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Second passports and citizenship

February 23, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Throughout our conversations, we have routinely discussed the importance of planting multiple flags.

If you live, work, bank, invest, own a business, and hold your assets in the same country of your citizenship, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket, and once that basket heads in the wrong direction, you can kiss your assets goodbye.

There are nearly infinite possibilities that pose substantial risks to your wealth and security, including taxes, litigation, confiscation, inflation, regulation, and good ole’ fashioned social decay.

Making the effort to move assets overseas, diversify your currency holdings, buy foreign property, set up foreign structures to operate a business, etc. are all major steps in the right direction to preserve your livelihood and safety.

If you have executed only a few of those steps, you are ahead of the 99% of the population. You will be safe while others watch their freedoms, their wealth, and their critical thinking be eroded by corrupt bureaucrats and the mainstream media.

One of the ultimate tools in preserving wealth, freedom, and security that we have touched on before is acquiring a second passport. This tool provides additional freedoms of travel, possible tax advantages, banking convenience, an escape hatch, and security.

After all, nobody hijacks a plane and threatens to kill all the Lithuanians.

Most importantly, when your home country starts heading in a catastrophic direction, a second (or third, fourth, etc.) citizenship provides you with options… and that’s what real freedom is all about– the power to choose.

Even without a cataclysmic event in your home country, a second passport pays big dividends. With a second passport, suddenly you find that you can open bank accounts and travel much more easily.

In my case, since I travel so much, the money that I have saved on visa fees alone has more than offset the cost of acquiring a second passport.

So how do you go about obtaining one?

For starters, if you’re a member of the lucky bloodline club, you may have been born as a second or third generation citizen somewhere. Many countries have programs which grant citizenship to descendents of emigrants– Ireland, Poland, India, and Italy are examples.

If, for instance, you could prove your lineage to Irish grandparents, you would have a case to apply for Irish citizenship. There are many more countries which have such programs, but I’ll save that topic for another time.

Second, there are a handful of countries where you simply pay for citizenship, either through an official program, or an unofficial program.

In terms of official programs, most people who have done even the most cursory research have read about Dominica and St. Kitts, both of which charge about $200,000 to $450,000 for citizenship.  These are the most famous, but there are others, including Austria and even the United States.

If I have my way in this part of the world, there will soon be one more.

Yesterday I mentioned that ousted former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is traveling around the world on passports from Nicaragua and the Bahamas… and not because those countries have official programs for ordinary investors, but because Thaksin used his connections to make compelling donations.

Clearly, unofficial programs generally come down to knowing somebody of significant influence in the government. In most countries, the head of state has the authority to naturalize a foreigner at his/her discretion, and this happens frequently in small countries that have been assisted by the actions or donations of a particular individual.

Now… assuming that you don’t have any heads of state in your rolodex, aren’t descended from Polish grandparents, and don’t want to swallow a $250,000 pill for St. Kitts citizenship, the next category applies to you.

I call it ‘connected’ citizenship, in which an individual can become naturalized through some sort of connection to the country.  Typically this can be a combination of residency, marriage, adoption, religious affiliation, and of course, birth.

Obviously we can’t go back in time to change our place of birth, but the others may be well within our control, particularly residency.  In fact, most countries provide a means for naturalization through residency, including the United States and Canada.  But there are three important factors that determine whether a residency program is worthwhile:

First, how long do you have to be a resident in order to be eligible for citizenship? If you have 8 to 10 years to kill, you may want to consider putting the time in for France or Italy. But most people want something much faster, 1-4 years at most.

Second, how hard is it to actually obtain residency? In the United States, for example, residency applications are scrutinized and generally rejected– hence the inordinate number of undocumented workers. In practice, America now sends the tired, poor, huddled masses back where they came from.

Contrast that with, say, Singapore, where anyone with a good idea, strong work ethic, or investment capital is a strong candidate for residency through an easy, painless, transparent selection system.

Third, do you actually have to live there? Many countries’ naturalization regulations require an applicant to spend the preponderance of his/her time in that country. Canada is a great example… if you become a Canadian resident and spend too much time out of the country, you render yourself ineligible for citizenship.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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This historical pattern has formed and is already underway in many parts of the world, including the United States.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ellen Schultz

    Hi Simon,
    Thanks again for all of this great information.
    I have a question about passports. If one is eligible for a Polish passport, an EU country, isn’t that person automatically eligible for an EU passport? Wouldn’t that make it unnecessary to wait for an Italian or French passport?

  • Larry

    Simon, on 12/17/09 you posted information about second passports by adoption and said you’d be discussing this in further detail.


  • Dave Blanco

    Will one of the two countries be the Dominican Republic? We’ll see! ;-)

  • Blair

    My partner can get residency in Hong Kong very easily since she was born there. Is there a simplified residency program for Hong Kong similar to the one you mentioned in Singagpore?

  • Pery

    I am still unable to sign up for your e-letter. I have been trying on and off for months. I am extremely interested in your information and point of view. As a native of the US I am very concerned about what is going on here. As a father to 2 young children I am even more scared for them.
    Please help me give them an out.

  • Jon

    I’d love to hear about Cuban citizenship options.

  • B2

    I also have a problem signing up for the email newsletter….

  • Greg

    Can you or anyone else please recommend a specifc non-US bank that is a good place to plant my 1st foreign flag? Thanks

  • http://www.offshorejoe.com OffShoreJoe

    Fantastic. Im looking forward to reading your emails.

  • Boris V.

    Sign-up form always returns an error. And that’s unfortunate…

  • Capt. A.

    Yes, there is a problem with the sign-up at your site. This means not getting the continuing info on: Second passports and citizenship. Maybe you could address this issue and figure out how to supply the information indicated above to those individuals requesting it.


    Capt. A.
    Lugano, CH

  • Blair

    Interesting article from Bloomberg.com regarding current developments on Singapore residency.

  • Tom

    I have left the US over one and a half years ago. I now desperately need a 2nd passport as I am almost out of pages on my current US one. Problem is I cannot go to the US embassy to renew as there is some legal problems back home. I do not have $50k to spend on a new passport. What can do you recommend for under $20k? I am also interested in the naturalization. I am currently in China and hope to stay in Asia. What is your advice?

  • Conrad

    A crucial point you missed is that on aquiring citizenship to certain countries you will be required to relinquish your existing citizenships. I haven’t looked into this for a while but I think I remember Singaporean citizenship being of this kind.

    • lrm

      I believe he has touched on this before….search the archives.
      In any case,there ARE others writing about these options….SM is not the only blog or site with solid info.
      Google it. And you will find more details,not just the ‘food for thought’ on SM,with an ocassional link to a business partner or info you can buy.

      There really are only a number of options for second passport for US citizens,and since this number is finite,once you narrow down your own personal options within this range,do a search on second citizenship,to see if this country allows it. simple.

      Next category down from ‘buying citizenship-aka economic citizenship like dominica and nevis/st kitts-would be DR and Paraguay. As far as not needing to live there for a period of time,nad not needing as much financial investment up front to qualify.

      This all really boils down to individual needs. Ex: just bc Simon considers old europe old news,does not mean that some individuals will not prosper there,or do well.

      If you are an investor or large scale entrepreneur,then you will want to look at certain countries or regions. But if your specific niche is something else-perhaps you are an importer/exporter or a working artist-you will have other choices that suit you. The only sticking point is the idea of multiple flags=creating options. Creating options for yourself is really the whole point of sovereignty. Not all your eggs in one basket.
      Simon can only give you ideas on what has worked for him. But he’s not a sheepherder. Creative thinking and research on your own helps you come up with your own ‘best choices’. SM just gives ideas to delve into further.

  • Anonymous

    I just signed up for the e-letter, is there a way to get the email info on 2nd passports in an archive of some sort…….or is the chance gone for good?

  • william

    I have u.s./canadian dual citizenship via birth (u.s. parents, born in canada). I have no particular love for either country as I don’t like the nation-state concept and can’t stand patriotism – it’s a stupid idea. Travelling under the Canadian passport is the obvious choice. So I let my u.s. passport lapse, and I never worked in the states. So I’m basically unknown to the us gov’t, tax-wise. I could apply for and re-establish my us passport but the question I have is, should I? The u.s. is sucking worse every day, it’s become police state, that I too am reluctant to associate myself with. I do like the idea of getting another passport handy but it seems like the downside of dealing with the u.s. gov’t could outweigh any upside of getting the passport renewed. For example, if I re-apply, might they want to exact some income tax from me? I’m philosphically opposed to tax. Might I get inundated with unforseen, unrelated paperwork? Comments welcome.

  • Grady

    Since I was referred to you blog recently, is it possible ot receive or have access to the follow up Pasport and Citizenship blogs you posted ?

  • Bonanza

    I am a US and German citizen and, of course, subscriber and fan of your webpage.

    Would like to read the second passports and citizenship article in full, but I cannot access. Can you send it to me?

    Kind regards from Mexico City, where I believe you were travelling through not too long ago.

  • joe

    just figured the email thing,
    about 5 inches to the right of the “name” and “email” words, there is atiny gray box, bout the size of this: []
    click there with your mouse and type the info, you will only be able to see a letter at a time
    after i clicked submit it told me that it sent a confirmation link to my email

  • joe

    except now the free report is about storing gold
    can you send the second ciotizenship / second pp report to me?

  • Aaron

    Like some of the other commentators, I am new to the email group and am reading voraciously thru many old posts. I was hoping to have the information about 2nd passports, referred to in this 2/23/10 post, sent to me also if that’s possible. Thank you in advance.

  • Barbara

    Could you send me the report too?

  • Guest

    I would love to find a way to get 2nd citizenship quickly without a lot of money (maybe through adoption – although I am older). I had most of my money stolen and want to get out of the US umbrella.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nils-Kunze/1356455790 Nils Kunze

    Is it still possible to obtain the information you gathered? I would love to get some information on getting a second passport!

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