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Getting scammed on a second passport

April 27, 2010
St. Michaels, Maryland, USA

Yesterday I told you about the official way to go about obtaining residency and citizenship in the Dominican Republic– essentially, it takes about four years from start to finish until you receive your passport, though you may be expedited for investing $200,000 in the local economy.

As I mentioned, though, the country is [in]famous for shady practices like issuing passports that do not conform to official procedure. Local bureaucrats accept personal payments to backdate applications and residency permits, and higher level politicians play ball for a piece of the pie.

To be clear, this is illegal, even in the Dominican Republic. If you are a US citizen, it is also a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act… so effectively you could be in technical violation of the law in two countries.

Obviously, the FCPA is a ridiculous and naive law that puts Americans at a disadvantage. Bribery and corruption make the world go ’round… yet in the US, these hallmarks commerce are only reserved for the political establishments.

Regardless of the insanity of this law, however, it’s generally not worth taking the legal risk and putting yourself in a situation where you could be fined, imprisoned, or have your shiny new passport confiscated.

The other thing thing you have to consider is that, most of the time, these illegitimate passport options have substantially higher risk of being fraudulent. I’ve come across this in the Dominican Republic in particular.

To paint a clear picture, I asked a friend of mine (non-US person) who is in the weeds of the illegitimate passport process in Santo Domingo to describe her experiences. This is what she had to say:

“Dear Simon– A few months ago, I found a Dominican Republic passport facilitator online; after several conversations, I agreed to pay him $10,000 up front, and $10,000 once the passport is issued.

Since I really wanted to test the process, I went ahead and sent him the money to get the process rolling.

When I arrived in Santo Domingo a few months ago, the facilitator met me there. He seems like a nice enough guy, but my gut tells me that putting blind faith in him was a big mistake.

He took me to the local immigration office where I met with some of the bureaucrats who were handling my backdated residency work. One of them is a former judge and prosecutor whose English is reasonable and seems like a valuable resource.

The other lady was the office manager; she didn’t speak a word of English, but I could easily observe that she had the power to make anything happen at the grunt level.

As part of the requirements, I had to take a blood test, urine test, get papers stamped, pictures, chest X-ray, etc. I was told that I would have my residency within 30-days, and a passport a few months later.”

Simon again. That was almost 3-months ago. My friend still does not have her residency permit, and the facilitator has gone largely silent. This sort of thing is unfortunately all too common.

This is why the only way to acquire a second passport is through official, legitimate means… unless you have an absolutely trusted source.

We have already talked about Brazil and Paraguay, as well a as few other options in this letter. I’m testing some other solutions that I plan on bringing to you soon.

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

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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.

  • Arlean

    Beware of the Dominican Republic. A relative of mine gave a lawyer (a bona fide Dominican Republic attorney) $500.00 to handle his residency for him. He never heard from the man again and the man would not return his calls.

  • RJ

    Whenever you make a statement like this one, above, “We have already talked about Brazil and Paraguay, as well a as few other options in this letter. ” Please provide links to those previous pages. sRJ

  • Norm


    If at all possible it would be great to hear your take on getting a passport in Uruguay. It takes 3 years for a couple and 5 years if you are single. But from what I have read it sounds all very legal and not that expensive.

    Love to hear what you think of it. Value your opinion. The wife and I are planning to head to Uruguay in September and check it out. That is unless you find problems with it.

    Your information is great and easy to understand, much appreciated.


  • Carl

    I have looked into this too. My understanding is that the whole immigration office in DR was handed over to military officers last year. I am living in D.R. and went through that whole process too and my residence took 6 months to approve. I think without doing anything irregular (no backdating, I would never do that) but by paying people to speed things up through the regular channels, you could obtain a passport realistically in about 2 years.

    Why don’t you like Santo Domingo? I rather like it, with its colonial zone and then wide boulevards built by the Americans.

  • Jamie

    Have you been doing any more research/testing on adoption as a means of getting a 2nd passport? You wrote about it a few months ago and haven’t heard anything since.

  • Martin

    Hi Simon,
    I just read your information about Brazil and their retirement program. However, if one spouse is under 50 and the other over age 50, I wonder if the couple would qualify? I like Brazil, but I am under age 50, and my wife is over, so I am wondering if we would need to invest $200K into a business or real estate there. Paraguay looked very straightforward, but we’d prefer Brazil. Thanks for keeping us all up to date!

  • Shana Walters

    Simon I am really enjoying your information lately about second passports. What about these two Caribbean countries, Antigua and St. Maarten/St. Martin? Are these two Caribbean countries good for considering having a second passport with?

  • Dave

    Could you please direct me to the info you mentioned about obtaining a Brazilian passport? Thanks so much. I am a recent subscriber and enjoying your work very much!

  • Joe

    Not only are there scams where they take your money and disappear, but also scams where the PP is delivered but has been obtained with fake backup documentation, or is a totally counterfeit passport. Can you tell the difference between a real and fake pp of any country except your own? And what do you think will happen to you (and not to the seller !!!) when you are caught using it? I think it’s highly important to understand the exact legal basis under which the pp is issued. Residency and naturalization? Ancestry? Personally I would not get involved with anything involving backdating, and even less so filing a “delayed” birth certificate for myself or an ancestor. I would also not deal with anyone other than a licensed lawyer in and of the target country. Being a lawyer is no guarantee of competency or honesty, but it is a pretty good guarantee that 1) you know the person’s real name and 2) if he’s an out and out crook there is a government office where one can complain, and he has a risk of losing his law license.
    Could you also discuss the benefits of a second citizenship/PP? Residency rights is the obvious one.
    Avoiding terrorists? The scenario of the Americans, British and Israelis getting killed in a hijacked plane while those holding passports of innocuous nations being set free is possible, but terrorists are just as (or more) likely to blow the whole plane up.
    Banking? Passports still list your country of birth. So with (for example) most Swiss banks refusing to open accounts for US citizens, a foreign PP wouldn’t be much good for those born in the US … since that automatically results in US citizenship. (About 300 people renounce US citizenship yearly out of 300 million, but in that case you would have a certificate of loss of citizenship.)
    Also, not all country’s pps are equally desirable. Not just because some like DomRep have a reputation for fraud (as Simon pointed out) but a PP from a poor country means increased scrutiny at immigration (you are suspected of trying to immigrate illegally to obtain a low-paid job.) Likewise, source of funds when opening an account is easier to explain when you are from a country where you might have netted a few hundred k from the sale of your house, or savings, than if you are from a desperately poor country. In that case you will be suspected of having obtained the funds through government corruption.

  • Joe

    I had looked into marriage or adoption as a basis for second citizenship.

    Marriage: Often results in much shorter residence requirement for naturalization, used to be that people would advertise quite openly for this (in France for example.) Used to work in the US too. Immigration officials the world over have gotten wise to this and now will often separate the two spouses, ask detailed questions about their lives before and after marriage, and compare answers. The movie ‘Green Card’ provides a fictionalized account of this. Could work if you actually live with that person a long time (marriages of convenience, for reasons of social acceptability, have existed a long time between a gay man and a lesbian, for example) but unlikely to work if just a sham … married on paper only. Also unless you’re offering huge sums, you are likely to be marrying someone at the bottom of the socioeconimic pyramid, and getting into legal/financial entanglements that could be highly risky (could your new spouse run up debts which you’ll be responsible for? If she gets pregnant by another man, will you be financially responsible for the child? Some US courts have ruled this … even though DNA tests proved the husband had not fathered the child. Also, there is the social obstacle of trying to date while legally married to someone else.

    Adoption: Quite uncommon with an adult adoptee, but has been used as a way to transfer titles of nobility in Europe. (As an aside, I would say over 90% of such titles being sold are fake, and over 90% of those claiming a title have no right to it. Might as well just call yourself “earl” “duke” or whetever.) If only the title is involved it doesn’t really concern most European republics … such titles have become meaningless.
    While in theory it might work, in practice if the adopter/adoptee are questioned separately (as in a marriage, above) an adoption of convenience would quickly be discovered, since there would be little reason for the adoption, little shared history, little knowledge of each other.

    Sorry to rain on your parade, would love to know what Simon and others think.

  • Randell

    I was wondering if anyone has any insight on the WSA (World Service Authority) Passport? It’s says it is accepted by countries on a case by case basis and just wondering if anyone has first hand experience using it? http://www.worldservice.org/docpass.html

    • Joe

      Not first hand experience.
      Gary Davis, its creator, wrote a book about his experiences with it, including getting deported, jailed etc in several countries. The book was called “passport to Freedom” or something similar — I don’t recall exactly but I bought it used on Amazon.
      It has happened that many countries have stamped it and allowed people to enter/leave with it … as might happen also with an expired, forged, counterfeit, or “fictional country” passport.
      There have been countries that have allowed people to apply for a visa using it.
      I suggest you read his book and see whether you really want to repeat his experiences.

      • Kevin

        Check out the You-Tube video “Sovereign World Citizen Garry Davis Crosses Canada-US Border”  In this vid it shows President Barrack Obamas’ WSA passport that he apparently had obtained prior to his election.
        Very interesting to say the least!
        Why is the President of the USA holding a WSA passport?? 

      • AlwaysPrepared

        Obama didn’t order it. Someone else did. This pic in the passport is clearly a publicity shot. Hell, Gary himself may have made it as a gift. He was known to give passports to a number of “famous” people without asking them in advance. Harmless, but odd. Also, though these passports might pass scrutiny here and there, they are no more legitimate than the fun ones that Key West issues as novelties.

  • Joe

    About passports by ancestry …
    Fisrt of all, I am neither a lawyer nor a consultant … jus someone who’s looked into this for myself and other family members. I have contacted consultants and lawyers as well as checked out foreign govt websites and there is lots of misinfo out there, as well as incompetent lawyers/consultants as well as outrights crooks (you will find many crooks by googling second passport) so if you proceed buyer beware.
    Basic concept is, in the new world (the Americas, North/South/Central as well as Austral/NZ) generally give citizenship based on place of birth. If you’re born on US soil, ofr xample, even if your mother is here as a tourist, or illegally, you’re automatically a US citizen.
    In the old world, Europe, generally if your parent is a citizen of that country aT THE TIME YOU ARE BORN, then you are autiomatically a citizen of that country, REGARDLESS of what country you are born in. I’m speaking generalities, not particular laws/countries. Sometimes both parents need to be citizens, sometime the father must be, sometimes either parent. Laws change every few years; whether you meet the requirements of the law as it exists at the time you were born determines whether your parents pass on citizenship. This is important because you will often see current laws/requirements, what matters is the law when you were born.
    Of course your parent(s) might have lost that country’s citizenship prior to your birth, in which case they have no citizenship of that country and cannot pass it on to you. Often foreign naturalization causes loss of citizenship; sometimes serving in a foreign army does as well, but sdometimes only if the person serves in that foreign army as a volunteer, not as a draftee. Again what counts is whether the law at the time that the event (naturalization, army service) happened said that doing so resulted in loss of citizenship. Sometimes marrying a foreign national can result in loss.
    Importantly, gaining a foreign citizenship automatically by virtue of being born on that country’s soil does not result in loss of citizenship.
    Your italian grandfather emigrated to the US in 1930, married, and had your father (born in 1940) Then in 1941 your grandfather becomes a naturalized US citizen. Grandpa lost his Italian citizenship upon Us naturalization in 1941, but DAd, born in 1940 is both US and Italian. Now Dad, being US born isn’t going to get naturalized in the US, so when you are born in 1970 you are an Italian citizen.
    Now laws change all the time; if the above case is changed to the grandmother being Italian and the grandfather a US citizen, then when Dad is born in 1941 he did not become Italian, since women could not pass citizenship to their offspring prior to 1948 … your FATHER had to be Italian.
    Anyone interested in a second pp should research family history including citizenships, dates of birth, marriage, naturalization, army service etc. as well as the applicable laws, often found in English on the websites of the appropriate consulates in major cities (NY, London, Toronto Sydney etc.)
    As I’ve said, there is a lot of misinformation about laws etc out on the net (laws being misinterpreted, as well as showing the current law and not previous laws are the biggest examples of misinformation.)
    Once you know that you are a foreign citizen (not “eligible” but you actually “are”) you need to gather the relevant documents to prove it to whatever consulate serves the area where you live. Sometimes tough since European birth records are often kept locally; you need to know what town your ancestor was born in to request the birth record.
    Needless to say this is hard work but, if successful, well worth it since you would end up with a first-class passport, not one from some country with a dubious reputation for issuing passports.
    This is something I am currently researching myself, so I know it’s not easy, but if successful, well worth it.
    For anyone of African ancestry, I believe that both Liberia and the Solomon Islands are quite liberal in granting citizenship to blacks even though they may have no proof of ancestry from that country. (Liberia was actually founded by formers slaves from the US.) Unfortunately, a Liberian passport due to the country’s economic situation and civil war might not be of much use.

  • Grandpa

    re israeli passport, It is pretty easy to get if you are a member of a congregation and get a letter of sponsorshp as an immigrant….there is one other thing to note, PP is granted only to those who say they wish to make Israel their permanent home. If they leave the country and live abroad, unless they are working for an israeli company or a govt agency, their PP will not be renewed. This has happened a lot in the last few years. A Sabrah or person born there, does not lose citizenship by moving away.

  • Kevin

    If you don’t mind having your head shaved and wearing a Buddhist monk’s robe you can become a citizen of Thailand.  I’m not sure how long you have to be in the “monkhood” but the actual cost is quite low. 

  • Wassamshbaz

    waseem  shabaz

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