Obtaining a second passport is not only a route to another life: in some cases, it is necessary for individuals’ wellbeing. Aside from the lifestyle opportunities that relocating abroad can bring, for many a second passport grants a second chance at living the life and experiencing the freedoms they could have been entitled to when they were born.
Through obtaining a second citizenship, individuals may avoid the lengthy paperwork required for visa applications and other bureaucratic restrictions that countries often have in place. Furthermore, they can enjoy better healthcare, freedom of expression and movement, and rights to a fair judicial and voting systems – just to name a few.
While many choose a second passport to be granted the social liberties that they desire, others want to diversify their investments, improve their business prospects and educational opportunities, and improve their overall quality of life. Crucially, second citizenship is passed on to applicants’ children, providing security for generations to come.
Passports were first introduced to help citizens prove who they were when they entered foreign land and to guarantee safe passage, and are the most commonly used form of government identification.
Many of us are fiercely protective of the benefits associated with the passport that we hold; you only have to look at the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the rise in searches for Irish passports, to see how much we value not just our place of birth, but also the advantages associated to our citizenship.
There are four main ways in which you can get a second passport: naturalisation, citizenship by descent or birth, and a citizenship by investment programme.
Naturalisation is the legal process whereby you can apply for citizenship of a country (thus gaining a second passport) after having legally resided in that country. There is often a minimum residency requirement that individuals must meet.
Countries will have their own time restraints on how long an individual must have held residency in a country before they are able to apply for citizenship through naturalisation. For example, in the UK, a resident must generally hold Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least the five years previous to their date of application.
One of the first steps to gaining naturalisation is to gain residency in a country, as naturalisation applications often do not permit you to apply if you have a tourist or other short-term visa. Some countries will not grant citizenship by naturalisation, no matter how long you have been a resident of a country, while others may grant citizenship much quicker.
Citizenship by Descent or Birth
Individuals are able to apply for citizenship through descent in countries that offer ancestral citizenship to those who have family ties to a country. For example, someone could apply for British citizenship by descent if one, or both, of his or her parents are British citizens.
Following the Brexit vote in 2016, the year became a record for the number of Irish passports being issues – totalling 700,000. Citizenship by descent in Ireland is granted if a parent or grandparent was born in Ireland, which means an application can be made by the child or grandchild.
Citizenship by birth can be obtained if a person is born within the territory of a given country. Someone born in the United States, for example, is a United States citizen.
Citizenship by Investment
One of the less common, but increasingly popular, ways of gaining citizenship in a country is through investment. This process provides a direct route for applicants to acquire citizenship through an economic contribution to a nation. The investment required varies from country to country. Countries that offer citizenship by investment include St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Malta, and Cyprus. The Caribbean nations have some of the strictest due diligence checks in place, and applicants are required to meet a number of criteria before citizenship is granted.
Many citizenship by investment programmes were created by governments as a means of attracting foreign investment from successful individuals overseas. For applicants however, they are a quick avenue to safety for themselves and their families.
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme is open to foreign nationals who are over 18 years of age, and they are able to include family members on their application. Each applicant is evaluated based on personal merit, and they should be in good health, have no criminal history, and be able to meet the minimum investment.
In Grenada, applications are made in conjunction with an International Marketing Agent who works alongside a Local Agent to submit the required paperwork to the Government. Once an application has been finalised, due diligence, application, and processing fees are to be paid to the Government. The application is then vetted by a third-party due diligence agency that provides a report to the Government and a recommendation on whether citizenship should be granted. The final decision is made by Cabinet and an ‘approval in principle’ letter is issued, indicating that citizenship will be granted so long as the appropriate investment is made. After this, a citizenship certificate, known as a ‘Certificate of Registration’ is delivered. This certificate allows the applicant to apply for a second passport.
Second passports are invaluable to those who want to become citizens of another country, improve their lifestyle, business opportunities, and the educational systems they can access for both themselves and their families. Allowing individuals to become internationally diverse, a second passport is a lifeline for many across the world.
The article is written by Micha-Rose Emmett, Chief Executive Officer at CS Global Partners