This paper postulates that equality and freedom can be seen as the theoretical foundations of constitutional democracies. Against that backdrop, it intends to analyse the legal norms and both their application and their impact in practice, which distinguish citizens by descent from citizens by naturalisation. The main focus of the paper lies on the Austrian legal system but developments in other European jurisdictions such as the UK or Germany as well as European Union law, especially the jurisdiction of the ECJ, will also dealed with. Based on recent judgments and legal developments, this contribution aims to analyse how national citizenship laws reflect mistrust against foreign born citizens even after naturalisation. The analysis will show that certain legal distinctions expose double standards which can lead to the development of “second class citizens”.