Acquiring a second passport allows you to become a citizen of two or more countries in one go. Most countries, like the United States, UK, and Canada, make it possible to obtain dual citizenship. However, countries like India and China don’t.
Obtaining a second passport comes with a number of benefits such as the ability to settle in other countries, freedom of movement, and great investment opportunities. However, how can you obtain a second passport legally? Well, there are several ways to do so provided that the country you’re from allows dual citizenship.
How to Get a Second Passport
These are the four primary ways of getting dual citizenship:
1. Citizenship by Ancestry
It may be unknown to some people that you can easily acquire citizenship by descent in countries that give ancestral citizenship. Many countries like Canada, Mexico, Poland, Italy, Ireland New Zealand, and more allow you to obtain this citizenship easily if you can document your ancestral ties to the country.
In most countries, you just need to prove that your grandparents were born there. However, there are countries that only accept ancestral citizenship if your direct parents were born in the country.
You can consider yourself lucky if have ancestral ties with a country that offers dual citizenship using the ancestral method. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to get second citizenship if you qualify, and it usually doesn’t cost much.
2. Citizenship by Marriage
Another easy way to acquire second citizenship is through marriage. Most countries like the United States, France, Canada, and Ireland usually fast-track the naturalization timeline so spouses can get a second passport. Also, in Cape Verde, you will get immediate citizenship when you get married.
However, it is not advisable to marry for citizenship if that’s your sole purpose as this strategy could land you in great trouble when found by the government. Only apply for citizenship by marriage if you are married or are in the process of getting married.
3. Citizenship by Naturalization
In order to acquire citizenship by naturalization, you need to live as a permanent resident in a country for a specified number of years. This means that you first need to acquire permanent residency before you can become naturalized as a citizen of another country.
Usually, the requirements and period for getting full citizenship are different for various countries. Different countries have different requirements with regards to the number of years you need to spend in the country.
For instance, countries like the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Armenia require you to spend just three years while other countries like Switzerland and Austria offer citizenship after spending 10 years at least.
Also, there are countries like Canada that have strict requirements regarding your physical presence in the country. On the other hand, some countries have loosened this requirement and may require you to be in the country once or twice a year.
A good example is Panama where you don’t need to spend time in the country as long as you establish a local company and open a bank account with just a small amount of money. You can then apply for naturalization after 5 years. Other requirements such as language proficiency or establish economic ties will vary from one country to another.
Ultimately, naturalization is a great option if you live in the country where you are applying for your second passport on a more permanent basis. However, it is important to note that it is time-consuming and requires a lot of patience.
4. Citizenship by Investment
If you are not eligible for citizenship by marriage, descent, or naturalization, citizenship by investment is your best bet. Also known as economic citizenship, this process is pretty fast and straightforward.
Citizenship by Investment programs offer a direct route to acquire a second passport without any hefty requirements such as staying in the country. These citizenship programs require an investment that typically varies with the citizenship-granting country.
Nonetheless, most of these investments are usually in the form of purchasing real estate. Alternatively, you can make a financial contribution to the country of about 100,000 to 150,000 USD depending on the citizen program.
These fast-track citizenship programs are known for being agile, wherein the processing time takes about 3 to 6 months. Hence, it’s considered the fastest method to acquire a second citizenship. The citizenship and passport granted by these programs are permanent, and they allow their holders the same rights as native citizens. The main attraction point of these programs is the ability to include your family members within the same application. Furthermore, the citizenship can be passed down to newborns.
Countries that Give Citizenship by Investment
Some of the countries that grant a second passport by investment include:
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Antigua & Barbuda
Benefits of Dual Citizenship
There are many benefits of obtaining a second passport. Some of them include:
1. Tax Optimization
While having a second passport won’t necessarily help you avoid paying taxes, it will enable you to live a tax-optimized life. There are countries like Dominica and Vanuatu that offer dual citizenship without necessarily requiring you to pay income or capital gain tax.
A second passport can greatly minimize your tax burden or completely eradicate it. Of course, this will depend on the taxation rules of the country where you are applying for a second passport.
2. Freedom of Movement
If you dream of traveling all over the world and move freely in different countries, then you need to get a second passport. Being a dual citizen grants you the freedom to live, work, and move in different countries without much restriction.
3. Better Quality of Life
Another value of getting a second passport is that you get to enjoy the better quality of life that is offered in some countries. Most countries that allow dual citizenship provide access to high-quality education and healthcare. You will also get to enjoy their unique lifestyle and diverse range of climates and geography.
4. Increased Stability
In fact, the governments of some countries and laws may change suddenly, which may threaten your personal and financial security. Luckily, you will always have a plan B with a second passport. Dual citizenship gives you peace of mind and allows you and your family to live a more secure life.
5. Global Investment Opportunities
The investment opportunities that come with having second citizenship are countless. It allows you to invest in the new country of citizenship and in other countries that have solid economic and political ties.
There are innumerable benefits of obtaining dual citizenship. Whatever your reasons for acquiring a second citizenship may be, just make sure that you evaluate the options provided above and choose one that suits you best. Carefully consider your requirements and ensure that the country you are applying for a second passport meets them.