Now, please note that this article is not meant to provide the requirements for obtaining citizenship by descent for each and every country, but rather as a starting point so you have a better idea on what you need to research on further for your specific situation.
Here are 4 common ways a citizenship by descent can be granted.
1. The One-Generation Limit
In many countries around the world, children will inherit their parents' citizenship(s) even if they were born abroad.
For example, Canada 🇨🇦 limits the claim to citizenship by one generation for individuals born outside the country.
- This means that if at least one of your parents is Canadian and you are born in another country, you are a Canadian citizen by descent.
- But if you (a Canadian citizen by descent) end up having a child outside of Canada, your child would no longer be a Canadian citizen because citizenship by descent is limited to one generation only.
2. The Two-Generation Limit
Some countries like Armenia 🇦🇲 and Latvia 🇱🇻 extend the claim to citizenship to two generations, meaning you can claim citizenship if you have at least one parent or grandparent who is (was) a citizen of those countries.
3. The Three-Generation Limit
Some countries like Ireland 🇮🇪, extend the claim to three generations.
- This means you can claim the citizenship as far back as from your great-grandparents.
- Take a look at some nuances and specific conditions to fulfill: Irish Citizenship Through Birth or Descent
4. No Limit
For some countries like Hungary 🇭🇺, there is technically no limit in terms of how far back you can claim citizenship by descent, as long as you have the paper trail or proof that shows your chain of ancestry.
So, if you are able to prove through birth or marriage records that you are a descendant of a Hungarian citizen, even if it's as far back as in the Kingdom of Hungary, you can claim the citizenship.
Aside from the information above, if you are looking to claim Citizenship by Ancestry or Descent, you need to keep a lookout for specific conditions that may apply. For instance, some countries may impose the following conditions:
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable through biological parents only
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable through legal parents (either biological or adoptive)
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable patrilineally by default (you can claim it if your father or grandfather is a citizen)
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable matrilineally by default (you can claim it if your mother or grandmother is a citizen)
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable only if you have lived in the country for a period of time
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable only before reaching a certain age
- Citizenship by ancestry is claimable only if a person is born before, during, or after a certain date as stated in the law