The vast majority of people in Europe (and the world) acquire citizenship at birth, most often through jus sanguinis. No country in the EU grants automatic and unconditional citizenship to children born in their territories to foreign citizens. The most common condition for jus soli is that parents should have resided in the country for a certain period of time before the child’s birth. Five EU countries have such rules of conditional jus soli (see Figure 1). The minimum parental residence required ranges from 3 to 10 years: 10 years in Belgium, 8 years in Germany, 3 years in Ireland and Portugal, and, in the United Kingdom, a period that gives the parents the right to reside in the country.
In seven EU countries children born in the country to foreign citizens can acquire citizenship at birth if at least one of their parents was also born in the country (double jus soli). The acquisition of citizenship is automatic in France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, and conditional in Belgium (five years prior residence for parents) and Greece (permanent residence status for parents). Belgium and Portugal both have rules of conditional jus soli and conditional double jus soli. Figure 1 illustrates the most inclusive rule of jus soli applicable in each EU country.
An additional restriction to jus soli is the prohibition of dual citizenship. In Austria and Spain, children of foreign citizens can acquire citizenship via jus soli only if they renounce any other foreign citizenship acquired at birth. Germany had a similar rule, but this was amended in 2014, when jus soli citizens were allowed to receive German citizenship if they lived and attended school in the country for a certain period of time.