European Citizenship

Portugal – third EU country to grant European citizenship in 2019

Portugal was the third country in the European Union with the highest percentage of people to acquire European citizenship, in proportion to the number of foreigners residing in the country.

About 4.4% of foreign residents residing in Portugal were able to obtain Portuguese citizenship, a percentage that exceeds the 2.0% registered in the overall European Union. Above Portugal only Sweden (7.0%) and Romania (4.7%) have higher rates of naturalisation.

The figure, released by Eurostat, shows that Portugal is above the European Union average for this indicator.

On the opposite side, Lithuania and Denmark were the lowest-rated countries, where only 0.3% of foreign residents were able to obtain citizenship in the country in 2019.

In 2019, 706,400 foreigners obtained citizenship of an EU Member State, an increase of 5% compared to 2018.

This was mainly caused to the increase in absolute terms in Germany – 15,200 more people received German citizenship compared to 2018 –followed by Italy (+14,500), Spain (+8,200) and the Netherlands (6,300).

Main nationalities acquiring European citizenship

With those who did not have nationality in an EU country, Moroccan were the main beneficiaries, with 9% of individuals acquiring national citizenship of any Member State.

Following these are the Lebanese (6%) and the British (4%). The Brazilian, who occupy the seventh position (3%), see Portugal and Italy as the countries that offer them a higher rate of naturalization. About 73% of individuals born in Brazil were able to acquire citizenship from one of these two Member States.

The Romanian (26,600 people),  the Polish (12,600) and the Italians (8 700) continued to be the main groups of citizens of the European Union to be able to acquire citizenship of another Member State – as in 2018.

Figures released by Eurostat also show that in 2019, and in the European Union, the majority of new citizenships were granted by Germany (19% of the total), Italy (18%) and France (16%).