Obtaining dual citizenship opens up your world to multiple travel benefits that do not always present themselves with only a USA passport. Not every country in the world offers the opportunity for dual citizenship and it is not always easy to obtain. The following benefits and methods will help you understand the importance of a second passport and how one could be acquired.
- Expand your travel possibilities – Travel to Cuba legally (see here for how to travel to Cuba sub-legally) and without having to obtain a visa to go to countries like Brazil. Passports from Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Sweden are the most valuable and offer the best travel access to countries around the globe, while Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq passports offer the least flexibility. See here for more details on the rankings by country for visa flexibility.
- Reduce your profile – In many destinations, showing a USA passport will instantly profile you as a target to terrorists, or criminal groups that think you have a lot of money.
- Greater travel privacy – USA passports are now equipped with new technology (bio-metric identifiers and a radio-frequency identity chip) that can track everywhere you travel. This could get you into trouble when you travel to places not favored by USA authorities.
- Reside and work in other countries – The legalities and difficulties of trying to maintain residence or work in another country can often be insurmountable. A second passport will open up many opportunities in this regard. For example, a passport from any member of the European Union (EU) will allow you to live and work in any of the 27 EU countries.
- International tax planning – If you ever want to expatriate (give up USA citizenship) and move to a place (ie. Panama) with much more lax tax laws, you must gain a second passport first.
How To Obtain
Many countries have programs which grant citizenship to descendants of emigrants. Here are a few examples:
- Ireland – Ireland has detailed and clear laws in determining citizenship eligibility to descendants of Irish nationals. Check out here for more details.
- Poland – The laws for receiving Polish citizenship from a Polish ancestor are difficult to navigate. The following article found here can give you a detailed overview on what is required. If you have Polish ancestors in your bloodline, you may want to contact a firm like CK Law Office in Warsaw to find out your eligibility.
- Germany – Germany offers citizenship for children and grandchildren of former Germans who were deprived of their citizenship status between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 on racial, political, or ethnic grounds. You can read more about it here.
- Italy – Italy offers citizenship to descendants of certain Italian nationals going back two generations. Find out more at MyItalianCitizenship.com.
- Greece – If one or both of your parents or grandparents were born in Greece, you are eligible for Greek citizenship.
- Lithuania – You have a right to citizenship if one of your ancestors was a citizen of the country. See here for more detailed information.
- Canada and United Kingdom – Offer citizenship to those born outside of the country and have parents with citizenship.
Here are some of the countries that offer the possibility of citizenship after a period of lawful residency:
- Australia – Apply for citizenship after four years lawful residence (temporary or permanent visa) in Australia. This period must include 12 months as a permanent resident immediately before making an application for Australian citizenship and absences from Australia of no more than 12 months in total in the four years prior to application, including not more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately prior to application.
- Belgium – Apply for citizenship after three years of legal residence.
- Latvia and Austria – Apply for citizenship after 10 years of legal residence.
- USA – After five years of legal residence from the date of receipt of a conditional green card, it is possible to acquire US citizenship and to obtain a passport
- Czech Republic – To apply for citizenship, it is necessary to spend 5 years of legal residence after receiving permanent residence permit. Note that Czech Republic does not allow dual citizenship.
- Brazil – Apply for citizenship after four years of residency. This period can be reduced to one year if you have a Brazilian parent, child, or married to a Brazilian.
- Canada – You must have permanent residence status for three years before being able to apply for citizenship.
- Bahamas – Apply for citizenship if you have resided in the Bahamas for at least 6 years and have lived there for 12 consecutive months before applying.
- Panama – Citizenship can be acquired after five years of legal permanent residence and full immigrant status.
- United Kingdom – Apply for citizenship after being in the country for five years with not spending more than 450 days outside the UK in the period. Also, you must not have spent more that 90 days outside the country and hold permanent residence in the final 12 months immediately preceding the application.
- Spain – Offers a reduced two-year residence before citizenship to citizens of any of several Latin American countries. Also, someone with a grandparent from Spain may apply for citizenship after one year of residency.
3. Economic Contribution
Only three countries in the world offer immediate citizenship through an investment:
- Dominica – Requires USD 75k (100k for family) and 9-12k for government registration charges and due diligence. You also must visit the country and go through a personal interview to gain citizenship.
- St.Kitts & Nevis – Requires USD 250k as minimum investment and 7.5k for due diligence and processing fees. No personal visit is required.
- Austria – By investing EUR 2-3 million, you can directly get the citizenship without any residence requirement. The less expensive option is to provide a EUR 100k investment, which allows you to get a residence permit and citizenship after 10 years of residency. With a residence permit, you can travel visa free to all European ountries.
In Israel, the “Law of Return” entitles all Jews, and those of Jewish ancestry (at least one Jewish parent or grandparent), to be able to obtain Israeli residency and citizenship. If your ancestry does not fit this description, the law also provides the ‘right of return’ to all converted Jews of all denominations, and the conversion need not take place in Israel in order for it to qualify. Once your background check returns clean and you have been accepted, the applicant is entitled to immediate citizenship. For the first year, a temporary travel document is issued. After the first year, the government issues a standard passport.
Anyone born in one of the countries below, no matter their nationality, is entitled to citizenship in that country, no matter the legality or status of the parents:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- El Salvador
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States
Marrying a citizen of another country does not usually offer immediate citizenship, but can sometimes speed up the residency requirements for applying for citizenship. For example, you need to legally reside in Colombia for five years before being able to apply for citizenship. This is reduced to two years if you marry a Colombian. In Brazil, the requirement is reduced from four years to one if you marry a citizen.