double citizenship

How to get double citizenship in EU: requirements, guide and examples

Share this post:

Double citizenship within the European Union allows you to have rights, but also duties, in two different countries. This means that should you have it, you can live, work, study, vote and access public administration (PA) services in both countries, without any need for visas or permits.

In this article, we will find out what double citizenship is, how to get it within the European Union and what benefits and drawbacks it entails.

Continue reading.

Table of Contents

What is double citizenship?

Double citizenship, also known as multiple citizenship, is nothing more than the possibility of enjoying the rights and services of two countries. If you get it, however, you will also have to comply with the laws, pay taxes and fulfil the civil and military obligations of both.

At the legal level, having double citizenship means being recognised as a citizen of two States. This entails a number of benefits, but also drawbacks, which we will see below.

First, you will be interested in understanding the process by which you can obtain double citizenship within European borders.

double citizenship

How to get double citizenship in Europe

There are 3 ways to obtain double citizenship.

1. By birth

If you are born to parents of different nationalities or if you are born in a country that recognises ius soli, you can then get double citizenship. For example, a child born in Italy to French parents will have Italian and French double citizenship.

2. By marriage

If you marry a citizen of another country that provides for the transmission of nationality by marriage, then you can get it. An Italian who marries, therefore, a Spaniard may apply for Spanish citizenship after a certain period of residency in Spain.

3. By naturalisation

If you live for years and years in another country and meet certain requirements, such as knowledge of the language and good conduct, you can then apply for citizenship of that country. Let’s say you live in Sweden for five years; you can only apply for Swedish citizenship if you can prove that you can speak Swedish and respect their customs and laws.

Actually, there is also a fourth way, which is by investment, but this is only offered by some EU countries, which allow you to obtain double citizenship in exchange for a significant economic investment in their territory.

Requirements to apply for double citizenship in EU

Actually, there is no procedure for getting European citizenship, but you have to follow the laws of the country for which you apply. By doing so, you will also obtain European citizenship. In principle, to obtain double citizenship in the EU, you must:

Examples of double citizenship and special cases

In addition to those listed above, there are special cases that give entitlement to double citizenship.


In Italy, if you have an ancestor who has never renounced his nationality, you may be entitled to apply for it by descent. Also, if you are married to an Italian citizen, you may apply for citizenship after having lived in Italy or abroad with your spouse for a certain period of time.


Germany allows double citizenship by naturalisation after as many as 8 years. For example, if you were born in Germany of foreign parents, you are entitled to apply for it, but on condition that you have lived in the country for the above-mentioned period of time.


Malta is one of those countries that offers citizenship “at the best price”. Joking aside, in the Maltese island it’s possible to obtain citizenship in exchange for a significant investment of money.

double citizenship

Double citizenship benefits and drawbacks

As promised, I will now list the benefits and drawbacks of European double citizenship.


1. More freedom

There is no doubt that double citizenship provides more freedom. Possessing two passports makes it easier for you to travel, as you can choose the document best suited to the country you are going to visit. For example, an Italian who also has Canadian citizenship can enter the United States without a visa, while an Italian who also has Iranian citizenship can do the same in Iran.

2. More job opportunities

Having a double citizenship will increase your chances of finding a job: you will be able to access positions reserved only for citizens of that country or, thanks to your knowledge of several languages, you will be able to work between two or more international realities. For example, a French citizen who also has British citizenship will be able to work in both France and the UK and apply for positions in both the public and private sectors.

3. More civil and social rights

Double citizenship means that you can vote and be elected in two different countries. You will therefore have access to rights such as education, health and social security, thus participating in political and democratic life in both. For example, an Italian who also has German citizenship will be able to vote in both Italy and Germany, for both national and European elections, and will be able to take advantage of both the Italian and German healthcare systems.

4. Wider culture

Belonging to two communities with different traditions, values and identities will give you a wider culture and develop in you a sense of tolerance towards other peoples. This will enrich your personality and help you dialogue with those who are not part of your culture of origin. A Pole who also has Irish citizenship will feel that he or she belongs to both Polish and Irish cultures, celebrating the religious and folk festivals of one and the other.


1. More legal and fiscal obligations

Unfortunately, having two citizenships will mean complying with the laws and paying taxes of two countries. You will not infrequently incur bureaucratic complications, penalties, additional costs and legal conflicts. In addition, you will be subject to military and civil obligations in both countries. To be clearer: a Greek who also has Turkish citizenship will have to pay taxes and perform compulsory military service in both Greece and Turkey.

2. Less consular protection

Double citizenship means not being able to count on the consular protection of your country of origin when you are in the country of which you have the second citizenship. It means that in case of legal problems or emergencies you will have to turn to the local authorities.

So, is it better to have or not to have double citizenship?

We have come to the conclusion of our guide. As we have seen, double citizenship opens the door to a whole range of opportunities. However, getting it’s not easy and sometimes, as in the case of Germany, it can take years.

If you are considering applying for double citizenship, the best advice we can give you is to contact a lawyer who has a full understanding of the law and international law.

If you are looking for a partner for European projects on double citizenship, you can contact us by filling out the contact form below or by calling +390957463250 to schedule a call.

e-Medine, in addition to its role as Europe Direct for the Metropolitan City of Catania, and thus being a centre of the European Commission, is an NGO committed to the promotion of European values and democratic principles.

Contact us! We will give you the information you are looking for.

e-Medine: let’s stay together

Keep the pace with Europe! Fill out the Contact Form to get in touch with e-Medine
This site uses cookies to improve users' browsing experience and to collect information on the use of the site.