European borders are to remain shut to U.S. travelers according to the most recent border restriction review conducted. These reviews occur every 14 days, taking into consideration Covid-19 case counts, spikes in viral spread, etc.
While many of us have to wait to travel until restrictions are lifted, those with dual citizenship have the flexibility to travel because they carry two passports.
Two passports may sound like a hassle to keep track of, but the benefits of two passports are becoming more and more valuable as the pandemic continues to unfold. We have seen countries respond in a variety of ways while healthcare, the economy, and politics have become increasingly volatile on home soil. So besides having the flexibility to travel right now, a second passport affords you options.
And there is no downside to having options in today’s world.
The three biggest benefits to a second passport are:
- More visa-free travel for you and your family. Applying for a visa before you travel can be a real hassle, not to mention time-consuming and expensive.
Additionally, countries like Chile, Argentina, and Brazil charge a reciprocity fee of up to $160 per person for entering the country in exchange for the fees that the United States requires certain internationals travelers to pay. Plus, the visa-free travel is generational, giving your children and grandchildren the flexibility of visa-free travel as well.
- Protection from Travel and Immigration Control as well as Foreign Policy blowback. Currently, the European Union bars U.S. Citizens from traveling within their borders since the US is reaching record-topping coronavirus cases. But even if we were allowed to travel, if the U.S. accuses you — not even convict — of a felony, they can cancel your passport. After all, your passport is the property of the United States.
This is not exclusive to the U.S., however. Any government can revoke or cancel your passport. Having a second passport is the equivalent of a backup plan if you ever find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- The potential to save tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars in taxes each year plus access to more international financial services. Renouncing citizenship could give you a huge tax and regulatory break but even those who decide to keep their citizenship but reside outside of the U.S. can take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion, which allows them to exclude over $100,000 of income when doing their taxes.
Also, as those looking to bank outside of the U.S. may know, many foreign financial institutions will not allow for U.S. citizens bank with them due to the long reach that U.S. regulators are known to have.
Second citizenship sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Now, there are four main ways to achieving a second citizenship and passport:
Ancestry is, by far, the easiest way to get a passport. Also known as citizenship by descent, you may already qualify for citizenship if your parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents are from certain countries such as Italy, Ireland, or Hungary. Since ancestry is the main criteria for eligibility, the enormous benefits of a second passport will also be passed down to your children and grandchildren as a result.
The second option – time – requires a little more patience but is fairly easy to do once you have obtained legal residency. After a few years, you become eligible for a second passport through naturalization and can then apply for full citizenship. Even better, some countries will accept as little as two years of residency and do not require you to live there year-round for eligibility either.
The fastest, though most expensive, way to acquire a second passport is by taking advantage of Citizenship by Investment, or Economic Citizenship. Certainly not an option for all, by making a donation to the country and making an investment in property or business, you can buy your citizenship.
Flexibility is an umbrella term that includes some unconventional ways of going about getting a second passport. Milestone events such as giving birth in a foreign country, marrying a foreign citizen, changing your religion, etc. are all legitimate means of obtaining a second passport in certain countries.
A second passport allows you to invest, bank, travel, live, and do business in places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. So while obtaining a second citizenship certainly requires careful consideration, it’s important to know that it is available to you if you decide to pursue it.
For more information about how dual citizenship can benefit you and your family, speak to a legal advisor or immigration lawyer.
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