Dual citizenship can have many advantages, but in some cases disadvantages. It does not matter whether, for example, we do not have to pay double taxes in exchange for greater travel freedom, or whether the application procedure takes too long.
What is dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship means that a person is a full citizen of two or even more countries.
The process is usually the result of a legal procedure. This may happen automatically if, for example, a child is born abroad. But you may also need to start it manually if, for example, you are in a foreign country with a residence permit long enough. In the United States, we can apply for citizenship 3 years after obtaining a green card after we have married an American citizen.
Not all countries contribute to this, so you may want to check carefully if the country where you are currently a citizen allows it.
What are the benefits and other privileges of dual citizenship?
Freedom to travel is a matter of course, but we can also gain many additional benefits as a dual citizen. In both countries, we can vote, have access to public health care and, of course, work, depending on the laws of those countries.
Business opportunities, real estate
It can open up new business opportunities for dual citizens, with the benefits of greater travel freedom. This can be especially useful in countries where citizenship is conditional on the purchase of real estate or land ownership. However, as a dual citizen, we can operate more freely in the real estate market.
A passport from a second country can even be a life-saving security in the event that living conditions in the home country may become precarious for political, economic, or any other reason. Of course, in this case, we must also pay attention to our obligations, because we may have to comply with the laws of both countries.
Travel freedom, mobility
Many countries around the world are pretty strict about what kind of citizens they admit to their territory. However, obtaining a passport that offers greater travel freedom can relieve you of the burden of constantly having to apply for various temporary visas during our travels. In addition, the entry process can be simplified, we will have to go through fewer controls when crossing the border.
Quality of life
Some countries provide their citizens with access to a significantly more advanced health care system or education – which you, as a dual citizen, can access.
Dual citizenship can also be beneficial for tax purposes. For example, some countries tax only income earned on their own territory, giving investors more freedom to manage their money. We need to pay attention to the rules of those countries: the United States, for example, can tax not only income earned in its own country, but income earned in any country in the world. There may, of course, be exceptions to this: New Zealand, for example, regulates taxation for dual U.S. citizens in a separate convention.
How do I become a dual citizen?
Acquisition of dual citizenship can be achieved in several ways:
There are countries that provide the opportunity to acquire citizenship if the parents were born in that country. In Hungary, for example, a child living abroad can acquire Hungarian citizenship if his or her parents are already Hungarian citizens.
During naturalization, citizenship can be acquired by staying in the country for a certain period of time with a residence permit. In Canada, for example, foreigners who have been officially resident for at least 4 years can apply for citizenship. Holders of a residence permit, such as students, must first obtain a residence permit, but years spent in the country afterwards are already included in the process. But of course this is different for each country.
In some countries, we can acquire citizenship by marrying a local citizen. Canada, for example, is a country where we can automatically obtain a residence permit because of our spouse’s nationality.
More and more countries are offering the opportunity to acquire citizenship through investment through various investment programs. If we have the capital to invest and we invest it in a pre-determined country, we can get a residence permit, which can be a straightforward way to acquire citizenship.
Which countries currently allow dual citizenship?
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- South Africa
- Dominican Republic
- United Kingdom
- Ivory Coast
- Hong Kong
- East Timor
- Sri Lanka
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- New Zealand
- Green Verde
Be sure to consult an expert about current laws and regulations.