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Do You Qualify for Dual Citizenship?

One of the biggest obstacles to youth soccer training in Europe is the lack of a EU passport.  FIFA rules are very strict when it comes to minors. 

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Dual Citizenship

Do you qualify for dual citizenship?  Rules are changing.  As a result, you may be able to train in European countries if you have dual citizenship.

The lack of an EU passport is one of the biggest obstacles to youth soccer training in Europe . FIFA rules are very strict when it comes to minors.  To clarify, a minor is a child under the age of eighteen 18.  FIFA frowns on minors pursuing soccer training in countries where they are not citizens.  These rules were created to protect young people, but are often seen as an impediment to better training.  Click here to learn more about FIFA Rules for Minors.

Pay to Play Academies

The easiest way to circumvent these rules is by joining residential soccer academies in Europe that combined education with football training.  These are called Pay for Play Academies because you pay to be a part of them.  Players in these programs train under one of the FIFA exceptions for minors training abroad.

Players seeking gap year soccer programs have to find a pay for play soccer academy.   Most players attend pay to play programs by applying for a student visa.  Gap year soccer programs and other foreign soccer training programs offer suitable coursework to students to allow them to utilize this exception.

Players with EU citizenship can explore trying out for an established club team.  Players with EU citizenship may still need to train with a pay to play academy before joining a club team.  Training in the US is very different than in Europe.  Many players won’t be at the level that they can join a top program straight from the US.  They will require additional training.

Citizenship by Descent

Explore citizenship by descent.  This refers to an individual\s eligibility to obtain citizenship in a country based on their parents, grandparents, or in some cases, great grandparents.  For example, if your grandparent was a citizen of another country, you may be able to qualify for citizenship.

You have to provide proof of your connection (bloodline) to the overseeing government to qualify.  Dual citizenship is sometimes permitted.   Moreover, dual citizenship allows a person to qualify for a second passport.

Therefore, this  permits the holder to work, study and live in the EU member nations without restrictions.

Different countries have different eligibility requirements for obtaining citizenship.   You need to check with the specific country you are exploring.  Here are a few examples of countries and their requirements for citizenship by descent.

Lithuania

Lithuania allows dual citizenship.  You must meet the following requirements to be eligible.

  • Firstly, a relative was a citizen of the Republic of LIthuania.  The relative could be one, or both of your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents.  The Republic of Lithuania existed from 1918 through 1940.  Your family member must have lived in Lithuania after 1918.
  • Secondly, your ancestor left the country prior to Lithuania obtaining its independence.  They obtained independence on February 16, 1918.
  • Thirdly, this individual moved to any country that was NOT a part of the Soviet Union.  You should still investigate this if they moved to a country that was a part of the Soviet Union.  There are exceptions to this rule.  You may be able to obtain citizenship through an exception.

Czechoslovakia

Direct-line descendants of Czech citizens can have their citizenship reinstated as long as they never held a Czech or Slovak citizenship.  The Czech government allows dual citizenship.  They instituted use of a process called declaration in 2013.  Czech citizenship requires you have one or more direct ancestors who:

  • Was born in Czech Republic AND
  • Did not leave before 1918 AND
  • Lost Czechoslovakian citizenship AND
  • Never was a Slovak citizen OR
  • WAS a Czechoslovakian citizen before December 31, 1992; however, has not claimed either Czech or Slovak citizenship since then.

United Kingdom

The UK immigration rules allow an individual to automatically claim British citizenship if they have a grandparent who was British.  Likewise, citizenship has occasionally been granted based on a person’s great grandparent.    This is called British Citizenship by double descent.

In conclusion, it is worth exploring the possibility of obtaining dual citizenship if you are the child, grandchild or great-grandchild of a recent European immigrant.

You can learn about Soccer leagues in the UK by clicking here.

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