Please note that Investment Visa will use the above details to contact you only. By submitting this form, you confirm that you agree to our website terms of use, our privacy policy and consent to cookies being stored on your computer.
Please note that Investment Visa will use the above details to contact you only. By submitting this form, you confirm that you agree to our website terms of use, our privacy policy and consent to cookies being stored on your computer.
EU Citizenship by Investment: How to Get the European Passport

What is EU Citizenship?

The European Union’s executive branch, the European Commission, defines a person the concept of EU Citizenship as “any person who holds the nationality of an EU country is automatically an EU citizen.” Using this simple definition, it becomes easy to understand that EU Citizenship is a legal status recognized by the 27 participating countries, and that not only unlocks a series of benefits but also enhances the status of all the nationals from any EU country.

How to unlock EU Citizenship via Investment Programs

The European Union is not exclusive to Europeans. Third-country nationals can obtain an EU Passport quite easily, especially when choosing to endeavor through an EU Citizenship by Investment program. Each EU country will have its own set of requirements for applicants seeking their Citizenship status, but among the most common are proof of eligibility, legal Residency status, some degree of language proficiency, and standard documentation.

Investment immigration programs that immediately grant Citizenship status, more commonly found in the Caribbean and that sometimes are referred to as Golden Passports, are extremely rare in the European Union. The workaround is to first obtain Residency status, possible through Residency by Investment programs, also referred to as Golden Visas, and then apply for Citizenship, though that remains at the discretion of the applicant. Regardless, Investment Visa, relying on the vast experience of its team of industry veterans, considers the following EU Countries to hold the Best Citizenship status.


Greece Golden Visa

Greece is among the most popular EU countries, undoubtedly because of the key role it played in the foundation of democracy, its fabled cuisine, and for arguably being the country where the Mediterranean lifestyle is lived to the fullest. Its passport ranks #4 in the Most Powerful, unlocking visa-free travel to 175 countries.  

The Greece Golden Visa is the country’s prime Residency by Investment program, and even though its price has recently increased, it can still be obtained for the minimum investment amount of €250,000 due to a transitional period. This program allows family reunification, and Greek citizenship can be attained in 7 years.


Portugal Residency by Investment Programs

Portugal is consistently awarded prestigious titles and has been in the international spotlight for many years, and yet continues to be an underrated European gem. Known for its sunny weather, amazing beaches, casual, laidback lifestyle, and for being one of the safest countries in the world, Portugal truly lets having it all. Its passport also ranks #4 in the Most Powerful World, letting its holders enter visa-free to 175 countries. 

Residency by Investment in Portugal is obtainable through 2 distinct programs: the Portugal Golden Visa and the D2 Visa. The latter has been recent news in the investment immigration landscape due to the discontinuation of the Real Estate option, it is still possible to get Residency through a subscription to Investment Funds. 

On the other hand, the D2 Visa is business-driven, granting Residency status to those who create or purchase a Portuguese company. Investment Visa’s own Mátria Co-Working, a Real Estate development in the heart of Lisbon, qualifies as an investable business for the D2 Visa. With options starting at €280,000, Mátria sets you on the path to Residency in 3 months and Citizenship in 5 years.


Cyprus Golden Visa

Tucked away in the corner of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus may not be the first European Union country anyone may think of, but it is an interesting choice. The Cypriot capital, Nicosia, is one of the sunniest in the entire European continent, and Cyprus, as a whole, is one of the most historically and culturally rich countries in the EU. 

With other compelling reasons to entice relocation, the greatest one is how effortless Cyprus makes it for expats & investors, with the Real Estate options for its Golden Visa program. It requires a minimum €300,000 investment, though this amount may increase once Cyprus fully joins the Schengen Zone. EU Citizenship is unlocked after 5 years.

cyprus limassol landscape

Hungary Golden Visa

Offering a simpler, more relaxed way of living, life in Hungary is more traditional and family-oriented, as well as extremely affordable. Hungary has its own currency, the Forint, weaker than the EURO, despite being an EU full member, stunning architecture, and a culture heavily focused by its thermal springs. 

Hungary is the latest EU country to rejoin the Golden Visa landscape. The country did once have a similar program, which ended back in 2017. Now, in 2024, Hungary launched its newest Golden Visa, entirely focused on Real Estate. Foreign investors can become EU Residents with the purchase of Hungarian property at €500,000, and EU citizens in 8 years.

budapest landscape panoramic view

Who is a European Citizen?

In the strictest sense, a European citizen is any person who holds nationality from a European country, e.g.: the United Kingdom, Türkiye, Norway, Switzerland, among many others. However, there is an important distinction to be made between European nationals and EU Passport holders. When the term European Citizen is used, it is usually in reference to European Union nationals. 

All European Union citizens are from a European country, but not all European citizens have EU Citizenship. The key difference is exactly in the name: the European Union, which is a sociopolitical bloc composed of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. 

Anyone holding nationality or citizenship from any of the previously mentioned countries is automatically an EU citizen. While each EU state has its own set of internal laws and regulations, they are also governed by the common EU law, which grants the same international rights across the bloc. There are several ways to obtain EU Citizenship, including investment, descent, naturalization, and marriage.

eu citizens

Reasons to Become an EU Citizen

The concept of EU Citizenship status applies automatically to all nationals from EU countries. It does not replace the original nationality, which means that, e.g.: Portuguese or Greek nationals are, respectively both Portuguese, Greek, and EU citizens. Having an EU Passport unlocks access to the entire bloc and a myriad of benefits.


Access to the Schengen Zone

While half the world has to think and worry about what types of Visas, whether residential, for work, study, etc., to get to enter countries like Portugal, Greece, France, Spain, or Germany, EU passport holders do not have such concerns. Per the EU’s right to freedom of movement, its Citizens are entitled to live, work, and study in any of the 29 countries in the Schengen Zone, a common travel area that includes 25 of the 27 countries in the European Union (excluding Cyprus and Ireland), plus Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland, and Switzerland. 

EU Citizens do not even have to worry about the Schengen 90/180 Rule and can effortlessly become Residents in another country just by informing the local authorities of their intent to stay beyond 3 months.

Visa-Free Travel to Other Countries

EU Passports are among the most powerful in the world, with all 27 Passports in the Top 10 out of 91, according to the Global Passport Index. This automatically means all EU citizens are able to travel visa-free to, at the very least, 170 countries out of the 193 recognized by the United Nations, and up to 177 if EU Citizenship is acquired from a country in the nº2 position, like France or Germany.

Higher Standards of Living

The European Union is known worldwide for its higher standards of living. To join, countries must meet a set of standards across important aspects: like a strong enough economy, ready to join the EURO and compete in a single, common market; high adherence and practice of universal human rights, and the willingness to join a transnational and cultural space. Almost every country in the Union has public and universal healthcare coverage, access to excellent education systems, and among the cleanest air qualities in the world.


European Union citizens are rest assured, knowing they can roam the streets without having to concern themselves for their well-being. According to the 2033 Global Peace Index, Europe is the Safest Region in the World. Out of the Top 10 Safest Countries, 7 of them are located in Europe, and 5 of them are part of the European Union. The other 2 countries, Iceland, and Switzerland are part of the Schengen Area, the common travel zone shared with most European Union countries.

Dual Citizenship

Whereas countries like China or India limit their Citizens, only allowing them to hold 1 Citizenship, almost all the countries in the European Union enable their nationals to hold Dual Citizenship. Each country’s national laws supersedes EU law in this regard, and it is always something worth investigating to see what is applicable under different situations. Desirable countries like Portugal, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, and Italy all allow their nationals to hold another country’s Citizenship.

Legacy for the Future

As the world harbors in the uncertainty of what the future might bring, it becomes significantly more important to ensure one’s family’s safety. EU Citizenship is something that can be transferred onto the next generation, to one’s children and grandchildren, and beyond.

Are there alternatives to obtain EU Citizenship?

Some individuals may be able to claim EU Citizenship by Descent, if they have ancestry connecting them to a certain country. This option involves gathering a lot of documentation proving the blood tie. Each country sets its own laws regarding this matter. 

Naturalization requires living legally and permanently in a country for a continuous period of time. Depending on the country at hand, this process can take up to 10 years, which is not ideal and inconvenient for many, especially to those globetrotters always on the hunt for the next investment opportunity. 

Getting EU Citizenship through marriage is also a possibility, but one that, like Descent, relies on circumstance. Not all countries accept this as grounds for granting a second citizenship.

Investment immigration programs remain the only opportunity completely within the control of the applicant and present the most straightforward path to EU Citizenship. Even though there are no direct EU Citizenship by Investment programs, Residency programs in countries like Greece, Portugal, Cyprus or Hungary are the best way to acquire EU Citizenship.

Unlock the Best EU Citizenships with Investment Visa’s Residency Programs

Investment Visa is proud to be the #1 investment immigration advisory company, and the Global Leader in Residency & Citizenship, a title well-earned after having led thousands of expats & investors to their EU Passport. Our services range from the early onset of the residency application to the moment the passport is finally within your grasp, and even further beyond, with our After Sales team, a department entirely dedicated to the purchase aftermath, including Tax Representation & Property Management.

Investment Visa is led by a team of leaders and veterans with multiple decades of experience. With their guidance and assistance, you can rest assured the promise of a brighter future will be fulfilled. Investment Visa is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, and has overseas offices in Greece, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.


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