Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Get a Dual Citizenship

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They say, the best things in life are free, the second best are very expensive. This is a funny saying but it is true. Among many expensive things in life today is getting a second citizenship or a second passport. A second passport means having a dual citizenship and being able to travel between countries at greater ease. Getting a second citizenship today is most likely an investment for many people, some are simply born having a dual citizenship, while some obtain a second one later in life. For some, a second passport means a second home, a portal to the world, a mobility insurance, a way to freedom, a status symbol. Today, the interest in getting a second passport is rising – from a recent survey conducted by CS Global Partners, about 96% of South African citizens are interested to have second citizenship and 70% stated that they would relocate if they got a second passport. Meanwhile in UAE, the demand for a second passport has increased by 27% in the country this year according to a study by Citizenship Invest. In UK, 89% citizens would like to have a second citizenship. Is getting a dual citizenship really a thing now?

Dual Citizenship and a Second passport

Let’s face it, getting a second passport is indeed a luxury – and getting one isn’t easy for everybody. Either you’re born having dual citizenship, or you’re someone so filthy rich – then you can say getting a second passport can be quite easy. Still, getting a second passport is not impossible for everyone, it can be tough, yes, but it is possible to get one.

In order to have a second passport, you need to be a citizen of the country you wish to have a passport with. So basically, dual citizenship is your key to obtain one.

But FYI, not all countries allow dual citizenship including Japan, Ukraine, Austria, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, and Venezuela. Meaning, if you’re from one of these countries, then sadly you can’t possibly have a second passport. You may be able to get citizenship from one of these countries, but sadly you have to renounce or give up your original citizenship.

Meanwhile, in countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Finland, France, Spain, Argentina, Philippines, Ireland, Peru, and many other allow Dual Citizenship but with few restrictions and control.

How to Obtain Dual Citizenship and a Second Passport

  1.   Acquire Citizenship by Investment: I think this is by far the easiest and fastest way to get another citizenship, only if you’ve got loads of money. The country that offers one of the cheapest Citizenship by Investment Program or CIP is the Commonwealth of Dominica. For $100,000 contribution made into the government fund, you can get dual citizenship in less than a year. In addition to that, you may also be able to get dual citizenship in the following countries: St Kitts and Nevis ($150,000), Guatemala ($75,000), Hungary (EUR 250,000) and Colombia ($150,000-$200,000). The most expensive programme is in Cyprus, at $2.24m, according to Arabian Business.
  2. Marriage: The most common way to get dual citizenship is basically through marriage – but it’s not instant and undergoes long process. Some countries that easily grant citizenship for foreign spouses include: Brazil, Israel, Spain, Portugal, and Mexico.
  3. Right of soil / Right of blood: If you don’t have that much money to invest, this is by far the easiest and most cost-effective process to obtain dual citizenship. Either of these two allows you to have dual citizenship in certain countries. Right of soil that is also known as Jus Soli, it means an individual is granted citizenship in a country where he/she was born. Countries like Canada, USA, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico follow the Right of Soil. While right of blood (jus sanguinis) means citizenship is determined by the person’s nationality at birth and is not determined by his/her place of birth. Basically, you are able to inherit your parents’ citizenship and you are entitled to citizenship at the same time from the country where you were born – considering that country follows Jus Soli. On the other hand, if you’re born overseas and your parents are citizens from a different country, you can claim your parents’ citizenship through Jus Sanguinis.
  4. Employment-based Citizenship: For one, United States of America offer this kind of citizenship as long as you meet certain preferences such as:                
  • Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
  • Outstanding professors and researchers; or
  • Certain multinational managers and executives.
  • Foreign nationals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability (including requests for national interest waivers).
  • Skilled workers, professionals, or other workers.

(source: USCIS)

Why you should get a second citizenship

There are many reasons why you should get a dual citizenship and a second passport, to name a few:

  1. Having a dual citizenship gives you a second home and a safe haven in case of troubled times.
  2. It gives you certain freedom – Freedom differs across countries. In some countries, there is freedom of speech, freedom from the government surveillance and control, freedom to vote, etc – while some countries don’t. For one, in Canada, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and many other countries, there is a freedom to marry a person of your own gender, while others don’t.
  3. More Visa Free travel: Basically, not all passports allow you to easily access certain countries – but when you do have a second passport, it basically gives you portal to the world. Singapore has the most visa-free score (163 countries can be visited visa-free) but sadly it doesn’t allow dual citizenship. Nevertheless, countries like South Korea (163), Germany (162), France(161) and Italy (161) allow dual citizenship and have good visa free score.
  4. Your unborn children can inherit your second citizenship, hence giving them options and opportunities to choose where they want to live when they reach the right age.
  5. Quality of Life: If you have dual citizenship, you have the option to choose where to live hence being able to choose your quality of life. New Zealand, Iceland and the United Kingdom were listed among the countries that have the highest quality of life.

Why you shouldn’t get a second passport

  1. Additional Tax Liabilities: As a citizen, you are obliged to pay your taxes both to your two countries unless these countries have a tax treaty that is meant to prevent double taxation, otherwise you are ought to pay both of the countries where the taxes are due.
  2. Complicated process: Obtaining another citizenship may require you to spend many years living in the country you wish to have citizenship with. It means putting a large amount of money at stake, sometimes it even requires another language to learn.
  3. It is costly and time-consuming to have dual citizenship: As previously mentioned, getting another citizenship is a luxury and requires loads of documents to provide and can take many years.  

Bottomline:

Today, the value of dual citizenship and a second passport is increasingly becoming a necessity, as the society becomes more global and more connected. Personally, I think that obtaining a second citizenship isn’t really a bad idea, I believe it’s more like an opportunity to take when you are qualified to do so. Pursuing another citizenship can be worthwhile yet can be the most cumbersome. To wrap it all out, remember that it is always wise to ask for a professional advice on immigration and nationality laws in order to fully understand what you’re getting into.

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Note that the above statement is incorrect: “The most expensive programme is in Cyprus, at $2.24m, according to Arabian Business.” The Cyprus Investment Programme involves 3 possible investment options: 1. An investment of €2.0 million in Real Estate (Immovable Property or multiple Properties in Cyprus). 2. An investment in Cyprus companies or businesses with an investment cost of at least €2.0 million. 3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds (AIF’s), where the Investor purchases units to the value of €2.0 million from Cyprus AIF’s, licensed by CYSEC. The most popular method of investment from foreign high net worth investors to obtain… Read more »