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A pathway to obtaining a second citizenship and passport by bloodline

Nothing quite revealed the true power of a second passport like the inability to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With COVID-19 travel restrictions still persisting two years into the pandemic, inquiries for foreign citizenship have never been higher.

Citizenship-by-Ancestry options are becoming particularly popular, as they offer direct pathways to foreign citizenships through the applicants’ bloodlines,” states Jean-Francois Harvey, Global Managing Partner of leading business immigration law firm Harvey Law Group.

Citizenship-by-Ancestry is where an individual acquires the citizenship of either his parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents and in some cases even more distant ancestors, irrespective of where the individual was born. Today, more than 50 countries around the world offer some form of Citizenship-by-Ancestry pathway, each with its own eligibility criteria, process and complexity.

“If you do not think you have any ancestors with foreign nationality, I urge you to take a closer look at your family tree, as you may find an ancestry link that could be your ticket to a second nationality and passport, which could profoundly impact your residential mobility, lifestyle and career opportunities,” advises Harvey.

The first step to understanding whether you are eligible for Citizenship-by-Ancestry is to figure out which ancestor you are claiming citizenship through and which country you want to become a citizen of. Whilst most countries that offer Citizenship-by-Ancestry require applicants to have at least one parent who is a citizen of their countries such as Canada, France and South Korea, there are countries that allow you to obtain Citizenship-by-Ancestry through a grandparent who is a citizen of their countries including Greece, Ireland, Nigeria and Portugal. In very rare cases, countries extend Citizenship-by-Ancestry to descendants of any ancestor who is a citizen of that country such as Italy and Poland.

Aside from ancestry link, each country has its own unique requirements that need to be complied with in order to be eligible. For instance, those looking to claim Italian Citizenship-by-Ancestry must demonstrate that they have an ancestral link to an Italian ancestor who has never lost or renounced his/ her Italian citizenship. To claim Irish Citizenship-By-Ancestry, there is a special route for people with Irish greatgrandparents that would render the applicants eligible if they have lived in Ireland for about three years prior to filing their applications.

Typically, the process to obtaining Citizenship by-Ancestry involves you gathering the required supporting documentation including proof of lineage, and submitting an application form either online or at your local consulate. If you can dig up birth certificates and other required documentation that prove your ties to your ancestor are legitimate, you may be able to acquire a second citizenship between eight months to three years.

“It is important to note that a degree of uncertainty is involved in proving lineage because the immigration authorities may refuse your application if you cannot provide sufficient evidence to support your relationship with your ancestor or if they find that your ancestor had voluntarily renounced or lost his citizenship before you were born. To better determine your eligibility for Citizenship-by Ancestry, I advise that you complete a free eligibility assessment with one of our lawyers. You can reach out to us at [email protected],” Harvey concludes.

Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm founded in 1992 by Jean-François Harvey. Headquartered in Hong Kong with over 24 offices worldwide, HLG is a leading provider of professional and responsible advisory to High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWI) on immigration law and business matters. The firm’s lawyers and employees comprise 20 nationalities, speak over 15 languages, and are licensed to practice in multiple jurisdictions. For more information, visit harveylawcorporation.com.

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