Some believe they can only hold citizenship in one nation. In some cases, that’s true. Not all nations allow their citizens to enjoy this status. But in nations that do, it’s worth the time and effort to learn more about how dual citizenship works and why it might be ideal for you.
Here are some basics that will help you get started.
What is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship is a state of being recognized as a legal citizen in two different nations. This means you have access to all the rights and privileges that come with being a citizen of each nation. You will also find that you have the same responsibilities as a citizen of each country.
Among nations that allow dual citizenship, much depends on the relationship that currently exists between the two nations involved. For example, a citizen of the United States can also be a citizen of the United Kingdom, but they cannot carry dual citizenship with Japan.
Since restrictions can change over time, it is important to check with the state departments of both nations before making any assumptions. Doing so will help you avoid legal and other issues later on.
Enjoy Traveling for Extended Periods
Traveling abroad involves obtaining a travel visa as well as a passport. There are restrictions on where you can go and how long you can stay within certain nations. For the most part, this works fine. However, you might want the option of staying in one place a little longer.
Republic of Panama based Attorney – Idaliz H. Guiraud said that, “Opting for dual citizenship could mean you can travel for more extended periods and fully comply with all the laws that apply in any place you visit.” That’s because the visa can be obtained from either of the countries where you hold citizenship. All you must do is identify which one offers the best arrangement with the nations you want to visit, then apply accordingly.
Simplify Traveling Between Nations
Even if you don’t consider yourself a world traveler, it would be great to travel back and forth between the nation where you live most of the time and the one where you tend to spend the remainder of the year. While this can be done with visas and passports, there is another option. Having dual citizenship in both countries means moving back and forth between the two is streamlined.
When you return from one of those countries, you’re not entering as a visitor. Instead, you are entering as a citizen. That requires simply presenting yourself and the proper documentation to affirm that you are a citizen. Something as simple as a driver’s license will suffice in many nations. This can go a long way towards reducing the time it takes to enter either country legally.
Visit More Countries
There are travel restrictions that bar people who are citizens of certain nations from entering specific countries. Those restrictions may be imposed by the countries you want to visit, or it could be a ban issued by your home country.
For example, a United States citizen may not enter North Korea except under limited circumstances. That’s not a policy of North Korea; it’s a US-based policy. Other nations do not ban US citizens outright, but they do make it very difficult to obtain the documentation necessary to enter those countries. With dual citizenship, a US citizen may find they can visit some countries more easily using the citizenship of the second country.
Live and Work in Both Countries
It’s not usually the case that you can spend time in various nations and be employed there. In fact, it may be illegal for you to do so. That can be difficult when the plan is to be out of your home nation for an extended period, and you need some means of supporting yourself.
This becomes less of an issue when you have citizenship in more than one nation. You may find that this solution allows you the same rights and privileges as any other citizen. You could obtain employment and work as much as you like.
There May Be Tax Benefits Involved
Tax laws vary from one nation to the next. This creates a situation where you may be able to manage the tax obligation depending on where your income is derived. If you hold citizenship in two different countries, one of them may not impose much of an obligation at all. Where legal, this could mean declaring the income in that nation and ending up paying fewer taxes.
To determine if this would be possible in your case, get expert advice from professionals in both nations. You want to ensure you fully comply with the laws in the two nations involved to prevent the assessment of penalties for failure to report or pay taxes.
Ability to Own Offshore Real Estate
Some nations are happy to allow offshore investors to purchase residential or commercial real estate. Others place limits on what can and cannot be purchased. This means you may be able to purchase undeveloped property with an eye towards doing something with it but find it more challenging to purchase a residence that’s been around for some time.
Your dual citizenship may come in handy in this case. Once established, purchasing real estate in either nation may be much easier. This is great if you’ve decided to make one of those nations the place to spend your retirement years and would like to start setting up a place to live now.
More Choices with Healthcare
What happens if you’re traveling abroad and need to be hospitalized? Depending on your condition, it may be necessary to return to your home country. That’s especially true when certain types of surgery must take place. For those with dual citizenship, the options of where to have the surgery may be a little broader.
Instead of defaulting to the country where you were born and still hold citizenship, there’s the potential to be transported to the other nation where you are a legal citizen. If the cost of medical care is more affordable in that second nation, it will make sense to choose it for the care you need now and following surgery.
Establish Offshore Financial Accounts
While establishing offshore bank and investment accounts is more popular than any time in the past, there may be some differences in which institutions you can use as an international client versus as a citizen of specific nations. In general, you may have more choices if you are a citizen of both your home country and the nation where you want to base your accounts.
Some benefits may be associated with your offshore checking, time deposit, or savings accounts if you hold dual citizenship involving certain nations. Those may include access to higher interest rates, lower banking fees, and other perks.
Luigi Wewege is the president of Caye International Bank, headquartered in Belize, Central America. Outside of the bank, he serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School in California, which provides online training courses on the latest technological and innovation developments within the Financial Services industry. Luigi is also the published author of
The Digital Banking Revolutionnow in its third edition.