Dual Nationality

With economic, social, and political benefits, dual nationality is an enticing option for people around the world.

It has never been a better time to be a dual national. In an increasingly globalised world where sociopolitical crises echo around across countries, having the freedom to choose and freedom to move is a gift. With economic, social, and political benefits, dual nationality is an enticing option for people around the world.

Both a privilege and an honour, dual nationals can live cross-cultural, varied, and exciting lives in two different countries.

Dual citizenship can open up many doors for people who are seeking better futures, whether they are seeking economic stability, more democratic political systems, stronger healthcare systems or better educational outcomes.

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) offers a reliable option for those seeking dual citizenship.

What is dual nationality?

To have dual nationality, also known as dual citizenship, a person has citizenship of two countries at the same time. This gives them obligations, rights, and responsibilities to both states.


What are the advantages of dual nationality?

Dual nationals can enjoy the best educational, financial, cultural, and political outcomes. For individuals from politically or financially unstable countries, attaining a second nationality can provide a necessary ‘Plan B’.

Citizenship by Investment: a credible Plan B for dual nationals

dual nationality CBI

The many benefits of dual nationality can extend to the entire family if dual nationality is pursued via a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. For example, the CBI programmes of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis allow families of applicants to become dual nationals.

This means that the perks of dual citizenship are not limited to applicants only, but also guarantee their families the high standard of quality of life pursued by those gaining citizenship by investment.

Typically, a dual citizen can fully participate in the political life of both countries which they hold nationality. This means that they can vote in two countries, run for office, or join a political party.

This helps answer one critique of dual nationality, which contends that dual nationality makes an individual less patriotic and splits their loyalties away from one state. Rather, dual citizens can feel a deep affinity for two countries, and politically participate in both.

Enhanced educational and health opportunities

dual nationality education

People with dual nationality can also feel the peace of mind which comes from having a favourable environment for health and education.

Different countries offer different levels of health and educational opportunities. Choosing a country with a better healthcare system than your native country means that you and your family can feel taken care of.

Similarly, moving to a country with strong educational institutions can help you improve your life outcomes, along with the life outcomes of your family. For example, you can acquire a second citizenship in a country with strong universities, if you are considering gaining another degree.

Additionally, you can become a dual national of a country with strong schools for your children, helping to set up your family for success.

Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis both have good, strong schools along with good societal infrastructure, to help dual nationals attain a high quality of life.

A way out from crime and political instability

Additionally, dual nationals can feel at home in a politically stable country through pursuing citizenship by investment.

Particularly relevant for individuals or families hailing from countries with weak rule of law protections, one party states, or weak governments, dual nationality provides a way to escape poor governance in favour of a stronger democracy.

Being able to rely on a free press, trustworthy media and impartial courts reinforces a person’s feeling of safety. Many of the best CBI programmes are located in safe, low crime countries.

For example, St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica both have low crime rates and political stability, too. The countries also take pride in a free press and have robust opposition parties.

History of dual nationality

Though formal state recognition of dual nationality came quite late, beginning in the twentieth century, many informally promoted ideals of dual nationality. Scholars also promoted these ideals.

Dual nationality: a philosophical ideal

Philosophy, especially Ancient Greek and later Enlightenment philosophy, became supportive of the ideals which underpin dual nationality.

Ancient Greeks such as Socrates and Diogenes were cosmopolitans, seeing themselves as citizens of the world.

Enlightenment philosophers such as Grotius argued for a ‘great society of states,’ governed by ‘law of nations’ that applies to ‘all states.’ This paved the way for ideas of global citizenship.

States with multiple nationalities within their borders gradually became more comfortable with citizens who were able to concurrently hold multiple layers of national belonging.

Global citizenship as a concept traversed the boundaries between nations, to support a more transnational approach to international relations.

As this approach changed, people became more open-minded of dual citizenship.

Adjusting to dual nationals in a globalised world

dual nationality history

Why do some countries allow dual citizenship?

The philosophical ideals promoted by Grotius and others showcased that laws prohibiting dual nationality were becoming increasingly anachronistic.

By the twentieth century, the flow of information, financial markets and culture across borders made it too difficult for many states to ban dual nationality.

For example, in 1930, the League of Nations Codification Conference at the Hague attempted to codify one set of nationality rules into one global treaty. This treaty attempted to ban dual citizenship but failed to receive ratification by most states.

In 1948, the United Kingdom passed the British Nationality Act, which took away dual citizenship restrictions.

Also in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated that ‘Everyone has a right to a nationality.’ Later in the document, the Universal Declaration notes that ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.’

These statements led to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 1961, which put obligations on states to grant nationality to people residing in their territory who would otherwise be stateless.

Later, the United States’s 1967 Afroyim v. Rusk ruling banned the US government from removing dual citizenship from Americans without their consent. This ruling was later backed up with legislation in 1990.

Canada legalised dual nationality in 1976, through the Canadian Citizenship Act.

Now, dual nationality is something well-respected and increasingly common around the globe. Dual nationals are respected for their high level of education, mobility, and culture.

Dual nationality: a modern take on an age-old question

Though dual citizenship has become more popular recently, the ideals that back it up — safety, global citizenship, community, the rule of law — are nothing new.

In this way, dual nationality is one way to answer the age-old question: how can we make the future better, not just for us but for the next generation?

Dual nationality is thus something both old and new, a way to face present and past challenges to better cope the challenges of the future.