My deceased father was Estonian by birth, born in 1933, immigrated to US in 1943. Do I qualify for Estonian passport/citizenship by descent?

I was born here, and he already had his citizenship in US by then. He also joined the military here, so I'm guessing that changes things from what I'm reading?

  • The Wikipedia article seems to describe current Estonian nationality law only. You should definitely not give up hope on that basis alone. You'll want to find out what Estonian nationality law said about foreign naturalization of an Estonian on the day your father actually naturalized. Furthermore, if he was a minor on that day, it may have an impact on the effect of the naturalization.
    – phoog
    Aug 1, 2019 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


According to Estonian nationality law:

By descent

Children born to parents, at least one of whom was an Estonian citizen at the time of birth (regardless of the place of birth) are automatically considered Estonian citizens by descent.

Since your father was Estonian by birth, he would have remained an Estonian citizen even if he later acquired US citizenship. So, you are most probably an Estonian citizen too.

  • 1
    According to the article you link to, "According to law, acquiring a foreign citizenship voluntarily and entering into a military or civilian service for another state constitute forfeiture of Estonian citizenship." So it seems that your statement "he would have remained an Estonian citizen even if he later acquired US citizenship" is likely to be incorrect. To make a definite determination, you have to look at the state of Estonian nationality law between the father's birth and kristi's birth to determine whether he was in fact Estonian when she was born.
    – phoog
    Aug 1, 2019 at 12:49
  • Furthermore, some countries impart an adult's loss of nationality to the adult's minor children, so it would be necessary to look at Estonian law between her birth and her reaching the age of majority (usually, but not always, the 18th birthday). It may of course also be necessary to consider whether she has lost Estonian nationality as an adult by virtue of her own acts.
    – phoog
    Aug 1, 2019 at 12:51
  • 2
    @phoog: But the rest of the paragraph you quoted says, "In effect, this forfeiture requirement applies to naturalised Estonian citizens only, because, according to the constitution, Estonian citizenship obtained by descent is inalienable and cannot be taken away by anyone else other than the citizenship holder." Neither the OP's father nor her appear to be naturalized Estonian citizens. Aug 1, 2019 at 18:31
  • Hm. I overlooked that. But still it is necessary to know whether that principle applied at the time of the father's naturalization in the US.
    – phoog
    Aug 1, 2019 at 21:28

If your father was Estonian then you are Estonian to, as discussed previously. The reason is that between 1940 and 1992 it was not possible to loose Estonian citizenship as Estonia formally didn't exist during that time.

To get Estonian passport you need proof that your father was Estonian. Easiest is if you have his Estonian passport. If not you can get the document needed from the state archive (make sure you get a paper copy): https://www.ra.ee/vau/index.php/en/enquiry/application/create?type=5.

The othe documents and procedure is described here under "Applying for a passport for the first time": https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/estonian-passport-for-an-adult/applying-abroad

When you have the other documents needed, you make an appontment with the embassy: https://washington.mfa.ee/estonian-passports-and-id-cards/

The process takes only a few moths and then you get a passport valid for the entire EU.

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