If you’ve ever wondered about becoming a citizen in more than one country, then read on as there is a lot to it and it’s not for everyone.
First. You should know that not every country offers dual citizenship.
Second. Before trekking-off to find a new second home country, take a large step back and be prepared to do a lot of planning.
Third. Understand all of the pros and cons of dual citizenship.
Dual citizenship can both be rewarding and a real pain in the butt, so the first question you need to ask yourself is, do you plan on working in your new second home country or are you planning on retiring there?
In this article, I’m just going to cover US citizens wanting to obtain dual citizenship for two simple reasons.
1) I could go on and on for a long time trying to cover all of the different possible ways for all of the countries’ different requirements.
2) There has been a rising trend – as a matter of fact, that trend has been record breaking – in the US where people have either given up there citizenship all together to live in another country or have applied for and obtained dual citizenship.
So lets get started. Obtaining and maintaining dual citizenship can benefit the working crowd of the 25-45 year old crowd in a number of ways as it offers a lot of freedom to roam about in two different countries without the hassle of obtaining the proper visa’s and trying to maintain those visa’s with immigration and customs officials of your chosen second home. That hassle alone can save you a ton of money and time.
Renting or buying a condo or home in your chosen second country will be a lot, and I do mean a lot easier. Trying to rent a condo in a foreign country while the landlord or real estate agent is giving you the stink-eye is unnerving to say the least and can be more costly as either of them will have a very low level of trust that you will be a good tenant by proving to them that you will not invite AC/DC over to throw a concert in you new digs.
Buying a home is an all-together different subject and one that should be thoroughly thought through. A lot, if not most other countries will not allow you to buy property at all unless you are married to a born national of that country. The other way to buy a home or property is to become a permanent resident.
As I’ve discussed before, becoming a permanent resident has the advantages of being able to buy property, opening a bank account, etc, there are still draw-backs to that idea as you are still hindered from being able to do a lot of the things that you would be able to do if you held dual citizenship. Voting would be one of those things and that might come in handy if you see that countries government slipping into a possible disaster.
These are only some of things to think about. Lets say for example that you move to another country and you happen to really like the new home you bought and are seriously considering staying there for the long term, but one morning you wake up to the news telling you that the government has decided to double the property tax on your new home, putting a big strain on your salary. Being able to vote at that time would be very beneficial.
You may be subject to taxes and other responsibilities when you take up dual citizenship. Meaning that you could find yourself paying taxes in your new second home country as well as taxes in the US.
As always, the US wants it’s tax money and US citizens are required to file a tax return when living in another country. It could also be very beneficial for you to continue to pay them – beside the fact that they would not be happy if you didn’t pay them – if you are thinking about retiring in your new second home country and wanting to collect Social Security.
As mentioned above, US citizens are required to file a tax return when living in another country, but you may be exempt from certain taxes depending on how much time you spend outside of the country. You should also know that the US has tax treaties with several different countries that prevent double taxation. Checking with the IRS website and or calling them is something that should be high on your priority list of things to think about before applying for dual citizenship.
The next thing that you should consider high on your priority list is consular affairs. If you enter into your new second country with a US passport, you will have to find a US consulate in order to ask for any kind of assistance. The same would also hold true if you were to enter into that country with that countries passport, you would have to find that countries consulate to ask for assistance.
Reading up on the history of the US’s relationship with the perspective country that you are planning on staying or moving to could greatly help in the decision making process as if there were any chance that a consulate might not exist in the near future could make a rainy day much worse.
Another thing that should be high on your list. If you are a government contractor or if you think that there is a chance that you might go to work for a government contractor, or any company that requires a security clearance of any kind in the future, then you need to be very aware that it is very possible that you will not be able to get a security clearance of any kind due to the fact that you have dual citizenship.
Last, but not least, some countries require that you serve in their military if you become a citizen of that country. Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Norway, Switzerland and South Korea are some of them to name a few. You can get a list of the countries that have compulsory military service from the WorldAtlas web site.
As I’ve written about before, there are a few ways to obtain dual citizenship without having to pay Mugsy a fee in a back alley. Some of the more common ways are:
Citizenship by descent
Citizenship by investment
Citizenship by naturalization
Citizenship for religious reasons
It should be noted that a majority of those that are applying for dual citizenship as mentioned in the beginning of this article happen to be in Greece. So if Greece is your chosen destination, you’ll have lots of company there.
In closing, this is not an exhaustive list of things to think about, but hopefully, it will give you some ideas on what to write down on your list of things to research.