Ben Todd | Apr 16, 2017 | 3
The Ultimate Guide on How to Get a Second Passport (Dual Citizenship) Around the World
There are plenty of good reasons to have dual citizenship, from expanding your investment horizons to offering you a place to go when your homeland becomes too risky or too dangerous. Still not convinced, then here have a read of the Top 21 Reasons Why You Should Have a Second Passport.
This article is updated for 2017 and gives you the best real source for Second Citizenship information, that is, how to actually get a second passport somewhere.
A second passport is almost like citizenship insurance. It is a shield against your own government doing things you do not like, from overtaxing you to making the government larger. Getting duel citizenship, aka a second passport, is tricky, but it is not impossible. It will dramatically increase your economic and personal freedoms, and it helps you become an international citizen that is not owned by a single government. Some people have multiple passports in order to become a genuine international citizen.
Freedom Depending Upon Where You Are Born
The place of your birth shouldn’t determine which freedoms you have and which you do not. It is not fair that Europeans are able to gamble online and US citizens are not. It is not fair that people in the UK are allowed to say phrases without having to pay when people in the US are not even allowed to say “####’# ###” without paying Paris Hilton. Citizenship is not a tool of economic enslavement, if you do not like what your government is doing, especially with regards to how much tax you pay, then get another passport and leave the US.
If You Are American, You Really Need a Second Citizenship
Many people feel that a second passport is required in order to prepare to leave the US. More and more US citizens are thinking of leaving the US and becoming citizens of another country because the Obama presidency installed a worldwide taxation system where people are taxed based on their citizenship and not their residence. This means that, for example, a US citizen may live in Burma and pay tax to both the Burmese government and the US government. If you have a second passport, you may expatriate away from the US and become a citizen of the other country to avoid the USA’s worldwide tax policy. To do this, you will need to give up your US Citizenship.
With the US taxing global income for ALL citizens and the US FATCA live now to enforce this, giving up US Citizenship to avoid US taxes is something you should consider if you are making money outside of the US.
Some people have a second passport because they are being excluded from foreign investments. Offshore banks and businesses are unwilling to do business with US investors because of the US’s worldwide tax scheme. The US has become so highly strung about taxes that offshore companies will not risk taking investments from US citizens, and offshore banks now have reams and reams of red tape and checks that must be undertaken before a US citizen may have an account.
Offshore banks and businesses are unwilling to do business with US investors because of the US’s worldwide tax scheme. The US has become so highly strung about taxes that offshore companies will not risk taking investments from US citizens, and offshore banks now have reams and reams of red tape and checks that must be undertaken before a US citizen may have an account.
If you give up your US Citizenship, you need another country to call your home. This is where getting a second citizenship comes in.
You Are Not A Slave To Two Governments
If you have two passports, it doesn’t make you a slave to two governments instead of one. It actually gives you more options, you are able to choose which country is the most attractive for you personally and you may live and work in that country. The trouble is that people in the US are still slaves to US taxes even if they live in other countries with a passport, which is why many people would rather expatriate than pay the US taxes when they do not live in the US.
Why Is It Becoming More Difficult To Get A Passport?
If the Jews could get second passports in Germany during the rule of Hitler, then why are people having so much trouble getting passports these days? What has changed to make it even more difficult today than during a race/religious genocide?
The reason is because a citizenship entitles you to a great many benefits depending upon the country you become a citizen of. For example, people from Pakistan are choking up Great Britain because in Britain a person receives very large unemployment payments and a free place to live. There are colleges in Pakistan that are training people how to get a passport in the UK, and it is working to the point where Middle Eastern influxes into the UK are fuelling a massive population boom. UK citizens also get a free pension from the government and a free health service too.
It is difficult to become a US citizen because it too has a massive immigration problem, but theirs is mostly down to people entering the country without a passport from Mexico and then working illegally. The problem is so severe that the US is very careful about who it gives passports to because it may add to the already abundant legal and illegal workforce.
France is now less likely to give people a passport because of the massive number of terrorist attacks it keeps suffering, and countries such as Switzerland are less likely to give passports (citizenship) because of the status that having a Swiss passport gives within the international community.
Second-Passport Myths And Facebook Lies
Most myths about second passports are spread by people that simply do not know better, even though they act and present themselves as if they do. Facebook is littered with lies about second passports from people that are deliberately spreading lies for financial gain. Some second-passport myths exist to convince people that scam websites are real, or to have people search for things that lead them down the path of a scam. We do not offer myths, lies or misinformation; we offer a full and frank explanation of the benefits of having a second passport right here.
Myth – If You Qualify For A Second Passport You Would Know Already
This is a bunch of poppycock, there isn’t a register that updates whenever you become eligible to gain duel citizenship with another country, this isn’t a video game. You have to do your own research and often have to do a lot of work and planning to get a passport with another country.
Myth – You Have To Live In The Other Country A Long Time
This is not true at all. For example, in the US, you only have to live and work for over three years and you may start the naturalization process, and there are sometimes quicker ways to become a citizen if you exploit the system.
Getting a second passport in the UK is easy if you claim asylum or that you have family in the UK that cannot live without you. You may even buy your way into countries such as St Kitts, Dominica and so forth. It doesn’t always take a long time, it usually takes “some” time and a lot of planning.
Myth – Larger Countries Allow You To Buy Your Way In
Maybe in a Godfather movie this may be true, but in real life it is not. Facebook spread similar lies about Canada having a “Buy-your-way-in” scheme so that scammers could con people out of large sums of money by claiming they helped people buy their way in. Usually, it is only smaller countries that accept donations in return for citizenship. However, in smaller countries (usually cash-strapped ones), it is possible to ‘buy’ a citizenship via ‘investment’ programs where you invest X amount of money into the country to qualify for an immediate citizenship and passport. The schemes do change depending on the country. It is also possible to do so in some countries that are part of the EU, such as Latvia, through investment schemes.
Myth – A US Passport Is The Most Valuable
This is woefully untrue. If you hold a US passport, there are quite a few countries that you cannot visit, and if you are kidnapped by terrorists the government will not pay for your release (negotiation is not possible). In the “soft touch” UK, you get a free place to live, lots of incapacity and job seeking money, and free healthcare, but a UK passport isn’t the most valuable.
What about Germany? Hong Kong? Switzerland? The Vatican? Actually, the most valuable passport is actually a Finnish one. It is the world’s most transparent nation that offers the world’s most valuable passport for visa-free travel.
Myth – Your Own Government Will Treat You Badly
If you get a second passport, it is not like cheating on your spouse; government officials will not treat you like an illegal alien because you have a passport. Being a duel citizen is quite common, and it has very little to do with loyalty. Just because you swear allegiance to the US flag doesn’t mean you are lying when you apply for citizenship with another country. Most officials will not even know you have a duel citizenship unless you tell them. You will not get more tickets on your car, slower service at the DMV, or the rusty needle in hospitals.
Myth – Only Tiny Islands Give Away Passports
The myth is that second passports are pointless because you cannot get them in good countries, you can only get them in tiny islands and in countries that are not very desirable. This is simply not true. It may be easier to get passports in less desirable countries or for smaller islands, but hard work and planning can help you get a passport to most countries big and small.
Myth – Some People Are Able To Buy Passports
This myth is spread thanks to movies. People see spies with several passports with different names and they assume it is possible to buy a passport from certain “people” but the fact is that it is not true. What you can buy is a very good passport copy or a very good forged passport, but if you are caught, you will suffer. Passports are the most commonly forged documents in the world, and forgers are now so sophisticated that they can add biometrics to identity cards too. However, if you get a blackmarket passport or a copy, it’s WHEN you get caught, not if. Anyone or any company promising you that you can buy second citizenship outside of the countries listed on this list is a scam.
Common Second-Passport Scams
Some myths and Facebook lies are spread in order to draw people into scams. People are led to believe one thing so they are primed for exploitation by scammers. The massive demand for second citizenship, especially from overtaxed Americans, has led to an ever-increasing scammer’s market. The fact is that you do not need an advisor or any sort of help getting a second citizenship. All you have to do is visit the website that the country has in place for immigration, and it will tell you exactly what you have to do to become a citizen. There is no need for any legal help or introduction service. Here are a few common swindles.
There is no such thing. A diplomat doesn’t have a special passport because there isn’t a special passport. If a person is a diplomat, then he or she has legal papers that are presented at airports and ports (if needed), but such things are rarely flashed these days because diplomats do not have to protect their papers from being read by custom’s staff because they have them stored on laptops and phones.
Cancelled economic citizenship programs
Some scammers play on the fact that some countries have or had citizenship by investment programs. If a country currently has such a program, then you can visit their immigration web page and sign up yourself. If they do not, then scammers try to convince you that they do and will present themselves as the portal by which you apply.
They don’t exist. You may read stories about US citizens working in high-risk places and getting camouflage passports in order to do so, but it simply doesn’t happen these days. Even the CIA are given duel citizenship so they may use the passport of another nation if they are entering a high-risk area. There is no such thing as a camouflage passport.
Black Market Passports
Become a duel citizen with a fake passport. Buy a fake passport and enjoy all the benefits of being a regular citizen without having to pay tax and/or national insurance, unless you can convince the government to issue you with the correct identification numbers. You are being scammed with a black market passport because it is a fake.
Gray Market Passports
Have an illegal company approach somebody at the immigration department and bribe them to give you a passport. Is such a thing possible? Yes it is, but if you know about it then so does the NSA, which means one of two things. Either, the person being bribed will be stung and your passport will be cancelled, or you are being scammed and what you receive back is a fake.
The passports they offer are not supposed to be used for traveling; they are supposed to be used to sign up for thing such as bank accounts. However, the passports are actually fakes, which is why the scammers do not want you trying to leave the country with them because they know you will be caught by the customs officials, but that you may not be caught by the banking official that bought his/her essays when he/she was in college so he/she could get laid while other students were writing.
What Makes A Good Second Passport?
As mentioned earlier, there are certain benefits to having citizenship with different countries. Some countries have certain perks that others do not, and the differences range from tax-free earnings to legalized suicide clinics. Here are a few qualities that make for a good second passport.
If you are a US citizen, you will find it increasingly difficult to invest money overseas. The IRS has become so aggressive in its worldwide taxation program that foreign companies and banks are closing their doors to US citizens because it is simply not worth the hassle and risk.
It is not only people in the US that are missing out on offshore financial opportunities. Different countries have different attitudes towards different countries, and they will not trade with you if you are from a country that is currently disliked and/or has embargos with. A passport that allows you to trade with other countries and invest in other countries is a definite plus.
As A Travel Document
Visa-Free travel is a passport perk, and many developed countries offer visa-free travel. However, just like with foreign investments, there are some countries that will either disallow your entry, or they will put restrictions on you that they do not with citizens of other countries. Another passport means more travel options. It means you can flash your alternate passport rather than the passport from the country of your birth.
Keep in mind there are a few regions in the world that are particularly sought after for visa-free travel:
- United States
Many of the pay-for passports won’t get you visa free access to these countries (or only some of them). You’ll have to do your homework. The cherry of the bunch is visa-free US travel, which is the unavailable to all but a select few — and usually only from 1st world countries like Austria and Malta in the EU. You might be able to get visa-free to the UK though with some of the smaller island countries that are part of the British Commonwealth.
If you have more than one citizenship, you may pick which country you pay taxes to by living in it. If you live in the country, you pay taxes to it, if you live in the other country, you pay taxes in that country. The only country to ever impose worldwide income taxes is the US, which means if you hold a dual citizenship with the US and with another country, you may have to pay the US some of your tax money as well as the other country you live in. If you are thinking about a second citizenship for tax purposes, make sure you know what you’ll pay in the new country and what the tax situation is with your natural citizenship.
Ability to Have Multiple Citizenships at the Same Time
Some countries will not allow you to have a second passport. This is a killer for some. If you are unwilling to give up your original citizenship, getting a passport from such a country is probably a no go.
A good and valuable passport is one that allows you to have other passports too. You may find some great tax laws in Singapore, but you will be unable to hold any other type of passport. Austria, is considered the best country for Citizen Investment Programs, but you will have to give up your previous citizenship.
A good passport is one that allows you to keep your current national citizenship and obtain other passports too.
If you have a second passport, you can skip out on civic obligations or take part in them if you wish. If your country goes to war and they start drafting people, you can move to another country before the drafting begins.
Respect Or Indifference
When picking a citizenship to take on, consider how other people feel about people from that country. A good passport is one that is either respected by other countries, or that is treated with indifference by other countries. Over one-third of the world’s people hate the US, and it is the official policy of some countries to persecute and discriminate against US passport holders. If you find yourself in one of these countries, flashing your alternate passport for somewhere such as Liechtenstein is a good idea.
Best Ways to Get a Second Citizenship / Second Passport
Here are the best ways you can land yourself a second citizenship. Note, there are no ‘easy’ methods. You either need to spend money (in some cases, a LOT of money) or put in a few years living in that country. However, if you are committed to getting a second passport, you certainly can.
1. Become A Citizen By Paying for It
If you are looking for dual citizenship, you could buy your way in, but it costs a lot of money.
Some countries have a CIP program (Citizenship Investment Program), which is basically a fancy word for paying for a passport.
If you are looking for a cheaper method, then it will take more time and require more work. Paying your way in is a quick method for people that need a passport soon and do not want a lot of hassle.
There are basically two methods: making a non-refundable donation (i.e. outright buying the citizenship) or investing a sizable sum into the country, either into real-estate, a business, or some sort of government bond program.
Keep in mind that there are trade off’s. Making a donation is a flat rate and hassle free. You pay the money and are done with it. Investment citizenship schemes may require MORE money up front and you are often allowed to invest only in certain areas. Sometimes the investments are not likely to see you a good return (or any return) on the amount.
Why Take part in a CIP Program?
It is a very fast and efficient way of becoming a citizen of another country (the fastest even), but the problem is that it is very expensive and, depending on how badly the country has abused this unofficial ‘passport sale’ scheme, you may find visa restrictions imposed upon the country by various 1st world countries.
You typically pay the money, fill some forms in, perhaps live in the country for a few months and you’ll have your citizenship and a new passport within a few months. By far, if you don’t qualify for any other method of citizenship and can’t devote the 5+ years on average of becoming a resident, then this is the best way. However, you’ll typically be spending at least $200,000 to $300,000 for the cheapest CIP programs — which are usually island countries. For the more premium 1st world citizenship of the EU (Malta, Bulgaria, Austria) , you are going to need to invest/pay between 1 to 2.5 million Euros.
It’s not cheap.
Typically, you will not have to live in the country in order to become a citizen, but you will have to invest and/or donate tens/hundreds of thousands. We have an article dedicated to the cheapest countries that have a CIP program in place.
Some of the common countries (many are in the Caribbean, but some are valuable European countries) that allow this citizen investment scheme are:
- St. Kitts and Nevis (best bang for your buck in terms of cost per visa-free travel)
- Austria (must renounce your other citizenship and costs over 2 million, but you get visa free travel to the US)
- Dominica (cheapest slightly under $200,000)
- Malta (has a residency requirement — must live there part of the time, but you get visa-free travel to the US)
- Bulgaria (no residency requirement and has an investment program where you get your money back in 5 years)
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Lucia (cheapest – $200,000)
The Best Passports You Can Pay For
Here’s a list of 2016’s best passports that let you outright donate money to get the passport or that offer an investment scheme.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Currently, St. Kitts and Nevis have the longest-running citizenship by investment program in the world and arguably the best valued one for what you get.. They have made a lot of money from having people pay for their citizenship, plus their CIP program has slowly seen their wealthy population increase. It’s the easiest passport to get, if you pay the $295,000 ‘donation’ or investing $500,000 into real estate and you don’t even have to live in the country or take a test. You can travel to over 132 countries visa-free including the UK and EU. Note this does not include the US or Canada. Note that St. Kitts has been selling passports like crazy the past couple of years and has made negative press around the world. The value of this passport may decline as countries remove visa-free travel with these passports.
This country requires you to invest over $250,000 into real estate. You get visa-free access to over 110 countries of the world (as of 2016, this includes UK, Singapore, Panama, Hong Kong). You cannot travel to Canada, EU or the US visa free.
This one is quite similar to the St. Kitts, though it’s $50,000 cheaper. You pay $275,000 as a donation or invest $500,000 into a real estate project. This one lets you travel to 132 countries. Unlike St. Kitts, you can travel to Canada.
This country as the cheapest second passport option for the Island countries. It costs $250,000 for a passport, but every individual in a family gets the passport. You’ll pay another 100,000 or so in fees, but look at this one if you want a cheaper passport option and you have a wife and kids.
However, you only have visa-free travel to 91 countries, making it one of the less useful passports for travel. You can travel Visa-free to the UK, the EU, though not Canada and the US.
This is the best passport you can ‘buy’ in the world if you have the money. You’ll need to put down over 2 million euros invested into a business to qualify. But, if you get this passport, you have visa free travel to 171 countries. The Austrian passport is rated as the 5th best passport in the world, as of 2016.
Malta is another good passport and one that gets you visa-free travel to the US and the ability to work anywhere in the EU. However, you’ll need to pay nearly 2 million when it’s said and done. Unless you are rich or have a vested business idea for Malta, it’s not a cheap option. You can travel to the US visa-free. With visa-free travel to 168 countries in the world, Malta ranks as the #9th best passport in the world. The advantage of the Malta passport is that you can invest in real, estate, bonds, and other stuff rather than just a business. This means you don’t have to deal with the associated headache of running / investing in a business. To get a passport, you’ll have to make three investments: donate 650,000 euros to the government, buy a home for at least 350,000 euros (or rent for five years), and finally, invest 150,000 euros into government bonds, holding them for at least five years. Doing all 3 of these will get you an EU citizenship.
Bulgaria is another EU country that lets you invest for a passport. Over 2 years you’ll need to invest over 1.2 million into government bonds. However, after five years, you get your money back. If you have money to ‘invest’ and don’t need to see this amount over 5 years, then it’s a good program and one that gives you one of the best passports in the world (it’s rated as the 18th best passport). This is probably, as of 2016, the best passport you can ‘buy’ — you get access to the EU and you get your money back after 5 years.
Another good passport to have. If you invest 2.5 million euros, you can get a Cyprus passport — and access to EU travel. Like Bulgaria, they have an investment program where you are likely to see your principal amount returned to you after a period of years. Many of the other ‘investment’ programs offered by other countries make it hard for you to get your investment back (or most of it)
What About Investment Passports
Some counties do offer a direct investment program where you invest money (and get the money back after a period of time) and you can get a passport. Unlike the ‘donation’ option, the idea is your amount gets refunded to you, over the years. Another option is that if you make the investment, you can get
Dominica also has a CIP program, as does Cyprus and Grenada. Austria doesn’t have one, but if you negotiate and pay around one million Euros, then you are given a citizenship, but you have to renounce all other citizenships because they do not allow dual citizenships in Austria. Austria is probably the most valuable of the ‘pay or citizenship’ programs because it’s one of the best passports in the EU and gets you visa-free travel to 171 countries. NO other pay-for passport gets you that. But you will spend over a million euros at least.
2. Become a Citizen By Marrying
Virtually every country in the world has a citizen program available for those who marry a citizen of that country.
- Brazil: you can apply for a second citizenship only after 1 year of living in Brazil, married to a Brazilian. Brazil allows dual citizenship.
- Spain: you can apply for a citizenship after 1 year of marriage to a Spanish national, provided you live in Spain and are paying taxes.
There are just some of the easier citizenships to obtain through marriage. There are certainly more countries out there you might want to look at.
3. Become A Citizen By Acquiring Or Inheriting It
This is better known as citizenship by descent. There are some countries that will allow you to become a citizen if you have other relatives living in the country, or if you are the descendant of one of their citizens. If you are able to prove a family tie with the country, especially an ancestral tie, then you may become eligible for a duel citizenship with that country. Using the ancestral method, you may be able to prove several dual citizenships and build up a box full of passports.
Best Countries for Second Citizenship Through Family/Ancestral Ties
Work on your family tree and see where everybody is and where they came from. If you have family in another country and they are citizens, then their presence there may help you get a passport quicker. If they are citizens and sponsor you, then it may help you get a passport even faster. If you have ancestors that were citizens of another country, you may apply for a passport with that country, and if you can prove you were related to the deceased, you may stand a better chance of getting a passport.
Below is a short list of countries that have citizen by descent rules. However, rules change and times change, which means you should do your own research. For all you know, one of the countries listed below may change its rules tomorrow, and another country may change its rules and start allowing citizenship by descent, so do not consider this to be a comprehensive and all-encompassing list.
Spain Offers Ancestral Citizenship From 1492
If you were born in South America, the Spanish government will allow you a speedy naturalization. The topic of naturalization is covered later, but it is another word for becoming a citizen after living in the country for a while. Speedy naturalization in Spain for South American born citizens is actually citizenship by descent because it is a recognition of all the Spanish pioneers that colonized the area. In effect, it is genuine ancestral citizenship.
Speaking of Spanish history, Spain also allows the speedy citizenship of Sephardic Jews because of what King Ferdinand did to them in 1492. If you are a Sephardic Jew, you may be able to claim ancestral citizenship in Spain.
Brazil Makes You Pay Your Way
If you can prove that a Brazilian child is yours and is your financial responsibility, then you may get a passport. It is quite a way to go in order to get a passport, but if you have a child in Brazil, you have to live there for a year and show you are supporting it, and they will then consider your application to become a Brazilian citizen.
Lithuania Has Very Complicated Rules
In general, you may become a citizen if your parents or grandparents were or are citizens of Lithuania, but the rules are very complex. There are rules for different people applying from different countries, and you may have to relinquish your current citizenship. Also, the reasons why your parents or grandparents left/expatriated will be taken into account.
Ireland Has A Parent And Grandparent Rule
If you have a parent or grandparent that is currently an Irish citizen, then you may become a citizen too. It is very easy and simple process, and you only need one parent or grandparent to be a citizen in order to become a passport holder. Ireland tightened up its citizenship protocols in 2016 when they were inundated by British people trying to become citizens after the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union.
Italy Will Allow Your Entire Family To Become Citizens
If you can prove that you had or have at least one grandparent that was/is an Italian citizen, then you may be able to apply to become a citizen. However, you may not be allowed if your parents gave up your or their rights to be a citizen. If you are allowed to become a citizen because of your grandparent(s), then you may sign up your close family members too.
Israel Has A Law Of Return
If you are a long-standing Jewish worshiper, you are able to apply for citizenship in Israel under the law of return. You may have to complete your national service if you become a citizen of Israel. It is a beautiful, powerful, rich and moral country, but Muslim countries will persecute you if you flash your Israeli passport in their countries, so leave it at home when you visit intolerant countries.
4. Become A Citizen By Naturalization
If you are willing to live in a country (part time at least) for a few years, this is an effective way to get a citizenship and the cheapest way. It’s also the one method that will let you get a citizenship in most countries in the world, as long as you put your time in. However, you trade money for time here.
To become a citizen this way, you have to live in the country for a while and contribute to it with work, investment and tax money. Sometimes, you have to set up a business, employ a certain number of people, or invest a lot of money, but in almost every case, you will have to live there on a permanent basis for a while.
Every country has its own timetable for naturalization, which is why choosing the right country takes planning and why it may be a tough decision.
Countries such as the US will make you wait at least three years, and Switzerland will make you wait around twelve years. Paraguay makes you wait three years, but Andorra makes you wait twenty years.
How much time you spend in the country will differ depending on which country you choose, and the same is true for how much time you spend out of the country. For example, in the US, you have to stay in the country for three years with the correct visa. However, if you decide to go on holiday for three months while on your US visa, then you will have to reside in the country for another three years before they will consider your application for naturalization.
If you consider this option, be certain exactly how long you must stay every year to maintain your residency. On average, expect about 5 years at least of being a permanent (or semi-permanent) resident before you actually get your citizenship. Some countries are a lot more difficult and make you jump through various hoops.
Also, keep in mind there are TAX issues with your home country as well. If you are a citizen of the US but living in working in another country, becoming a citizen, the US still could claim their due in taxes for your income earned outside of the US.
Do Plenty Of Naturalization Research Before Committing
You must be a legal resident of a country for a set amount of time before applying for naturalization. If you are not a legal resident, your time spent in the country does not apply/count. Staying in the country on a tourist or study visa is often not enough to allow you to apply for a second passport.
Remember that some countries are going to make you relinquish your current citizenship if you become a citizen of their country. This is another factor you have to strongly consider because it may be tricky getting back into the country of your birth after you have expatriated.
Some countries have differing opinions around what “Residency” means. For example, in the US it means you have a job or business and stay in the country permanently on the correct visa, whereas some countries consider residency nothing more than nipping into the country now and again, paying a few bills, making a few bank deposits and paying tax for a few years.
Are There Countries That Offer Fast Naturalization?
As mentioned earlier, the rules change all the time, so it always pays to do plenty of research. Nevertheless, there are some countries that offer faster naturalization. There are also countries where you may live there for most of your life and they still will not give you a passport (Thailand, for example).
The countries that offer fast naturalization will often require you to stay there for a certain amount of time as a permanent resident. In some cases, you are naturalized faster if you happen to be wealthy and/or have many sponsors. Marriage is often a fast track to naturalization; if you marry a local, your wait time to citizenship may be expedited.
Best Countries for Residency to Citizenship
For those who are interested in actually living in a country to gain a second citizenship without too many barriers, here is a breakdown of the best countries for second citizenship by actually living in the country.
Keep in mind there are other countries such as the US, European Countries, Canada, but these are often difficult to obtain. The list given here are the faster, easier countries for second citizenship that offer you good passport benefits.
- Argentina (2 years)
- Singapore (3 years)
- Uruguay (3 years when marries, 5 if single)
- Panama (5 years)
- Australia (4 years)
- Chile (5 years)
- Belize (5 years)
- Panama (5 years)
Canada Has A Fast Naturalization Timeline
If you can get and keep a job in Canada, they will allow you to apply for a passport and become a citizen. You may wonder why this is fast when you may apply after just three years in the US, but in the US the process is very long and many of the applicants have spent four to six years in the country before they finally get their passport.
Uruguay Prefers Married People
If you are part of a married couple, you may apply for citizenship after just three years of permanent residence. If you are single, you will have to wait five years before you may apply. If you make your application, you will still have to spend another year in Uruguay before they give you your citizenship.
Panama Asks For An Economic Tie
If you live in the country for five years, and you have over $5000 in your bank to deposit, and if you have another economic tie such as a business or a very important job, you may be considered for a passport. The stronger your economic tie is, then the stronger your chances are of getting a passport.
Brazil Makes It Easier For Rich People
If you live in Brazil for four to five years and you make an investment of over $75,000, you will become eligible to apply for a Brazilian passport. It is relatively easy to become a Brazilian citizen if you have the money. They even have companies and businesses that allow you to invest in them so that you may become eligible to apply for a passport. If you do not have $75,000, you may start a business there and hope it thrives enough within four years to make you eligible to become a Brazilian citizen.
Paraguay Makes You Wait Three Years
If you stick around in Paraguay for three years, and if you make an economic investment, then they will consider you for citizenship. If you pay yourself a taxable salary from a business you start, or if you have a good paying (tax paying) job that allows you to generate savings in a bank account, then they may consider your application if you are a permanent resident for three years.
Consider Your Tax Situation
When shopping around for a potential second citizenship, you’ll want to look at the tax laws governing the country. For example, leaving Canada to become an American citizen for the purpose of avoiding taxes is about the stupidest move a person could make, as the US has some of the most draconian tax laws in the world with the IRS deeming ALL US citizens taxable on their worldwide income.
So you’ll want to consider the following:
- Countries with NO income tax (tax havens)
- Countries with lower income tax (tax friendly – low tax rates / don’t tax on income earned outside the country)
- Countries with lax tax laws (developing countries)
If you don’t care about paying taxes in your new home and only care about the quality of life, healthcare, and social programs, then you might want to consider first world countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand. Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland.
But the path to residency and citizenship is long and hard, often requiring either a significant investment (if the country offers a CIV program) or years of living and working (and paying tax) in the country as a resident.
As a compromise, you might look at some of the more citizenship friendly EU countries like Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Malta where it is possible to get a second passport without investing too much money (or living in the country too long). Some of the EU countries quite tax friendly (Georgia, for example).
You might also consider the Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia which do offer a clear path to citizenship if you invest in the country as a foreigner and live part of the time there. Some of these countries have low tax and may not tax on income earned outside of the country.
The Final Word
Need a Bank Account but have ChexSystems problems or Bad Credit?
Try opening a BBVA Compass Free Checking Account! BBVA is one of the more forgiving banks and may give you a full-fledged REGULAR bank account when you apply online...even with bad banking and credit history.
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...learn more about BBVA Second Chance Banking here
Getting a second passport is a worthy goal and something every person should seriously consider. If you are a digital nomad (which is becoming more and more popular) or you live in a tax-restrictive country (like the US), there’s even more of a reason to look at second citizenship to give you options (such as to save tax money).