Dual Citizenship, How Does It Work and How To Apply for It

What is dual citizenship? Can I acquire it? What are the advantages? In this detailed article, we cover everything you need to know about becoming a dual citizen.

What’s dual citizenship and why does it matter?

Second or dual citizenship refers to the citizenship of a person that is legally recognized as a citizen of two or more different countries. This arises as some countries have different criteria for citizenship, meaning it is possible to be a citizen of more than one country at once. However, some countries do not permit more than one citizenship and require those seeking legal recognition in a new country to alter their citizenship status and renounce their citizenship from their country of origin.

In some instances, this renunciation of citizenship isn’t even offered. This may occur if, for example, the person seeking a citizenship change does not possess a foreign passport, meaning that their citizenship renunciation request may be prohibited.

Who can request dual citizenship?

It is recognized in many countries, provided that it is recognized by the country you are living in, it can be requested.

There are, however, a number of countries that do not recognize this citizenship meaning this is not always a possible citizenship option for individuals to request. Only citizens willing to give up their initial citizenship can apply if this is the case.

What if double citizenship is not permitted?

Cases where being a citizen of two countries is not permitted usually results in either a renunciation of citizenship of one’s country of origin or with the original citizenship being kept due to legal reasons.

What are the advantages of having more than one citizenship?

There are many benefits to holding dual citizenship, with citizens receiving the benefits and privileges that each country has to offer. Dual citizens also have the right to vote in both countries they have citizenship in as well as having the benefit of being able to access both the country’s social security systems. Here are some of the key benefits of dual citizenship that you can enjoy.

Work and live in different countries

Dual citizens importantly have the right to work in either country, they have overseas citizenship without the requirement for a permit or visa, as well as being able to attend schools or educational institutions at a home student tuition rate.

No need to apply for visas

There is also the advantage of being able to carry passports for both countries, meaning that applying for long-stay visas isn’t necessary.

Owning real estate and tax income

Being an overseas citizen of two countries allows you to own a property in either country. Some countries restrict land ownership exclusively to legally recognized citizens, therefore, acquiring a second passport has the advantage of being able to possess property not just in one country.

There are also financial benefits of being a dual citizen, as some countries only tax income earned from that country, making this form of citizenship particularly attractive to investors wanting to manage their finances and wealth efficiently.

Family assistance

If you are a citizen of a foreign country, alongside your native one, then you have the ability to help your family members also get citizenship of that country, including your parents, children, and siblings. 

Dual passports

If you have dual nationality, you can carry two passports at the same time, giving you less of a headache when traveling.For example, if you have Canadian citizenship and Australian citizenship, then you can easily travel to both countries without long immigration processes, avoiding requiring a long-term visa. You can also visit your family anytime you want, making travel very easy indeed. 

Security

One of the great advantages of having foreign citizenship in two countries is that you can seek protection in one country if the other, for whatever reason, becomes politically or socially unstable. 

Healthcare

A universal priority is access to good healthcare and there are many countries dotted around the world that have excellent healthcare facilities. So, foreign nationals of two countries can leverage the healthcare facilities of the two nations. 

Education

If you hold dual citizenship, you’ll be able to get your children a great education and access to the best schools and universities in either county. This is one of the key advantages of being a legal citizen of two countries. 

 

How to become a dual citizen by citizenship by investment?

How to get dual citizenship depends on your nationality of origin. Generally, though, there are countries that offer a second passport by investment, where citizenship is granted to the investor and his/her family.

Dominica citizenship

One such country is Dominica, offering citizenship in exchange for a qualifying investment. Individuals who meet the program criteria are offered a second passport in four short months, with no visit to the country required. Investments start from $100,000.

For more information, read our Dominica Citizenship by Investment guide here.

Vanuatu citizenship

Similarly, Vanuatu has a second passport program that also offers seconnd citizenship. The donation amount for a single applicant is $130,000 + fees and $150,000 + fees for a couple. No visit is required to obtain citizenship and a passport. To top it off, Vanuatu has no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains, or inheritance tax.

Take a look at our Vanuatu citizenship by investment guide for more information.

Portuguese citizenship

Portugal allows second citizenship with most countries, so you won’t have to give up your original nationality most likely. Portugal’s citizenship by naturalization is a popular way to acquire Portuguese citizenship although you will first need to become a permanent resident in the country. Usually, applicants tend to first apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa program, which welcomes investors to invest in the nation from a number of options, and in turn, get legal residency in the country. Five years of retaining your golden visa investment can mean you get rewarded permanent residence. Permanent residents can subsequently apply for citizenship. 

For more information, read our Golden Visa Portugal Ultimate Guide here.

Is having another citizenship worth it?

Second passport programs offer an extremely broad range of benefits for investors, for example, business and financial advantages such as tax optimization and robust family security.

Investing money to achieve dual citizenship offers numerous advantages that can significantly and positively impact all areas of an investor’s life. Whether it is financially or personally, dual citizenship offers the opportunity for new beginnings; to expand both business and personal connections within a short time span, with applications to countries such as Dominica and Vanuatu being processed in less than one year.

Where to find help with your passport by investment application?

Although the process of acquiring another citizenship may at first seem rather daunting, there is plenty of assistance available when pursuing an application. We can help you with that. Alternatively, you can also take a look at official government sites for more information, like Portugal’s border agency SEF, or Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit.

Frequently asked questions about dual citizenship

What is dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship means a person is a national of two countries at the same time, and therefore enjoys citizenship rights in both countries. You will need to make sure that both countries allow dual citizenship.

How to get dual citizenship?

There are a few ways to get dual citizenship. Either being born in another country, sharing a family member from another country, acquiring citizenship by marriage, or becoming a naturalized citizen through the naturalization process are some of the ways to become a dual citizen.

Bear in mind that you will need to make sure that both countries allow dual citizenship.

Is dual citizenship in USA recognized?

The United States does not officially acknowledge dual citizenship. But, it also has not completely opposed it either legally or politically.

What are the countries that allow dual citizenship?

Some countries that allow dual citizenship include (but are not limited to) Australia, Dominica, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, and Spain. British citizenship also allow dual citizenship.

Is there a downside to dual citizenship?

There are not too many downsides of dual citizenship, the most considerable is that you will need to check whether both countries permit dual citizenship.

Chinese citizenship, for example, is based on the principle of “right of blood” and does not recognize dual citizenship.

There may be cases where you have to pay double taxation and cannot work in government departments in some countries.

Does dual citizenship affect Social Security benefits?

This will largely depend on the countries in which you have citizenship. For example, assuming you retain US citizenship, you will be able to keep your social security benefits or options in both the United States and the other country, as long as the other country permits it. Dual citizenship rules may differ on this, so keep this in mind.

Does dual citizenship last forever?

Passports can expire as they are active for only a limited time. However, when talking about citizenship and countries that permit dual citizenship, changing the laws to be a citizen of a country is a significant decision and therefore requires considerable national and international debate. As such, if there are any modifications in the citizen immigration law, then you will have enough time to take the necessary action to keep your dual national status. It is best to keep up to speed with the citizenship and immigration services.

What is the easiest country to get dual citizenship?

The easiest countries to get a second passport as a foreign national are in Caribbean nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia. While there are other countries that also have attractive routes, these countries are considered as having some of the fastest, and most straightforward paths to dual nationality. To get citizenship in any country, you should first consult the immigration and citizenship services in that country.

Do dual citizens pay taxes in both countries?

Whether you need to pay tax in both countries will depend on the country and on the agreements in place. In some cases, you will have to pay taxes in both countries. For example, if you are a citizen of the United States, you have a tax obligation as they base their taxes on citizenship, not on your place of residency. Some countries, however, will have double taxation treaties in place, so you will just need to pay taxes in one county. Many countries also have attractive tax benefits for foreign nationality individuals entering the country.

If I am a citizen of multiple countries, do I need to fulfill military service in both countries?

If military service is mandatory in the countries, then dual nationals will need to follow the rules in place in either one of your host countries.