Do you qualify for dual citizenship? Rules are changing.
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 (children under the age of eighteen 18) 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.
For several years, the easiest way to circumvent these rules has been by joining residential soccer academies in Europe that combined education with football training. Participation in such a program allowed players to train under one of the FIFA exceptions for minors training abroad.
Even players seeking gap year soccer programs have to find a pay for play soccer academy if they did not have EU citizenship. Most attend 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.
There is another avenue worth exploring citizenship by descent. This refers to an individuals eligibility to obtain citizenship in a country based on their parents, grandparents, or in some cases, great grandparents.
You have to provide proof of your connection (bloodline) to the overseeing government to qualify. In some cases, dual citizenship is permitted. Dual citizenship allows a person to qualify for a second passport. This can permit the holder to work, study and live in the EU member nations without restrictions.
The requirements for eligibility will differ depending on the country for which you are trying to obtain citizenship. You need to check with the specific country. Here are a few examples of countries and their requirements for citizenship by descent.
In Lituania, you may be eligible for Lithuanian citizenship (while keeping your current citizenship status) if:
- One, or both of your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents had been citizens of the Republic of Lithuania (This was in existence from 1918 through 1940. If your family member left before 1918, you cannot obtain citizenship under this procedure)
- The Lituanian ancestor left the country prior to Lithuania obtaining its independence (March 11, 2990)
- Your ancestor moved to any country that was NOT a part of the Soviet Union. (If they moved to a country that was a part of the Soviet Union, you should still investigate if you may be able to obtain citizenship through an exception).
For direct-line descendants of Czech citizens, individuals can have their citizenship reinstated as long as they have never held Czech or Slovak citizenship. In 2013, the Czech government decided to permit dual citizenship by permitting a process called declaration. For Czech citizenship, you need to 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, but has not claimed either Czech or Slovak citizenship since then.
The UK immigration rules allow an individual to automatically claim British citizenship if they have a grandparent who was British. In some instances, citizenship has been granted based on ones great grandparent. This is called British Citizenship by double descent.
At any rate, if you are the child, grandchild or great-grandchild of a recent European immigrant, it may be worth exploring if you are able to obtain dual citizenship.