Applying for citizenship

The CRC stipulates that every child has the right to a nationality (Article 7). Similarly to birth registration, holding citizenship is crucial for accessing certain rights.

Access to citizenship remains within core national competences. However, according to primary EU law (Article 9 of the Treaty on EU and Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU), acquisition of a national citizenship within the EU entails automatic access to EU citizenship and to enjoyment of the rights deriving therefrom – such as, for example, the right to move and reside freely within the territories of EU Member States. Consequently, as it is established by the European Court of Justice’s case law, Member States “must have due regard” to the European Union law, when defining terms for acquisition or loss of nationality.

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Key aspects

  • In twenty Member States, children cannot apply for citizenship without the consent of their parents.
  • Children may apply for citizenship independently from their parents in France and Germany from the age of 16 years; in Greece and Latvia, they can do so from the age of 15 years.