Dual citizenship arises when a person holds the citizenship of two or more countries simultaneously. Every country is sovereign in passing the laws regulating citizenship and the circumstances under which a person is granted, renounces or loses citizenship.
There are many benefits associated with dual citizenship. These benefits range from global mobility to a better quality of life and security. The below summarises some of the most notable benefits of dual citizenship:
Having more than one recognised citizenship expands an individual’s horizon with regards to easy access to additional countries. Less visa restrictions are encountered when travelling internationally, which saves time and money, and overall enhances freedom.
Individuals are exposed to a wider range of investment opportunities, some of which are more profitable than any other investment they may have been restricted to when holding a single citizenship.
Attaining citizenship in a country with esteemed education establishments will not only further an individual’s education in accordance with the highest of standards but will also expand work opportunities. In certain countries, citizens can also enjoy the benefits of a free education.
Living, working and doing business in a country which safeguards individual rights and heavily invests in public services greatly improves the quality of life. Dual citizenship gives the opportunity of living the dream in an ideal destination, whether it be the relaxed island life of the Caribbean or in the heart of the exquisite Mediterranean. People holding dual citizenship can exercise the rights conferred to them at law in both countries in which they hold citizenship- including running for office, holding office, voting in elections, and possessing property. Individuals may also benefit from advanced standards of healthcare which may be offered for free to citizens.
Superior financial security can be found in jurisdictions that are renowned for confidentiality and stability and promote extensive regulations and precautions. Better wealth management can be attained as a result of advantageous tax planning alternatives offered by a specific country, including the absence of hindering tax measures such as inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and tax on overseas income.
Dual citizenship can act as a gateway to peace of mind and security in another jurisdiction away from political and social unrest. Individuals can find sanctuary for themselves and their families in tranquil and idyllic countries away from violence, persecution, terrorism, or even environmental calamities.
Most countries today allow citizens to hold dual or multiple citizenship. However, there are still countries which pose restrictions or do not allow dual citizenship. Some countries that prohibit dual citizenship do make exceptions in special circumstances such as international treaties, or in the case where both of a child’s parents have two separate citizenships.
Whilst today most countries have adopted rules allowing for dual citizenship, there are still many countries which do not allow dual citizenship, or impose certain restrictions. Moreover, laws on dual citizenship very often do change over time.
You can consult the Dual Citizenship Report or the country profiles to identify if your country allows dual citizenship. Prior to starting the process of obtaining dual citizenship it is prudent to seek personal legal advice on the laws governing the status of Dual Citizenship.
Each country determines the laws through which citizenship can be acquired or granted, based on various criteria. The most common ways to attain dual citizenship are through:
Being born in country that grants citizenship by birth or to parents who are citizens of a country that grants citizenship by descent. In some countries, even if a certain individual is a non-resident, citizenship may still granted provided that the applicant’s parents were born in the country.
Naturalisation is the process whereby citizenship is granted to a foreign resident of a country, normally if a minimum number of years are met in which the person has resided in the country. The process requires an applicant to first have achieved permanent residency status. Irish law, for instance, dictates that a foreign person may become an Irish citizen if five years of reckonable residence are satisfied within a nine-year period.
Marrying a citizen of a foreign country generally grants an individual the ability to obtain residency within the country. However, several countries do offer expedited naturalisation to foreigners who marry citizens of their country. For instance, foreigners married to a Spanish citizen are able to apply for Spanish citizenship after only a year of tax residency in the country.
Foreign-born adopted children may, under conditions specific to different country legislations, automatically be granted citizenship provided that at least one adoptive parent is a citizen either by birth or through naturalisation.
Citizenship by Investment programmes allow investors to acquire a second citizenship through investments made in a foreign country.
People holding dual citizenship can exercise the rights conferred to them at law in the countries in which they hold citizenship. Persons attaining dual citizenship would in general be required to show a genuine link with the country issuing the citizenship.
The timeframe and the process for attaining dual citizenship is different for each programme and mainly depends on the situation and the country granting the citizenship. To ensure that your application will be successful you should seek legal advice from a specialised immigration lawyer that can guide you through the process.
Nowadays, many countries are offering citizenship by investment programmes to attract high net worth individuals, investors and their families. High net worth individuals are seeking to improve their international mobility in order to expand their businesses beyond national boundaries. They also opt for these programmes for tax planning purposes and to ensure family security.
Citizenship by investment programmes offer these investors a second citizenship by investing in the economy of the country granting the citizenship. Investment can range from real estate to government bonds and donations, bank deposits, and setting up new businesses.
For more information, on Citizenship by Investment programmes kindly check the Citizenship Programmes page or Contact Us.
The below is a list of the countries offering citizenship by investment programmes:
Seeking legal advice on the laws governing the status of dual citizenship in your country is ideal and highly recommended prior to starting the process of seeking a second citizenship. As a specialised professional law firm, Chetcuti Cauchi has well-grounded expertise in the areas of citizenship and investment. We will be glad to assist you further with any queries you may have.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to present up to date and correct information, the above does not constitute legal advice.