Traditional wooden houses in Hallstatt, austrian alpine town by Salzburg, Austria

4 EU Countries Offering Citizenship for Jews

In the years following the defeat of the Nazi regime, new laws were drafted in various EU countries to restore citizenship for Jews and other minority groups who had their citizenship stripped on racial, political or religious grounds.

In the years following the defeat of the Nazi regime, new laws were drafted in various EU countries to restore citizenship for Jews and other minority groups who had their citizenship stripped on racial, political or religious grounds.

Today, there are several EU countries that offer citizenship for Jews, both for first time applicants, and for previous citizens or descendants of former citizens. This article will examine a few countries that offer citizenship for Jews. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive – there are several other EU countries that offer citizenship. 

Portugal beach town

Portugal and Spain

In 2015, the Spanish and Portuguese parliaments each enacted a law inviting Sephardic Jews (i.e. Jews originating from the Iberian Peninsula) with ancestral ties to Spain and Portugal to return to their respective country. The offer of citizenship to Sephardic Jews was a powerful symbol of atonement, as the country sought to make amends for the expulsion and massacre of Jews in 1492 and the mistreatment towards the minority group in the centuries thereafter. The law in Spain had a time limit that has already elapsed, but the law in Portugal is permanent.

Traditional wooden houses in Hallstatt, austrian alpine town by Salzburg, Austria

Austria

Starting in September 2020, all former Austrian citizens, citizens of successor states of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire who fled persecution from Nazis, and other “Third Reich” parties after they took over Austria in 1938 were allowed to apply for Austrian citizenship. This law was further extended to all descendants in the descending line of persecuted persons. Descendants of victims can now obtain Austrian citizenship by declaration without having to renounce their existing citizenship or nationality in return.

Green meadow, Berchtesgadener town and Watzmann mountain on a background. Bavarian alps. Germany

Germany

Earlier this year, the German government introduced a new law to grant citizenship to descendants of Nazi victims. If enacted, the law will fully close a loophole that led to the denial of German citizenship for many victims’ descendants, despite a long-standing policy allowing descendants of persecuted victims to reclaim citizenship. Reasons for citizenship denial ranged from non-German ancestral citizenship after fleeing, birth dates, and gender-discriminating rules. 

In short, former German Jewish citizens who were deprived citizenship between 1933 and 1945 on racial or religious grounds will be entitled to citizenship restoration. The same goes for their descendants, the definition of which has been broadened by these new rules. 

How Can I Get Started?

If you’re interested in applying for European Union citizenship by descent, either in Portugal, Spain, Austria, Germany or otherwise, take our free pre-screening assessment today.

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Have more questions about the process and whether you may be eligible? Check out our FAQs or contact us today to learn more.