We live in an ever-expanding, globalized world. People are more connected than ever before — cultures, languages, and customs are increasingly more integrated. As a result, many of us may find ourselves with ties to multiple countries.
On the flip side of the coin, over the last few years, we’ve witnessed the impact of restrictions, bringing global connectivity to a halt and limiting it to the digital sphere.
This has led many to seek answers like dual or triple citizenship to expand their freedoms and unhinge just a tad of the mercy that they’re held to under the one and only establishment that governs them.
But how many citizenships can you have? Is it even possible to have dual or even triple citizenship? In this article, we’ll explore the concept of triple citizenship and dissect the dynamics of it and how it’s achieved.
We’ll also look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of having multiple citizenships and put you on the path to gaining triple citizenship.
Is it possible to get triple citizenship?
Is it possible to hold three citizenships? Indeed, as long as the laws of your domicile country and other nations you’re concerned with allow multiple passports, triple nationality is attainable. For instance, Austria requires foreigners to renounce their earlier passports.
The most straightforward answer to this question is yes. There are a few ways that someone could end up with triple citizenship. The most common way is someone connected to multiple nations that grant citizenship automatically through birthright.
Is it possible to hold 3 citizenships? Indeed, as long as the laws of your domicile country and other nations you’re concerned with allow multiple passports, triple nationality is attainable. For instance, Austria requires foreigners to renounce their earlier passports.
An example of triple citizenship in the USA is a person born in the United States to foreign nationals. The US constitution declares that individuals born on US soil gain citizenship automatically at birth. This person has one parent who was born in Mexico and another who was born in Honduras.
The US, Mexico, and Honduras all allow triple citizenship through birthright, so this person would technically have a claim to citizenship by birthright in all three countries. Another way someone could obtain citizenship in two or more countries is through naturalization.
Several other methods exist for obtaining multiple citizenships in two countries or more, but these examples are the most organic.
Dual citizenship or dual nationality is the terminology commonly used by governments when referring to legislation related to nationality, but this can often define a broader definition of multiple citizenships or more than one citizenship rather than a second citizenship.
The wording in the legislation of some country’s laws concerning multiple citizenships is left up to interpretation by not explicitly stating “dual citizenship” or any other phrase that would determine a quantity of two or more citizenships. It, instead, often says that citizens are not withheld to only one citizenship.
- The Italian framework that governs citizenship states that Italian citizens do not need to opt for only one citizenship.
- Travel.state.gov states that US law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another.
On the other hand, some countries confirm within the legislation on nationality that citizens can have multiple citizenships with two or more countries.
- Immi.homeaffairs.gov.au specifically mentions that Australian citizens may also hold the citizenship of another country or countries if the laws of those countries allow this.
- Gov.uk states that, “Dual citizenship is allowed in the UK. This means you can be a British citizen and also a citizen of other countries.”
In regard to second citizenship, some countries make a more apparent distinction of dual nationality.
- Gov.nz states that you can be a citizen of New Zealand and a foreign country at the same time.
- Government.se states that a person who becomes a Swedish national can keep their previous citizenship if the law of that country allows it.
For countries that state “dual citizenship or “another country” within multiple citizenship legislation, it is best to seek guidance from a migration specialist to clarify the legalities of triple citizenship.
Obtaining Triple Citizenship as Citizenship Insurance
With the ever-growing threat of taxes on wealth and global income, triple citizenship insurance is one of the more innovative strategies for diversification and wealth protection in a world that continues to shift and change.
You may be unfamiliar with this concept, but it’s becoming more common, and the benefits are obvious. You wouldn’t leave your money in an uninsured bank, or leave your business or home unprotected. Why should your citizenship be any different?
A recent study of high-net-worth individuals showed that a higher percentage of these individuals – especially those from emerging countries – possess or are working toward obtaining citizenship in a second or third country.
Most of their motivation comes from the negative impact of changes in their home countries. They want to be protected both financially and politically.
There’s a movement in western governments that is putting a target on the back of high-net-worth individuals, and the arrowheads are loaded with higher taxes and restrictions on globalization.
Furthermore, countries with repressive regimes like China have imposed harsh restrictions on their citizens’ movement without warning. India has shut down the internet in multiple regions as a measure of national control over Indian citizens.
Despite these two examples not being directly related to finances, they significantly impact the financial activities of citizens in those countries. And the normalization of this level of control manifests an environment where it can only increase and add uncertainty to how sociopolitical aspects shape up in the future.
The high tax rates in many countries must also be brought into question. Ivory Coast has a top income tax rate of a whopping 60 percent, while Japan’s 55.97 percent maximum income tax rate is often left out when lauding the Japanese work ethic.
We can’t forget to mention the position that many overseas travelers were left in at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As countries began to shut down, so did the operations of many international airlines.
Consequently, this didn’t just sharply reduce availability but also provoked a surge in airfare prices. Flights that were a few hundred dollars a few days before were suddenly being listed for thousands of dollars.
The second issue for many individuals was that countries previously available for connections were dropping off the list by the day due to extended border restrictions allowing only citizens to enter the country.
With no way of returning home, swaths of people found themselves stranded and sought assistance from their country’s consular operations. Many citizens without the option of flying with commercial airlines had the privilege of being flown home on chartered flights arranged by their governments.
Others were not so fortunate to have access to this level of assistance and were left to fend for themselves as the pandemic took hold.
On the one hand, we’re negatively affected by government restrictions on our freedoms. On the other hand, there are critical circumstances where we might need them to intervene.
This is why triple citizenship is the ultimate citizenship insurance. It allows you to take back some of the control over your own life, as well as add another layer of protection to it. No matter what legislation is passed or who gets elected, you are free to choose to live in the place that suits your needs best.
The positives of citizenship insurance extend beyond just protection also. You can leave a legacy that your family can benefit from if you have triple citizenship or even just dual citizenship. Countries that adhere to jus sanguinis (citizenship by blood) make it possible for dual nationals to pass on their citizenship to their children or grandchildren.
Ways to Obtain Citizenship
If you’re looking for dual or triple citizenship or wondering how many citizenships you can have, you first need to check whether your home country allows dual citizenship. Starting down the road of securing a second citizenship could cost a lot of money and time if you’re country demands that you relinquish your citizenship in order to gain a new one.
The same applies to the country you wish to apply for foreign nationality with, although these dual citizenship requirements usually are made clear at the beginning of any citizenship application process.
To obtain triple citizenship, you must first meet the citizenship requirements of the foreign country. In many cases, individuals automatically gain citizenship or are entitled to it if it’s a person born in the country (jus soli) or their parents were born in or are citizens of the country (jus sanguinis).
For individuals seeking citizenship in a foreign nation they have no attachment to, this could be done by naturalization through marriage to a citizen, employment sponsorship, or any other circumstance allowing you to live in the country long enough to be eligible for naturalization.
A popular choice to gain naturalization for American retirees is retirement visas. Ecuador’s retirement visa allows retirees to live there for two years. They can then apply for permanent residency for another two years, and at the end of four years of living in the country, they’re eligible to apply for citizenship.
Investment programs are the fastest way to achieve triple citizenship for US citizens besides birthright citizenship. Malta is one of the easiest countries to get citizenship through its citizenship by naturalization program that allows individuals to acquire Maltese citizenship in return for an investment in the country’s economy.
You can acquire a European passport in just 36 months with an investment of €600,000 ($642,000) and in just 12 months with an investment of €750,000 ($802,000). Aside from the principal investment, three total investments need to be made.
Check out this article for more information on Malta’s citizenship by naturalization program, which includes complete details of the series of three investment that you will be required to make.
Once you have met each country’s requirements, you can apply for citizenship and a foreign passport. The process to obtain citizenship varies from country to country. Some require that you submit biometric data in your home country, while other countries may request that you attend an interview in the country.
Once your application has been approved, you will be granted citizenship in that country and can repeat the process in a third country until you reach the status of triple citizenship.
Countries that Allow Dual or Multiple Citizenships
Here is a list of countries that allow dual citizenship or multiple citizenships (two or more). Please note that the list is not exhaustive.
Belgium: Dual citizenship for Belgian citizens by birthright
Croatia: Dual citizenship for Croatian citizens by birthright
Denmark: Dual citizenship
Finland: Multiple citizenships
France: Multiple citizenships
Germany: Dual citizenship for German citizens by birthright
Greece: Multiple citizenships
Hungary: Dual citizenship
Iceland: Dual citizenship
Ireland: Dual citizenship
Italy: Multiple citizenships
Luxembourg: Multiple citizenships
Malta: Multiple citizenships
Netherland: Dual citizenship for individuals married to a Dutch citizen
Portugal: Dual citizenship
Serbia: Dual citizenship
Slovakia: Dual citizenship for Slovakian citizens by birthright and individuals married to a Slovakian citizen
Spain: Dual citizenship for citizens of Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, and all Latin American countries
United Kingdom: Multiple citizenships
Canada: Multiple citizenships
Mexico: Dual citizenship for Mexican citizens by birthright
United States: Multiple citizenships
Barbados: Dual citizenship
Belize: Dual citizenship
Jamaica: Multiple citizenships
Antigua and Barbuda: Multiple citizenships
Dominica: Multiple citizenships
St Kitts and Nevis: Multiple citizenships
Grenada: Multiple citizenships
Saint Lucia: Multiple citizenships
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Multiple citizenships
Costa Rica: Dual citizenship
El Salvador: Dual citizenship for El Salvadorian citizens by birthright
Belize: Dual citizenship
Panama: Dual citizenship
Argentina: Dual citizenship is limited to Spanish and Italian citizenship only
Bolivia: Dual citizenship
Brazil: Multiple citizenships
Chile: Dual citizenship
Colombia: Dual citizenship
Ecuador: Dual citizenships
Peru: Dual citizenship
Uruguay: Dual citizenship for Uruguayan citizens by birthright
Egypt: Dual citizenship
Ghana: Dual citizenship
Kenya: Dual citizenship for Kenyan citizens by birthright
Morocco: Dual citizenship but requires permission from the government
Nigeria: Dual citizenships
South Africa: Dual citizenship for Uruguayan citizens by birthright
Israel: Dual citizenship for Israeli citizens by birthright
Turkey: Multiple citizenships
United Arab Emirates: Dual citizenship for foreigners
Philippines: Dual citizenship for natural-born Filipinos
Australia: Multiple citizenships
New Zealand: Dual citizenship
The terminology for multiple citizenships may vary from country to country. If you’re seeking second citizenship, ensure the citizenship and naturalization laws allow dual nationality.
Balancing Triple Citizenship with Passport Tiers
What are passport tiers?
Passport tiers are a system that groups nations passports into tiers of one to three based on several factors. The positions are determined by the power of a passport, most notably the travel privileges the document provides, not the citizenship itself.
When you acquire triple citizenship and more than one passport, you want a variety of passports to add to your passport portfolio that allows visa-free travel to more countries than just one allows.
While travel is important for a passport portfolio, you’ll want to take into account more than just travel privileges. Consider income tax, national and foreign policies, diversification options, and banking and investment opportunities.
Be sure to take a comprehensive approach when applying for foreign passports so that you cover all of your requirements. Travel privileges are essential, but more importantly, what comes with a new passport is a new citizenship that will have more of an effect on your daily life than just the times you choose to travel.
Tier-one passports are passports issued by countries that facilitate visa-free travel to all G7 nations and other countries with strict border policies, such as Australia and New Zealand. Tier one passports include EU nations, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.
Tier-two passports usually give you visa-free access to countries in the European Union but generally exclude countries like the United States and Australia. Tier two passports include countries like the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, St Kitts and Nevis, and Balkan countries like Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Tier-three passport holders require visas to visit the UK, the US, and EU countries. Tier-three passport countries include Turkey, India, the Dominican Republic, and African countries.
Balancing triple citizenship with passport tiers can be difficult, but ideally, you should choose a passport from each tier to maximize your benefits. Global Citizen Solutions has developed a Global Passport Index that goes beyond simple mobility, and the ranking also includes investment opportunities and quality of life, variables we believe are important in measuring the true value of a passport.
The Benefits of Triple Citizenship
More travel access
While a country may be on the list of tier-one passports providing visa-free access to most countries, it could also be difficult to visit countries they might be in political disputes with, or geopolitical issues could prevent access.
The US tier-one passport provides visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 172 countries worldwide, but countries they’re in disputes with, like Cuba and Russia, require Americans to obtain visas to travel there.
Antigua and Barbuda’s tier-two passport may not have the same level of access as tier-one passports, but as a politically neutral nation, its citizens have visa-free access to Cuba and Russia.
For those with triple citizenship, a third passport in your passport portfolio may have travel access that first and tier-two passports don’t provide.
Freedom of movement
We previously touched on the advancement of globalization, and this includes political alliances within regions. An EU citizenship status from a country like Malta allows citizens to move freely throughout the EU. As a Maltese citizen and, therefore, an EU citizen, you have the right to live in any EU country for work, study, or any other purpose.
Other regional alliances also exist, like the Organization for East Caribbean States (OCES). The OCES allows citizens of East Caribbean countries to move around freely for all purposes. Countries in the Mercosur trading bloc in South America allow multiple citizenship and freedom of movement between member states like Brazil and Chile.
To hold citizenship in multiple nations – particularly from a country in the EU or OCES – will mean you’re truly a global citizen with the freedom to become a permanent resident in dozens of countries.
One of the most important things investors and expats look at today is how they can grow and maintain their wealth. Due to the competitive nature of the US and the means of its citizens, it can be challenging to find investment opportunities for a reasonable cost.
Stable EU countries like Malta provide citizenship-by-investment programs that allow you to grow your wealth, and they’ll grant citizenship in return.
Access to a trading bloc like the EU also allows individuals to do business internationally without the tariffs and taxes associated with foreign importing and exporting.
Possible Triple Citizenship Combinations
To form a dual or multiple citizenship combination, you’ll first need to check that you cover these two requirements:
- The two countries you want to acquire multiple citizenship from allow dual or triple citizenship.
- You’re eligible to apply for citizenship in the two countries.
An ideal second citizenship for an American expat would be Maltese citizenship. Malta’s investment program allows foreigners to gain a second citizenship in return for an investment in the country. Some of the benefits of gaining Maltese citizenship include:
- No taxes on wealth, inheritance, or global income
- Freedom of movement throughout the European Union
- Preferential access to the European trading market
- A politically stable country
- Visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 170 countries
An ideal third citizenship for an American expat would be Antigua and Barbudan citizenship. The Antigua and Barbudan citizenship-by-investment program allows foreigners to gain a second citizenship in return for an investment in the country. Some of the benefits of gaining Antigua and Barbudan citizenship include:
- No taxes on wealth, inheritance, or global income
- Freedom of movement throughout OCES nations
- Preferential access to the OCES trading market
- A politically stable country
- Visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to more than140 countries
The Downsides to Having Multiple Citizenships
Multiple nationalities have many priceless benefits for global citizens, but there are a few reasons why dual citizenship is bad that you should be aware of.
Double taxation: An individual with triple citizenship could be subject to worldwide income tax in each country.
National obligations: Having a second nationality means you are bound to each country’s citizenship laws. This could include obligations like national service.
Fewer career options: Certain security-related careers in government are unavailable to dual nationals.
Frequently Asked Questions about Triple Citizenship
Do any countries allow triple citizenship?
Yes. Some triple citizenship countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Malta, Finland, Turkey, and Antigua and Barbuda.
What is having three citizenships called?
Having three citizenships is known as triple citizenship.
Can you have four citizenships?
Yes, some countries that allow citizens to have four citizenships are the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Malta, Finland, Turkey, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Can you hold three citizenships?
Can I have three citizenships in Australia?
Yes, you can hold triple multiple citizenship status in Australia. Australian immigration law states explicitly that Australian citizens may also hold the citizenship of another country or countries if the laws of those countries allow it.