European Citizenship & Passport:
Three Ways To Get An Excellent Second Passport In 2023

Looking to obtain European Citizenship and an EU Passport as a foreigner in 2023? Discover 3 ways of how you can get a European Citizenship and Passport.

Yes, it IS possible to get a European Citizenship & Passport for foreigners — even for Britons & Americans…  And some of them even cost next to nothing and only takes a few months! Learn more here…

There are three ways of how you can get EU citizenship. 

And if you’re lucky and qualify for the first option you could get an excellent European passport in just a few months for almost free.

But even if you aren’t lucky, you can still obtain an excellent Portuguese passport without spending millions of dollars – provided you invest a little bit of time.

In this article we’ll cover all three options and several European countries where you can get citizenship easily in 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I obtain a European passport and citizenship?

There are three ways to obtain a passport and citizenship from Europe:

Option #1: Obtain European Citizenship By Descent & Ancestry [The Cheapest & Easiest Way]

Option #2: Obtain European Citizenship Through Naturalization [Anyone Can Do This]

  • Portugal - The Easiest OVERALL Option for EU Citizenship
  • Belgium - The Easiest Option For for Business People to get EU Citizenship
  • Spain - The Best Option for Those of Latin Descent to get EU Citizenship

Option #3: Obtain European Citizenship By Investment [The Quickest Option]

Which is the easiest European country for a foreigner to gain citizenship?

Portugal is the overall easiest option for obtaining citizenship in a European country. Portugal’s Retirement and Online Worker Visa (D7) is the best way to obtain residency in Portugal. It requires you to have sufficient means to support yourself. After five years of residency in Portugal, you can apply for citizenship.

But Spain could be a better option for those of Latin descent or Belgium for business owners...

What is the quickest path to citizenship and a second passport in a European country?

Citizenship by investment is the quickest way to get a second passport in a European country.

Malta  is currently the only EU country that offers a Citizenship By Investment program.

Malta requires a large donation to the country’s development fund, which you won’t get back. Plus you need to buy property to live in, or rent it for five years. And finally you will need to invest six figures in a government approved financial investment, like stocks or bonds.

But if you are lucky, you may already be eligible for a second passport (at almost no cost) through citizenship by descent.

This option can be as fast as citizenship by investment, but can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars.

You can learn more about it here.

What is the cheapest way to get a European citizenship?

Citizenship through descent or ancestry is the cheapest and easiest way to get a European passport, but only if you qualify.

You have to be able to prove a direct line to your ancestors from certain countries like Italy, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Germany, and others.

This should be the first option that you look into, because it is by far the cheapest and easiest way to get European citizenship if you’re part of the “lucky bloodline club.”

You can learn more about it here.

View ALL the Easiest and Fastest Citizenship & Passport Options At A Glance...

Download our free Easiest Citizenship & Passport Comparison Sheet and see all the options you have at a glance.

Easiest Citizenship & Second Passport Options Comparison Table

Inside you’ll find…

This sheet could save you tens of thousands of dollars and YEARS of time.

Benefits of getting a Second Passport in 2023

I’ll never forget the day when the FedEx envelope finally arrived.

Inside was my very first second passport. I was officially not only a citizen of the US, but of Italy, too. It was incredible. And it was one of the things that got me started on my journey.

Suddenly I realized that I was no longer beholden to one nation. That no single government had exclusive authority over me. I had more options. I had more freedom.

It was a feeling I’d never had before. It was like I had been missing something for my whole life, but never even knew it until that exact moment. Then I wondered how I had ever gotten along before without a second passport and alternative citizenship.

Having a second passport is the ultimate insurance policy. I cannot overstate the benefits.

We have health, car and life insurance to mitigate financial risks. Generally, we don’t question the value of insurance. And we especially don’t question the value when we’re in a car accident or have to visit the hospital.

But, there’s a missing piece of risk mitigation that few people consider — (congrats to you on this page – you’re among the few thinking about your international options)

And that’s why a second citizenship and passport are so valuable.

A second citizenship and passport ensure that, no matter what, you always have a place to go. To live. To work. To do business. To retire. And in some cases, even seek refuge.

And being a European citizen is particularly valuable, because it will give you the right to live, work and do business in all 27 European Union countries — like France, Spain, Germany and Sweden. 

If you’re not finding the right employment opportunities at home, for example, you can broaden your search to Europe. And if you have children, they would gain access to the excellent European education system at a fraction of the price.

Now, obtaining a second citizenship – whether in Europe or elsewhere – often takes time, sometimes years. So, it’s advisable to start thinking about your options right now.

Here are the three ways of how to get EU citizenship…

Option #1: Get European Citizenship By Descent & Ancestry [The Cheapest & Easiest Way]

The first and easiest way to get a European citizenship and passport is through your ancestry and descent. 

You may be eligible for European citizenship by descent if you have parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents from Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland and a number of other EU countries.

This type of citizenship is known as jus sanguinis and is commonplace across most of Europe.

One of the biggest benefits of citizenship by descent is that it often costs only a few hundred dollars in government fees, and can sometimes be done in just a few months.

That’s why it’s an excellent option that we recommend EVERYONE considers first before pursuing any other way to get a second passport. 

To get a better idea of how this process works, you can download a free in-depth intelligence report on How To Get an Italian Passport & Citizenship By Descent here.

Even if you don’t have Italian ancestors, this report will give you a better idea of how citizenship by descent generally works.

Italian Citizenship By Descent
Further ReadingCitizenship By Descent Example: How To Get an Italian Passport

But Italy is not the only country that will give you a European passport if you have ancestors from there.

Ireland and Poland, for example, will grant citizenship if you can prove that you have a parent or grandparent from there.

Hungary will go even further back, if you can prove ancestry way back from the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Your ancestors can also get you one of the world’s most valuable passports: 

In the Sovereign Man Passport Ranking, the German passport ranks 6th best in the world. It gives holders visa-free access to over 162 countries, including all of Europe, the US, Canada, and the UK. 

(By comparison, a US passport enables citizens visa-free travel to only 157 countries.)

Germany even has a special citizenship project for individuals who were deprived of their German citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds. And this program applies to descendants, too.

So, with the right ancestry and documentation, you could be on your way to a second passport in the EU in only a matter of months — and it could potentially cost you next to nothing.

To learn which other countries offer this easy way to get European citizenship, you can take a look at our in-depth article on citizenship by descent.

But even if you aren’t lucky enough to be part of the “lucky bloodline club”, you can still get European citizenship without investing millions of dollars…

Option #2: Get European Citizenship Through Naturalization [Anyone Can Do This]

In most countries around the world, you can acquire citizenship by first becoming a legal resident, and then maintaining that residency for a certain number of years.

The required time is generally at least five years, but it can be as low as one year in certain cases.

And maintaining your legal residency status doesn’t always mean that you have to actually live in a country full-time.

Here are the three easiest European countries to get residency in with a view to becoming a citizen.

1. Portugal
The Easiest OVERALL Option for EU Citizenship.

Portugal’s first class passport comes with visa-free access to 160 countries. That includes the ability to live, work and travel freely in all 27 member-states of the EU.

To get a Portuguese passport, you’ll need to become a resident of Portugal, and after five years, you can apply for citizenship.

Portugal’s Retirement and Online Worker Visa, more commonly known as the D7 Passive Income Visa, is the best way to obtain residency in Portugal – and the most affordable program of its kind in the EU. It requires you to have sufficient means to support yourself.

As of 2022, the program considers either stable passive income and/or significant liquid savings towards meeting this requirement, with passive (non-salaried) income being preferred. Stable rental income from movable or immovable assets qualify as passive income. 

So do royalties, fixed-rate interest earnings and even dividends, provided that you are not operationally involved in running the business in which you own shares. But again, salaried income can also be taken into account.

While the exact financial requirements tend to vary from one Portuguese consulate to the next, the following serves as the “typical” minimum requirement in 2023:

  • If you’re a single applicant, the “absolute minimum” requirements are in line with the Portuguese minimum wage – around €760 per month.
  • If you apply with your spouse, the above requirement goes up by 50%, or around €380 per month (so €1140 per month for a married couple).
  • For dependent children under the age of 18, an additional 30% of the minimum wage is required (around €228 per child per month). So for a family of four with two children under 18, the absolute minimum you’d need would be around  €1,596 per month, or €19,152 per year).

Considering that you can qualify for Portuguese (EU) citizenship and a second passport after only 5 years, this is a really good deal. 

The more stable passive income you can prove over and above this minimum threshold, the greater your chances of being approved become. 

Please note: The D7 Visa is initially issued with a 2-year validity, after which it can be renewed for an additional 3 years. 

You would ideally want to have this amount of income AND significant savings to maximize your chances of being approved for this residency visa…

A key benefit of the D7 Residency Program is the fact that you don’t need to invest €280,000, €350,000 or even €500,000 in property — although you will be required to have a residential address in Portugal.

Yet unlike with the Portuguese Golden Visa, which only requires you to spend two weeks per two-year period in Portugal, the minimum stay requirements for the D7 Visa Program are quite significant. 

You have to spend at least 6 months per year in the country.

After five years of temporary residency in Portugal, you will be eligible for permanent residency and citizenship (the naturalization period was reduced from six to five years in mid-2018). 

Given the low barriers to entry, the lax residency requirements and the short-time to naturalization, Portugal is by far the easiest way to get EU citizenship (without ancestry).

Keep in mind, however, that even though it’s possibly the easiest European passport to get, the path from Portuguese residency to full citizenship takes at least five years of residency.

2. Belgium
The Easiest Option For for Business People to get EU Citizenship.

If you’re looking to start or relocate a business, Belgium offers a fantastic, Tier 1 passport with visa-free access to 158 countries. 

Just like Portugal, with a Belgian passport, you’ve got free access to the European continent. You could live and work anywhere in the EU. 

First of all, you’ll need to establish economic ties in Belgium to get residency through one of three options…

  1. Set up a company in Belgium and apply for a Professional Card (PC), which grants you residency in Belgium. 
  2. Get a job with a Belgian Company to obtain a work permit. This option is also referred to as the Permis Unique or Single Work Permit (SWP).

The Belgian Professional Card (PC) Residency

Also known as the Carte Professionnelle, this option is ideally suited for entrepreneurs: Belgium is seeking to attract applicants who can create new jobs, help grow its economy and offer products and services that are in short supply locally. 

In order to apply for the PC, you’ll have to create and submit a comprehensive business plan. You’ll also need to have demonstrable entrepreneurial and management skills, along with the means to support yourself and any dependent family members while staying in Belgium.

Job creation is a key focus area under this residency option, so make sure your business plan includes employing at least one Belgian citizen. Alternatively, you could also look at acting as a non-active partner or shareholder, with a Belgian national serving as the business’ director. 

You could also consider buying an existing Belgian business in order to apply for the Professional Card. Additionally, you also have the option of “sending yourself” to Belgium as the employee of a foreign company seeking to explore the Belgian market. 

And yes, you can be the owner of the company that sends you to Belgium. In order to be eligible for this residency track, you will need at least one other person serving as a director of the company, to whom you can report. Moreover, if you opt for this path to obtain Belgian residency, you won’t have to pay any social security contributions – although you will then be required to have comprehensive EU-wide health insurance. 

Please note: While this is an effective route to residency, the fact that you don’t contribute to a Belgian retirement scheme and social security could jeopardize your ability to apply for eventual Belgian citizenship. 

For more information on the Belgian Professional Card, click here.

The Belgian Single Work Permit (Permis Unique)

The Single Work Permit (SWP) is an electronic card for non-EU nationals giving authorization to both work and settle in Belgium. In order to apply for this employment based residency permit, you’ll need to secure a job with a Belgian employer. 

If you’re an EU national, this is a relatively straightforward process. If you’re non-EU national, however, your Belgian employer will have to apply for the residency permit on your behalf via the Regional Employment Office.

For more information on how to apply for Belgium’s Single Work Permit as a non-EU national, click here.

Once you’ve established residency through economic ties, you’ll need to maintain the residency for five years to become eligible for naturalization.

In Belgium the minimum time spent in the country is not defined per se, but a “reasonable enough time to prove strong ties to Belgium.” 

So you should keep your business open and active; not commit crimes; learn a little French, Flemish or German; and participate in the community.

3. Spain
The Best Option for Those of Latin Descent to get EU Citizenship

Spain is by far the fastest and cheapest option for citizens of countries that used to be Spanish colonies.  

Citizens of any former Spanish colony, plus Brazil, can get Spanish citizenship with just two years of residency, and they don’t have to renounce their old citizenship.

If anyone else wants to become a citizen of Spain they must spend 10 years living there, and renounce their old citizenship.

A Spanish passport ranks in the top 10 in our international passport ranking, with visa-free access to 161 countries, including all of the European Union.

As a single applicant, you’ll need to prove at least €28,80 or more in savings or liquid investments to apply for your initial entry visa into Spain from your local consulate at home. Once in Spain, you will pick up your residence permit. 

After two years, you will become eligible for naturalization as a Spanish citizen and a passport.

Option #3: Get European Citizenship By Investment [The Quickest Option]

The final option is to buy citizenship in an EU country.

In scrambling for money, many governments are turning to selling citizenship to well-heeled foreign investors.

There are two types of programs:

1. Citizenship By Investment Options

This means you receive your European citizenship very quickly and without having to reside in the country for several years first. But these options will also cost a lot more money.

Malta is currently the only EU country offering a Citizenship By Investment Program (Cyprus’ program was recently suspended due to allegations of misconduct). In Malta, the government naturalizes foreigners who make a very large economic investment and meet other qualifications.

Under the recently amended Maltese Citizenship By Investment Program, formally known as the Malta Individual Investor Program, you, the primary applicant, are required to contribute either €600,000 or €750,000 to the government, depending on whether you prefer the standard or fast track residency process (36 months vs 12 months). The contribution for your spouse or dependent family members is €50,000 per applicant. . These  are donations that you will not get back.

Plus, you must purchase a house with a value of €700,000 OR rent a property for at least €18,000 per year for a period of five years (so a total of €90,000 in rental costs). Finally, you must also make a mandatory donation of €10,000 to a Maltese NGO. The Due Diligence fees for the program were also increased to €15,000 for the primary applicant, and €10,000 for dependents.

This may seem a high hurdle to clear, but within either 12 or 36 months of maintaining Maltese residency, you’ll obtain citizenship and a passport for visa-free travel to 156 countries. Plus, future generations will benefit… they are eligible for Maltese citizenship by ancestry.

You can learn more about how and where to buy a passport in our in-depth article on citizenship by investment.,

Citizenship By Investment Comparison Sheet

Malta is just one of the 12 countries that offer citizenship-by-investment out. 

This comparison sheet will give you a birds-eye view of the most important things you need to know about each citizenship-by-investment program…

  1. The differences between the programs (number of visa-free countries, price, investment options, taxation, …)
  2. Which countries you can enter without a visa with each passport (and  the differences between them)

It could potentially help you save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by picking the best passport for your personal situation at the lowest price…

Citizenship By Investment Program Comparison

The second type of investment programs are…

2. Golden Visas (a.k.a. Residency by Investment Programs)

This means the governments trade permanent residency in exchange for a significant investment (for example in real estate) and after several years of residency allow you to naturalize as a citizen. Spain and Portugal offer this program. 

In 2023, for the Spanish Golden Visa, the minimum real estate investment amount is €500,000. For the Portuguese Golden Visa, the real estate investment minimum is €280,000

Plus, expect government and legal fees to add another €20,000 to €30,000, depending on your family size. 

In Portugal, if you’re willing to buy a property older than 30 years with a view to renovate it, you will be required to spend only €350,000, including the cost of renovations. If you are willing to buy a property in a low-density, low-GDP area, the minimum investment amount drops by an additional 20%, to only €280,000.

But, you’re not stuck with an expensive property, just sitting there. In both Portugal and Spain, you can rent out your residential or commercial property for income.

Also, Portugal allows investors to combine the value of a number of properties to reach the required investment minimum for residency by investment.

After a total of five years in Portugal, you can apply for citizenship. In Spain you have to be a resident for two years if you are a citizen of a “former Spanish colony”, or ten years if you aren’t.

A Golden Visa is significantly cheaper than Citizenship By Investment, but you still need to wait several years to become a citizen through naturalization.

We consider Portugal’s D7 Passive Income Visa a far better deal.

The one advantage Portugal’s Golden Visa has is that you don’t have to spend any significant time in Portugal during the five years of residency in order to qualify for naturalization.

In addition, the program has a proven track record of naturalizing Golden Visa holders, which is an important consideration for many prospective applicants.

Conclusion and Further Resources

Keep in mind that while some of the paths to obtaining second citizenship are much quicker than others, none of them are instantaneous. 

Even Citizenship by Investment can take up to three years, as is the case with Malta’s standard residency track under their Citizenship by Investment program.

So, it pays off to get started in the process sooner rather than later.

After all, it’s hard to imagine that you’d be worse off – especially if you’re a member of the lucky bloodline club – for taking advantage of this.

More options mean more freedom, and that’s always a good thing.

Free Reports

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The Four Passports ANYONE Can Obtain

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Easiest Citizenship & Passport Comparison Sheet

Download our free Easiest Citizenship & Passport Comparison Sheet and see all the options you have at a glance.

Easiest Citizenship & Second Passport Options Comparison Table

Inside you’ll find…

This sheet could save you tens of thousands of dollars and YEARS of time.

Download Our Free
Citizenship-By-Investment Comparison Sheet

In this article we covered three citizenship-by-investment programs, but there are 10 more programs around the world.

Download our Citizenship By Investment Comparison Table to see all available programs at a glance.

Citizenship By Investment Program Comparison

Inside you’ll learn…

It could potentially help you save tens or even hundreds of thousands of Dollars by picking the best passport for your personal situation at the lowest price…

Download a Free Preview Of Our Free Report
Italian Passport & Citizenship By Descent

The very first option that EVERYONE should consider is citizenship by descent…

Inside this free premium intelligence you’ll see how to get an excellent European passport if you have Italian ancestors.

And even if you don’t have Italian ancestors, this report is still useful to get a better idea of how the process works.

Italian Citizenship By Descent

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