Migration and Home Affairs

EMN Study on Pathways to Citizenship in the EU

How have national policies evolved over the past five years in relation to the acquisition of citizenship? What are the criteria and procedures in place, and how costly and long is the process? What type of support do Member States provide to third-country nationals wishing to acquire citizenship?

By exploring the national policies in EU Member States regarding the acquisition of citizenship for third-country nationals, this EMN Study provides a comparative overview of recent trends, frameworks and good practices from 25 Member States.

At a glance, the main research findings are introduced below:

  • Policies on the acquisition of citizenship have evolved over the past five years, with Member States reporting trends that render access to citizenship either more liberal or more restrictive.
  • Trends in the numbers of individuals granted citizenship of an EU-28 Member States have shown an overall decline in the period of time covered by the study.
  • For many aspiring citizens, naturalisation can be a lengthy and costly process, with limited available support, and a positive outcome is in general not guaranteed, even where all conditions have been met.
  • The majority of Member States allow for dual citizenship, which may acknowledge the demographic reality that many migrants have ties to more than one country.
  • Citizenship is seen by Member States as either the culmination of the integration process or as facilitating the integration process. However, in most Member States, third-country nationals are not actively encouraged to apply for citizenship, and support is limited.

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