Having dual citizenship or a second passport often serves as a tool of convenience and, in certain circumstances, may be necessary for business and individual safety.
It provides ease of travel to those whose passports do not allow them to travel to many countries without applying for a visa in advance, or restrict their offshore investments.
But how much does one cost, and how to apply for a second passport? Also, not all countries allow their citizens to hold another passport – so who all qualify for dual citizenship?
Can anyone apply for a second passport or do you need to qualify for it? Why get one at all? We ask the experts.
“A second passport will help you travel to more than 115 countries all over the world which is not easy with your original one,” Mahmoud Saber, senior citizenship and residency consultant at Elevay, a citizenship and residency planning firm, told Emirates 24|7.
“It also gives you the option to have physical residency in any European country without any worry about the law there or any problem you may face with your original one. You can easily establish new business there with low or without any taxes,” he says.
Passports vary widely in their usability around the world. Traditionally, the best passports offering visa-free travel come from Europe. Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and most European Union countries enjoy visa-free travel to the United States and many other countries – and, of course, all of Europe.
Dual citizenship or getting a second passport can be either by birth or marriage, or after successfully applying for the citizenship of another country. Many countries offer this option to people if they fit the criteria and are willing to invest a set sum.
According to Caputo & Partners, a Swiss banking law firm helping international private clients, several thousand people spend a collective $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) to add a second, or even third, passport to their collection every year.
The cost to get a second passport vary a lot depending on which country’s passport are you looking at.
To apply for one, there are some conditions you need to meet. “First, you should not have any criminal or police issues. You should also have a clean financial status, which means you don’t have any financial problem with any banks or countries. If both conditions are met and you have at least $150,000 (Dh550,852) you can apply for a second passport and get one only after four months,” explains Saber.
If you are looking to buy a passport, which means getting the citizenship of another country through investment schemes, it doesn’t take too long to get it.
“It’s depend on your budget and which country you will choose to get the second passport from. The minimum timeframe is four months,” says Saber.
When choosing to apply for a second passport, you should take into consideration what your objective is.
“If you are looking for a passport to make travelling easier without any plans to shift your residency, the Grenadian Passport is the best. But if you are looking to relocate to Europe, then Hungary and Portugal are good bets. Both the countries give residency and passport almost in the same timeframe with same benefits,” he adds.
“When it comes to multiple citizenship – often also referred to as dual citizenship – the world is divided: there are countries whose citizenship regulations allow their own citizens to acquire another citizenship without losing their present citizenship. In contrast, other countries do not allow the acquisition of another citizenship, i.e., the acquisition of another citizenship necessarily leads to the loss of the present citizenship,” according to experts at Henley & Partners, a company providing residence and citizenship planning services.
List of 56 countries that allow dual citizenship based on Henley & Partners’ interpretation of citizenship legislation in the relevant countries.
*Countries including Austria, Egypt and Germany generally do not allow multiple citizenship. Citizens if these countries retain their former citizenship only if they apply for permission prior to taking out another citizenship. Otherwise, citizenship is generally lost ex lege. Additionally, Austria allows dual citizenship if Austrian citizenship is acquired under 10 (6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act.
**According to Chapter 14, Annex J-Article 6 of 1951 Pakistani Nationality Law and the amendments 1952, 1972, 1973 and 2000, holding dual citizenship was not permitted. But now the government of Pakistan recognises and allows its citizens to also hold citizenships of 16 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and others.
***Countries that allow only under limited circumstances.