What makes a second citizenship and passport so valuable? There are many benefits to having one, but they all boil down to one simple principle: freedom.
A second passport is the ultimate in personal protective insurance.
Your passport is the property of the government that issued it. If your government doesn’t want you to travel internationally, it can simply revoke your passport, leaving you stranded in your own country. If you live outside your “home” country, if your home government revokes your passport, you’ll be forced to return. Any residence visa will be linked to a valid passport. If that passport is revoked, you’ll eventually lose the visa as well.
It’s apparent that governments view a passport—and the ability to travel internationally—as a “gift” rather than the natural human right we all should have.
Having a second (or even third) passport lessens your reliance on any one government. With another passport, you’ll always have the right to live somewhere else.
A second passport can give you the right to reside in other countries. With a passport from Ireland, for instance, you not only have the right to live in Ireland, but also the right to live and work in any of the 28 EU member countries.
It avoids you having to disclose your primary nationality, should you ever need to keep that a secret. A second passport from a country like the Commonwealth of Dominica gives you a travel document from a politically neutral country. Dominica maintains friendly relations with counties as diverse as the People’s Republic of China, Cuba…and even the U.S.
If you’re thinking of going down the road of expatriation, having a second passport can help you prepare for that. For Americans, expatriation—that is, giving up your existing U.S. citizenship and passport—is the only way to permanently and legally eliminate U.S. tax obligations.
Unquestionably, the best way to acquire a second passport is to take advantage of your ancestry or marital status. Almost every country has a program offering citizenship or passports to individuals with a family history (parent or sometimes grandparent) in that nation. Examples include Ireland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Greece. Many countries allow spouses of citizens to apply for citizenship and a passport, usually after a specified period of residence.
A handful of countries offer “instant” citizenship in return for an economic contribution or investment (for example, Panama, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, and Chile). In almost every country, you can acquire citizenship following a period of prolonged residence.
Whatever option you choose for a second passport, be sure you have all the correct information before applying for it. There’s a lot of bad advice out there.