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It is becoming increasingly popular among Hong Kongers to look for additional citizenship around the world. Indeed, the flexibility of a second citizenship provides assurance for future planning in this ever-changing world that we live in. Many countries offer different temporary visa programs that first allow individuals to immigrate to the host country for a few years before eventually leading to a permanent residency. Comparing residency requirements can help you to decide which country works best for you and your immigration plan. Learn more about the residency requirements, processing time, and how to apply for citizenship in Canada, Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.
Canada is an attractive choice for many people with its low crime rate, first-rate living environment, and comprehensive welfare system. To obtain Canadian citizenship, individuals must have permanent resident status, paid all the relevant taxes, and have lived in Canada for three out of the last five years prior to applying. This can include the time spent as a temporary resident as long as it makes up at least 1,095 days. There is also a citizenship test which involves understanding the rights and responsibilities of Canadians as well as basic knowledge of Canada’s history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols. Lastly, the applicant must prove a certain level of French or English language aptitude.
Once you meet these requirements, individuals can apply to become a citizen of Canada. Keep in mind that spouses or civil partners are not automatically granted Canadian citizenship even if they marry a Canadian. They must meet the same requirements as everybody else. To apply, it is as simple as downloading and filling in the application package. Put together the mandatory documents before sending them, along with the processing and right of citizenship fee of 630 CAD for adults and 100 CAD for children under 18, to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The whole process normally takes an average of 12 months. Applicants will be interviewed by a citizenship official who will verify the application and make sure that all the citizenship requirements are met. If the application is approved, a ceremony date will be sent by letter or email. This citizenship ceremony, where you take the oath of citizenship, is the final step to becoming a Canadian citizen.
Compared to the rest of Europe, Greece has a lower cost of living while still offering a modern and high-quality lifestyle. Those looking to escape the busy city life can look to the sunny days and unparalleled natural beauty that Greece has to offer. To be eligible for Greece citizenship, individuals must have lived in Greece for at least seven years. However, if you are married to a Greek citizen and have a child with that person, this timeframe is reduced to three years. Like the Canadian residency requirements, those looking to apply for citizenship in Greece must also have paid all necessary taxes and demonstrate knowledge of the country’s language (Greek) and culture on a basic level.
To apply, send the application and corresponding documents along with the application fee of 700 euros for first-time applicants to the Directorate of Civic Status of the Decentralised Administration in the area of Greece that you are residing in. An interview will be arranged after your application has been submitted to make sure that the applicant meets the basic conditions for naturalization. If accepted, individuals take an oath before officially becoming a Greek citizen. From start to finish, applying for Greek citizenship takes a minimum of one year, but generally between two to four years.
The comfortable quality of life is one of the many reasons why people choose to immigrate to Ireland. There are various ways to obtain residency, but to gain citizenship, individuals must have lived in Ireland for at least five years out of the nine years prior to the application and show that they intend to live in Ireland after they receive citizenship.
To apply, download the relevant application from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website. Choose the correct application and prepare all the supporting documents. When sending the whole package to the Secretary General at the Department of Justice, be sure to include the application cost of 175 euros. A further 950 euros will be needed afterwards for the certification of naturalization. Minors, surviving civil partners and widowed spouses of Irish citizens, and refugees do not have to pay this certificate fee. The whole process should take approximately 12 to 18 months. If rejected, there is no appeal process and no refund of any fees. However, if accepted, individuals will receive a letter for the citizenship ceremony to formally declare loyalty to the state.
Portugal appeals to many people looking to immigrate and gain a second citizenship because of its generous tax advantages, excellent quality of life, and minimum residency requirements. For non-EU nationals, individuals are eligible for citizenship after five years of residence. This may seem like a lot, but a year of residency can be fulfilled by staying in Portugal for seven days in a year with a visa by investment program. Like the other countries, applicants should have no unpaid tax, no criminal record, and a basic understanding of the Portuguese language. The individual must also prove that they have a link to the community and have enough money to settle in Portugal.
Apply by filling in the application form and providing all the necessary documents that fulfil the requirements, including the criminal record, residence permit, and certificate of language proficiency. Send everything along with the cost of application to the regional branch of the Service for Border Control and Aliens (SEF). The application cost for adults range from 175 to 250 euros while children can apply for free. In contrast to the other options, Portugal has a relatively short processing time of about six months before they get back to you.
Every country has its own residency requirements when applying for citizenship. Learn more about immigration options for Canada, Greece, Ireland, or Portugal. What works best for your immigration goals? You can also get in touch with our team of experienced immigration lawyers and consultants at Simard & Associates at any step of the immigration process. By understanding your preferences, needs, and situation, we help clients in Hong Kong and other Asia Pacific regions to turn their immigration dreams into reality.