In today’s world, it’s no secret that we’re facing a lot of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how fragile our global economy can be. On top of that, we’ve seen a surge in unemployment, the aftermath of Brexit, and political turmoil in the United States.
During challenging times, our instinct to protect ourselves and our loved ones kicks in. And one way to secure a sense of stability is by considering dual citizenship.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a harsh wake-up call, affecting economies worldwide. Additionally, issues like rising unemployment, the impact of Brexit, and political instability in the United States have added to the global sense of uncertainty.
In times of trouble, it’s only natural to prioritize the safety and well-being of your family. And one effective way to do that is by exploring the option of obtaining dual citizenship.
What Is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship, simply put, means holding citizenship in more than one country alongside your original citizenship. It’s like having an extra layer of security and opportunity in an ever-changing world. Being a dual citizen can open up doors to greater global mobility and offer you a solid “plan B” when you need it most.
As a dual citizen, you gain the valuable advantage of increased flexibility, especially in times of political or economic instability in your home country.
Can Anyone Have Dual or Multiple Citizenship?
You’re absolutely right; not all countries permit dual citizenship. It’s indeed unfortunate that in some instances, acquiring a second passport might come at the cost of relinquishing your original citizenship. Whether this is a wise decision or not depends on your current nationality and the foreign citizenship you’re seeking.
In certain situations, trading your original nationality for a foreign one could be a strategic move worth considering. However, it’s a decision that should be carefully weighed, taking into account the specifics of your own nationality and the benefits of the foreign citizenship you’re pursuing.
Albania stands out as a country that fully embraces dual citizenship without any exceptions. Albanian citizens have the freedom to seek a second passport, and foreign nationals are also encouraged to apply for Albanian citizenship without the requirement to give up their original nationality.
Australia is a country that permits its citizens to pursue citizenship in another country or even hold multiple citizenships simultaneously.
In Barbados, both Barbadian citizens and foreign individuals have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship. Barbados welcomes its own citizens to hold dual nationality, and it also extends the same privilege to foreign individuals who wish to become dual nationals in the country.
Becoming a dual citizen in Bangladesh comes with some specific conditions. To maintain your Bangladeshi citizenship, you must maintain a clean criminal record for a continuous period of five years. If, during these five years, you are convicted and sentenced to imprisonment or fined for a criminal offense, your Bangladeshi citizenship may be revoked.
On the plus side, citizens of Bangladesh have the privilege of holding dual nationality, which means they can enjoy the benefits of another citizenship without forfeiting their original one.
Belgium’s stance on dual citizenship has undergone a notable change over the years. Prior to 2008, Belgian citizens were not permitted to hold another citizenship alongside their Belgian nationality. However, since 2008, Belgium has allowed dual citizenship, marking a significant shift in its policy.
Bulgaria has a complex history when it comes to citizenship. In the late 20th century, numerous Bulgarians gave up their citizenship when they emigrated. However, there is a possibility for these individuals and their descendants to reclaim their Bulgarian citizenship.
Furthermore, ethnic Bulgarians have the option to hold a second citizenship. But it’s worth noting that foreign citizens who choose to become naturalized in Bulgaria are typically required to renounce their original citizenship as part of the process.
Canada is among the countries that allow dual citizenship. What’s particularly intriguing about Canada is that a significant number of its citizens are born in the United States, resulting in them holding both Canadian and US citizenship.
In fact, there’s even a special term for individuals born in one country and having citizenship in the other: they are affectionately known as “Border Babies,” whether they are Canadians born in the US or Americans born in Canada.
The Chilean government adopts a dual citizenship-friendly policy. This means that Chilean citizens have the option to hold dual citizenship without any restrictions. Moreover, when foreigners become naturalized Chilean citizens, they are not required to renounce their original citizenship, allowing them to maintain their dual nationality.
Becoming a Colombian citizen is a flexible process that doesn’t require you to give up your current citizenship, thanks to Colombia’s acceptance of dual citizenship. Additionally, if you have a child born in the country, they automatically become a Colombian citizen, and as a parent, you may be eligible to acquire Colombian citizenship in as little as two years.
Costa Rica embraces the concept of dual citizenship, extending this privilege to both its native citizens and foreign individuals who go through the naturalization process in the country.
Croatia’s stance on dual nationality can be a bit intricate, similar to Bulgaria. If you are an ethnic Croatian who gained Croatian citizenship either by birth or descent, you have the freedom to hold another citizenship alongside it. However, it’s important to note that if you wish to obtain Croatian citizenship, you will generally be required to renounce any other citizenship you hold as a prerequisite.
Cyprus not only permits dual citizenship but also boasts its own citizenship by investment program. Under this initiative, foreign individuals have the opportunity to apply for Cypriot citizenship in return for making a qualifying investment in the country. This approach aligns with Cyprus’s policy of welcoming dual citizenship.
Prior to 2014, the Czech Republic strictly prohibited its citizens from holding any form of “other allegiances,” aligning with its strong nationalist principles. However, starting in 2014, there was a shift in policy, and citizens in the Czech Republic became free to hold dual citizenship.
Denmark became part of the group of countries permitting dual citizenship in 2015. Before this change, all Danish citizens were required to hold only Danish citizenship, as Denmark did not recognize dual citizenship during that period.
The Dominican Republic offers a citizenship by investment program that grants citizenship in return for real estate investments. This program aligns with the country’s policy of allowing dual citizenship.
Egyptian citizens have the freedom to hold multiple nationalities, but it comes with certain obligations. They are required to declare this status to the Egyptian authorities. If an Egyptian citizen acquires a second citizenship, they must inform the government within one year about their intention to retain their original citizenship.
It’s worth noting that Egyptian dual nationals face restrictions when it comes to military and police academies enrollment. They are exempt from mandatory military service and are not eligible for election to the Egyptian Parliament.
Finland has been recognizing dual citizenship since 2003. Since that year, foreign nationals who undergo naturalization to become Finnish citizens are allowed to retain their original citizenship as well.
Citizens of France have enjoyed the freedom to hold dual or multiple citizenships for many years. In fact, France actively opposed the Council of Europe’s proposal, which aimed to limit the number of citizens holding multiple nationalities.
Greece stands as one of the countries that embrace dual citizenship, granting Greek citizens the option to hold a second passport if they wish to do so.
Additionally, Greece offers a noteworthy Golden Visa program, which enables foreign individuals to secure permanent residency by making a real estate investment in the country. If you’re interested in this program, you can find more details about it here.
Hungary generally permits dual citizenship.
Iceland became part of the group of countries recognizing dual citizenship in 2003. Furthermore, there were cases where individuals lost their Icelandic status under the previous system. To address this, Iceland allowed them a four-year window to apply for reinstatement of their citizenship.
Ireland is one of the countries that permits dual citizenship, which means its citizens can hold citizenship from another country as well. What’s noteworthy is that Ireland has a unique provision that allows individuals with Irish ancestors to claim an Irish passport, even if they were not born in Ireland themselves.
It’s fascinating to note that despite Ireland having a population of approximately 4.9 million, there are nearly 14 million Irish passports in circulation. This phenomenon highlights the strong global Irish diaspora and the appeal of Irish citizenship to people with Irish heritage.
Israel permits its citizens to acquire citizenship in another country if they wish to do so. Furthermore, Israel has a notable passport program known as the Law of Return, which grants the opportunity for any Jewish individual to return to Israel and obtain a second passport. The Israeli government allows these individuals to retain their original passport alongside their Israeli one.
The Italian government extends citizenship to individuals with Italian heritage. Those who can demonstrate their Italian ancestry have the option to become naturalized Italian citizens. Importantly, you’re not required to give up your existing citizenship if you obtain dual citizenship in Italy.
Jamaica generally allows dual citizenship.
Kosovo presents a unique situation in the realm of multiple citizenship. Serbia does not acknowledge Kosovo as an independent state, and as a result, many Kosovars possess a distinctive Serbian passport issued by a special passport office in Belgrade. Furthermore, a significant number of Kosovars also hold a second or even a third citizenship from countries they have migrated to. This makes Kosovo one of the countries that permits dual citizenship.
Latvia became part of the group of countries permitting dual citizenship in 2013, which was seen as a positive development. Notably, Latvia offers an option for foreign investors to secure residency by either starting a business or making real estate investments in the country. While this isn’t a direct citizenship by investment scheme, it can potentially lead to Latvian citizenship. Eligibility for citizenship typically arises after ten years of continuous residence in Latvia.
Malta embraces the concept of dual citizenship, allowing its citizens to hold multiple nationalities if they choose to do so. Additionally, Malta offers a program known as the Malta Investment Immigrant Program (MIIP), which enables investors to acquire Maltese citizenship by making a specified investment.
Mexico allows individuals who are Mexican by birth to hold citizenship in another country, although they will always be considered Mexican by the government. Furthermore, Mexican dual citizens are required to use their Mexican passport for entering and leaving the country.
In Nigeria, dual nationality is allowed, although there is some cultural pressure on those seeking foreign citizenship.
Pakistan, with a significant population living abroad, permits its citizens to have foreign citizenship, recognizing the importance of the “Overseas Pakistani” community in its economy, as they often send remittances back to Pakistan.
Panama’s stance on dual citizenship is technically forbidding the acquisition of a second nationality. While those becoming Panamanian citizens through naturalization are required to renounce their previous citizenship, this oath may not be recognized by some countries, potentially allowing dual citizenship.
In Peru, like many Latin American countries, dual citizenship is often allowed, especially for citizens of other Latin countries, including Spain.
Filipino citizens obtaining a second passport don’t lose their original citizenship. However, it’s challenging for foreigners to acquire citizenship in the Philippines, making dual citizens mostly Filipinos who acquired foreign citizenship.
Portugal boasts a notably successful Golden Visa program, which provides an opportunity for individuals to attain residency in the country through various investment avenues, including real estate. Over time, this residency can evolve into permanent residency, and in certain cases, it can even qualify the investor for Portuguese citizenship.
Portugal operates a successful Golden Visa program, offering residency to those who invest in real estate or other options. This can eventually lead to permanent residency and even citizenship, indicating that Portugal allows dual citizenship.
Romania doesn’t revoke the citizenship of Romanians who acquire a second passport, and it often grants dual citizenship to Moldovans.
Serbia offers a citizenship by descent program and permits those who become naturalized to have dual citizenship.
Slovenia allows those who are Slovenian by birth to obtain another citizenship, but individuals often must renounce their existing citizenship if they become naturalized there.
South Africa, until 1995, prohibited its citizens from traveling on foreign passports. Between 1995 and 2014, South Africa required citizens seeking citizenship in another country to declare their intention first. In 2014, South Africa joined the list of countries permitting dual citizenship. South African citizens are required to enter and leave the country using their South African passport. Foreigners who gain South African citizenship are not required to renounce their original one.
In South Korea, the rules around dual nationality are somewhat complex. Those who are dual nationals at birth can retain both passports, provided they declare their intention to keep their South Korean nationality before turning 22. Adult citizens in South Korea are generally not allowed to pursue a second passport. However, expats living in South Korea who obtain citizenship through the citizenship by investment program can retain their original citizenship.
Spain allows dual citizenship for Spanish citizens, provided they inform the Spanish government within three years of obtaining their foreign citizenship. Some exceptions exist for natural citizens of Portugal, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Iberoamerican countries.
Spain offers a Golden Visa program that grants individuals permanent residence in the country in return for a qualifying investment. Interestingly, this program can also serve as a potential pathway to citizenship, making it akin to a citizenship by investment program.
St Kitts & Nevis
Many Caribbean nations, including St. Kitts & Nevis, embrace dual citizenship. St. Kitts & Nevis, with one of the world’s oldest citizenship by investment programs, has been a magnet for investors, drawn by the allure of a robust passport and a warm climate. As a result, it naturally falls into the category of countries permitting dual citizenship.
In 2001, Sweden eliminated the law prohibiting multiple citizenships, ushering in an era where foreigners can acquire Swedish citizenship without relinquishing their birth citizenship. Swedes themselves are also free to hold multiple citizenships, without any restrictions.
Switzerland boasts a significant number of dual nationals, with approximately 60% of Swiss nationals living abroad holding dual citizenship. Switzerland warmly welcomes dual nationality.
In Syria, children born in the country are automatically granted Syrian citizenship. For foreigners, obtaining Syrian citizenship can be challenging, requiring marriage to a Syrian citizen and ten years of residency. Technically, Syrian citizens are allowed to have dual citizenship, but they are not permitted to renounce their Syrian citizenship under any circumstances, as the government maintains a policy of “Once Syrian, always Syrian.”
Turkey has an interesting approach to dual nationals, as they are not obliged to use their Turkish passport for entry or exit. However, Turkish citizens acquiring foreign citizenship must navigate a thorough paperwork process with the relevant authorities.
The United Kingdom has allowed its citizens to hold dual citizenship since 1948, as established by the Nationality Act. Nevertheless, in some British Overseas Territories like Anguilla, citizens may forfeit their ability to obtain British citizenship if they acquire another nationality. The UK has a straightforward process for permanent residents to become eligible for British citizenship after meeting residency requirements.
The United States of America permits its citizens to hold multiple nationalities. However, during the application process for a US passport, individuals may be required to declare what the US government refers to as “other allegiances.” It’s essential to note that having a Green Card, which provides permanent residence, is distinct from dual citizenship.
Venezuela embraces dual citizenship, granting anyone born on Venezuelan soil the irrevocable right to citizenship.
Now that we’ve discussed countries that allow dual citizenship, let’s delve into those that have different policies. Some countries strictly do not allow dual citizenship, while others permit it only under specific circumstances. This is what the next section will explore.