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How do I get Foreign Citizenship?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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The process of obtaining foreign citizenship typically depends a great deal on the country in which you are currently a citizen and the country in which you wish to gain citizenship. In general, you should find out about the citizenship process for the country you wish to become a citizen of and you should often seek professional legal advice on the process. You should also be aware of your options regarding dual citizenship as a form of foreign citizenship, rather than completely renouncing your current citizenship.

Foreign citizenship is typically a citizenship in a country other than the one in which you were born or to which you were naturally a citizen through your parents. Many countries allow citizenship based on your parents, called jus sanguinis or “right of blood,” regardless of where you are born. This means that if your parents are from the Netherlands and are Dutch citizens, but gave birth to you in the US, you are still a Dutch citizen by birth. Your parents could renounce their Dutch citizenship, however, and you would be a US citizen by virtue of where you were born, called jus soli or “right of birthplace.”

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If you are a citizen of a particular country, but wish to gain foreign citizenship in another country, then you will need to follow whatever procedures are necessary for citizenship in that country. This will vary from one country to another, so you should look for legal advice regarding foreign citizenship from whatever country you are interested in. In the US, for example, there is a mistaken belief that marrying a US citizen will grant someone citizenship. This will only expedite someone’s citizenship process, however, rather than granting immediate foreign citizenship.

Many countries will allow someone to gain foreign citizenship in that country through naturalization and financial deposits made in that country. Naturalization is a process of learning about the government and history of a country, to prove your interest in that country. Many South American countries will grant foreign citizenship to a person who creates a bank account in that country and deposits a large amount of funds into the account.

Other countries may grant citizenship based on land or home ownership, while other countries can grant citizenship based on heritage. Israel, for example, will often allow anyone with Jewish heritage to gain citizenship if desired, and Ireland may grant citizenship to anyone with a grandparent born in Ireland. Dual citizenship is also often available for citizens of many countries, allowing legal citizenship in two countries simultaneously, and you should consider this option before renouncing your current citizenship.

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