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Citizenship by descent

May 28, 2024 163 Time to read: 10 min.

A person, who found himself far from his homeland for some reason, dreams of returning to the land of his ancestors. This is especially true if good living conditions are created there.

The Citizenship by descent program provides a unique chance to become the owner of a passport from the state in which your ancestors once lived. Millions of people who moved to Israel or became its citizens took advantage of this right. What is citizenship by descent? This question now worries millions of people.

What is citizenship by descent

The long history of mankind and numerous events forced million people to leave their homelands. But the places where they were born and lived became native to them.

After years, people try to find their roots and return there or regain lost ties through citizenship by birth. This can be done if to collect documents confirming family ties with a person who lived in the country where you are going to get the citizenship. It can be obtained through proof of kinship with parents, grandparents and earlier ancestors. Moreover, if you prove kinship with distant relatives, it can also help to get citizenship by descent.


Firstly, a person gets a charge of positive emotions from the connection with the homeland of his ancestors, which help him to live.Besides, he acquires other advantages:

  • expanding the boundaries of the business, gaining more business partners;
  • expanding the circle of close people;
  • strengthening family relations;
  • preparing the life ground for the descendants;
  • freely travelling to number of states;
  • involvement in a new cultural environment;
  • health care and education.

Citizenship by descent gives a person protection during times of political or economic instability in one of the countries.

Advantages of holding dual citizenship

permanentTwo types of citizenship are often confused: second and dual. There is a big difference between them. A second citizenship one can receive without a contract that would regulate legal relations. Each country will consider the owner of two passports as its own citizen. Thus, the holder of two citizenships will be forced to comply with the legislation of the two countries, and this is very difficult.

Dual citizenship requires an agreement between countries. Such agreements are not often concluded. Countries have their own requirements for obtaining dual citizenship. Some of them require a person getting a passport to renounce another citizenship.

Taxation issues are not easy to solve. Some states require taxes on income earned abroad. Israel provides great opportunities for holders of dual citizenship. The only drawback is the unstable situation in the region. But the Israeli Government does a lot in this area as well. Security here is at the high level.

The state provides citizens having a passport by birth with great opportunities:

  • Standard of living. The average salary is 3500 USD. This is good money, even taking into account high utility tariffs and the considerable cost of housing;
  • Freedom of movement. The passport allows to visit 161 countries. These include the EU countries, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Israeli citizen can have a visa to the USA for 10 years. Negotiations are now underway with the USA to provide Israelis with visa-free access to it;
  • Prestigious education. Israeli diplomas are quoted in any place of the world. So, children have a great future here. If you wish, you can study at higher educational institutions in the USA and Great Britain;
  • Medical care. Advanced medicine is one of the achievements of the Promised Land. Israel ranks among the twenty countries with the highest life expectancy. The average Israeli lives 82 years. The vaccination system is working effectively here. The protection of the population from dangerous diseases is approaching 100%. The country focuses on a healthy lifestyle.

Certain applicants of Israeli citizenship are concerned about compulsory military service. But even this issue is approached flexibly in the Jewish state. Persons should not serve for some medical reasons. Those who have not been in Israel for more than half a year are not drafted into the army. Persons over the age of 28 and repatriates over the age of 22 are also not subject to conscription for military service.

Women and men with children receive deferrals. Sometimes service is possible in a reduced version.

How to apply for citizenship by descent

Each country involved in the citizenship by descent program develops selection criteria independently. The requirements for candidates are determined by the peculiarities of laws, regulations, and the interpretation of the genealogy. Some countries require direct kinship, while others may limit the number of generations.

Some countries ignore this criteria. The main thing for them is to be able to prove your involvement in relatives, no matter how distant they are. For Israel, the issue of granting citizenship by kinship is fundamental. It gathers people from all over the world who are related to the Jewish nationality. By the fact of origin in Israel, aliyah can obtain following relatives:

  • the children of a Jewish woman;
  • grandchildren and children of Jews;
  • spouses of Jews, their children and grandchildren.

Widows and widowers of Jews in three generations can become Israeli citizens. But there is one mandatory codition for them: they have no right to remarry a non-Jew.

It should always be kept in mind that genealogy in Judaism is passed down through the mother. Whatever nationality is recorded in the documents of a distant relative, if his mother is Jewish, he is also considered a Jew. To obtain citizenship, this must be documented.

Citizenship can be denied in the following cases:

  • voluntarily changed religion;
  • has a negative attitude towards the Jewish people;
  • had a criminal past.

Citizenship will be denied to anyone who can cause the population of Israel to become infected with diseases. This restriction does not apply if a person falls ill in Israel.

Required kinds of documentation

The list of papers indicating clan affiliation is huge. Some indicate kinship directly, others indirectly. In most documents of the Soviet past, the column “Nationality” appeared. They are valuable.

According to the degree of importance in determining kinship, documents are divided into three types:

  • Type 1. Includes official documents issued by government agencies: birth, marriage, death certificates, passports.
  • Type 2. Includes a large list of documents. As proof of kinship, you can put student, trade union, party cards or pension certificate in the folder. Some papers from the place of work or study, as well as extracts from the house register, are suitable.
  • Type 3. Indicate kinship only indirectly, but can be useful in the absence of more important documents. Evidence includes documents confirming death in the Holocaust or the fact of burial in a Jewish cemetery, photographs in national clothes.
There is no complete list of all documents that could indicate belonging to nationality. Their number increases every year.

Countries offering citizenship by descent

Not all countries are involved in the Citizenship by Ancestry program. But the number of such states is growing rapidly. In the following continents and territories of the world the program is already working:

  1. In Europe: 25 states including the most developed ones.
  2. Americas: Nine countries. The USA, Canada, Argentina, Brasilia, Mexico are among them.
  3. Asia: there only 6 such states on the Asian continent including South Korea and Singapore.
  4. Africa: this mainland is represented by 5 countries.
  5. Oceania: three states only.
  6. Middle East: 5 countries from this territory are ready to grant citizenship by kinship.

The period of registration of citizenship and the lists of required documents are different for countries.

Citizenship by ancestry

Citizenship through ancestors has become popular recently, although the procedure cannot be called easy. A passport can be obtained at the expense of relatives in several generations.

Citizenship by great-grandparents

Citizenship by great-grandparents

Generations are not counted if the genealogy is in the female line. That is, if belonging to the Jewish nationality passes from grandmother to mother and then to daughter, it will be easier to obtain citizenship. The great-grandmother’s son is also considered a Jew, but this still needs to be proven.

Citizenship by distant kinship raises many questions. It is quite difficult to find documents confirming the ancestral identity, although even evidence can help in this matter. But it also takes a long time to look for them.  These circumstances cause a sense of hopelessness and disbelief in a positive outcome.

This stems, most of all, from a lack of understanding of the procedure. If you carefully study the requirements of the law, you can safely collect all the documents and get a passport within the specified time frame. Advice: take all the documents with you, even if you consider some of them superfluous. It is even better to make copies of them.

The problem of citizenship in the fourth generation mainly concerns the grandchildren. When going through the procedure, you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • Deadlines for submitting documents. To apply them, a candidate for citizenship must stay in Israel for three full years. Until this condition is met, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will politely refuse to accept documents. As soon as the deadline approaches, they will start working with you;
  • Filling out formal documents. First, you get 3 forms: a questionnaire, a list of documents, an explanation of the consequences of obtaining citizenship and consent to the specified conditions;
  • Required documents for obtaining citizenship.

If everything suits you, it remains to collect the necessary documents:

  • Contracts for the purchase or lease of housing for three years;
  • All utility bills for the past 3 years and the current year;
  • A certificate from the school or kindergarten about the child’s stay there for the last six months;
  • Vaccination book;
  • Certificates, diplomas, acknowledgements from the educational institute;
  • Certificate from the Health Insurance Fund;
  • Testimony from Bituah Leumi;
  • Salary certificates of parents for three years;
  • Certificate from the local administration on the fact of residence.

Most of these documents can be taken from the relevant sites. The procedure dealing with the 4th generation has undergone some changes in 2024. To find out the new requirements, it is recommended to consult a lawyer or you can leave a request? using one of our forms and get a free consultation!

What are the goals of countries by offering citizenship by descent?

By attracting new citizens related to national roots, states will solve a number of important tasks:

  • improve the demographic situation in the country;
  • strengthen ethnic unity;
  • solve economic problems by attracting labor and investment;
  • strengthen family ties.

In addition, contacts with countries in which persons with dual citizenship live are expanding.

What does Zero Generation mean?

According to Israeli law, the pedigree is through the maternal line. If the inheritance goes only through the female line, the order of generation does not matter.

Is it possible to obtain citizenship by kinship while living outside of Israel?

No, you cannot. Obtaining citizenship in this way involves a mandatory stay in the country for a total of at least three years. After this period, you can submit documents for approval. And only after their approval, the process of granting citizenship will begin.

Can they make an exception and accept documents if only a few days are missing from three years?

Israel’s laws are tough, but fair. An exception will not be made if even one day is not enough.

How much can an immigrant earn in Israel?

The amount of money you can earn does not depend on your status. It depends on the level of qualification, education, work experience, and the prestige of the profession.

Salaries in the country are high. On average, an Israeli receives approximately 10,000 shekels.  You can earn much more if you have high qualifications and extensive experience in medicine, information technology, tourism or education.

Why do many people want to get to Israel?

We can talk about the advantages of living in this country for a long time. Conditions have been created here for work, study, and treatment for all segments of the population. Repatriates receive financial support and tax benefits from the state. The country has one of the most advanced medicine and education in the world.

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