As a citizen of a country (dual citizenship inclusive), you’re obligated to undertake certain duties like tax payments, obeying the laws, defending the state, etc. In return, you get to enjoy the right to live, work, run a business, vote, and contest for electoral positions. However, the government of a nation can be quite unpredictable, especially in terms of policy formulations. They can wake up one day and decide to limit your rights or add unfavorable clauses to it.
Countries across the world are currently facing the damning economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once a viable vaccine is made available for treating the disease, nations would be looking at their options to improve their economy. As businesses slowly start reopening, tax rates may be increased as a move to reviving the nation’s economy. This increment will likely not favor you. You look at the tax policies in other countries and they look better compared to your home nation. Guess it’s time to move your business overseas.
Unfortunately, you’re not a citizen of those foreign nations and so cannot benefit from their favorable tax policies. You suddenly realize if you had dual citizenship, you’d scale through this imbroglio smoothly.
WHAT IS DUAL CITIZENSHIP
Dual citizenship is a term used to identify the status of an individual who is legally recognized as a citizen of two countries. Many nations have different criteria for granting citizenship and as such, it is very possible for anyone to be a citizen of more than one nation at a time.
HOW DOES DUAL CITIZENSHIP WORK?
All countries grant their people citizenship status right from birth. However, if the citizen has proven ancestral origins in another nation, they can apply for citizenship there as well. This way, the citizen becomes a holder of two passports.
There are other ways by which an individual can acquire dual citizenship and we will discuss them later in this writeup. However, it is important to note that before you can be allowed to hold dual citizenship, your home nation’s laws must sanction it. This is because not all countries allow their citizens to hold dual nationalities. So, before you even think of getting a second passport, be sure to review your home country’s policies concerning the acquisition of dual nationalities.
Keep in mind too that holding dual citizenship means you are subject to the laws of both nations. Thus, certain requirements may be requested of you at some point or the other while being a citizen of two different countries.
HOW MANY CITIZENSHIPS CAN YOU HAVE?
Generally, there are 195 countries in the world today and the good news is you can have all 195 citizenships. However, not all 195 nations permit their natives to hold multiple citizenships. For instance, a citizen of China would lose their citizenship status if they become a citizen in another nation.
Every country has its laws governing citizenship and these laws are subject to change at any time. For example, although the USA doesn’t openly welcome dual citizenship, the rules are not really enforced.
Thus, you can hold your American passport along with that of a different nation. However, when traveling into the United States from other countries, you will be required to present your American passport and gain entry to the country as a citizen.
Basically, if your country let you keep multiple nationalities, you can have as many as you want as long as the countries whose citizenship you hold also allow it.
BENEFITS OF DUAL CITIZENSHIP
If you’ve been watching too many blockbuster movies like the Bond franchise or Jason Bourne, you’d probably think having dual or multiple passports is the sole preserve of spy agents. Well, this section is going to burst your bubble as there are so many benefits you can enjoy from holding dual citizenship.
1. Visa-free travel to many countries
If you’re a citizen of a developing nation or one in which visa-free access to different nations is limited, you’ll find dual citizenship hugely beneficial. This is because nearly all countries require visas before foreigners are allowed in. Then there are those passports that waive visa requirements so they can be used to access certain countries.
You can visit more countries visa-free if you hold a powerful second passport. This cuts out the time it would take for you to apply for visas. It also means you won’t have to surrender your personal data to a foreign government because you want to visit that nation. Having a second passport like that of Malta allows you and your family to travel visa-free to about 180 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, as well as Canada without having to pass through the strenuous visa application process.
2. Freedom to live and work in more than one region
With dual citizenship, you acquire the freedom to live and work in any of the countries or regions where you hold their passport. In fact, some of these nations even have agreements with other countries to allow their citizens the right to work outside their home nations. Take, for instance, the European Union. If you hold one EU passport, you’ll get access to live and work in 29 EEA (European Economic Area) regions.
3. Education opportunities
If you have kids and you’re planning on enrolling them in the best schools, your dual citizenship status allows you to review schools and other educational institutions in both nations you’re a citizen of. This means you’ll get a richer option to choose from. If you’re lucky, you could even access scholarship in prestigious schools for your children in your adopted country.
4. Right to vote in both nations
Being a citizen of a country grants you the right to vote and participate in periodic elections. Holding dual citizenship multiplies those rights. You now have a chance to influence leadership decisions in not just your home country but your adopted one as well.
5. You can avoid certain limits placed on travel to other countries
If your home nation maintains a strained relationship with another country, it may become very difficult for you to travel to that country. Some foreign policy decisions made by your home nation can cripple your chances of traveling to many nations. That’s why it’s easier for a Canadian to visit Cuba than an American. The same way a Russian will find it easy to enter any Arab region than an Israeli citizen would. If you want to break free from these limitations, you should consider getting dual citizenship for yourself.
6. Improved social security
Getting dual citizenship also means you enjoy access to healthcare services and social securities in both nations. Thus, if an emergency arises, the consulate from both countries would swiftly support and aid you as required.
7. More business opportunities
Do you feel you can make more money if your business is exposed to foreign customers? Dual citizenship gives you the opportunity to set up, open a new outlet, or move your business permanently to your adopted country. Those markets and customers that seemed off-limits will rapidly become accessible. You may even find support from your business via the policies from your new government.
8. Right to own real estate in both countries
Many nations restrict foreigners from buying real estate property. If you already have real estate property in your home nation, you can acquire more similar assets in your adopted nation. Your dual citizenship status grants you the right to buy and own real estate properties, thus increasing your potential ROI significantly.
9. The opportunity of getting lower tax rates
Having more than one citizenship allows you to conveniently set up your tax structure. You have the freedom to choose where you’ll reside for the purpose of taxation. Several nations won’t tax you for income earned outside their country. For instance, Malta has the lowest tax rate within the EU. Thus, you could choose to live in Germany while your business is situated in Malta. The financial implications of this on your business can be profitably rewarding.
10. A prospective escape ticket in the event of political unrest
The political situation of any nation can change at any moment. Unless you’re a citizen of another nation, you’ll find it hard to jump ship and move to a new country. When a nation looks set for political turmoil, your dual citizenship status becomes an advantage.
If you hold only your home nation’s citizenship, even if you’re very wealthy, you’ll face challenges with migration. This is because most foreign embassies will close their offices and halt application processing. This means getting onto a plane or even crossing the border to another nation will become almost impossible.
If you do not want to face this horrific possibility in the near future, you’d be wise to obtain dual citizenship as quickly as possible. Get your options ready before the unthinkable happens.
11. A priceless gift for your descendants
When you acquire dual citizenship, you will likely be able to pass it on to your kids and grandkids. It becomes a priceless gift for your descendants – as a result of your efforts, they’ll find it easy to live and work in different countries. If you live in Nigeria but own UK citizenship, your kid could grow up in Manchester then choose to work in Australia and live in the USA later. That invaluable freedom to travel visa-free is something they will cherish forever. This is what dual citizenship gives.
12. Experience the diversity of different cultures
If you hold dual citizenship, you’ll be open to the cultures of two different nations – the home nation and the adopted. You’ll have access to learn the culture of the adopted nation and even promote your home nation. You can foster new relationships and add value to your new nation. You could learn a new language in the process and become more exposed and knowledgeable in the affairs of both nations.
WHAT COUNTRIES ALLOW DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
As adorable as the prospects of acquiring dual citizenship looks, it may not be all that easy to obtain. The reason is your home nation needs to have a policy that allows citizens to hold dual nationalities. In addition, your potential soon-to-be adopted nation needs to grant citizens the same right to dual citizenship. Only then can an individual conveniently wield their multiple passports without harassment from law enforcement agents. Some countries may not even have a policy regarding dual citizenship but still won’t dissuade you from obtaining it. Others may not openly encourage it but won’t try to stop you if you acquire a second passport. However, they may require you to visit your home nation using your first passport. Ultimately, you should check your country’s policies regarding dual citizenship.
COUNTRIES THAT DON’T ALLOW DUAL CITIZENSHIP
While some countries are reserved or openly allow their nationals to obtain dual citizenship, others are strictly against it. These countries demand that their nationals with dual citizenship choose what nation to be allegiant to when they reach a certain age (usually 18, except for Japan, 22). Thereafter, they can only hold one citizenship (which is the home nation). Failure to choose may mean they are forced to renounce their citizenship.
IS MULTIPLE CITIZENSHIP GOOD?
Based on the benefits of dual citizenship discussed earlier in this article, we can boldly say having multiple citizenships is a great idea. Although having multiple citizenship does have its cons, however, its pros outweigh it.
One of the drawbacks of multiple citizenship is that you may be expected to undergo certain responsibilities in your newly adopted nations. For instance, in some countries, their citizens are expected to undergo military service and they may require you to go through the same procedure before you are granted full citizenship status.
Another drawback is more relative to a particular country – The United States. American citizens are required to pay income tax from any part of the world. This means they can hold multiple nationalities but they are still obligated to pay tax to the US government from anywhere they reside globally.
There’s also the slim possibility of a conflict of interests arising if the foreign policy of your home nation opposes that of your newly adopted country.
All of these should not be a reason to drop the idea of obtaining multiple citizenship though. You need not be tied to one single country when you can cast your net freely and tap into the opportunities arising from holding multiple nationalities.
IS TRIPLE CITIZENSHIP POSSIBLE?
Yes. Triple citizenship is very possible. This is because nations can only regulate what citizenship their nationals can have. They cannot regulate the citizenships of other countries. That said, an individual can have passports from three or more countries that allow dual citizenship.
HOW TO OBTAIN DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
Dual citizenship can be acquired in different ways. What’s important is that the country you are applying to must allow it. Many countries restrict dual citizenship while others only permit it based on certain conditions. Some nations that allow dual citizenship may also limit dual citizens from certain rights. For instance, in Australia, dual citizens are restricted from running for federal parliament.
1. Citizenship by birth (jus soli and jus sanguinis):
The two major legal ways of getting citizenship are through jus soli and jus sanguinis.
Jus soli states that you become a citizen of a nation if you are born there. Jus sanguinis, on the other hand, postulates that you gain nationality by blood when you’re born to a citizen. Several countries combine these two legal convictions when it comes to bequeathing citizenships.
This way, if you live in Canada but were born to Brazilian parents, even if your parents do not have Canadian citizenship status, you’ll automatically qualify for a Canadian passport. You’ll also be eligible to get Brazilian citizenship even if you never lived there or know the official Portuguese language. Both of these nations allow dual citizenship. This is the most popular way by which people end up with dual citizenship.
2. Citizenship by marriage:
Another way to obtain dual citizenship is through marriage. Citizenship by marriage occurs when a foreigner gets married to a citizen of a country. This form of obtaining citizenship will only be granted if the country allows it. At the moment there are about 15 nations that grant citizenship by marriage. They include Ukraine, Germany, Belize, Malta, Spain, The Netherlands, Mexico, Portugal, Colombia, Switzerland, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Fiji, Ghana, and Brazil.
3. Citizenship by naturalization:
You can also obtain dual citizenship via naturalization. Naturalization is the legal process by which a foreigner can apply for and be granted citizenship in a country. The laws guiding naturalization range from nation to nation. However, what these countries have in common is that you’ll be required to reside in the country you’re applying to for a period of time before you can be considered eligible. You may also be required to learn the culture and language of the country as you might be subjected to interviews as part of the naturalization process that must be passed before you gain citizenship.
4. Citizenship by investment:
Citizenship by investment is another option for obtaining dual citizenship. In fact, it’s gaining more popularity each day because of the speed it takes to get a passport and the rich selection of countries to choose from. Citizenship through investment requires applicants to make a donation or an investment in the economy of a nation.
5. Citizenship by special consideration:
Lastly, there’s citizenship by special consideration which is rare and uncommon. It often requires the leader of a nation to waive the usual requirements an individual will have to go through before being granted citizenship status. It is mostly granted as a reward for a good deed or to adopt an individual based on their intellectual prowess or their unique skills in sports or other fields.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS TO GET DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
Not everyone can qualify for citizenship by birth or marriage. Citizenship by special consideration is also a long shot that doesn’t look feasible if you have no highly unique skills. This leaves the rest of us with citizenship by residency via naturalization and citizenship by investment.
CITIZENSHIP BY RESIDENCY VIA NATURALIZATION
You can gain permanent residency in a foreign country however, this doesn’t make you a citizen. As a resident, you’ll live in the country while obeying the laws and performing the obligations required of you. This includes paying local taxes. Unfortunately, you won’t have the rights of a citizen as you’re disallowed from voting.
Regardless of this, citizenship by residency is still a popular method for gaining dual citizenship. You can gain residency by applying through a student visa, a post-study work visa, or a skilled migration visa. You can be eligible to apply for citizenship after spending a period in the new country which can range from 2 years to as much as 30 years depending on the country’s policy guiding naturalization.
Before your application can be approved, you may need to prove that you have fully integrated into your new nation. Thus, you may undergo language tests or present proofs of investment in the local economy as well as other ties to the local community. When you do this, it shows that you have earned the right to be a citizen of that country. Once the naturalization process is completed, you can apply for a second passport.
Here are two countries where dual citizenship can be gotten quickly through residency.
Argentina is regarded as the fastest nation to get citizenship because it takes only two years to qualify for one after you secure residency. To add to this, the passport is relatively strong since you can access over 150 countries visa-free – including all the nations of Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America. Getting residency is also quite easy. All you have to do is present proof of a thousand-dollar (or more) monthly passive income. The income can be derived from retirement payments, investments, or rental income paid to you outside Argentina.
Within 3 years of securing residency, you may be eligible to obtain dual citizenship in Paraguay. One attractive feature of the residency process in Paraguay is that you need not live the entire 365 days a year in the country. You can reside in the country for a minimum of 183 days in a year. Also, the citizenship application requirement demands that you must have at least $5000 deposited in a Paraguayan bank. Once you tick these requirements, you’ll get your Paraguayan passport in no time.
CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Citizenship by investment occurs when an individual applies for a second passport and citizenship in a foreign country by donating an amount of money to its government or investing in the economy of that country. With citizenship by investment, applicants get their dual citizenship faster than regular immigration processes. They also do not usually require the applicants to reside in the host country for a period nor coerce applicants into learning the language and culture as part of the requirements before being granted citizenship status. In addition, there are a handful of countries granting citizenship by investment leaving applicants with options to choose from with many of them situated in the beautiful Caribbean region. Let’s quickly take a look at the Dominican citizenship by investment to understand how the program works.
To gain a second passport from the Island of Dominica via citizenship by investment, you’ll be required to make a $100,000 donation to the government’s Economic Diversification Fund or invest in a government-approved real estate property worth $200,000 (registration and processing fees inclusive) which must be held and unsold over a 5-year period.
You will have to go through an authorized agent to submit your citizenship application documents. You may also have to undergo background and medical checks. The entire process can take between 3 to 6 months before you gain full Dominican citizenship. What’s more, you can access around 136 countries visa-free with your Dominican passport.
WORKING WITH PASSPORT LEGACY
You do not need to wade in uncharted waters while trying to secure dual citizenship. Let Passport Legacy take that stress off you. Over the years we have helped many reputable individuals diversify their citizenship status.
The entire process has been broken down in a way that you’d easily come to terms with. The available programs on our platform are all viable and we will work with you in helping you choose the one most suitable for you.
Whether its residency you seek or a second citizenship, we are available to guide you through the procedure from the first paperwork until your application is approved. Have a question or two or just need some clarification regarding some information you got? Reach out to us and we’ll get back to you shortly.
There’s no need to wait until unfavorable policies in your home nation begin to mount pressure on you before seeking dual citizenship. There are so many benefits attached to the concept of dual citizenship that it has suddenly become a necessity. Take a bold step today and apply for a second passport