From expats and international investors to foreign workers and individuals with birthright citizenship, a growing number of people are discovering the intrinsic value of holding two passports. The privilege of owning a second passport unlocks a multitude of advantages, ranging from expanded visa-free travel options and liberties to broadened investment opportunities and the ability to safeguard assets for yourself and future generations.
But can one person have multiple passports? Well, the answer is yes. As awareness of the advantages of holding two passports grows, so does the question of how to get multiple passports.
However, if you don’t naturally have a claim to acquire a second passport through birthright citizenship, marriage, or a long period living abroad as a permanent resident, obtaining citizenship and adding to your passport portfolio can present a complex scenario that requires careful consideration and financial commitments.
This article will analyze the reality of obtaining second passports, exploring the various pathways, such as citizenship by birthright, permanent residency, and investment programs, the legal considerations, and the potential benefits of holding multiple citizenships. Whether you’re driven by wanderlust, business aspirations, or tax benefits, we’ll provide solutions to your goal of second citizenship and acquiring a second passport.
Who is eligible for a second passport?
Foreign nationals can obtain dual citizenship and a second passport in a foreign country in several ways. Each approach comes with its own set of eligibility requirements, including but not limited to place of birth, familial ties, residency obligations, and financial investments. Here are a few ways individuals can become dual passport holders:
Passports by birthright
A passport by birthright, more technically referred to as birthright citizenship, is a legal framework that grants citizenship to individuals based on their place of birth. A person can automatically acquire citizenship – or at least the right to claim it – of a country if they are born within its territorial boundaries, regardless of the nationality or immigration status of their parents.
The principle of citizenship by birthright is rooted in the belief that the place of birth (jus soli) establishes a fundamental connection between an individual and the nation. It is commonly practiced in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Panama.
Familial ties can also serve as a basis for birthright citizenship. In many countries, children are assigned the nationality of their parents (jus sanguinis). Some countries, like Italy, may grant citizenship to those with supporting documents proving they have ancestors in their direct lineage who were citizens of the country.
Additionally, birthright citizenship can be established based on the time of your birth as a result of amendments in citizenship legislation.
Irish nationality was granted automatically to any children born in the country prior to 1 January 2005; Children born in Ireland since that date are only granted Irish citizenship at birth if they do not hold a claim to citizenship from any other country.
Passports by naturalization
Another scenario for obtaining a second passport without a birthright is through the naturalization process. Naturalization for second citizenship typically includes:
- Meeting minimum legal residency requirements, the length of which may be determined by the type of residence permit currently held, such as a marriage or family visa, a work visa, or a student visa
- Passing citizenship character tests, like general knowledge of the country and the ability to speak the national language
The requirements for naturalization include additional criteria such as holding a job or meeting specific financial thresholds, like having a certain amount of savings in your bank account. You can also gain citizenship and a second valid passport in certain countries without fulfilling the general criteria for naturalization by making what the government deems a significant contribution to its society.
Passports by investment
More commonly referred to as citizenship by investment, one of the most common ways foreign nationals obtain passports in a second country is by making a financial contribution through an immigration investment program. This is generally called economic citizenship, which comes with a Golden passport; however, it grants all the benefits afforded to those who gained citizenship by birth or naturalization.
Many countries, including developing and developed countries, now have citizenship by investment programs and a dedicated government agency to oversee economic citizenship, ensuring only worthy investors can fast-track citizenship and get a second passport. Real estate investment, purchasing government bonds, and charitable donations are the typical investments available through investment programs for obtaining a country’s passport, and the investment criteria also entail meeting a minimum investment amount.
How do you get a second passport?
Unless you have a valid entitlement to birthright citizenship from being born in a foreign country or can prove family ties to obtain ancestral citizenship, obtaining a residence permit and entering the naturalization application process is the route you would likely have to take.
However, the criteria for naturalization in most countries can be quite rigorous; You must first convey a legitimate reason to establish residency to the country’s immigration officials; After receiving a residence permit, you’ll need to spend a lengthy period as a legal resident – most countries require five to ten years of continuous residency, with limits on the amount of time you can spend outside the country in that time.
Generally speaking, naturalization is a commitment reaching beyond the sole desire to get a second passport. Citizenship by investment has emerged as a popular choice for acquiring second citizenship. A citizenship by investment program will allow a foreign investor to gain citizenship and submit a passport application in as little as two months. The citizenship processing timeframe depends on the county; however, after fulfilling the necessary financial requirements and passing due diligence checks, most citizenship by investment countries will offer citizenship and a second passport within six months.
Analyze the Global Passport Index
Analyzing the Global Passport Index (GPI) before selecting a second passport is crucial for making an informed decision when planning to get a second passport. The Global Passport Index provides valuable insights into each passport’s power and mobility, including visa-free travel privileges to different countries, ease of doing business, and quality of life.
By studying the index, you can determine the strength of a passport and compare it to your current passport by assessing the number of countries you can access without requiring a visa or with visa-on-arrival. The strength of a passport is also improved by how easy it is for citizens to conduct business, as well as the business opportunities available, in addition to the quality of life the country provides.
This analysis helps you gauge the potential travel freedom, opportunities, and lifestyle associated with each passport, enabling you to choose a second passport that aligns with your travel, business, and lifestyle needs. Understanding the Global Passport Index ensures that you make a well-informed choice and maximize the benefits of holding a second passport.
Applying for citizenship by investment
Choose a suitable second passport
The most suitable choice for second citizenship boils down to your personal preferences and intentions:
- Are you seeking permanent ties with the European Union by obtaining EU citizenship and an EU passport?
- Do you engage in frequent cross-border travel and are looking for a second passport to add to your passport portfolio with additional visa-free access?
- Will financial freedom and a second passport from a tax-free country with no income, inheritance, or capital gains taxes fulfill your needs?
You might ask these questions when choosing a citizenship by investment country. By analyzing our Global Passport Index, you can determine which passport aligns with your goals and its strengths and weaknesses.
Choose the best investment option
Several investment options are available for citizenship by investment, and each country has its own prerequisites for investment. Deciding on an investment option will largely depend on the motivation behind seeking a second citizenship.
If you intend to relocate permanently, investing in real estate may provide the ideal solution, granting you both a place of residence and permanent legal status in the country.
Long-term investments can also include purchasing stocks and shares for an investment portfolio or investing in new or existing enterprises. If your primary motivation is to get a second passport, citizenship by investment programs that provide a non-refundable government contribution as an investment option will be the cheapest and fastest route to obtain citizenship and a second passport.
Consider the investment amount
The available investment options for a new passport depends on both personal preferences and financial circumstances. Citizenship by investment programs in Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia offer citizenship to foreign nationals starting with a minimum investment of just $100,000. In contrast, European countries like Malta that provide expedited naturalization require substantial capital investment exceeding $1 million to obtain full citizenship and a European passport.
Consider using a migration consultant
The expert knowledge of migration consultants and their experience in immigration and dual citizenship procedures when applying for second citizenship offers numerous benefits. The application process for dual citizenship is streamlined by assisting with paperwork, document preparation, and adherence to strict deadlines. With an in-depth understanding of the process, migration consultants can maximize your chances of becoming a dual citizen and gaining a second passport, address any concerns or pitfalls, and provide access to valuable networks and resources.
How Global Citizen Solutions Can Help
Many foreigners and expats have opted to get a passport from a second country to enjoy expanded visa-free travel, a better quality of life, and enhanced economic freedom through tax benefits and asset protection. By investing in a citizenship investment program, you not only contribute to the country’s economic growth but gain a new passport, laying down the path to accomplishing your life goals.
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique global citizenship and residence advisory firm providing international clients with second citizenship, residency, and foreign banking solutions. Contact us today to begin your journey to obtain a second passport.
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Frequently Asked Questions about How to Obtain Multiple Passports
Is it okay to have multiple passports?
It is generally permissible and legal to hold multiple citizenships. Many nations allow their citizens to hold dual nationality or more, meaning you can be a citizen of more than one country simultaneously. However, it is important to note that the legislation and policies surrounding dual or triple citizenship differ from one country to another. Ensure that your country of origin and the country where you plan to get a second passport allow dual citizenship.
Can you own four passports?
An individual has the potential to own four passports, comprising one from their home country and three from three other countries. Nonetheless, it is crucial to bear in mind that not all countries allow dual citizenship. According to Portugal immigration law, an individual with Portuguese citizenship has the right to dual citizenship; however, a Spanish citizen who acquired Spanish citizenship by naturalization cannot legally obtain citizenship from other nations without renouncing their citizenship.
Therefore, verifying whether your home country and the country you intend to acquire a second passport from permit dual citizenship is crucial.
How do some people have multiple passports?
Some people possess multiple passports due to migrating to a new country after their birth and acquiring dual citizenship from their country of birth, thanks to the principle of birthright citizenship. Another scenario is individuals who move to other countries for work, marriage, studies, or any legitimate reason to obtain a valid residence permit and live in the country long enough to become naturalized citizens.
The fastest way people obtain multiple passports today is through citizenship by investment, allowing foreign nationals to obtain second passports in exchange for an economic commitment.
Is it illegal to have two US passports?
It is perfectly legal for a US citizen with a valid US passport to acquire a second US passport. The United States allows citizens to hold multiple valid passports under certain circumstances. However, issuing a second American passport is subject to specific criteria and requirements set by the US passport agency, the US Department of State.
Generally, individuals may be eligible for second passports if they can demonstrate a legitimate need, such as frequent international travel that may require visas or if they need to travel to countries with travel restrictions. This can include business travelers, those with diplomatic passports, or individuals with imminent travel plans while their existing passport is being processed for visas.
What are the cons of having multiple passports?
When questioning how to get multiple passports, you should also research the cons of being a dual citizen with multiple passports. The drawbacks of dual citizenship can include managing the legal obligations and responsibilities associated with each citizenship. European countries like Greece and the Netherlands and countries in South America like Brazil and Paraguay have compulsory military service, which could affect you or your family members who gain dual citizenship.
There is also the matter of tax obligations and adherence to different laws. If the countries you hold multiple passports with don’t have dual taxation agreements with one another, you may be subject to additional taxation.
Can a British citizen have two passports?
British citizens can hold two passports under certain circumstances. The United Kingdom allows dual citizenship and more than one passport, meaning a British citizen can get a passport in another country without losing their British passport. In some cases, individuals may require or find it beneficial to hold two or three passports. However, it’s important to note that the process and eligibility criteria for various passport options may vary depending on specific circumstances and laws of the countries involved.