Originally published at: Dual Citizenship: All You Need To Know
Dual citizenship is a common question in our community. As a community of digital nomads, freelancers, and expats, we’re interested to know more about dual citizenship both for ourselves and members of our community. In this guide, we’re going to cover all aspects of dual citizenship.
Dual citizenship is when you’re a citizen of two different countries at the same time. Let’s say you were born in the States but acquired Portuguese citizenship after you’ve lived in Portugal for some time. This could be the other way around; you were born in Portugal but then relocated to the States and got US citizenship. This could be the same scenario for many countries as most nations allow dual citizenship. Now, after a quick introduction, let’s begin!
Why Get Dual Citizenship
The answer to “Why get a second citizenship?” is obvious, as getting second citizenship gives you the rights of that country which is a huge bonus in most cases. Think of it, you’re from a third country and every time you want to travel to Europe, you get a visa. Or you want to work in your residence country but your visa doesn’t allow you employment rights. Dual citizenship solves most of these questions. We’ve done a quick survey in our community and asked our members why they’ve got a second passport. Here’s what they say.
Get Employment Rights
This has been the most common answer to our question. As digital nomads and expats, our community members like the freedom of working in the country they live in, without any bureaucracy and paperwork.
Avoid the Hassle in Visa Processing
If you’re going to live in a foreign country and plan to travel back and forth, you’re going to need another permission after a period of time. Being a citizen of that country eliminates this problem. You’re free to come and stay anytime.
Access the Quality Healthcare
This is another motivation to seek a second passport. Let’s take Portugal as an example. Thanks to its quality healthcare services, it’s one of the popular countries in Europe to get citizenship from. Spain and Ireland also are among the favorites.
Expand Your Educational Options
Education is another incentive when looking for a second passport. With a second passport from a country where education is superior, you can provide better schooling options for your children. Think that you’re getting citizenship from a country where English is the native language. This is a huge benefit for your children. Paying low or no fees is a bonus!
Why Not Get Dual Citizenship
Well, let’s be open. As every rose has its thorns, there are some disadvantages of dual citizenship, too. Although they’re minor compared to the perks, it’s wise to consider them before you make a decision.
Paying Double Taxes
Here is one of the biggest drawbacks. If you’re a citizen of two countries, you’ll be subject to taxes based on your income. However, most countries eliminate this via their double taxation treaty. For example, Portugal has double tax agreements with more than 70 countries which comes as a huge relief. Spain and Greece also have these agreements. Still, it’s wise to check the details with a tax lawyer as there might be some situations that require special attention.
Serving in the Military
Becoming a citizen of a country comes with responsibilities. Military service is one of these. In some countries, military service is mandatory for male citizens, such as in Turkey. If you require Turkish citizenship before the age of 21, you might be required to complete military service. But if you’ve already completed your military service in your country of origin, you might be exempted. As for the taxation issue, make sure you get all the legal obligations before you make a commitment.
Spending Too Much Time
Yes, getting dual citizenship sounds perfect but it’s true that it takes time. In most countries, you at least need to wait a minimum of 5 years to get your citizenship. So before you make a decision, make sure you have enough time and funds to spend in that country.
How To Get Dual Citizenship
Now that we’ve listed all the pros and cons, it’s time to talk about the “how”.
Let’s have a look.
Citizenship by Investment
This is an easy route. But pricey at the same time. Today many countries offer citizenship by investment, which means you invest in the country in return for citizenship. Investment routes may differ but they’re generally based on real estate acquisition, fund subscription, or donation. If you have the funds, note that Portugal or Malta might be the ideal solution for you. Check our article on Citizenship by Investment for a better understanding.
Naturalization is the process where you’re residing in a country for a period of time and you become eligible for citizenship once you complete the residency requirement. This is a long journey but if you’re already made up your mind about living in that country, it’s worth it.
For example, the USA and Ireland allow you to become eligible for citizenship after you’ve lived in the country for a minimum of five years. For Spain, it’s 10 years. Check out our Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship article for further reading.
Some countries also require you to pass a language test.
This is another way to get dual citizenship. If your spouse is from another country than your own, you can apply to get citizenship from that country too. The good thing is this route takes shorter than naturalization. For example, if you’re living in the US and married to a US citizen, you can get your citizenship after three years, instead of five.
There you have it. We’ve given you the basics for dual citizenship. If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email or join the discussion in our forum.