We don’t mean to be cheeky: a second passport conveys upon the holder much more than a snazzy new passport in an unusual hue. Yes, there’s the prospect of lower taxes and greater flexibility in how assets are accounted for. And of course, you would be wise to choose that second (or third or fourth) citizenship with an eye towards finding a jurisdiction with fewer regulations.
Of course, a second passport also brings the advantage of a second government that has your back – a valuable asset in times of trouble. It means that if something should happen in your home country – not a stretch in these uncertain times – you always have somewhere to go.
For financial or personal security, a second passport may be tantamount to a second chance.
The benefits of obtaining a second citizenship and a second passport include visa free travel, asset protection, reduction of taxation, and the ability to freely do business and conduct other activties which may be restricted because of your home country’s passport. One can obtain a second passport legally in several ways.
A second passport is available to people who are citizens of another country. Many, but not all, countries allow for dual citizenship.
People who have ancestors from countries which recognize the lineage when well documented with birth certificates, marriage certificates, and sometime even baptism certificates can obtain a new passport. Anyone with the right documents can apply for citizenship through an embassy, consulate office, or travel to the country and apply either with immigration office or another agency authorized to grant citizenship.
Ireland is one such country, as anyone with Irish ancestors can apply for immediate citizenship and be issued an Irish passport which can be used like any European Union (EU) citizen to travel freely between the 27 EU countries and to work in any of them without applying for a work permit. In the U.S. alone, 40 million Americans (12% of the entire population) have Irish ancestry and qualify to become Irish citizens. Other European Union (EU) countries offering citizenship by ancestry are Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
Similarly, Israel offers citizenship to anyone with Jewish ancestors under the Law of Return, granting all Jews who possess a Teudat Oleh certificate can immigrate to Israel to become citizens. A Teudat Oleh certificate is issued by Israeli Immigration to any Jew who travels to Israel requesting to settle there. Such person must be a practicing Jew.
Panama has its 48 Countries “Friendly Nations” Visa where any citizen of those countries can obtain permanent residency in 3 months leading to full citizenship in 5 years with passport. The only requirement is to become involved in an economic activity like owning a Panama business.
Hungary passed a law in 2011 known as the Hungarian Citizenship Law which allows quick and simple naturalization for anyone proving Hungarian ancestry by having a birth certificate of a Hungarian parent or grandparent and is able to speak Hungarian. This citizenship will not allow the right to vote in elections until he or she can become full time residents. Hungary allows for dual citizenship. The law requires that the person be a descendant of a Hungarian citizen before 1920. It is estimated that up to 10 million people can qualify for Hungarian citizenship. The Hungarian Citizenship Law of 2011 is based on the principle of jus sanguinis (blood of ancestors). According to U.S. Census records that 3.1% of the U.S. population was from Hungary by 1920.
The U.S. Census also reports that 31.9 million U.S. citizens are of Mexican origin making them eligible for Mexican citizenship and a Mexican passport. Dual citizenship is accepted by both the U.S. and Mexico.
A second passport can also be obtained from the United Kingdom (UK) which allows immediate citizenship if you can prove at least one grandparent was born in the UK, or born in the Republic of Ireland before March 31, 1922, or born in a ship or aircraft of British registry. You can’t apply through step parents’ ancestry, but you can apply if you or a parent was adopted. Dual citizenship is allowed. You can apply for UK citizenship outside of the UK at one of their embassies by submitting the following documents: your birth certificate, parents and grandparents birth certificates (adoption papers if relevant), and your marriage certificate or partnership registration certificate if you plan to include your spouse or civil partner.
Another way to obtain an offshore passport and citizenship is by making an economic investment. Here is a summary of some of the many economic investor’s citizenship programs:
Dominica requires an investment of $100,000 USD for a single applicant and $175,000 USD for one applicant and spouse. A Family Application including the applicant, spouse and two children under 18 years of age requires a $200,000 USD investment and there is an additional $50,000 USD investment for each child when the family has more than two children under 18.
Austria offers citizenship with a minimum investment of 10 Million Euros in a public project or private project of public interest. The application can take a long time to be processed.
Portugal offers residence for a minimum investment of 500,000 Euros in real estate, however, it is a 6 year process to become a citizen and obtain a second passport.
Cyprus offers instant citizenship for a minimum 3 Million Euros investment which must be maintained for at least 3 years. Citizenship application is fast processed with a passport issued quickly.
Belgium only requires an investment of 400,000 Euros for a residence permit, but citizenship and a passport will only be issued after 5 years.
Antigua & Barbuda only require a $200,000 USD investment but there is a 5 year wait for citizenship and to obtain an offshore passport.
St. Kitts & Nevis requires a minimum investment of $250,000 USD into their SIDF Foundation. It takes from 4 to 6 months to process the application for citizenship and passport.