Passport

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Most people think having multiple passports is just for the “James Bonds” and super wealthy of this world.

But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, It’s possible for ANYONE to obtain dual citizenship and a valuable second passport.

Obtaining a foreign passport is never easy. 

THE FIVE WAYS TO BECOME A CITIZEN

The easiest country to get citizenship depends on your bank account, your desire to live abroad, and your family tree.

Would you want a completely hands-off approach and go for a citizenship based purely on the fact that your grandparents were citizens of a place?

Or would you want to move to a foreign country and spend four or five years there before applying for citizenship?

You can do either, or both.

Here are five ways to get a second citizenship:

 

1. CITIZENSHIP BY DESCENT

If you’re lucky, you may be eligible for a second passport right now – without even knowing it!

Certain countries offer ancestral citizenship to those who can prove family ties to the country.

This means you may be able to hit the dual citizenship jackpot.

Some people can even claim multiple second citizenships using the ancestral method.

My team and I have personally helped people get citizenships by way of decent in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Lithuania, Poland, Mexico and Vietnam.

We could help you next, particularly if you have heritage in Israel, Ireland, Brazil, Austria, Italy, Hungary or Spain!

2. CITIZENSHIP BY MARRIAGE

If you’re married or you’re planning to tie the knot, then you’re in luck. A citizenship by marriage is almost a guarantee.

We’re not saying you should marry for citizenship, but if you are already in the process of saying “I do”, why not consider citizenship too?

Countries like France and the United States will fast-track the naturalization timeline for spouses to obtain citizenship.

And then there are places, such as Cape Verde, where you can get married and immediately become a citizen.

3. CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT

Also called ‘economic citizenship,’ this is usually the fastest and easiest way to get a second passport.

The process is straightforward: a country will confer citizenship upon you in exchange for an investment in the country or a purchase of real estate.

It will usually take about six months to get this done. So, don’t buy into one of the stories by the scam artists who promise to get you your passport in 60 days – it simply isn’t possible.

There normally isn’t a residency requirement. In fact, sometimes you don’t even need to visit!

Several countries offer economic citizenship programs ‘off the rack,’ with several others offering more tailored solutions.

In general, the prices for economic citizenship programs go up over time, with an occasional new player offering a lower price.

A common question we get asked here at Nomad Capitalist is: ‘Are economic citizenship programs worth it?’

They can be, especially if you need fast citizenship.

However, there are far cheaper ways to get your second citizenship if you’re willing to be patient or have a little luck on your side.

Here’s where you can get a citizenship by way of investing:

    • Malta
    • Vanuatu
    • Montenegro
    • Cyprus
    • Moldova
    • Jordan
    • Turkey
    • Kitts and Nevis
    • Dominica
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Grenada
    • Austria

4. ‘FAST-TRACK NATURALIZATION’

This is a bit of a curve-ball because there are no hard-cut rules to granting fast-track citizenship. Often referred to as citizenship by exception, the decision to grant fast-track citizenship is often at the discretion of the head of state, be it a president or a sultan.

A good example of fast-track naturalization is the Middle East. The countries there often want to recruit promising athletes from Africa to compete for them.

So, they’ll hand them a passport and grant them Qatari citizenship, for instance, and off they go to the Olympic games.

It has also happened in Asia where they have naturalized people who are extremely skilled in arts.

And a final opportunity presents itself to those who are willing to make a substantial investment (that will most likely be returned, often with a profit) in a country.

Beware: this isn’t equal to paying a guy in a trench coat to ‘out you in the system’ and spew out a passport.

We mean following a legal and constitutional process in which you can be granted citizenship based on special circumstances that are set out by the government.

5. CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALIZATION

This is where you spend time on the ground, build up legal residence time in another country, and eventually apply for citizenship as the ‘payoff’.

The same way you’ve seen immigrants attending ceremonies to become naturalized as American/British/Canadian/etc. citizens, you can become a naturalized citizen of another country.

If you’re willing to be patient, that is.

It’s a process that can take as little as two years or as many as 30. This will depend on the country where you’re seeking your second passport.

Some of these countries, like Canada, have strict requirements for physical presence in the country. For others, you may only need to set foot in the country once or twice a year.

Fun fact: Tina Turner had to live in Switzerland for at least twelve years before being eligible for citizenship there.

And, sometimes, there are cultural, language and historical knowledge exams too, not to mention that some countries will require you to relinquish any other citizenship(s) that you might have.

 
 
“Your passport defines your identity as much as it defines the places where you’re able to go and the countries you’re able to live in, invest in and bring your family to, if you wish.”

FASTEST COUNTRIES TO GET A SECOND PASSPORT BY NATURALIZATION

There are some countries that, no matter how long you live there, won’t make you a citizen.

Other countries require you to obtain temporary residence privileges before becoming a permanent resident and eventually applying for citizenship.

Here are the some of the easiest places to become a citizen through “boots on the ground” second residency.

 

1. URUGUAY

Nestled next to Argentina, Uruguay is one of the most developed countries in South America, with a high standard of living.

It is easy to get second residency in Uruguay, and you can apply for citizenship in three years if you’re married (singles can apply after five years).

However, you should actually live in Uruguay for the first year or so after applying for residency in order to show that you are serious and ensure that your future citizenship is attainable.

2. BRAZIL

Brazil offers one of the best travel documents in South America, and the country itself has every type of landscape and lifestyle you can imagine.

While Brazil is part of the embattled BRICs, you can become a Brazilian citizen in four years if you’re willing to start a business there or make an investment of roughly US$75,000 or more.

Brazil is also unique in that it does not extradite its citizens from Brazilian soil.

3. PARAGUAY

This emerging South American country offers a straight-forward permanent residency program that allows you to apply for citizenship after three years, provided you make some form of economic investment in the country.

This can be as simple as opening and funding a bank account with as little as $5,000.

You can also start a small business and pay yourself a taxable salary or invest several thousand dollars in Paraguayan stocks.

4. PANAMA

Panama’s Friendly Nations visa program makes it extremely easy for citizens of over forty countries to get residency there with a $5,000 bank deposit and one other “economic tie”, such as ownership in a Panamanian corporation.

Once you are legally resident in Panama, you can get citizenship in as little as five years.

5. CANADA

Believe it or not, Canada offers a fast timeline to naturalization.

The country recently abolished its Immigrant Investor Program, which means you’ll likely have to have a job in order to move there.

However, once you have official residence, you can apply for citizenship after just four years. It should be noted that you are required to spend all but a few months of that time in Canada, a rule that immigration officials will strictly enforce.