The reality behind dual nationalities and multiple passports

On January 29th, 2016

255760314_ab9333703b_zThe article, “Carrying Several Passports? It’s Not Just for Spies”, discussed the benefits of carrying multiple passports from different countries.

The topic of multiple nationalities and passports tends to be filled with hype and mystery, but it’s really simple. Your ethnicity, birthplace, and religion can be the basis of dual citizenship. If your spouse has dual citizenship, you may be eligible for it too. From the article:

“The fact is people don’t think about it until it is pointed out to them,” said Jan Dvorak, president of Travisa, a passport services company in Washington. Some Americans, he said, “don’t realize that they actually have dual nationality.”

While there are no hard numbers, more Americans seem to be trying to qualify for additional passports. “Savvy travelers and business travelers want to make sure they have two passports based on nationality because there are certain advantages,” Mr. Dvorak said.

These advantages include fewer travel and work restrictions, and, at times, cheaper visa application fees.

There are also other ways to acquire dual citizenship if you’re not qualified for the above reasons. If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around somewhere, you can look for a country with economic citizenship or citizenship-by-investment programs. Dominica and Saint Kitts and Nevis are examples of countries that have this option, but approval is not guaranteed. Because of this many people view these fast-track options as scams.

Other countries have a less direct route. Instead of granting you citizenship after your investment, you are given a permanent residency visa which will allow you to apply for citizenship in a few years.

When thinking about getting a second passport, remember that each country has its own laws on dual nationalities. Some require you to relinquish one nationality for the other. Also, the internet is filled with scams and misinformation on this subject. Be sure to consult an immigration lawyer and other official sources before you take any action.

Do you have multiple nationalities? How do you deal with this when you travel?

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Image: Baigal Byamba (flickr)
Image: Ðariusz (flickr)