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How can I live in Europe?
February 4, 2009 12:58 PM   Subscribe

How does one become a citizen of the E.U.?

Excuse my lack of knowledge when it comes to European immigration, but I'd like to live to there. I'm Canadian, finishing an undergrad, and was wondering if this is possible. Do I need to nail a "real" job down there first prior to my departure -- or can I go ahead and wander on over there, find a lowly job, extend my visa, and then live there long enough, say 5 years, then sort of just nestle my way in? Would my best bet be to marry someone presently living there? Has anyone here personally done this?
posted by ageispolis to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
It depends on the country, as you presumably know - 'being a citizen of the EU' is just shorthand for being a citizen of a member state. It's a big place, did you have a particular country in mind?
posted by different at 12:59 PM on February 4, 2009


Sorry, to expand on my above comment - each member state has its own rules and regulations for visa requirements, and these vary considerably. So I would get some ideas of your fave countries first ;-)
posted by different at 1:00 PM on February 4, 2009


If you're fathers lineage is from an EU country then you could possibly get EU citizenship through that country. My wife just become an irish citizen due to her dad being born in Ireland. As most Canadians are actually from somewhere else I would encourage you to look into your family history and see if that helps.
posted by boomcha76 at 1:03 PM on February 4, 2009


Book recommendation: Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America

I know you're from Canada, but it still should be applicable.
posted by nitsuj at 1:03 PM on February 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a canadian-british dual citizen myself, I'd say the easiest way to get citizenship is to be born with it, as I was. However, as different said quite rightly, it really depends on the country. For example, Germany is extremely difficult to get citizenship, whereas England's quite easy in comparison. You should probably check with the embassy of the country you want to go to to find out about citizenship laws, or browse their websites.

Or, you could just marry a Brit. Worked for my dad :)
posted by Planet F at 1:04 PM on February 4, 2009


Preferably Western Europe in member states with ample opportunities for English speakers (aside from the United Kingdom). If I had to name a particular country then perhaps the Netherlands.
posted by ageispolis at 1:04 PM on February 4, 2009


I've got posting illness tonight I think ... to expand further, what's the big attraction to becoming a citizen? You can live and work here as a temporary or permanent resident, without needing to "join the club", as it were (in many cases, 'joining the club' necessitates giving up your original citizenship, but again, this depends on many factors including the country you choose).

I promise to stop these mini-comments now. No, really. More info please!

On preview: boomcha, depending on the country, it doesn't have to be your father's lineage that gets you citizenship. In many cases your mother's citizenship is just as good.
posted by different at 1:05 PM on February 4, 2009


Big difference between living in the EU and becoming a citizen, as different points out, of a member state.

My own experience: I came over on a work visa, sponsored by my employer at the time - Deutsche Bank. Keep in mind living in Europe (The UK at least) on a work visa ties you to that job / employer (unless you can find another sponsor). Lose the job and go home, more or less.

I moved in 1997 and in 2001 I converted (without Deutsche's knowledge) to Indefinite Leave to Remain, or a UK Green Card equivalent - permanent residence.

In 2007 I married a Dutch national so now I'm covered in a couple of directions - I could get a spouse visa if necessary.

Keep in mind that citizenship comes at a price; different tax obligations. Some EU countries will tax you on assets globally even if you don't live in that country. Get citizenship, move to another country and they'll still tax you on some assets. The UK currently doesn't do this, but given the atrocious state of the public purse they may at some time in the future.

I'd try to live in Europe without the ties of citizenship, if at all possible. Citizenship is a longer term proposition, one that carries many more obligations than short or even long term residence.
posted by Mutant at 1:30 PM on February 4, 2009


The easiest immediate route would be the UK's Youth Mobility Scheme (formerly known as the working holiday visas). Once you've got your foot in the door, the rest is pretty easy.
posted by randomstriker at 1:31 PM on February 4, 2009


If you have a parent that was born in Ireland, you don't have to become a citizen, you are an Irish citizen. No question. Just apply for a passport in the normal way.

If a grandparent, but not a parent, was born in Ireland, you can become an Irish citizen by being placed on the register of foreign births. Your nearest embassy or consulate will be able to tell you how to do that. It's not a difficult process, just involves you proving that you have an Irish parent. Yours and a parent's birth certificate will do that.
posted by veedubya at 1:34 PM on February 4, 2009


OK, I am an expert at the Netherlands ;-)

Here you go!
posted by different at 1:37 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a lot of Canadian friends that did this via the UK after undergrad. They entered England to work on an ancestry visa. Stayed 5 years and then naturalised as a British citizen. If you have a parent born in the UK, it's even easier.
posted by meerkatty at 1:38 PM on February 4, 2009


If you have a German parent or grandparent who lost their German nationality during WWII, you may be able to get German citizenship.
posted by mateuslee at 1:57 PM on February 4, 2009


Preferably Western Europe in member states with ample opportunities for English speakers (aside from the United Kingdom). If I had to name a particular country then perhaps the Netherlands.

Just so you know, the Netherlands is English friendly, but that doesn't mean that if you live there you won't have to learn Dutch. I lived there for three years and go back for work at least twice a year, and of the friends from overseas that stayed there the ones that have thrived have learned Dutch. Not speaking Dutch in the Netherlands will mean that many opportunities are not open to you.
posted by ob at 2:12 PM on February 4, 2009


If you are open about which country you might like to work in - but are looking for a "real job" as a mechanism to help you get in - pay careful to your realistic chances of landing a job in your candidate countries. This is a good way of narrowing down your options. For example turning up in France with fluent French and first class Canadian qualifications in the particular area you want to work in can still leave you with long odds of finding employment - even in a healthy economy.
posted by rongorongo at 3:30 PM on February 4, 2009


I think you can kiss the idea of getting a 'lowly job' and then establishing your visa situation goodbye. finish that degree and see if you're able to get a highly skilled visa instead. I keep hearing from expats that those aren't all that difficult to get when compared to US visas.
posted by krautland at 3:35 PM on February 4, 2009


If you're fathers lineage is from an EU country then you could possibly get EU citizenship through that country. My wife just become an irish citizen due to her dad being born in Ireland.

I think, but am not 100% positive, that within the EU that route to an EU passport is particular to Ireland. Irish people have emigrated in such vast numbers during the famine, WWII and the recession of the 1980s that opening the doors to the children of these immigrants and encouraging their return in more affluent times when labour is short has made all kinds of sense.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:53 PM on February 4, 2009


Further info on the Irish passports:
-If your grandparent was born in Ireland, but your parent was not, then your parent had to register as an Irish citizen before you were born for you to be eligible.
-If your parent was born in Ireland, you are eligible.
-My grandfather was born in Ireland. My father was born in Australia, and has never registered as a foreign-born citizen, so I am not able to get an Irish passport.

This is easier than many other countries. Further example
-My mother was born in England. Therefore I have a British passport as a citizen-by-descent. This is exactly the same as being born there EXCEPT that my children will not inherit this citizenship unless I live in Britain for ~5 years and become a regular citizen.
posted by jacalata at 5:43 PM on February 4, 2009


If your great-grandparent was born in Ireland (but no more recent ancestor was), then your parent must have registered in the Foreign Births Registry before your birth for you to be able to get Irish citizenship through descent.

A single Irish grandparent is still good enough to get you citizenship. I did it about three years ago, and I see no sign on the INIS website of a recent change precluding it.
posted by Zed at 6:19 PM on February 4, 2009


You're right, I must have lost a generation in my family tree somewhere.
posted by jacalata at 8:09 PM on February 4, 2009


Brief overview on dual citizenship
posted by mlis at 8:26 PM on February 4, 2009


You should find out if you have any heritage from any Jus sanguinis country.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:42 PM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not speaking Dutch in the Netherlands will mean that many opportunities are not open to you.
Seconding this.

finish that degree and see if you're able to get a highly skilled visa instead.
And this.

Keep in mind living in Europe (The UK at least) on a work visa ties you to that job / employer (unless you can find another sponsor). Lose the job and go home, more or less.
And that.

The Dutch knowledge migrant (kennismigrant) program is an excellent way to enter the Netherlands. It takes care of your right to work and your right to stay. And your employer pays the IND's fees for your permits. However, it's true that that links your job and your life pretty closely. Lose the job and your work permit ends and the clock starts ticking on how long you can stay in the country.

When I (a U.S. citizen) was trying to find a way to move to the Netherlands, I couldn't figure out a way to be able to work and live here outside the knowledge migrant program. The requirements for being allowed to work in the Netherlands are pretty specific; if you're not from an EEA country, you're stuck. As I understand it, there's also a three-month limit on just hanging out in the country; maybe there are exceptions that I didn't discover, but of course there has to be some limit to the amount of time that you can stay as a person without a residence permit.

The trouble is that there are more than enough people already here who can do just any old job, and many (if not most) of them can speak more than one language on top of that. So they get first dibs on employment.

You can enter and stay through marriage/a relationship, but a) there are some requirements for the Dutch person, including a minimum annual income requirement, and b) the process is not always as simple as it may seem. I'm friends with a native-born Dutch citizen who married an Egyptian citizen, and it took years and thousands of euros to get the Egyptian person to a point where they can live and work here. Compared to the one month and zero euros that it took for me to get my knowledge migrant stuff.

Feel free to MeFiMail me if you have any NL-specific questions. I think have about 100000 bookmarks related to Dutch legal stuff. ;)
posted by transporter accident amy at 12:44 AM on February 5, 2009


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