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Dual citizenship laws around the world

Although some countries prohibit their citizens from obtaining second citizenship, many allow dual citizenship, giving individuals the chance to gain nationality of two or more countries simultaneously. With this in mind, we’ve decided to look at the citizenship laws of a handful of countries, including eligibility requirements for citizenship, to give you an overview of the opportunities available for you and your family.

What is dual citizenship and how to get it?
Dual citizenship, otherwise known as dual nationality, is a legal status of a natural person, who is a national or citizen of more than one country under the laws of those countries. What is important to know, and is often misconceptualised, you are still subject to the rights and obligations if you have citizenship in another country – your country of origin. You should note that being a dual citizen is a complex legal status. The main ways to obtain a dual citizenship are through:

Marriage

Citizenship by marriage is a process that allows foreigners to become not just a permanent resident but also gain full citizenship rights when they legally marry a permanent resident or citizen of that country and keeping their original nationality at the same time.

Naturalisation

Naturalisation is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. The rules of naturalisation vary from country to country but typically include a promise to obey and uphold that country’s laws, taking and subscribing to an oath of allegiance, and may specify other requirements such as a minimum legal residency and adequate knowledge of the national dominant language and/or culture.

Birth

Jus soli meaning “right of soil” commonly referred to as birth right citizenship, is the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship of that country.

Descent (parents or grandparents)

Jus sanguinis meaning ‘right of blood’ is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality or ethnicity of one or both parents. Children at birth may be citizens of a particular state if either or both of their parents have citizenship of that state. It may also apply to national identities of ethnic, cultural, or other origins.

Economic investment

In order to obtain dual citizenship, individuals must make a significant financial contribution to the nation in question, usually through a contribution to a government fund or a real estate investment, the process is called citizenship by investment.
What are citizenship by investment programmes?
Citizenship by investment allows well-vetted high-net-worth individuals the opportunity to change the course of their lives for generations to come. After making it through the stringent due diligent process, successful applicants can either invest in pre-approved real estate or contribute to a government-approved fund in exchange for second citizenship. There is a myriad of options when it comes to investing in a citizenship by investment programme, but increasingly popular are those in the Caribbean. St Kitts and Nevis, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and Saint Lucia offer three of the most highly ranked citizenship by investment programmes, affording dual citizenship for the entire family through a quick and efficient process, with minimal investment and very few requirements.
Countries that allow dual citizenship
In order to give you an overview of the opportunities available to you and your family, below we list citizenship laws and eligibility requirements of a few countries:

Pakistan

Allows citizens over the age of 21 to hold dual citizenship of just 20 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. However, such citizens are barred from serving in the military, holding various public offices, and taking certain civil service jobs.

Philippines

Filipinos who get second citizenship will not lose their Philippine nationality. The country’s passport is valid for 10 years for adults, and five years for minors, and gives holders access to over 65 destinations.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda allows dual citizenship, enabling overseas nationals to obtain its citizenship and, if they wish, apply for an Antigua and Barbuda passport. The country’s citizenship by investment programme allows eligible, reputable individuals who make a one-time contribution of at least US$100,000 to gain citizenship.

Argentina

Argentina does allow dual citizenship, but dual citizens are recognised as exclusively Argentinian while they are in Argentina, so they must (with some exceptions) enter and leave the country on their Argentine passport. Argentina only has a residency by investment scheme, not a citizenship by investment programme.

Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica allows dual citizenship. There is no residence requirement under the country’s well-known Citizenship by Investment Programme, whether before, during, or after the process, and Dominica allows many family members (including siblings) to be included in an application for citizenship. The average processing time is three months from submission of an application. Upon obtaining citizenship of Dominica, one may choose to obtain a passport that is valid for ten years.

Grenada

Grenada allows dual citizenship. The Caribbean country enables reputable individuals to obtain citizenship through its citizenship by investment programme, which has a minimum contribution amount of US$150,000 for a single applicant, and no residency requirement. Upon obtaining citizenship of Grenada, one may choose to apply for a passport that is valid for five years.

Panama

Persons with birth-right citizenship of Panama may acquire second citizenship. However, all naturalised citizens must take an oath to renounce their original citizenship. Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa grants permanent residency to nationals from 50 countries with which it has economic and professional ties, providing an alternative means of living in Panama.

St Kitts and Nevis

The dual island nation has the world’s oldest citizenship by investment programme. There are no travel or residence requirements under the Programme, so individuals need not visit the country before, during, or after the citizenship by investment process. What’s more, St Kitts and Nevis allows the inclusion of a wide range of family members in an application for citizenship. The nation allows dual citizenship.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia allows dual citizenship and under the Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Programme, anyone who meets the country’s requirements may obtain citizenship of St Lucia, and should they choose to apply for one, a Saint Lucian passport. The island’s citizenship by investment programme has no residency requirement, with an average processing time of 90 days from submission of an application to approval in principle.

Egypt

Under Egyptian law, dual citizenship is allowed but individuals must inform appropriate Egyptian officials. Holders of dual citizenship are prohibited from enrolling in military and police academies or being elected to Parliament. The country approved its new citizenship law in 2019, which paved the way for investors to obtain citizenship of Egypt for a minimum investment of US$250,000.

Italy

Italy permits dual citizenship and anyone with an Italian ancestor born in Italy may be entitled to citizenship by descent. Those who own an Italian passport must renew it every 10 years as an adult, every five years if aged between three and 17, and after three years if issued before the age of three. Italy does not have a citizenship by investment programme, but it does have a residency by investment programme.

Malta

The Southern European island-state of Malta has no restrictions on dual citizenship. Reputable investors who meet the requirements under the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, including a residence requirement of at least 12 months, can obtain citizenship of Malta, and may subsequently apply for a passport. Under the Regulations, in addition to the completion of a residence requirement, overseas nationals must pass an eligibility assessment and make a minimum investment of average €690,000.
Dual citizenship benefits
People moving from one place to another to expand their horizons and build a better future for their families has long been a norm. Today, the same motivations are true when investing in a dual citizenship, as investors throughout the world realise that more than anything, dual citizenship gives you better options in life. Possessing dual citizenship offers more benefits than one might think, including vast economic opportunities, expanding your global footprint, family reunification, health benefits, improved personal security, and much more.

Create an international business footprint

Investing in dual citizenship makes you a citizen of the world and allows you to internationalise your assets and wealth; this translates directly into diversification of wealth. In many countries, political unrest, economic turmoil, and financial insecurity are driving factors in people looking elsewhere to plant their domestic and financial roots.

Travel more while spending less

Depending on the strength of your current passport, dual citizenship can vastly expand your travel horizons. Almost all passports allow the holder to travel to some countries based on the international relationship and diplomatic ties between the countries. It means with a second passport; however, your travel scope is substantially broadened. The more passports you have under your belt, the more freely you can travel around the globe.

Secure your future

We all want to build bigger and brighter futures, but these dreams are often thwarted by our country of residence’s political, economic, or socio-economic factors. Dual citizenship solves this dilemma, granting you the freedom, security, and peace of mind to curate your future the way you want. It also gives you access to robust healthcare systems, international educational opportunities, safe and secure communities, public transportation, and much more.

Provide better education for your children

All parents dream of giving their children the best education possible. With a second passport, you can provide just this, resting in the knowledge that your children are receiving a world-class education in a safe and secure environment and that the international doors for their futures, and their generations to come, remain firmly open.

Pass citizenship for generations to come

Your dual citizenship is guaranteed for a lifetime, and you will also be able to pass the gift of dual citizenship down to future generations, with all the included benefits. Becoming a global citizen forever changes your life and future for the better, offering opportunities that would never have been available before. If you are interested in acquiring a dual citizenship through citizenship by investment you can contact us for a free consultation at [email protected].

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