The five best European passports for families

Written by Andrew Henderson
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Dateline: Prague, Czech Republic

Having a European second passport can open a lot of doors. It gives you and your family a wide choice of places to live, with a high quality of life. That’s why European nations are among the best places to get citizenship when you have a family.

Getting citizenship in these countries is not the easiest to do when compared to some South American countries, but the opportunities these countries offer to your family would make it well worth it.

To give you a feel of what to expect when moving to one of these countries, we compared them for you by looking at education and healthcare levels according to the OECD Better Life Index. These are the most important factors to look at if you move abroad with your family.

We present the five best passports for families:

1. Belgium

It has always been relatively easy to obtain citizenship in Belgium and the country allows dual citizenship. The quality of life is great here and the country has a welcoming attitude towards immigrants.

Because Brussels is a very international city and at the heart of European business, universities in Belgium are very internationally oriented. Students can follow courses in English, French or Dutch. The Master level courses are often offered fully in the English language while Bachelor’s degrees are taught in Dutch or French.

Belgian schools perform slightly below international levels in terms of the number of students graduating. However, the quality of the education system in Belgium scores a little higher than those in other countries.

There are many scholarships available for studying at a university in Belgium. It’s also very doable to study in Belgium without financial aid. Just a couple of years ago, the average annual cost for a student was about $11,500 from primary school to tertiary education.

The health care system in Belgium is of very high quality. To be able to make use of it, you need to have state or private health insurance and you have to pay 7.35% of your gross salary to the insurance fund. If you need medical treatment, you just have to show your social security card and up to 75% of the treatment costs will be reimbursed.

2. Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a very international and cheap city. As Andrew has said before, it has great architecture, good food and doesn’t have to be expensive to live in.

The Czech Republic has a long history of having very highly-rated universities with some of them dating back more than six centuries. Five of these universities are even listed in the QS World University Rankings of 2013.

Because having an education is very crucial in the Czech Republic, over 90% of the adult population has a secondary education degree or higher. The performance of students studying at Czech universities is slightly better than in other European countries.

There are no tuition fees for public universities in the Czech Republic, but classes will be given in the Czech language. Students preferring a course in another language will have to pay an additional fee. There will also be some administrative costs and a fee for participating in extra programs. Costs for studying at a private institution start at $1,000 and can go up to around $15,000.

Health insurance in the Czech Republic is mandatory for permanent residents of the country. You will need to register at a health company after you’ve obtained permanent citizenship.

In the past decade, the healthcare system in the Czech Republic has seen a massive improvement, largely because of becoming a European Union member. The prices for healthcare are also very low which has even caused a bit of medical tourism.

3. Malta

The good thing about Malta is that it has a very attractive tax climate. As Andrew wrote a little while ago, the Maltese passport is one of the best you can get in Europe.

The largest university in Malta is the University of Malta, with approximately 700 international students. This university is public, but there are also some private universities and colleges on the island.

Another high-ranked university in Malta is Middlesex University, which was set up in 2013. They are offering a variety of IT and business courses.

A study at the University of Malta would cost around $5,000 to $25,000 per year, with medical studies being the most expensive. The Middlesex University costs $6,000 to $10,000 per year, depending on the program.

According to a survey performed by research center Numbeo, Malta has the second-best healthcare system in Europe. Holders of an EU health card can make use of subsidized healthcare. Most expats originating from non-EU countries are best off applying for a private insurance policy, as they are convenient and cover the costs of a wide variety of medical care.

4. Bulgaria

Most universities in Bulgaria offer a selection of different courses in the English language, while some of them offer all of the courses in English. Sofia University is the most prestigious university in the country, ranking in the top 700 of 2015’s QS World University Rankings.

The fees that universities in Bulgaria charge for their classes vary a lot. It starts around the $2,000 range and can go up to about $7,000. If you choose to have all classes taught in the Bulgarian language it will be a little cheaper. Students from a European country or coming from the UK might be able to get a tuition fee loan or a grant, which can reduce the costs significantly.

If you’re an expat in Bulgaria, you’ll automatically be covered by public health insurance. It would still be best to have private insurance to make sure you are covered for anything that could come up. By doing this, you can enjoy the benefits that private medical institutions offer and you’ll have less waiting time.

5. Austria

Austria doesn’t allow dual citizenship, but there are possibilities if you’re willing to give up your current nationality. You can also gain citizenship by investment. As Andrew explained before, there are no real set rules for gaining citizenship this way, as every case is looked at individually.

In Austria, about 90% of all people with a higher education degree have a job. This indicates very clearly the importance of having a good degree if you want to find a job in Austria. Only about 50% of people who completed upper secondary education or lower are currently employed.

There are several universities in Austria that are among the best in the world. The University of Vienna is the most reputable with around 92,000 enrolled students and a history that goes back more than six centuries. The classes are mostly taught in German, but there are also many different master’s degrees in the English language.

European students can study for free in Austria, as long as they finish their studies within a set timeframe. After the term has passed, the student will have to pay about $500 for every term.

It might seem intimidating to move to a European country and leave everything behind. However, it doesn’t have to be very difficult to get citizenship in another country. The five countries that we named in this article are a good option, but the list definitely doesn’t stop there.

Your children will benefit greatly because of your choice. There are many great educational and career possibilities in the mentioned countries. There’s absolutely no reason to stay in a country that doesn’t give you the opportunities that you are looking for in your life when you have so many quality opportunities elsewhere.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Dec 27, 2019 at 11:07PM

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