Why More Americans Are Getting Second Passports

June marks my sixth month with International Living. I’ve been having a great time researching and writing about global diversification… especially options for second citizenships around the world.

One thing I’ve learned is that the number of IL readers considering a second citizenship is rising rapidly. Indeed, international migration experts report that Americans are the fastest growing group of applicants for long term visas and passports from foreign countries.

This is not a bad thing! As a dual citizen myself, I have personal experience of the advantages holding more than one passport gives you.

Nevertheless, there’s no question but that the current wave of interest in second citizenships is based on some sobering realities about the world we live in today.

The first is that the United States is entering a period of growing instability that could last a generation or more. People are increasingly uncomfortable with what the future might bring… especially since it is so uncertain. Having a Plan B in case things get considerably worse makes a lot of sense to more and more of us.

Make no mistake: this is not about abandoning America or registering a vote of no confidence in it. It’s just a sensible reaction to the situation. After all, we may be Americans, but we’re also human beings with our own interests to protect.

The second factor is increasing awareness that wealth is ultimately about options.

People don’t work hard to accumulate money for its own sake. They do it because it gives you options. As the great Indian economist Amartya Sen argued decades ago, wealth and poverty boil down to access to options… or the lack of them.

Looked at this way, it’s clear that one of the greatest forms of wealth one can acquire is the option to live, invest, and plan a future for one’s self and one’s descendants in another environment.

That’s precisely why the international migration press is dominated by reports of wealthy Americans pursuing second passports. By some estimates, 15% to 20% of Americans in the high-net-worth category are either actively pursuing another citizenship or are planning to do so.

I have good reason to understand why they would do this: I’ve just exercised my own option to choose another environment for myself and my family.

By a great stroke of luck for both of us, International Living reached out to me to join the team just as my family and I we’re in the final stages of preparing to return to our second home in Cape Town, South Africa. So, I’m not just writing about the benefits of multiple citizenships… I’m actively living that life myself.

But holding multiple citizenships is hardly the only or even main qualification for being IL’s Chief Global Diversification Expert.

I've been researching and writing about global diversification, wealth protection, and international investment for years. I’ve published three books and numerous journal articles on the subject. Media groups like Forbes, Fortune, Fox Business, and Barron’s have interviewed me on these topics. I've travelled to over 90 countries in my career.

That's why my work at International Living is about to expand significantly. My team and I are currently working on two exciting projects that will go beyond just talking about global diversification and second passports. We're going to offer you concrete ideas and tools to pursue them practically.

Frankly, I get tired of seeing the mainstream press treat global diversification and as either the preserve of the ultra-wealthy or as implicit evidence of wrongdoing. Most people who take advantage of there are options for global citizenship are ordinary everyday folks like you and me.

For example, I recently read not one but three separate articles about middle-class American families of modest means who decided to move abroad. They found the process affordable and doable and are thrilled in their new environments.

My mission at International Living is to go beyond just highlighting these opportunities. I want to make them practical and affordable for you.

That's why in the coming weeks, I'll be announcing a new opportunity for IL readers aimed squarely at the opportunities presented by a global approach to citizenship!


Ted Baumann is International Living’s Chief Global Diversification Expert. He's traveled to nearly 90 countries and is a dual citizen of the United States and South Africa. Ted has been published in international research journals, as well as in media outlets such as Barrons, Forbes, and Cheddar. Learn more about Ted Baumann here.

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