In a previous post, I went over some of the advantages of having dual citizenship and a second passport. Chief among those reasons is geographic arbitrage or geoarbitrage, which is especially relevant to the FI community. Now that you know what those advantages are (read the previous posts if you haven’t)…how do you get dual citizenship?
The 4 Routes
Simply put, the four most common routes to second citizenship are Descent, Residency or Birth, Investment, and Other.
1. Descent (Jus Sanguinis, “Bloodline”)
Descent is one of the most common ways to acquire another citizenship. I acquired two of my three citizenships this way (I’m back to two only now). Ancestry is typically the simplest and most frugal way to get another citizenship.
If you have a parent, or sometimes grandparent or great-grandparent, that was born in another country, you may have a shot at a second citizenship.
A large proportion of U.S. citizens, for example, have some Irish ancestry. As long as you can prove that one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you are eligible for Irish citizenship.
Countries that grant citizenship through descent include:
- Many others
2. Residency or Birth (Jus Soli, “Right of the Soil”)
A child born in the United States is automatically a citizen of the United States. Foreign residents in the United States can apply for citizenship after a set period of time.
Many other countries function with similar requirements. However, what differs among the countries is how long you have to reside there, whether you have to spend most of your time there, and how difficult the process is to obtain citizenship
Countries that grant citizenship through birth and/or residency:
- The U.S.A.
- Many others
Approximately a dozen countries in the world offer citizenship in exchange for investment in the country. The “investment” is typically:
- Purchase of real estate
- Donation to the government
- Purchase or investment in a business
- Purchase government bonds
The governments offering such investment programs are generally in Europe and the Carribean. The thresholds for investment vary greatly, anywhere from $250,000 to over $10 million. It isn’t cheap, so I don’t recommend this route unless you have absolutely no other options and you get back some of your investment with geographic arbitrage.
Countries that grant citizenship through investment:
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
I named this category “other” not to be mysterious but because I honestly don’t know what to call this. Israel and Brazil are the countries I’m talking about here.
If you’re Jewish or wish to become Jewish, you can become a citizen of Israel. There are some stipulations such as compulsory military service, but the option is there.
In Brazil, you can give birth to a child in Brazil, adopt a child in Brazil, or get married to a Brazilian citizen and receive citizenship.
There are typically several avenues to citizenship in countries, not just one. Below is a perfect example using Chile:
Is dual citizenship essential for financial independence and early retirement? No, absolutely not. You’re fine with just one citizenship as long as you follow the principles of FIRE. It’s math, after all.
However, if you carefully plan your retirement around the principle of geographic arbitrage, you can dramatically accelerate your progress. Dual citizenship can open up the possibility of geographic arbitrage for you or ease the process!
Are you eligible for dual citizenship? Would you ever buy dual citizenship? Why or why not? Is another passport something you’d make use of?
Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!