You will be unable to obtain dual citizenship if you do not have a clean criminal record!
Are you thinking of acquiring a second passport? If you are, please find out about the advantages and disadvantages of having dual citizenship, about the ways to become a citizen of a foreign country, and about other relevant issues from the guide below.
What is dual citizenship? How can you get a second passport? What benefits can it bring? Do all countries allow having dual citizenship?
You have been probably turning these questions over in your head if you have been considering applying for foreign citizenship. If this is so, then you have come to the right place as this guide covers the key aspects of the concept of dual citizenship and answers many questions related to the issue. Let us start with giving a definition to the term ‘dual citizenship’.
What is dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship is a term used in the immigration-related legislation. A person is said to have dual citizenship if he or she is a citizen of two national states simultaneously. Legislations of 129 countries of the world permit dual citizenship. Some of them have few requirements to the candidates for their citizenship while others define certain standards that the candidate has to meet.
The methods of second citizenship acquisition vary from one jurisdiction to another. Having dual citizenship brings numerous advantages but it also has a few disadvantages. Let us consider the pluses and minuses of having dual citizenship.
Benefits that dual citizenship brings
Having dual citizenship is advantageous for a number of reasons. Below please find a non-exhaustive list of main benefits that it brings:
- The freedom to work in the country of citizenship: If you would like to have a job in a foreign country, you have to apply for a work permit there. However, in order to be issued one, you will have to meet certain criteria. On the other hand, when you hold the passport of a foreign country, you need no work permit if you want to work in this country.
- No need to apply for a visa: When you have a second passport, you can enter the country that has issued this passport to you without a visa. This means that you can travel between the countries of your citizenship trouble-free showing one of your passports to the customs officer.
- Free travel around the globe: The passport of the foreign country where you are applying for second citizenship may well give you visa-free excess to a larger number of foreign states in comparison to the passport of your home country.
- An opportunity to acquire second passports for all family members: All countries that run citizenship-by-investment programs allow foreign nationals applying for their citizenship to bring their families with them. All lists of relatives include spouses and children and some of them include brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents in addition.
- Enhanced personal security: When you have dual citizenship, you have a place to escape to in case an economic/ political/ social disaster hits your home country.
- Improved medical care: The quality of the healthcare systems differs from one country to another. Many countries that offer dual citizenship to foreigners boast superb medical facilities and highly qualified doctors.
- Improved education opportunities: You can find top-class schools, colleges, and universities in the country of your second citizenship. Some of them charge small tuition fees while others charge no tuition fees at all.
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Disadvantages of having dual citizenship
In addition to having weighty advantages, dual citizenship also has some disadvantages. You have to take them into consideration before applying for a second passport:
- You will have more obligations: When you have dual citizenship, you have to fulfil the citizen’s obligations that exist in both countries. For example, a person between 18 and 26 years of age may have to join the army as some countries have compulsory military service.
- You have to have a clean criminal record: If you would like to acquire dual citizenship, you have to be able to supply a clean criminal record. If you have ever committed a crime (and have been sentenced), then applying for a second passport is an opportunity not available to you. Every country taking foreign nationals conducts serious due diligence checks. If you conceal having a criminal past when applying for foreign citizenship and the truth comes out later, your second passport will be annulled and you may well be deported from the country within a very short period.
- The process of acquiring foreign citizenship can be extended in time: Obtaining dual citizenship always takes time. If you are applying for foreign citizenship by investment, the process of second passport acquisition is going to take from a couple of months to a year. However, if you would like to become a citizen of a foreign country by naturalization, you will have to physically reside in this country for three to twenty years, depending on the jurisdiction.
- You are unlikely to be able to work for the Government: In many countries, Government officials are not allowed to have dual citizenship. Thus, in all likelihood, you will not be able to work for the Government in the foreign country whose citizenship you have acquired and you will also have to quit your job in your home country if you hold a position in one of the state bodies.
- You may have tax issues: Please bear in mind that obtaining dual citizenship may cause some tax problems. When you are a citizen of two countries at a time, your income may be taxed twice. For instance, the USA taxes its citizens regardless of where they obtain incomes from. And the country where the income is obtained will want to tax it too! Another important thing to remember is that tax legislations change regularly and new tax agreements are signed between different national states. So please seek InternationalWealth tax experts’ advice when applying for second citizenship. We will suggest optimal solutions for each particular case.
How can you obtain dual citizenship?
There are several ways to obtain dual citizenship.
- Birth in a multinational family: A child can become a citizen of two countries at a time by birth. If his/ her mother is a citizen of one country, and the father is a citizen of another country, the child becomes a citizen of both countries when it is born (in most cases). Sometimes, you can apply for foreign citizenship is a grandparent of yours is (was) a citizen of this country. In such cases, you have to be prepared for a long bureaucratic procedure.
- Birth in a foreign country: If the newborn child’s parents are foreigners in the country where the child is born, the child becomes a citizen of the country of his/ her birth and simultaneously, a citizen of the country of its parents’ citizenship. This rule is applied in the USA, for example.
- Naturalization: To obtain dual citizenship by naturalization you have to live in a foreign country for a fixed period. For example, if a young person enters a foreign university, gets a degree, and finds employment in that country, his or her prolonged stay there can make him/ her qualified to apply for citizenship by naturalization. Each country has its own requirements to the length of the stay that makes the foreigner entitled for its citizenship. To become a naturalized citizen of Canada, for instance, you have to spend 730+ days on its territory (residing there legally) over a five-year period. You have to spend the best part of each year for five years in a row living in Great Britain or the USA in order to qualify for full citizenship of these countries.
- Marriage to a foreign national: If you marry a foreigner, you can obtain dual citizenship a bit faster. If you marry an American, for instance, you will have to spend only three years in the country before you can apply for citizenship. In addition to that, you will have to prove that yours is not a fictitious marriage. In some countries, marriage fraud is a criminal offence.
- Investment into a foreign country: The fastest way to acquire dual citizenship is by making an investment into the foreign country’s economy. The process is simple but it requires investing a relatively large sum of money. Over a dozen countries of the world run national citizenship-by-investment programs. Foreigners are invited to purchase real property in the country, make a bank deposit, set up a business company, create jobs, or purchase securities in order to qualify for second citizenship. The required investment amounts vary between US$ 100,000 and a million euros (and even more). The most popular destinations among those who acquire dual citizenship are Grenada and other Caribbean states, Vanuatu in the Pacific and Turkey that dropped the price of its citizenship considerably a short time ago.
Every country running a citizenship-by-investment program will have its own requirements and the process of dual citizenship acquisition will have its specifics in each particular case. Please apply for our professional consultations on the matter in order to avoid troubles and find the best possible option.
InternationalWealth experts’ assistance in obtaining dual citizenship
If you are planning to obtain dual citizenship, please apply for our assistance in the matter. Immigration laws are different in each country and you do not want to study several sets of legislative acts to find out which country suits you best. We have already done that for you! We publish articles at our portal, provide free consultations, and fee-based services for those wealthy individuals who would like to obtain dual citizenship.
A team of professionals keeps track of the changes in the immigration-related legislation in a number of countries. We provide consulting services of the highest level and find personalized solutions for every client.
We will be happy to help you acquire legal foreign residency in exchange for an investment (golden visa);
We will also gladly assist you in becoming a full citizen of a foreign country.
You are welcome to ask us anything about foreign residency/ dual citizenship acquisition, as we are highly knowledgeable about these issues. We have reliable partners in all national states that welcome foreigners and we will be pleased to be of assistance to you. Please contact us via email, live chat, or WhatsApp and request a free consultation on the issues related to dual citizenship acquisition.
Does dual citizenship have an expiry date?
When you have obtained second citizenship, it can be annulled only in extreme cases (if you concealed your criminal past when applying for citizenship and it became known to the foreign country’s authorities, for example). At the same time, the passport will have an expiry date and it has to be renewed regularly.
What countries offer the most affordable citizenship by investment?
The most affordable citizenship by investment can be acquired in Grenada, St Lucia, Nevis, Antigua, and Dominica in the Caribbean and in Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Turkey comes next.
Can I acquire European citizenship by investment?
Yes, you can, even though it is going to cost you more. Malta (an EU member) has a citizenship-by-investment program and Montenegro (not an EU member thus far) has one.