Family Ties: Your Path to a Second Passport

When you hold a second passport, a world of opportunities opens up to help you protect your finances, safeguard your privacy, and grow your financial nest egg free from high taxes.

A second passport gives you the ability to travel to and live in countries visa-free…a degree of added insurance against an American collapse, catastrophe, or other domestic dangers…and most importantly, the ability to engage in investments and tax planning that’s mostly off-limits to Americans.

There’s an assumption that getting a second passport takes a lot of effort. But what if you could get one with little or no effort at all? What if you were owed a second passport?

The key to this situation may lurk in your family tree.

Irish law provides an automatic right to claim Irish citizenship based on ancestry.

The principle of jus sanguinis (Latin for “right of blood”) describes a right to citizenship resulting for descendants from the nationality of their parents or grandparents. That’s exactly what Irish law grants. Over 39 million U.S. citizens claim Irish heritage, and any of those who are third generation or less could be eligible to become dual Irish citizens.

Irish nationality law views blood lines as determining a birthright to citizenship—even without ever having lived in the country. Citizenship is governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts of 1956 and 1986. These laws confer Irish nationality by means of: one’s birth in Ireland; by Irish parentage or ancestry, and; by marriage to an Irish citizen.

If you were born outside of Ireland, and either your mother or father (or both) was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are entitled to Irish citizenship.

There are two circumstances under which a great-grandchild is eligible to apply for Irish citizenship by descent:

  • If the parent (the grandchild of the Irish-born person) registered before the great-grandchild was born;
  • If the parent (the grandchild of the Irish-born person) registered before June 30, 1986 and the great-grandchild was born after July 17, 1956.

Marriage to an Irish citizen also entitles a foreign spouse to Irish citizenship. To claim citizenship by marriage you must:

  • Be married for at least three years;
  • Have had one year of “continuous residence” in Ireland immediately before your application; and
  • Have been living in Ireland for at least two of the four years before the one year of continuous residence.

An Irish passport opens the door for full personal and commercial access to the entire European Union. That includes the right to travel, work, own real estate, and live anywhere within the 28 EU countries, plus access to free healthcare when traveling within the EU.

The relative ease of obtaining an Irish passport makes them popular.

Total Irish passports issued in 2016 increased by almost 10%. In January 2017, Irish passport requests from Great Britain went up 74% from the same month in 2016, because of the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” referendum to quit European Union membership. The Irish Passport Office had to hire hundreds of temporary staff to deal with the flood of requests.

Other EU countries that issue passports based on ancestry include Hungary, Italy, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Greece. Germany grants citizenship to descendants of ancestors persecuted by the Nazis.

Even if you don’t qualify for an Irish passport based on your ancestors, Ireland also offers an extensive immigration program allowing foreign investors and their families to acquire immediate residence and eventual citizenship.

But for European-inclined U.S. citizens with blood ties across the Atlantic, it’s much easier to use family ties.

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