A rough guide to obtaining an EU passport for post-Brexit Brits

Britain has left the EU, of course, but what about the people who want to retain freedom of travel within the Bloc? Here travel journalist and expert Pete Barden reveals a rough guide to obtaining a passport for one of the EU countries for post-Brexit Brits. For guidance only.

A mocked-up German passport for those getting an EU passport after BrexitWith many Brits unhappy with leaving the EU, there are ways of remaining... find out if they might apply to you

Find out how your parents or spouse could help you gain dual-citizenship and a place in both Britain and the EU.

Here's a rough guide to getting an EU passport now that Britain has said adi-eu…

(This is intended as a rough guide to citizenship laws and you should contact the relevant authorities for full legal requirements. Rules and requirements may have changed since original publication.)


Becoming an Austrian citizen is notoriously complicated, but here is a quick overview to help get you started…

If born in wedlock before 09/01/83, children can claim citizenship if the father was an Austrian citizen at the time of birth. For those born after this date, citizenship can be claimed if either parent was an Austrian citizen at the time of birth. Those born out of wedlock will gain citizenship if the mother was an Austrian citizen at the time of the child’s birth.

Marriage to an Austrian man or woman will only give the ‘alien’ citizenship after six years of ‘lawful’ residence in the country.

Being a ‘celebrity’ will also ‘help’ speed up your claim according to some who say the system is biased in favour of the rich and famous.

Additionally, if you happen to have around €4.5million in loose change lying around beneath the sofa, you can make a donation to Austrian society and – hey presto – gain your passport.


While most Brits have been attempting to get out of Brussels, trying to grab yourself a local passport might be a waste of time. New rules from January 2013, demand applicants must have lived in the country for five years and prove they can speak one of the country’s three official languages. In fact, the Independent reported that (at the time of publishing) in 2013 not one person gained citizenship under its new naturalisation laws.

However, on a positive note, anyone with a Belgian parent will most likely be able to claim citizenship – but there are several date-related caveats to check.

Finally, since January 1, 1985, marriage no longer give a direct claim to citizenship. However, he or she may request Belgian nationality after the marriage and the happy couple have lived together in the country for at least three years.


If at least one parent is Bulgarian, citizenship should be a given. Additionally, anyone born in Bulgaria should also qualify.

Marriage to a Bulgarian will give you the option of applying for citizenship – but only after spending three years living as man and wife in the country.


Anyone born to at least one Croatian parent can apply for citizenship. However, as with many countries there are several conditions to this.

Being married to a Croatian will bring a passport – provided the happy couple live in Croatia and have done so for eight years. However, this can be shortened.


As most will know, this country is not straightforward, but anyone with a Greek-Cypriot or Turkish-Cypriot parent may be able to apply for a passport. However, you’ll need professional advice to be sure.

Marriage as an entry card will require three years of residence in the country.

Czech Republic

Having at least one parent who is a Czech Republic national should get you in – regardless of where the applicant lives or citizenship they currently hold.


Anyone born outside of Denmark is likely to have automatic citizenship if their mother is a Danish citizen, or if their father is the same, but is also married to the child’s mother.

In addition, citizenship is automatic – regardless of birthplace – if the child was born to a Danish citizen on or after July 1, 2014.

Marrying a Dane will only gain you citizenship after an extended period of residence in the country, so not the silver-bullet for Brits looking for a quick EU fix.


Good news… anyone born to parents, at least one of whom was an Estonian citizen at the time of birth (regardless of the place of birth) is automatically considered an Estonian citizen by descent.

Additionally, if your other half is Estonian and you married prior to February 26, 1992, then you’re also looking at a route to citizenship. Anyone getting hitched after this date could find it more difficult.


Grabbing your Finnish passport can usually be achieved by descent from a Finnish mother or father.

Once again, marrying a Fin and setting up home in Surbiton won’t help much here! You’ll need to have lived in Finland for at least four years before a marriage certificate will cut any ice with the local passport office.


If at least one of your parents is French you can send the passport application now.

The spouse of a French national also has the right to apply for nationality. The couple must be able to prove they’ve been married for five years and live together. This can be shortened if the couple live together in France. You’ll need to have a good working knowledge of the French language both written and spoken.

Finally, have you been a member of the French Foreign Legion for three years? Yes – then you’re in. If not, why not sign-up here as it’s open to men of all nationalities.


If you have a German parent then you can apply for a passport – providing your mum or dad was a citizen at the time of your birth. If you were born to a former German citizen you do not acquire citizenship rights.

Additionally, for those born before January 1st, 1975 to parents who were married to each other at the time of the birth, it was mandatory that the father was a German citizen for the child to acquire German citizenship.

Those looking to gain citizenship through a German spouse will need two years of marriage and three years of continuous residence in Germany.


Brits can seek Greek citizenship through a parent who was born in the Hellenic Republic. Grandparents are considered, but will make the process more arduous. However, it is also worth remembering that Greek males aged 19-45 are required to undertake a period of military service. It’s possible that new passport holders could be required to serve this.

Marrying a Greek national won’t mean automatic entitlement to a passport. To gain this, the couple will need to prove three years of permanent residence in Greece.


Anyone born on or after 1 January, 1985 to a Dutch father or mother is automatically deemed a Dutch subject at birth. It does not matter where you were born. For those born to a Dutch parent before January 1, 1985, this webpage explains how they can acquire Dutch nationality by way of a so-called 'optieverklaring' provided that certain conditions are met.

Being married to a Dutch man or woman won’t help if you are living in your home country – for example a man married to a Dutch wife living in the UK cannot apply for naturalisation. You would need to live in the Netherlands for three years and show ability in the Dutch language.

Subscribe for free motoring and travel news here - support independent journalism 

* indicates required


Hungarian nationality can be achieved by Brits who have at least one parent from the country. Additionally, those with descent that goes beyond parents can usually stake a claim. Speaking the language will also help.

Anyone married to a Hungarian national can claim citizenship after three years of wedlock and continuous residence in the country.


A country that’s seen a huge rise in Brits applying for passports in an attempt to retain EU status. It’s easy to see why the Irish passport route is so attractive – with a population of just 4.5 million, but claims of anything from 5 million up to 14 million Brits eligible for citizenship through parentage.

Here’s a very brief overview of what you’ll need to get your passport.

Firstly, anyone who was born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen at the time of their birth should also be entitled to citizenship. This includes parents who became Irish citizens through marriage, adoption or naturalisation – as long as these applied at the time of the person’s birth. Parents would not need to have been married.

Additionally, if one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you may also become an Irish citizen. However, grandparents are where qualifying ancestry stops. You cannot claim citizenship based on cousins, aunts, uncles if neither of your parents or grandparents were Irish.

Being married or in a civil partnership does not give you automatic rights to citizenship, but you can apply for naturalisation. This requires various conditions be met – including a period of continuous residence in Ireland. Find more here.


So, you want to be Italian? First rule here for hereditary citizenship is that the parent or parents must not have become naturalised citizens of their new county before the child in question was born. However, parents who became naturalised after the birth can pass Italian citizenship to their offspring.

Just to complicate matters, anyone with an Italian mother and foreign father, would need to have been born after January 1, 1948 for the mother to be able to pass on the right to citizenship.

Italian citizenship can also be obtained by marriage to a citizen of that country – both male and female. However, the right can be denied if the person has committed a serious offence either within or outside of Italy. There are other conditions, but the need to speak Italian is not one of them.


According to legal firms specialising in creating dual nationality for those wanting a Latvian passport, they will be in with a shout if one of their parents or grandparents were Latvian citizens prior to 1940, or if they ‘withdrew or were exiled from Latvia during the 1990-1940 period’.

Marriage to a Latvian national won’t provide a fast-track passport, with at least 10 years of marriage and previous residency seemingly required.


To gain a Lithuanian passport through descent, at least one of the applicant’s parents must be a Lithuanian citizen. Additionally, having a direct ancestor who was a Lithuanian citizen during the period of 1918-1940 could also be grounds for obtaining citizenship. Typically, Lithuania is said to allow applicants to go back up to three generations to find a bloodline.

Anyone who has been married to a Lithuanian national can gain citizenship – provided they’ve been legally resident in the country with their spouse for a period of seven years.


If a person can prove a direct ancestor who was a Luxembourg national from January 1, 1900, then they should have a claim to citizenship. The applicant must provide a birth, death or marriage certificate to prove that a direct ancestor had Luxembourg citizenship – and this must be done in person in Luxembourg.[/box]


Maltese nationality is acquired by descent if a direct relation was born in Malta. However, there are many caveats to this.

It is also possible to gain citizenship by investment. Making a payment of €650,000 to the National Development and Social Fund should get you a passport – with €25,000 each for a spouse and minor children. This makes it the ‘cheapest EU country to buy a passport. 

Being married to a Maltese citizen can open up access to gaining a passport after five years of marriage. There is also provision for widows and those whose marriage has broken down.


The rules around citizenship for Poland are a little convoluted, but if you have a Polish parent or grandparent, you’ll more than likely be successful in gaining a passport. In addition, anyone who is married to a Pole should be able to apply for themselves and any children.

Applications and enquiries have jumped by around 10,000 per cent since the Brexit vote, according to a report in the Sun – so don’t delay.

The Polish Embassy is the place to start, as officials advise wannabe Poles to avoid private companies who offer passport services.


The offspring of a Portuguese mother or father born in Portugal or abroad, or in some cases those born to foreign parents in Portugal, have a good chance of becoming Portuguese citizens.

A person who is married to a Portuguese national for at least three years should be able to gain citizenship. There is no formal residence period, but knowledge of the language is likely to be a requirement to show integration into society.


People with a Romanian ancestor up to three generations back could be eligible for citizenship – and that much sought after EU passport.

Marriage to a Romanian will allow the alien spouse to apply for citizenship after five years of residence in the country.[/box]


Citizenship is likely to be open to anyone who has a Slovakian parent.

It is also available through marriage, providing the couple have been living legally in Slovakia for a period of at least five years.


Slovenian nationality is acquired by ancestry up to the fourth generation in direct descent, while a former Slovenian citizen may be naturalised without any residence requirements.

A person who is married to a Slovenian citizen for at least two years may be naturalised and gain that passport after one year's residence in Slovenia.


Anyone who has a Spanish parent should be able to put in an application to gain a passport for this Brit-favourite member of the EU. Free travel around member states and endless tapas… what could be better?

Marriage to a Spaniard is another way of accessing nationality. If you’ve been married to a Spanish citizen for more than a year, you will be apply to apply after a further year of residence in the country.


According to Wikipedia, a person born before 1 April 2015 acquires Swedish citizenship at birth if:

– The child's mother is a Swedish citizen (Swedish mothers have only been able to pass on their citizenship since 1 July 1979); or -

– The child's father is a Swedish citizen and is married to the child's mother; or -

– The child's father is a Swedish citizen, the child is born out of wedlock, and the child is born in Sweden.

If you are married to, in a registered partnership with or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for Swedish citizenship after three years of residence. However, you must have been living together for the past two years.

And what about Scotland?

With Scotland one of the three major areas of the UK to vote ‘Remain’, the overall Brexit decision has led to the prospect of the country leaving the UK and going it alone to retain membership of the EU. So – if this were the case – how would you qualify for a Scottish (and EU) passport?

The Scottish Government has already called for a second independence vote - and outlined some ‘hypothetical’ citizenship requirements.

British citizens born in Scotland will be automatic Scots, regardless of where they live in the Union. Any child born after a vote for independence would also become a Scottish citizen.

Along with this group, all British citizens who are ‘habitually resident’ in Scotland at the time of independence will also be considered. The Scottish government has not issued a fixed time for this to be triggered, but have defined ‘habitually resident’ as: "where the person has habitually and normally resided for a settled purpose apart from temporary or occasional absences".

For those not born or ‘habitually resident in Scotland’ at the time of ‘independence’ the following conditions will make them eligible to apply for Scottish citizenship.

British nationals not residing in Scotland who register with evidence of at least one parent who qualifies for Scottish citizenship.

Citizens of any country, who register with evidence of a parent or grandparent who qualifies for Scottish citizenship.

Migrants who are in Scotland legally, as well as anyone who has spent at least ten years living in Scotland at any time and has an ongoing connection with Scotland can apply for naturalisation as a Scottish citizen. They will need to meet requirements set out under Scottish immigration law, which includes areas such as good character and residency.

facebook sharing button Share
twitter sharing button Tweet
pinterest sharing button Pin
email sharing button Email
sms sharing button Share
sharethis sharing button Share




Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (thesun.co.uk), New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? (Whatcar.com) Stuff Magazine (Stuff.tv), Fastcar Magazine (Fastcar.co.uk), Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

Read all articles by Pete Barden

Professionally written and optimised content will bring new, targeted customers to your website. Contact Pete@petebarden.co.uk