Have you ever thought about how to obtain a dual citizenship?
While some people pay upwards of $100,000 to obtain a second citizenship, others who have a ‘lucky’ bloodline may only have to pay a few hundred.
A second citizenship is useful if you are looking to have more opportunities in your future, and possibly more freedom in your business and lifestyle.
Read on to find out all of the ways it is possible to obtain a second passport – it may be easier than you thought!
Table of Contents
- How to Obtain a Dual Citizenship – Overview
- Getting a Second Citizenship: The Different Ways
- Conclusion – How to Obtain a Dual Citizenship
How to Obtain a Dual Citizenship – Overview
Let’s start this guide with some questions I frequently receive about getting a second passport, such as the benefits, how to become eligible, and more.
What is Dual Citizenship and How can You Become Eligible?
Dual citizenship means being legally recognized as a citizen of two countries simultaneously.
Eligibility varies: one may acquire it by birth if born to parents with different nationalities, by marrying a foreign national, through residency, or by investment.
Each country has specific laws governing the acquisition of citizenship, and the process may involve lengthy legal procedures, residency requirements, or financial investment.
Are There any Advantages to Having a Second Passport?
There are numerous benefits of having a second passport, including the freedom to reside, work, and travel in both countries.
It opens up educational opportunities, with access to multiple education systems, and can provide social and healthcare benefits from both nations.
It also allows for political rights, such as voting and running for office, in two countries, and can offer an additional layer of security in times of political instability.
What are the Potential Drawbacks of a Second Citizenship?
The drawbacks of dual citizenship include the responsibility to comply with the laws and regulations of two countries, which may be conflicting.
There’s a potential for double taxation, although many countries have treaties to avoid this.
Additionally, one may have obligatory military service in both nations and might face more complex legal proceedings when dealing with issues such as divorce or custody.
Can a Second Citizenship Affect my Taxes?
Yes, a second citizenship can affect your taxes. Depending on the countries involved, you might be liable for taxes on worldwide income in both, though many nations have agreements to prevent double taxation.
It’s imperative to understand the tax obligations in both countries, as they may have different filing requirements, tax years, and rates.
Consulting with a tax professional experienced in international law is crucial to navigate these complexities.
Getting a Second Citizenship: The Different Ways
There are different ways how to obtain a dual citizenship, and these are:
- Second Citizenship by Descent
- Second Citizenship by Investment
- Second Citizenship by Residency
- Second Citizenship by Marriage
- Second Citizenship by Birth
Let’s now go through each of them in detail.
Citizenship by Descent
Maybe it hasn’t crossed your mind, or haven’t thought it would be useful to you. But a second citizenship can often come in handy, especially if you are considering living or setting up your business abroad.
Citizenship by descent could grant you the legal right to obtain a second passport in the country of your heritage.
How citizenship by descent works is it’s an entry-ticket to obtain citizenship citizenship if your bloodline were citizens in a specific country.
But, it can be much trickier than it initially seems, and depending on the country of your family’s descent, the process can take anywhere from months to years.
The European Union houses the countries where it is typically easiest to gain citizenship by descent. The main countries where this is possible include Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and Armenia.
Depending on the country, some countries will allow you to gain citizenship if only one parent was a citizen, and some will allow you to gain citizenship if a grandparent (or both grandparents) were citizens, while some will go as far back as if your great-grandparents were citizens.
This can vary greatly depending on the country, so be sure to make this step one when looking into these programs.
A nice added bonus of some of these citizenship by descent programs is that you may not need to leave your home country in order to gain this new citizenship.
Many countries will allow you to apply for citizenship in your home country by going to the embassy or consulate.
Once you can prove that your bloodline does indeed have heritage to that country, the process of obtaining your second citizenship, and therefore second passport, will just be a matter of paperwork.
Citizenship by Investment
However, don’t worry if your family heritage won’t be able to get you access to a second passport… you can also become a citizen of some countries through investment programs.
Some EU countries offer the much-coveted ‘Golden Visa’ program, where countries such as Ireland, Portugal, or Malta will offer you a passport in exchange for making a monetary investment in their country, most often via real estate.
Portugal’s Golden Visa program is often cited as the most popular, since unlike many other European Golden Visa programs, you only need to be present in Portugal for 14 days each year.
But before you get too excited, there will be a significant investment you will need to make into the country to qualify for these programs, as well as taking into consideration processing time and fees.
Not only is Europe a continent where many countries will offer you citizenship by investment, but the Caribbean can also be a place where you can exchange your money for citizenship.
Countries such as Dominica, Grenda, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda also have citizenship by investment programs.
Of these, the easiest to gain second citizenship is Dominica, where the citizenship by investment program includes either a $100,000 donation or a $200,000 real estate investment in the country.
Citizenship by Residency
Another fairly straightforward way to gain citizenship is through residency. This simply means that once you spend a pre-determined amount of time within a country, you may be eligible to obtain citizenship simply through your time spent there.
In some countries, you will have to spend only two years living there to gain citizenship, while in others it can be five years, or more.
Although this can be seen as a simple option to obtain a second citizenship, there can be additional hoops you will need to jump through, such as taking a language test or setting up a local bank account.
Some countries that currently offer citizenship via residency include Argentina, Australia, Chile, Belize, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ireland, Panama, and Portugal, among many, many others.
One important thing to consider when obtaining citizenship through residency is military service.
Although you may be old enough that you do not need to serve in the military when you obtain citizenship, this military service could be passed on to your children when they come of age.
So bear this in mind when deciding which country to make your second home and what consequences it may have on your family.
Citizenship by Marriage
Citizenship through marriage is another popular option, especially if you spend a lot of time as a tourist or reside in one of these specific countries.
Countries such as Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Ireland, Poland, and Serbia, to name a few, will all grant you citizenship if you marry a local.
However, sometimes it is not as straightforward as this. Some countries will require you to be married for a specific amount of time and also to reside in the country for an additional amount of time to gain citizenship.
An example of this is Poland, where in order to become a naturalized citizen, you must be married for three years and live within Poland for two years without living elsewhere.
This option for citizenship may be best suited for those who prefer a non-nomadic lifestyle, who are happy to live with their spouse in their home country.
Citizenship by Birth
The last option to obtain second citizenship is through birth. Countries such as Chile, Argentina, and Brazil will recognize any child born within the country as a citizen if they apply as such, simply because they were born within their borders.
Not only this, but the mother of the child will also get a ‘fast-tracked’ passport as well.
If you are willing (and not to mention have the funds) to stay and give birth in a foreign country, this could very well be a somewhat simpler and less expensive option than some of the other options.
Conclusion – How to Obtain a Dual Citizenship
When you are considering which option is best for you to obtain the coveted second citizenship, keep in mind that each option listed above will have drawbacks.
It is important to research and acknowledge the drawbacks before you begin this process, as you could be left with a costly mistake if you don’t do your due diligence.
Another option for gaining citizenship in some countries is through establishing your business there. If this seems like the perfect option for you, message us! This is exactly what we specialize in.
If you think that you might have a distant relative in a country that could provide you with a citizenship by ancestry, you may want to speak with migration lawyers, like the ones at Lexidy LegalTech Boutique.
You’ll earn about the details of the process, what options are available to you and which documentation you could already start collecting.
Migration lawyers who assist with citizenship applications know the process like the back of their hands.
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NOTICE: The content of this article is not to be considered as a legal opinion or tax advice. Wanderers Wealth does not hold itself out as a legal or tax advisor. If you want to receive a legal opinion or tax advice on the matter in this article please contact us directly and we will refer you to a legal practitioner.