EU4: How To Join The Holy Roman Empire

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There are two conventional ways to join the Holy Roman Empire:

  1. Improve relations with the Emperor and request admission to the HRE
  2. Become the Emperor

Austria is the Emperor at the start of the game.

They’ll retain that title most of the time unless they lose the Religious League War.

Austria also has access to the most number of modifiers to diplomatic reputation. This makes them more likely to win the Imperial election.


  • If you’re seeking admission into the HRE, you’ll want to befriend Austria.
  • If you want to be the Emperor, you should undermine Austria at every possible opportunity.

Method 1: Getting Admitted

You can join the Empire if:

  1. You’re right next to an HRE member
  2. The Emperor’s opinion of you must be equal to your development

Opinion is capped at 200. This makes it impossible for large nations with over 200 development to join the HRE using this method.

There are several ways to improve another nation’s opinion of you. Since you can’t go over 200 development, some diplomatic actions won’t be accessible to you, especially the Great Power actions.

The ones that you can do are:

Action Action Type Opinion Gain
Offer Alliance Alliance +50
Improve Relations Relations Up to +100
Scornfully Insulted Their Rival Relations +25
Royal Marriage Dynastic +25
Send Gift Economy +25
Give Subsidies Economy Up to +15
Offer Military Access Access +10
“Religious Diplomats” Privilege Clergy Privilege +25 with all brethren nations

Note: The Economy actions can become expensive. The money needed to get the max opinion bonus is relative to your target’s monthly income. The Emperor usually has a large income as they get a +2 tax income per Free City in the HRE.

Holy Roman Empire UI / Europa Universalis IV
Holy Roman Empire UI

Once the Emperor has a high enough positive opinion of you, you can click on the “Join HRE” button in the HRE UI.


Method 2: Getting Elected

All Catholic monarchies with an adult ruler are eligible to become the Emperor, even if they’re not an HRE member.

Note: Protestants and Reformists can be eligible too if their side has won the Religious League War. If that war results in the “Peace of Westphalia” event, any Christian nation — including Orthodox and Coptics — can become the emperor.

To become the Emperor, you just need to have the HRE electors vote for you.

There are always 7 HRE electors. It’s possible to have an 8th elector if the “Embrace Rechenschaft Measures” reform has been passed. However, the HRE usually disintegrates before that can happen.

If an elector loses their privilege or ceases to exist, the Emperor will appoint another HRE member to replace them.

The conditions that affect how electors vote are:

Condition Voting Points
You’re not part of the Empire -50
Your legitimacy value -50 to +50
Your prestige -25 to +25
Your diplomatic reputation +10 per positive reputation
-5 per negative reputation
Their opinion of you -200 to +200
You have an alliance with them +30
You have a royal marriage with them +10
You only have one province -25
You have less than 50 development -25
You’re in the same culture group +5
You’re the elector’s overlord +50
The elector is independent and you’re the overlord of another elector -50 per subjugated elector
They consider you a heretic -50
You’re at war with them -200
Elector Evaluation / Europa Universalis IV
Elector Evaluation

You can check the current electors and who they’re voting for in the HRE UI. You can also view the status of your candidacy by hovering over the elector’s coat of arms.

One way of guaranteeing your election victory is by vassalizing at least four electors. Improve relations with them for a bit until they like you more than the other candidates.

This way, you’ll get the majority of votes, which is enough to get you elected.

A great time to pursue this path is during the Age of Reformation. The turmoil in this Age is centered inside the Empire.

This can weaken both the incumbent Emperor and the Empire as whole.

Once you’re the Emperor, the “Join HRE” button in the HRE UI will become clickable.

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Louie Nelson Zafico

As a frustrated otter who dreams of getting published, Louie instead wastes his life cuddling his cats. He spent his childhood playing Suikoden, grew up with Total War, and matured (somewhat) with EU4. He hopes to someday find a geopolitical JRPG with the 4X systems of a Paradox game.