Everything You Need to Know About Obtaining a Second Passport
Does obtaining a second passport seem unnecessary? What’s the benefit of another passport in addition to the one you already have? A dual citizenship can have several benefits you may not even have considered. From being able to visit more countries with fewer hassles, to being eligible for education in your second country of choice, the benefits of a second passport are multiple. But, of course, obtaining a second citizenship is not the same everywhere. Some countries have a more liberal outlook towards offering citizenship to foreign nationals while others have a more stringent approach to it. Also, not all passports are equally powerful.
So, if you are thinking of getting a second passport, it is important to know where it is easier to obtain one and which passports have the most value worldwide.
What is dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship means having citizenship of two countries simultaneously. With dual citizenship, you are eligible to hold passports of both nations. Dual citizenship gives you the freedom to live, work, study and buy property in both countries, and travel to many different countries relatively easily. In other words, with dual citizenship, you enjoy all the privileges of being a citizen in both countries in which you hold a passport. But the process of applying for dual citizenship and a second passport can be quite complex. Many countries don’t even offer dual citizenship. For example, the United States allows dual citizenship with many countries but others like China, Japan, India, Lithuania, etc. do not allow dual citizenship.
Also, in some cases, an individual is eligible for dual citizenship automatically. For instance, if a child is born in the United States to parents who are citizens of another country, the child automatically gains US citizenship along with citizenship of their origin country. In other cases, there is a specified legal process for obtaining dual citizenship, where citizenship is granted if the individual fulfills all the eligibility criteria set by the country.
What are the benefits of a second passport?
The biggest advantage that dual citizenship offers is two passports. You have the choice to use either of your passports if and when you need them. How does this help? This helps because some passports may be more powerful in certain parts of the world. For instance, if you have a second passport from the EU – say one of the Schengen Zone countries – you can travel to any other Schengen area country freely. This means you won’t have to show your national ID or passport when moving across countries in the region, which is usually not possible with your other passport.
Some major benefits you can enjoy with a second passport are –
- Visa-free travel to many countries. Most countries allow travelers from certain countries to enter without a visa. With a second passport, the list of visa-free destinations becomes longer.
- Longer stays in certain countries with a travel visa. Travel visas usually offer very little time for you to stay in the country. But often, nations allow tourists from certain countries to stay on longer even with a travel visa. Your second passport could give you this privilege if you choose wisely.
- You cannot be denied entry at the borders of both countries. In certain situations, nations often lock their borders to foreign nationals, as we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic. But citizens are given entry at all times. With a second passport, you will be free to enter both your countries without restrictions, except for some minor protocols like quarantine and such.
- Consular protection from two countries. When you are traveling to another country, you can seek assistance or protection during emergencies from consulates of either of the countries you hold passports of. For instance, if a war breaks out in the country you are traveling in, you can go to either of your home nations’ consulates for protection.
- You are subject to the laws of both countries and enjoy the privileges of both as well. From owning property to gaining education, you will be governed by the same rules as any other citizen in both countries.
- Opens new entrepreneurial opportunities for you across the world. You are free to work and do business in both your countries. Also, some nations have fewer rules and requirements when it comes to supporting businesses. So you may have an added advantage with a second passport from such nations.
How can I get a second passport?
There are many ways an individual may be eligible for dual citizenship. Here are some to start with.
Citizenship by descent is when your parents or grandparents were citizens of the country whose passport you seek to obtain. In such cases, many countries will grant you citizenship by descent if you can prove your ancestry. Examples of countries that will give you a passport through ancestry are Germany, Ireland, Poland, Israel, etc.
Citizenship by marriage is also quite common. Many countries offer fast-track naturalization in case a citizen marries a foreign national. These include countries like France and the U.S.
If you can afford it, you can get a second passport by investing in a country’s economy. Investing in science and tech research, real estate, industry, etc. in some countries gives you the privilege to apply for citizenship too. For instance, Portugal has a Gold Visa Program for investors, under which you can live and work in Portugal for up to 5 years on the Golden Visa through significant investment. After 5 years, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship. Many other countries like St. Lucia, Dominica, Malta, Grenada, Egypt, etc. also offer extremely affordable investment options for anyone looking for citizenship by investment.
This method is where an individual makes their way to citizenship in a country gradually by living and working in the country legally for a long time. Often there are certain requirements to be fulfilled for citizenship by naturalization. For instance, you may have to reside in the country continuously for at least 5 years before applying. You may also have to appear for language tests and more.
Which are the best countries to get a second passport?
The country from which you seek a second passport will depend on your personal needs and preferences of course. But there are some countries where it may be easier to get a second passport, particularly if you have a line of descent or a certain sum for investment. Some of these countries are –
There are many other options of course, but these are some of the easiest to get in. Getting a second passport from any of the EU nations will also give you access to one of the largest free travel regions in the world. This makes an EU passport a lucrative option too. Weigh your options and find a country that best fits into your future plans.
Consult our immigration lawyers
Now that you know why dual citizenship is important and how to get a second passport, you are already halfway there. But before you decide to take your first step, it is always best to consult the experts. Our immigration lawyers can help you decide where to apply for dual citizenship and guide you through the application process. With a little help, your dream of obtaining a second passport could soon be a reality.