Are you resident in a high tax nation?
Are you plagued by the erosion of your income and assets thanks to the taxman?
Are you looking to relocate abroad, with your heart set on living in a country that doesn’t favor your particular passport?
Perhaps you’ve heard that there are taxation, security, privacy and freedom benefits associated with having dual or even multiple citizenship?
Do you want a second passport?
Whatever your personal reasons are for exploring what has become one of the most popular searches on Escape Artist, i.e., ‘getting a second passport,’ there’s a chance that your family tree could actually hold the key to you gaining second, or even multiple citizenships and that much desired second passport.
If you begin a search on the Internet into gaining a second passport, you are inundated with adverts for services from companies offering to assist you in purchasing citizenship elsewhere in the world. Certain nations offer economic citizenship programs, or citizenship-by-investment schemes, – the best well known and popular are Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis. However, the investment commitment and financial outlay required to effectively purchase a second passport from these nations can be restrictive to all but a determined and wealthy few.
The good news is that even countries such as Great Britain and Ireland may legitimately welcome you as a national, depending on your family’s history and your ancestors and direct relatives’ nationality. Therefore it is up to you to get working on your family tree, and plot your family’s national identity back as far as your grandparents. Even a deceased member of your family could provide you with the key you need to getting a second passport from a desirable country.
How To Get Started on Your Family Tree
Your first requirement is to identify the nationality, place of birth and country of domicile of each member of your immediate family, going back as far as your maternal and paternal grandparents. If you’re married, your spouse should do the same. It may be very obvious to you that your father is British for example, if he was born and raised in the UK, but just moved abroad in adult life, he will be British by domicile and nationality. In other cases, it can be more complex to determine.
For example, if your paternal grandfather was born and raised in Ireland but emigrated to America and was naturalized there before your father was born, does that make your father American or Irish? Generally speaking, it makes your father an American by birth and by domicile. However, for every close relative you have who has a less than clear path of nationality and citizenship in the nation in which you or they now reside, there is a chance that they could offer you the key to a second passport!
If you have any siblings or aunts and uncles who have relocated abroad and adopted another nationality, or who have gained residency and citizenship elsewhere overseas, make a note of these people and their status too when plotting your family tree. If it helps, literally draw your family tree to plot out whose background you will need to research.
In terms of what you’re looking for, an example will be you looking for the data associated with current and previous nationality, place of birth, country of residence and domicile for your mother, your father, your brothers and sisters, your mother’s mother, your mother’s father, your father’s mother and your father’s father.
Consider counting your mother and father’s siblings if, as mentioned, they have relocated abroad and/or adopted citizenship elsewhere too – it could be that they could potentially act as ‘sponsors’ to your relocation abroad if you wanted to live in and eventually gain a passport from the country in which they are now living.
You can begin researching your family’s history by asking living relatives about where they were born, which country they grew up in and where they are entitled to hold a passport from. If it’s the case that a close family member was born in another country and grew up there, you have a strong potential claim on a second passport from that nation.
Are You Entitled to Second Citizenship?
Having identified a member of yours or your spouse’s close family who has strong national ties with another nation, you need to look at that specific country’s citizenship criteria and see whether you are eligible to apply for residency, citizenship and/or a second passport. The very confusing fact of the matter is, every single country in the world has different criteria and different rules about who is eligible, what they are eligible for, and even whether a citizen of their nation can hold more than one passport and nation of citizenship.
The good news is that countries like the US, Ireland and the UK are all comfortable with the idea of individuals potentially having more than one country of citizenship. Other nations almost actively encourage their residents to embrace multiple citizenships where it’s possible because it enables international business flow and even inward investment to their country. The main countries against the idea of individuals being citizens of more than one nation are Denmark, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
With a clear idea of which nation, (or nations), you may be entitled to apply to for citizenship and a passport, the very first step forward is establishing that country’s criteria for eligibility.
To that end, the fastest route to information is via the Internet, so go to the given nation’s government website or, if you find that the website is inaccessible due to a language barrier for example, you can look at that nation’s embassy in your own current country. There will usually be clear instructions about who is and is not potentially eligible for citizenship, and who can therefore apply for a passport. If in any doubt, it’s in your best interests to personally contact your chosen country’s embassy or consulate in your nation and request advice, support and direction.
How Does The Process of Application for a Second Passport Work?
Just as different nations have different criteria of eligibility for citizenship, so they have different processes that you have to go through to apply for a second passport. You will however have to prove your identity and your reasons for eligibility, and you will almost always have to pay processing fees with your application. You may have to attend an interview, be in your home nation when you apply for citizenship in the second nation, and there can sometimes be a lengthy delay whilst your application is reviewed, especially as your application is often sent to the local embassy, but then processed overseas in the second country.
Is It Worth the Hassle?
Only you can decide whether it’s worth going to the time, effort and expense associated with getting a second passport. You need to think about what second citizenship will offer you – there are potential advantages associated with travel freedom, taxation reduction, personal protection, privacy and security – but whether these advantages apply to you is only something you can work out. When it comes to taxation, it’s not clear cut that if you get citizenship in a country with lower taxes than your own that you will benefit from this advantage. It depends on the tax treaties in place between your current country and the second nation at the very least – and if there are no such treaties in place, you could complicate your tax situation even more!
If you’re in any doubt about whether to proceed, there are those in a position to advise you. You can speak to staff in the embassy of the nation you’re interested in gaining citizenship in for their feedback, and they may suggest third parties who can help you. International taxation and legal consultants may also offer advice, and then there are some companies who advertise their services on the Internet who may also be able to guide you. A word of warning however, it is usually in such companies’ best interests to convince you to go ahead, because they can then charge you a fee for helping you apply.
Your family could hold the key to you gaining a second passport entirely legitimately, and for minimum outlay. The process involved may be relatively complex and time consuming, but there are potentially great benefits available to those who hold citizenship, and therefore a passport, from more than one country. It’s an individual decision however, so do take advice before you proceed to ensure that this is the right path for you to follow.