/Czechoslovak citizenship means that this provision generally provides eligibility to two categories of applicants: 

  1. those whose ancestors emigrated to countries, which had signed treaties with Czechoslovakia banning dual citizenship (most notably the United States and almost all USSR-sphere-of-influence countries); and 
  2. those whose parents naturalized abroad after the Czech Republic became independent in 1993.

As a practical matter, a common scenario would look like this. In 1922, a Czechoslovak citizen (“Mr. Novak”) from the area now part of modern day Czechia leaves Czechoslovakia to emigrate to Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Novak is present in the United States until naturalizing in the United States, thereby losing his Czechoslovak citizenship. Fast forward to today, and as descendants of this former Czechoslovak citizen, Mr. Novak’s children and grandchildren would likely qualify under Czechia’s Section 31(3). 

So by now, planeloads of newly minted dual Czech-American citizens should be raring to raid the streets of Prague to drink fake absinthe and stuff their faces with trdelník, right? 

Not so fast. 

New Data Reveals Anemic Naturalization Rate with New Law

Thanks to a recent Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request by the authors of this article, the numbers released by the Czech Ministry of Interior show that since the ACCR was amended in September 2019 to include the descendants of former citizens (per Section 31(3)), only 280 applicants worldwide have successfully applied during the period of September, 2019 to April 9th, 2021 (the termination of the FOIA’s date range). Unfortunately, the figures in the FOIA do not reveal the total number of applications made during the same timeframe. 

For context, in the United States alone, over 1.2 million people claimed full or partial Czech descent in the 2000 U.S. National census. 

With presumably at least tens of thousands of eligible applicants worldwide, stunningly only the equivalent of a university lecture hall’s attendance have successfully applied for Czech citizenship under Section 31(3). 

Possible Causes for Slow Pace of Naturalizations

Despite the recent global economic downturn, one assumes that Czechia’s Section 31(3)’s $23 citizenship application fee is not cost prohibitive for applicants. 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle for potential applicants is the fact that the statute requires loss of citizenship on the ancestor’s part. As mentioned earlier, this only occurred in cases in which Czech/Czechoslovak ancestors who emigrated to certain countries antagonistic to dual citizenship at the time. Counterintuitive to our typical notions of citizenship by descent, under Czech Section 31(3), an applicant only qualifies if their ancestor lost their Czechoslovak or Czech citizenship by any means. 

Nevertheless, as one of those countries is the United States, which possesses the largest Czech diaspora in the world, it is astounding that more Czech/Czechoslovak descendants have not utilized this option of citizenship by descent to gain permanent access to Europe.  

From their experience discussing this Czech law with dozens of Czechoslovak and Czech ancestors, these authors believe that applicant doubt regarding eligibility may be resulting in a low application rate.  

Another possible contributing factor may be a lack of knowledge of family history among potentially qualifying applicants. Quite simply, many would-be applicants are not even aware that they are the descendant of a former Czechoslovak citizen.  

Key to Screening: Determining the Last Czech/Czechoslovak Citizen in an Applicant’s Family Line

With the investment migration market growing in the United States, it is reasonable to assume that potential CBI clients will start to take a harder look at the family tree in their bid to acquire mobility assets. 

For the purposes of Czech Section 31(3), investment migration professionals should screen clients who may have Central European ancestry. Extra attention should be given to screening clients from Czech-heavy areas of Chicago, Illinois, and the state of Texas. 

Professionals should also take extra care with the tricky business of determining which ancestor in an applicant’s lineal history was the last in the line to have had Czechoslovak or Czech citizenship, as that qualifying relative is often not the last relative born in Czechoslovakia. Such a determination often determines an analysis of bilateral citizenship treaties requiring the expertise of a professional. 

Lastly, any indication from a client that they have ancestry from any of the Visegrád Four (Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary) should serve as a big blue and gold-starred flag that the client should be properly and thoroughly screened for citizenship-by-descent eligibility. 

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For the purposes of Czech Section 31(3), investment migration professionals should screen clients who may have Central European ancestry, writes Parviz Malakouti and Samuel Durovcik.

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The post Czechia: Hidden Citizenship-by-Descent Gem? New Data Suggests So appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Slovakia to Grant Citizenship by Descent up to 3rd Generation: 800,000 Americans Could Qualify

 

 

Last Tuesday, Slovakia’s cabinet approved their proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act (no. 40/1993), finally addressing a sensitive issue in the small Central European country of restoring former Slovak and Czechoslovak citizens who were stripped of their citizenship in 2011.

Embedded in this proposed amendment lies a little-regarded provision which may have a big impact on the castle-dotted country of four and a half million, as well as the greater European migration community. The bill includes an offer of citizenship by descent up to the third generation (great-grandchildren) of former Czechoslovak and Slovak citizens.  

Bojnice castle in Slovakia : castles
Bojnice castle: Slovakia has more castles per capita than any other country.

The offer of citizenship has no Slovak language proficiency requirement, nor any history or cultural familiarity test. It is currently undetermined whether the applicant will have to be present in Slovakia to apply.  

Under normal circumstances, Slovakia offers an enviable passport with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 181 countries, as well as residency and work authorization throughout the European Union (EU).  

A parliamentary vote in Bratislava is expected by the end of March and the amendment is expected to be handily approved.    

Professionals in the Worldwide Slovak-Diaspora Following Closely 
While detailed information regarding this expected citizenship expansion has yet to proliferate greatly throughout the international migration services industry, some ethnic Slovaks in the United States are watching closely and wading into the political discussion from across the Atlantic.  

Leading the way in advocating for this bill’s passage on behalf of the Slovak diaspora is “One Slovak Family.” This group is comprised of Slovak professionals (including the authors of this article) who have galvanized to unite the Slovak diaspora and advocate for the passage of this proposed citizenship amendment. 

One Slovak Family’s leadership core of immigration experts and university professors have been in dialogue with allies in the Slovak government, news media, and Slovak cultural organizations with a stake in the proposed legislation.  

Ethnic Slovaks worldwide have also organized themselves into a Facebook group called “Slovak Living Abroad Certificate & Slovak Citizenship” to share information on this exciting development.  

Slovakia for Business? 
Since the 2000s, Slovakia has been known as the “Central European Tiger” thanks to restriction-loosening reforms that have helped attract foreign investment and complete its transition to a functioning, free-market democracy. Many foreign firms have established branches in Slovakia and the last three years, in particular, have seen Slovakia enjoy a slow but steadily growing buzz among those in the “digital nomad” community exploring options for foreign incorporation. In big business, the automotive industry, in particular, is credited with driving much of Slovakia’s recent economic growth.

As governments around Europe look for new ways to stimulate business growth, which has been hampered by the pandemic, more nations are experimenting with new solutions such as liberalizing descent-based migration and courting the fast-expanding “digital nomad” community.  Slovakia estimates that about one million Slovaks and their descendants live outside of Slovakia. Attracting even a fraction back to Slovakia could prove crucial in helping the region economically.

The Upshot for Migration Professionals
With an estimated 800,000 members, the United States has the largest Slovak diaspora in the world by far, followed by the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Canada. We predict that interest will continue to be most keen amongst Slovaks from non-EU states, (including the newly-single UK) who desire ultimate freedom of movement and to stay in Slovakia and the EU.  

Migration professionals should now add Slovakia to the list of countries to screen clients for when exploring options for a coveted second passport. Extra attention should be given when screening individuals from the Slovak-dense American states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  

Due to the generous extension of eligibility to the third-generation descendant, potential applicants may earn eligibility through any one of up to fourteen direct ascendants. Given that even a single Czechoslovak or Slovak great-grandparent could be a qualifying relative, these authors conservatively predict that at least 20% of future qualifying applicants will not be aware of their eligibility. Migration professionals should be prepared for a number of these clients to initially present as potential investment or employment-based migration prospects.  

Determining finer points of eligibility will require a delicate legal analysis due to the last 110 tumultuous years in the region including a split from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, two world wars, communist dictatorship, and partition from big brother Czechia.  

After the parliamentary vote in March, we will analyze the citizenship amendment in its final form and publish a follow-up article for our readers.  

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