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Why you need a second passport

September 9, 2011
London, England

I wanted to dedicate today’s Q&A to a topic that we have been receiving a huge volume of questions about lately: passports. This subject is becoming quite popular as the developed world continues to deteriorate, and I wanted to shed some light on the issue based on my own extensive personal experiences:

First, Phillip asks, “Simon, what is the point of having a second passport? There are a lot of websites talking about it, but nobody ever says why.”

Great question. A second passport is a really useful insurance policy in the event of things like social unrest, political turmoil, major lawsuit, economic collapse, etc.

To give you an example, some friends of mine in Cairo earlier this week told me that when the revolution started, they really wanted to get out of dodge. Unfortunately the only countries available to them were places like Syria… frying pan, fire.

Ironically, the top countries on their wish list were Malaysia, New Zealand, and Finland. I asked them, “What about the United States? Or the UK?” They shrugged. “Eh…”

If they’d had a decent second passport, they could have watched the turmoil on their television instead of out the living room window. But instead, they had to hunker down when the bullets were flying.

A second passport is ultimate protection in times of calamity… safe passage when black swan events take place. These days when you can’t bet on any certainty past the end of your nose, a second passport is even more valuable.

Even if you’re not facing imminent peril, a second passport has a lot of useful functions. It can help you establish bank and brokerage accounts overseas (especially if you only have the dreaded US passport), and it also helps you keep a low profile while traveling should the need arise.

As I’m fond of saying, nobody ever hijacks an airplane and threatens to kill all the Lithuanians.

Problem is, there is little accurate information out there about how to actually obtain a second passport. The ‘industry’ (if you could call it that) is fraught with snake oil salesmen who claim that they can ‘get’ you a passport in places like the Dominican Republic or Panama, as if passports are served up on a menu.

There are also droves of ‘experts’ who have no earthly idea what they’re talking about; they dish out internationalization advice from North America and make up for their lack of knowledge and personal experience by asking Google for the answer.

This just isn’t the sort of information you’re going to find in Wikipedia. Bottom line- tread carefully.

Next, Karl asks, “Simon, what’s the easiest way to obtain a second passport?”

Another great question. Legitimately, there are three ways to do this.

First is if you’re lucky enough to be descended from a country that grants ancestral citizenship. In other words, if your parents or grandparents are from places like Poland, Italy, or Ireland, you too may be able to obtain Polish, Italian, or Irish citizenship.

Second, you can simply pay to play– there are a few countries where an economic investment qualifies someone for citizenship. More on this next. Just remember, there are only a few legitimate economic citizenship programs out there, and they’re all pricey. If a deal looks too good to be true, it’s a scam.

Third, you can establish permanent residency and go through the process of naturalization.

For example, there are countries in Europe where you can become a citizen after just 2 to 3 years of permanent residency. In Singapore, it’s 2-years. Other countries in South America have timelines as short as 2-years if you know how to work the system.

Depending on the country, you may/may not have to actually spend time in the country during the residency qualification period. For instance, if you want to become a naturalized Canadian citizen through residency, the government there has a strict limit on how long you can be outside of Canada and still qualify.

Last, Robert asks, “Simon, I really enjoyed your offshore workshop DVD kit, and I watched with great interest all the presentations and breakout sessions for second passports. I have been leaning towards the economic citizenship program in St. Kitts, but I heard they just increased their price. Is this true?”


No, it’s not true.

St. Kitts is one country that grants citizenship to certain people who make a qualifying investment in the country; the total amount varies by program, but expect to spend a few hundred thousand dollars.

There was one organization (which shall remain nameless) that recently sent several emails claiming that the government of St. Kitts was raising the financial bar for economic citizenship. Several of the monkey-see, monkey-do websites simply parroted the information, propagating the rumor.

Some colleagues and I went straight to our sources in St. Kitts and found out the truth– the price hasn’t budged. At least, not yet.

Second passports are extremely scarce resources… and as the world continues its descent into monetary purgatory, demand for such things is on the rise. I’ve been in a room full of wealthy Chinese people who would happily pay seven figures for a second passport, so it really comes down to supply and demand.

Bottom line, we very well could wake up tomorrow and see the requirements for some of the better citizenship options change. Australia changed its residency requirements years ago to cope with the influx of immigrants. I suspect the same thing will happen in places like St. Kitts.

If you’ve been thinking about second citizenship, I want to encourage you to get the right information, weigh your options, and take action now. If you kick the can down the road, you risk losing your window of opportunity while it’s open now. As we’ve seen before, we can all wake up tomorrow to a different reality.

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.

  • John Henry

    Great article.  I have a question for Simon or other readers: can an American citizen have citizenship in more than two countries?  Let’s say, for example, you are able to claim citizenship in a European country through ancestral ties.  Can you also obtain citizenship via qualifying investments in a third country?

  • Dieter

    There are countries which do not recognize dual citizenship, such as Germany. Every time in the past in order to be able to renew my passport I had to sign a declaration that I did not obtain or apply for citizenship in another country. Last time I even had to obtain a letter of certification from Immigration Canada that I am not a Canadian citizen and that I had not filed an application for one. If I had Germany would revoke my citizenship by birth.

    What now?


  • http://www.silver-investor-gold-investor.com SilverInvestor

    My three years of permanent residency in Ecuador are up on April 1 next year. I learned a couple of weeks ago from an immigration lawyer that there’s now no citizenship test, or language requirement.

    Three months prior to eligibility, I can start the process. So January 2, I’ll be submitting my papers for citizenship. If the ministry replies that there’s nothing that I need to deal with, I’ll just have to pay around $1,000 for the legal work and the government work.

    And then I’ll have my second passport.

    • Rriver1010

      I’m in Costa Rica, residency program is painful and paperwork tedious, and lasts 5 years. Then you can apply for citizenship….. I love the Ecuador unrestricted idea. If we are not working towards an active plan, we are WAY behind the curve of safety!

    • http://www.salescopywriter.net/ Alan

      How can three years of permanent residency be up? You mean 3 years before you can apply for PR? Here in Malaysia it’s more like 15 years…

      • http://www.silver-investor-gold-investor.com SilverInvestor

        In EC, you obtain permanent residency after 6 months. 3 years from that date, you can have citizenship, which you can apply for 3 months earlier.

        I arrived here on October 1, 2008, received my permanent residency April 1, 2009, and on January 1, 2012, I can apply for citizenship.

      • http://www.salescopywriter.net/ Alan

        Ah, I wish Malaysia were that easy! I’ve already lived here nearly 8 years and I’m not allowed to even apply for PR yet!

        Best of luck :o)

    • Jrtsrule

      I recently read that Canada is going to have the same problems with over inflated real estate values and banks like the US.  Is that true?  I would love my second passport to be Canadian, but am afraid I’m jumping out of one frying pan into another.

  • Pat

    I have family in Bolivia … how difficult is it to get a Bolivian passport?

    • Dan

      If your mother or father is Bolivian, then you just need to do some paperwork at the Bolivian consulate where you live, or return to live in Boliva, and you can gain citizenship.  Otherwise, it would require living in Bolivia for one to two years, depending on your circumstances.  From what I have read, Bolivia does not recognize dual citizenship, so I believe you’d have to renounce any other citizenship upon becoming a Bolivian citizen.

  • Robert

    It is not so easy to get a second passport. I’ve been living permanently in Panama for 11 years. I’ve had a Panamanian cedula for 10 years. I have a Panamanian wife and a Panamanian child. I own 3 properties in Panama. I completed everything I needed to do to be naturalized almost 3 years ago. The president needs to sign it and I am still waiting for that to happen. According to my lawyer the president has been signing some applications but he hasn’t gotten to mine yet. I did have to take a Spanish test which I passed since I speak Spanish everyday in my home. Maybe I don’t really need a second passport but I wouldn’t mind having one. I might eventually get Panamanian citizenship but I wouldn’t recommend Panama to someone who really wants a second passport. 

    Volcan, Chiriqui

  • bondservant

    Is a British passport even worth the time, seeing as they seem to be an extension of the problems we’re having/likely to encounter

  • Peter

    Don’t forget that there is also a fourth option: marrying a foreign national, as I did a long time ago. Sometimes that requires that you live in your spouse’s country for a while until you get the citizenship, and many people don’t like the idea of being “tied down” like that.

    However, for those younger folks who are looking for romance and life abroad, it is certainly something to consider. The other side benefit: any children from that marriage would automatically get your US citizenship and the citizenship of the other country, so long as that country allows dual-citizenship. Setting your children up with dual nationalities will help them and their children, etc. with dealing with the rapidly changing world. What a great gift of opportunity to give to your children!I married a European many years ago and am just now in the process of going through the paperwork for an EU passport (which gives access to live, work, study, and get medical care in 27 nations of the EU), and our child at 6 months of age already received both the US and EU passport. A dual-national at 6 months!

  • Landon

    I just got Australian citizenship by descent, it only took 3 and a half weeks, hooray! Now I can get another passport! I’m moving there in January for the hell of it.

  • Friend

    Singapore requiters that you give up all your other passport, so nothing of second from them.

    How many passports do you Simon have ?

    • Bb


  • Archie1954

    My citizenship is Canadian and my passport is desired around the world. It is a treasure that I guard with my life and I count myself very, very lucky to have it.

  • Guest

    Second passport is not enough. I am a dual citizen and am actually treasuring my U.S. citizenship over my birthright one (Europe).
    The only inconvenience I find is tax returns need to be filed every year, but I always get a refund so that’s a good thing – thank you IRS for having “great” tax laws! St. Kilt, where is my refund check??
    Seriously, I don’t know why you think some St. Kilt citizenship can give you a peace of mind. A lot of European nations will make you renounce your other citizenship before you can apply/be granted theirs. Germany is one of them. 
    And when UN guns are trained on St. Kilt, you ain’t gonna have anywhere to run with your passport, so you ought to have three or more passports to overcome the visa restrictions impasse, especially in ever so rapidly closing Schengen zone (Europe). 
    Just remember the Bourne Identity with an array of passports..then you’d be set. :)

  • Dholroyd

    I have to tell you that when I applied for Mexican naturalization things were weird. I was given a list of requirements that included a letter from the Immigration department. It took me 6 weeks to get it. When I handed in the items on my list and got to this letter the man who had told me that it was needed said “I don’t need that” so I waited a tenth of a second, pushed it off to one side and kept on with the list. He also changed the photo requirements and I accepted the new requirements without pausing for a second. This seems to have been an attitude test. My application was lost twice in the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores in Mexico City so it took a total of 3 years and 4 trips to Mexico City to get my naturalization letter. Fortunately I got a 50% senior discount on each trip. My Mexican passport then took about 2 hours, at a time when Canadian passports took 6 weeks.

  • honestann

    Getting more passports is a great way to expand the information governments have about you.  This may have been good advice decades ago, but is terrible advice now.  Do you know that a fundamental right of mankind is travel?  Do you know a passport is a document to allow you to “pass” through an official “port” (hence the name)?  Do you know you don’t need a passport to lawfully land on a random shoreline (by boat) or random field (by plane or parachutte), because every human has a fundamental human right to travel?  This is how my group of friends deal with this issue.  One owns a nice big yacht, one owns a passable plane (with internal long distance fuel tanks), and we all own parachuttes (hint, hint).  All extra passports do is increase your exposure to more and more governments.  We avoid the elitist predators, and certainly don’t cooperate with them, sanction them, strengthen them, or ask for their permission to live and travel on planet earth.  The predators fake you into making yourself into a slave, and getting passports is just one of their many ways to accomplish this. A sovereign does not ask for permission. A sovereign makes her/his own decisions, and lives his/her own life. This should be self-evident. The world is full of “color of law” (pretend law). If you obey it, you are a slave.

    • James

       Honestann…as a yacht owner who travels the world I can say with absolute certainty that you sir are full of shit.

  • Charles1Martel

    The article doesn’t mention that having a passport in a country makes you more subject to them and their laws than if you are a visitor with another passport.

    There was a time when having a British passport ensured your safety, because Great Britain not afraid to use the Royal Navy and Army to protect their citizens and punish anyone who abused them.

    Likewise a US passport will make you a target in some places, but I wouldn’t go to most of those places anyway.

  • Akira Seung

    often get asked why we think a
    second passport is so important. There are several reasons
    involving convenience, freedom, costs and political risk management. Let’s
    start with the more mundane and practical reasons…

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