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Dual Citizenship - Everything You Need to Know About Your Second Passport

What is dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship means that you are legally recognized as a citizen of two (or more) countries and that you have the rights and obligations associated with this. Many countries does not allow 

Some may think that having dual citizenship would be a further burden on your wealth but there are actually many reasons to obtain dual citizenship, dual nationality, second passport, or similar status to preserve your net worth.

How to obtain dual citizenship - All ways to get dual nationality

Dual citizenship by descent 

Many countries extend citizenship to individuals whose parents were born in that country. Meaning, even if you don’t live in a given country, but can prove that your parents are citizens, you can still apply for a second citizenship. This includes the UK, Hungary, Bulgaria and…. 

Dual citizenship by naturalization

Naturalization is the process through which citizenship is granted to people with foreign passport after they’ve fulfilled certain residency requirements.  Usually, this requires living in a given country as a permanent resident for a certain amount of years. It’s important to note that in most countries, permanent residency status is the key - any time spent in a country under a temporary status (such as a student or foreign worker) doesn’t count toward the citizenship requirement. 

Each country has different requirements and distinctions - be sure to verify the exact citizenship criteria for your country of choice. 

Citizenship by investment

Citizenship by investment is a means to obtain a second citizenship by investing in a foreign country’s economy. It’s become increasingly popular for countries to offer residency by investment and citizenship by investment programs to high net worth individuals.

Dual citizenship by marriage

There are many countries that offer expedited naturalization to individuals with foreign citizenship who marry a local citizen. This often doesn’t entail instant citizenship, but rather a shortened permanent residency requirement. Durations vary, but it typically ranges from 1-5 years. 

How do I know if I have dual citizenship?

If you’re not sure if you have a dual nationality, you’ll need to research your family lineage. The only way you’d be an unknowing dual citizen is if you hold another nationality by descent. Find out the countries that you, your parents and grandparents were born in, and research the citizenship immigration law of those countries to see if you might have dual citizenship. 

how to get dual citizenship and second passport

Which countries allow dual citizenship?

Countries around the world have varying requirements when it comes to dual citizenship. Some allow or recognize it unconditionally, while others permit it only under special circumstances. 

Can you have triple citizenship?

There are some countries in the world like Turkey, Hungary and France that allow their citizens to have triple or multiple citizenship. However the rules for each nation can be very different so make sure to check your country's government website or embassy to find all the information and details you need. 

What are the easiest countries to obtain dual citizenship ?

The time, effort and expense required to obtain a dual nationality varies greatly by each country and its program. Here’s a list of countries that offer the fastest pathway to citizenship, as well as beneficial lifestyle opportunities. 

Dominica

Historically, one of the fastest and most affordable ways to get dual nationality lies within the Caribbean. Dominica offers visa-free travel to 137 countries and a generous tax system that does not tax on wealth, gift, inheritance, foreign income or capital gains. 

Grenada

A fast and efficient program that processes applications within 3-5 months. It has other unique benefits, like being one of the most family-friendly applications on the market-- eligible dependents include children up to the age of 30, parents of the main applicant and their spouse, and siblings who are unmarried and without children. 

St. Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts citizenship by investment program is the oldest one in the world. It’s very efficient, and now offers an accelerated option to get approval within 45 days. St. Kitts and Nevis provides visa-free access to 151 countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Schengen Zone, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia. 

Cyprus

Cyprus’s Citizenship by Investment Program is one of the most efficient in the world and the most straightforward way to secure EU citizenship within 6-7 months.  The Cypriot passport is an attractive opportunity that offers the best of both worlds: a culturally-rich, beautiful place to live and dynamic international hub for business creation and expansion. It also offers visa-free travel to all of Europe, and many other parts of the world. 

Ireland

Ireland citizenship by investment program provides a wealth of benefits. For starters, it has a minimum residency requirement of visiting Ireland just 1 day a year. Plus, the residency program can lead to full citizenship, and Irish passport holders can enjoy visa-free travel to over 172 countries, unrestricted EU access, as well as moving freely between Ireland and the UK due to their common area travel agreement. 

Best countries to start a business as a foreigner

Best countries to start a business as a foreigner with dual nationality

Dual citizenship can be a useful asset for starting and maintaining a business. Other countries can offer advantages such as lower tax rates, competitive costs of doing business, and unique opportunities. 

Here are the top 5 countries to start a business as s foreigner investor.

Bulgaria 

Doing business in Bulgaria is advantageous for a multitude of reasons, including its dynamic outsourcing market, well-educated and multilingual workforce, affordable office rents, low production and transport costs, very competitive costs of doing business, and the fact that it has the lowest tax rates in the EU. Bulgaria continues to grow as a prime outsourcing destination; stable growth is forecasted for the outsourcing industry, and it’s expected to contribute more and more to the national economy between 2016-2020 (source). 

Grenada 

Grenada has visa-free agreements with 143 countries including Russia and China, which helps facilitate business travel to key markets.  Grenada is also the only Caribbean CIP that’s a part of the USA E-2 treaty program, enabling entrepreneurs to start or purchase businesses in the US.  Grenada also offers generous incentive packages including corporate tax incentives, full exemption from import duties, tax relief benets, and export allowance. 

United Kingdom

The UK topped Forbes’ 2018 list of top countries to do business in for a variety of reasons. The British government offers various tax-related benefits for founders, investors, and even employees. Plus, the UK has one of the lowest corporate tax rates among the G20 countries, which is very desirable for business investors.

Ireland 

Ireland is considered one of the top 10 most innovative countries and was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the best countries for businesses of all sizes. It’s home to many of the world’s leading high-performance companies including top pharmaceutical, software, medical tech, financial services, and internet companies. Plus, Ireland’s corporate tax rate is 12.5 and and it has treaties with 72 countries.

Canada

Canada has a stable political climate, a skilled labor force, competitive operating costs (especially when it comes to labor and electricity), and balanced bilateral trade with the US which opens a large market for business investors looking to tap into the US through Canada. It also contains a large oil and natural gas sector, ranking it third in the world in oil reserves after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Canada offers business support programs for small and medium-sized businesses that help encourage growth via technical support and advice, financial support, tax credits, subsidies, and help with design, innovation, research, and development.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dual citizenship?

what are the advantages and disadvantages of dual citizenship

What are the benefits of having dual nationality?

Security

Having a dual nationality and passport can provide a safe haven during times of instability in your home country. It can be invaluable to have an alternate place to live in one of the below scenarios:

  • War or political unrest
  • Discrimination and resulting violence
  • Economic downturns
  • Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes
  • Business

As a successful professional, you might want to expand your global reach and business into new areas. A second passport in the right country can open up lucrative markets in the European Union, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean (via CARICOM) as well as North and South America.

Safety

Another reason for alighting to dual citizenship for high net worth individuals is to shield you and your family from the negative attitudes many in your home country may feel towards those with high net worth status. Shudder to think but there is the possibility of rogue bandits or even government sponsored terrorists flexing their muscles against you and your family simply because of your elevated wealth status. Dual nationality in a more docile nation allows that variable to be all but eliminated.

Mobility

A foreign passport can open up visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to hundreds of foreign countries. This enables you to jet-set as you please without the constant hassles of visa applications and fees.

  • Visa-free travel opportunities vary by country, but it generally ranges from 50-150 countries for each program.
  • Holders of some passports earn the right to travel to and reside in foreign country for up to 6 months per calendar year.

Tax benefits

You’ve worked hard to earn your wealth and deserve to preserve it as effectively as possible. Advantageous tax policies are a key financial reason to seek a second passport. These include:

  • Zero tax or low tax rates on different kinds of assets. Global income may not be taxed at all. Domestically-generated income may be subject to a low tax rate, or no income tax for a specified period of time.
  • Tax rates may vary for corporations, individuals, self-employed people, and for those who are retired.
  • Financial privacy laws can help individuals shield their wealth and protect their assets.
  • Storing your assets in a different country can protect your wealth from high inflation or poor economic policies in your home country.

Wealth expansion

The income tax burden of some countries can really be a drain on your wealth; maintaining dual citizenship can help lessen that burden. Dual nationality also allows individuals economic shelter in a developing nation with a lower tax rates. This dual citizenship status allows for growth and expansion of your wealth and preservation of your high net worth status.

Quality of life

Having a second passport enables you to enjoy the best of as many worlds as you please. The benefits of living in foreign country can include:

  • Easy access to cultural gems including museums, art galleries, theatres, concert halls, gardens, festivals, restaurants, stores and historical landmarks.
  • Luxurious lodgings in beautiful locations: tropical paradises and beaches, mountains, or metropolitan cities.
  • World class health care, including universal health care services or internationally-acclaimed public and private clinics, hospitals, and cosmetic surgical facilities. Even if you have achieved high net worth on your own, you still could be stricken with some debilitating disease; having access to the world’s best health care can lessen those blows.
  • Good infrastructure including sewers, roads, public rail, sea and air transport.

Education

A foreign passport can create the means to a successful future for your children by providing access to the best schools and universities in the world, and in many cases the ability to attend them for domestic tuition fees.

Privacy

Going right along with that instability argument, the lack of privacy in many nations is more of a reason than any to have your wealth shielded through dual citizenship, dual nationality, second passport, or some similar setup.

Military

If you and your family have achieved your high net worth individual status you may wish to help guide the path of your children and of yourself. If you or your children are being forced into military service by your home nation, that may not sit too well with you. Being able to select where you live means being able to determine what your military service status is.

what are the disadvantages of dual citizenship

What are the disadvantages of dual citizenship?

When it comes to dual citizenship, it’s important to be aware of both the benefits and disadvantages that come with the territory. 

Double taxation

Being a citizen of two countries could mean that you owe taxes to both. For example, the US requires its citizens to pay tax on income earned anywhere in the world. While there are various tax treaties in effect to limit double taxation, it’s important to stay aware of the most recent laws. 

Multiple obligations

Since you are bound by the laws of two different countries, it’s important to be aware of your different, and possibly contradicting obligations to each one. This is particularly relevant when it comes to military service requirements. 

Security issues

Dual nationality can be a disadvantage to those pursuing government careers that require security clearance in either country.  Many countries have laws which restrict security clearances from being issued to those who hold dual citizenship, which can be a detriment to anyone seeking political office.

Dual citizenship conflicts

Some countries do not allow for dual citizenship, which can lead to an automatic loss of your home country’s citizenship when a new citizenship is obtained. Countries like Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, India, Austria, and Singapore do not allow for dual citizenship, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these distinctions before pursuing a second citizenship. 

How to renounce dual citizenship? 

The specific process for renouncing a dual citizenship varies from country to country. However, it generally requires going to the country’s embassy or consulate and signing paperwork that explicitly states your desire to renounce. 

Typical supplemental steps include closing bank accounts, selling any property, and minimizing return trips to the country you are renouncing.

Why do some US citizens want to renounce their citizenship?

There are several different reasons that US citizens have increasingly been renouncing their citizenship. One of which is new tax laws, including FACTA.  Double taxation is another reason, since the US requires its citizens to pay tax on income earned anywhere in the world. Finally, some US citizens have been renouncing their citizenship due to political reasons. In almost all cases, renunciation is an irrevocable act. 

Why are banks asking if I have dual citizenship?

Banks might want to know if you have a dual nationality for a variety of reasons. 

Dozens of countries agreed to the Common Reporting Standard in 2014 to help combat tax evasion, money laundering and control the funding of terrorism. The system is intended to transfer all relevant information automatically between countries, which includes citizenship information. 

how to travel with dual citizenship

How to travel with dual citizenship?

While a dual citizenship can expand your freedom and mobility, traveling with a dual citizenship requires some extra planning and consideration. Here is some helpful information when it comes to traveling as a dual citizen. 

Travel with both passports

As a dual citizen, you should ideally travel with both passports. Even if you think you’ll only be using one passport, it’s good practice to travel with both in case of emergencies, unexpected trips while abroad,  or in the event that you lose one of your passports. Two passports also gives you access to two different embassies overseas. 

Booking your flight

When booking your flight, be sure to enter the passport information for the passport you intend to use. You should book your flight with the passport that will give you the easiest/visa-free access.

Checking in at the airport

You must check in at the airport with the same passport you used to book your flight. However, it can be helpful to have your second passport on hand, just in case. 

Immigration at your departure airport

You must use the same passport to leave the country that you used to enter the country. 

Immigration at your arrival airport

Some countries, such as the United States, require its citizens who hold multiple citizenships to identify themselves at the border using that passport. For example, if you are a US dual citizen entering the states, you must use your US passport. 

If you do not have citizenship in the arrival country, then you have the luxury of choosing between passports. In this case, you should always select the one that allows you the most hassle-free travel. There are many helpful resources available online  that can help you choose the best passport to use for each foreign country you visit. 

Conclusion

The more you learn about dual nationality, the more you’ll know about how to best take advantage of its many benefits, while also understanding its restrictions and obligations. If you are interested in obtaining dual nationality, the next step is choosing the best citizenship by investment program for your unique needs. That’s where we come in. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation today. 

 

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Vicky Katsarova, CEO

“My world travels and my own immigration experiences have given me a deep understanding and clear insight into each of our clients’ specific requirements, aspirations and concerns. It is this intense personal association with client expectations and needs that helps to set our company and our service apart.”

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