Citizenship through marriage is considered one of the easier pathways to becoming a passport holder of a European Union (EU) Member State.
However, the process and duration of acquiring citizenship or residence rights in EU countries through marriage vary depending on each country's citizenship and immigration laws. There are some general guidelines followed in most countries within the bloc:
One of the spouses must be a legal citizen of an EU Member Country, which allows the non-EU spouse to apply for citizenship or residency based on their marriage to an EU citizen.
The non-EU spouse should first obtain residency rights in the EU country where their spouse is a legal citizen. Once granted residency, the non-EU spouse can legally reside in that country.
After residing in the EU country for a specific period, the non-EU spouse becomes eligible to apply for citizenship.
The specific residency periods and requirements can vary among EU countries, making the process more straightforward in some nations and more challenging in others.
For instance, Spain stands out as offering the fastest route to citizenship through marriage. Non-EU nationals married to Spaniards can acquire citizenship in just one year, making it one of the quickest and easier ways to gain citizenship through marriage. However, the partner must live in Spain during the 12-month period.
In several other EU countries, the general rule for non-EU citizens is to cohabitate with their EU partner for at least three years. This residency requirement applies to countries such as France, Greece, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden.
Meanwhile, some countries like Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Iceland, Malta, Norway, and Slovakia, have a five-year residence requirement for acquiring citizenship through marriage.
There are also countries with longer residency periods, such as Latvia, where the non-EU partner must live for at least seven years to qualify for citizenship.
It is essential to note that not all EU countries offer non-EU nationals the opportunity to acquire citizenship through marriage. Finland, for example, does not guarantee a residence permit solely based on marriage to a Finnish citizen.
Individuals considering citizenship through marriage in EU countries should carefully review the specific requirements and residency periods of their target country, as each nation has its own distinct policies and procedures.
By fLEXI tEAM