Dual citizenship

If citizenship is an honour and a privilege, then dual citizenship is doubly so.

The 21st Century presents stark, multifaceted geopolitical challenges, from environmental catastrophe to political upheaval, to financial turmoil. Dual citizenship cannot solve these problems by itself, but it can help global citizens meet these problems head on.

Dual citizenship offers a plan B for individuals who want better educational, health, political or economic outcomes. If you are a future-facing individual focused on creating a better life for yourself and your family, dual citizenship can be a safe option for you.

What is dual citizenship? 
Dual citizenship is the act of holding more than one citizenship. Many countries allow this practice, such as Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to the Migration Data Portal, of 200 countries studied, 76% of them held tolerant views of dual citizenship. An excellent way to become a dual citizen is via Citizenship by Investment (CBI). CBI programmes, also called investor or economic citizenship programmes, allow applicants to gain citizenship through investing in a particular country. Countries such as Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis have been praised for their offerings to aspiring dual citizens. Both countries ranked highly in the CBI Index for due diligence, and both programmes were praised by the World Citizenship Report. These countries offer dual citizens good schools, a stable political system, and strong economies. They also offer investors the opportunity to become citizen of a country whose values they admire. Sustainability and climate-focussed investors, for example, may be interested in Dominica’s CBI programme. Dominica’s programme funds are aiding its mission to become the world’s first climate resilient country.
Reasons to become a dual citizen
Dual citizenship provides a credible ‘plan B’ for people seeking geopolitical security and financial consistency. Scholar Tanja Brøndsted Sejersen notes that due to globalisation, there are a ‘growing number of migrants living transnational lives.’ For this reason, people who lead globally oriented lives might regard themselves as global citizens. Dual citizenship is an excellent option for people who see themselves as global citizens, as dual citizenship constitutes a formal recognition of an individual’s obligations, rights, and responsibilities from more than one country. This citizenship can be passed down to further generations, keeping the security and connection of dual citizenship flowing through the family. Dual citizens can benefit from being part of different economies, with an added level of financial security. Dual citizens also find themselves on the forefront of vibrant cultural experiences from two different countries. Different countries offer different levels of health and education. As a dual citizen, you can utilise the services of a healthcare system which may be better than the offering of your native country. So too with education, as the educational offerings of different countries’ universities vary depending on geographic location and academic specialisation. Each university is known for different programmes which might be better or worse than others, and depending on your area of study certain countries might better suit your academic interests. As a dual citizen, you can choose which country works best for your area of study and gain knowledge from the universities in your area. Or you can find a great school for your children to attend that might be better than ones in your native country.
History of dual citizenship
Dual citizenship is perhaps best suited to a globalised, technologically centred world. The beautiful, delicate interplay between cultures and economic interactions that globalisation facilitates makes dual citizenship seem normal, something well-suited to our era. However, ideas of dual or global belonging — ideas which lend themselves to dual citizenship — are nothing new. Indeed, dual, and global citizenship is a historical phenomenon and has been central to many states for centuries. In Ancient Greece, cosmopolitanism was influential in ideas of national and personal belonging. Diogenes, who was inspired by Socrates, described himself as ‘a citizen of the world.’ He chose global citizenship rather than choosing to be only a citizen of his city-state. Certain multinational nation-states have found themselves to be comfortable with ideas of dual belonging, even centuries before globalisation gripped our world. The United Kingdom, for example encouraged the four nations within its union of states to regard themselves as British citizens while also encouraging the sense of belonging to their respective nations within the United Kingdom. (The nations within the United Kingdom include England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). The country formally enshrined recognising dual citizenship for countries beyond United Kingdom’s borders in 1948. Other countries followed close on the United Kingdom’s heels. France legalised dual citizenship in 1973, Canada in 1976, and the United States in 1990.
How to become a dual citizen
Dual citizenship is a widely sought quality, given the privileges, rights, and obligations it entails. Dual citizenship can be attained in a few different ways. Some will have dual citizenship by birth. Individuals born to a mother from a country that allows citizenship to be passed down, and a father from another country that allows citizenship to be passed down, may find themselves to be dual citizens. This could be possible for an individual born in the United States to an American mother and a British father, for example. However, these lucky individuals should ensure that they have documents to prove their dual citizenship, to fully enjoy the privileges and rights of citizenship in both places. Other paths to dual citizenship include the CBI programmes, offered in countries such as Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia. European countries such as Malta also offer CBI programmes. In CBI programmes, from St Kitts and Nevis to Malta, applicants who are interested in accessing the educational, health, economic and cultural opportunities of another country can do so through acquiring a second citizenship from these countries. As dual citizens, you can keep your native citizenship while also opening yourself to another culture and citizenship if you so choose. This unique opportunity can be useful to people who regard themselves as curious, open, and filled with wanderlust. It also provides a great option for people seeking political stability amid global turmoil. If you seek a better quality of life, varied cultural experiences and state-of-the-art health and educational options, dual citizenship may be a good path for you.