The paper introduces the often neglected concept of ‘claimed co-ethnics’ in the analysis of citizenship policies. It argues that this is an interstitial category that further complicates the triadic nexus between national minorities, nationalising states and kin-states. The ‘claimed co-ethnics’ are defined as people who are recognised by the citizenship (or ethnizenship) conferring state as belonging to its main ethnic group, although they themselves do not embrace that definition. In addition to bringing the issue of claimed co-ethnics into focus, the paper elucidates how citizenship policies can affect groups that challenge the exact fit between ethnicity and nation, showing how national governments through particular citizenship policies and categorisation practices engage in the construction of these groups. The paper shows that the triadic nexus framework, which has had a strong influence on citizenship and minorities scholarship, needs to be revised to include unidirectional relations between the elements of the triadic nexus. The paper is based on the comparison between the cases of ethnic Vlachs (in the context of Albania and Greece) and Bunjevci (in the context of Serbia and Croatia).