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HOW TO BAG YOURSELF AN EU PASSPORT.

Byline: WILL HAYWARD Reporter will.hayward@walesonline.co.uk

THE day after Britain voted to leave the EU there was a spike in people applying to get an Irish passport. People desperately tried to find the birth certificate of Auntie O'Something to see if they could get a passport that would guarantee them free movement and the right to work in the other 27 member countries.

Whether you are a passionate Remainer, hate queueing to get into Spain, or do a lot of business on the continent, there is a huge range of reasons why you may want to acquire residency or a passport for another EU country.

We have put together the tips on how you can bag yourself a burgundy passport.

Get your cheque book out This one is not a feasible method for most of us but it is the simplest.

Quite a few EU countries will give you a passport in exchange for a huge pile of cash.

If you fancy freedom of movement (and a tan) you could buy your way into Cyprus. The Mediterranean island nation has a programme called Naturalization by Exception.

If you stick 2.5 million Euros into government bonds, financial assets or as a contribution to a major infrastructure project, you can have a passport! You don't even have to live there to do it.

Malta has a similar scheme which is cheaper but you do have to live there.

| They even offer a handy price list : | Main applicant - [euro]650,000 | Spouse - [euro]25,000 | Minor children - [euro]25,000 each | Children 18-26 (unmarried) - [euro]50,000 each | Dependent parents & grandparents - [euro]50,000 each | Adult children (physically or mentally challenged) - [euro]50,000 each.

Get down on one knee One way you can try to get yourself citizenship is by marrying someone from another member state.

Most countries do offer citizenship to spouses but it is not always an easy process.

Anyone married to a Hungarian national can claim citizenship after three years of wedlock but they do have to have lived in the country continuously for three years.

It is even longer in Latvia, where you need at least 10 years of marriage.

In France you do not have to have lived in the country but you must have been married for five years and live together. This is shorter if you live in France, however.

You will need to brush up on you GCSE French, as a good working knowledge of the French language both written and spoken is needed.

The shortest appears to be Spain, where if you've been married to a Spanish citizen for more than a year, you will be able to apply after a further year of residence in the country.

Put your camo paint on If you are man and don't want to settle down you could join the French Foreign Legion. Three years of service makes you eligible for a passport.

Beware of the army camo paint Joining the French Foreign Legion can be a way into citizenship but military service could be an unwanted consequence.

In Greece, for instance, males aged 19-45 are required to undertake a period of military service. It's possible that new passport holders could be required to serve as well.

Live there Continuous residence for five years and a working knowledge of the language and culture will help you get a passport in most EU countries. Although if we leave with no agreement on people's right to move, staying that long could be tricky.

Take advantage of Estonia being digitally-focused The little Baltic state is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. In 2015 Estonia launched its so-called "e-residency programme" which allowed people anywhere in the world to sign up over the internet to receive an Estonian government ID and gain a special category of residency.

Unfortunately this does not grant you Estonian citizenship or the right to live there but it will allow you to set up a company there and trade with the EU. You can also administer it from anywhere in the world, so no need to stay in this hemisphere.

Get a blood test Most EU countries offer a pathway to people who have ancestry there to get citizenship.

The UK census showed that as many as 10% of people living in the UK have a grandparent who was born in Ireland.

In that case you are eligible, but will need to sign up to Ireland's foreign births register.

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We have put together the tips on how you can bag yourself a burgundy passport

MATT CARDY
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 7, 2018
Words:770
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