A Second Passport is not just for the “James Bonds” and super wealthy of this world. The truth is that it’s possible for ANYONE to obtain dual citizenship.
In this in-depth article you’ll learn the four ways of how to get a second passport in 2023 (potentially for free).
It will provide you the lifelong benefits of having more options for living, working, investing, traveling, and doing business around the world.
And these benefits won’t just be available to you… but to entire generations to come.
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People from countries like China, Lebanon or Cuba know all too well how many opportunities are not available to them just because they happened to be born in a country with a passport that doesn’t make international travel easy.
But even Americans can significantly expand their travel freedom with another passport.
Sure, an American passport grants citizens visa-free access to 156 countries (out of 198).
That’s a great result. However, Americans need to apply for visas to visit several countries, including Russia and China, starting from October 1, 2023, Brazil.
And obtaining visas at a consulate is usually costly and typically an awful waste of time.
At the same time, if you become a citizen of Ecuador, for example, you could visit all three nations above visa-free.
A second passport could give you more travel options during potential COVID lockdowns. For instance, US citizens have been banned from the EU for much of 2020, but dual holders of European passports enjoyed access to all 27 EU nations.
And although enhanced travel freedom is the most obvious benefit of a second passport, there are many more.
A second passport is the ultimate insurance policy — a tool that could literally save your life.
And the last few years have shown that we all need it.
A second passport could mean escaping cities destroyed by rioting and looting — which could become more prevalent as Americans increasingly clash over political elections.
Or it could involve navigating through extreme lockdowns, natural disasters, or the rise of extremist politicians.
And you better secure a second passport before you actually need it.
During times of crisis, leaving a country becomes increasingly challenging. Without the appropriate passport, visa, or residency in the desired destination, individuals may not even gain permission to board a plane.
The unfortunate conflict in Ukraine served as a wake-up call for many. As the war erupted, millions of Ukrainian males aged 18 to 60 found themselves stranded, prohibited from leaving the country. At the same time, Ukrainians with another passport or even foreign residency could leave much easier.
Similarly, Russians seeking to avoid military conscription faced obstacles. Numerous Western countries restricted immigration from Russia. And even in countries still welcoming Russians, the immigration paperwork became much lengthier.
Securing your second passport (or at least foreign residency) is much better before the proverbial substance hits the fan.
And you don’t need to experience war or the next pandemic firsthand to recognize the value of a second passport.
Consider the case of Venezuela. When hyperinflation devastated the country’s economy, most Venezuelans found themselves trapped. With only one passport and inflated away savings, they were unable to escape.
A second passport offers the freedom to travel, reside, work, invest, and establish a family in not just one but two countries.
And sometimes, a second passport grants access to an entire region or even a continent.
For example, a passport from any country in South America (except Venezuela) allows you to move to any other South American country with minimal paperwork under Mercosur’s freedom of movement agreement.
Similarly, a second passport from Italy or Portugal gives its holder the right to work and live anywhere in the European Union — a political bloc of 27 countries.
Likewise, a passport from, say, St Kitts or Grenada — Caribbean nations with Citizenship by Investment program — enables seamless movement across the seven OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) countries, and so forth.
You may not have realized it, but your passport doesn’t belong to you; it is the government’s property, and they can revoke it easily.
Take the example of Edward Snowden.
After leaking confidential documents to the press, Edward Snowden became a target of the US government… and in a snap, they canceled his passport.
This was his only passport, so he could not legally travel anywhere.
Luckily he was already abroad and left stranded in the international transit area at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for over a month until Russia granted him asylum.
If Mr. Snowden had held dual citizenship before he became a target, he could have used his second passport to continue traveling, living and doing business in another country.
But it’s not limited to extreme cases like whistleblowing and government espionage.
On December 30, 2015, when no one was looking, the US government passed H.R. 22 (The FAST Act), which authorizes them to revoke your passport if they believe, in their sole discretion, that you owe $50,000 in taxes (the amount is indexed to inflation).
It’s important to note that they don’t actually have to prove any wrongdoing.
They can make a simple allegation. It could even be a clerical error. And in an instant, they can cancel your passport.
They started enforcing this law in 2018, and in 2019, they started revoking almost 389,000 passports.
Moreover, the continuously growing pile of laws and regulations in the US and other Western countries has resulted in the criminalization of even ordinary actions, often categorizing victimless acts as felonies.
If your government decides to revoke your passport, it can exploit minor technicalities applicable to anyone.
This situation aligns perfectly with the old Soviet Union saying, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”
Putting this much trust into a single government with a history of abusing its power is a bad idea.
And even if things are calm today at home, there is no guarantee your government won’t grab more powers tomorrow… to restrict travel for people with anti-government views or people trying to escape a war they didn’t sign up for.
Smart people always have a Plan B.
A second passport provides access to international financial services that might otherwise be inaccessible.
As a result of onerous regulations imposed by the United States, numerous foreign financial institutions now reject American citizens. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has been particularly harmful, forcing foreign institutions to report their American customers to the US authorities.
A passport from a different country may help you become a welcomed customer again. (However, to fully benefit, you may have to renounce your US citizenship, as financial institutions typically inquire whether you also hold an American passport alongside the one you present.)
The same challenges apply to people holding passports from “troubled” countries.
Opening an account in a reputable jurisdiction with a passport from Congo, Iran, Syria, or any country on Washington’s blacklist is usually daunting.
Likewise, recent events in Ukraine made Russians and Belarusian ineligible from banking in Western countries, regardless of their actual political views.
Obtaining a second passport usually resolves this issue.
Let’s face it — the past, current and upcoming world powers will always have more cultural and political enemies than countries that do not claim world domination.
Many people will dislike you just because you are an American, Chinese or Russian.
Notably, America’s foreign policy has made US citizens very unpopular worldwide… to the point that they have become targets for terrorism.
At the same time, Uruguayans, Belgians or Costa Ricans will never face the same problem. Their homelands’ international influence — good and bad — is minimal.
Nobody ever threatens to bomb a plane full of Uruguayans or Lithuanians.
If you hold the passport of a polarizing country, seek a second citizenship from a country that doesn’t try to impose its will on its neighbors or around the world.
It’s important to clarify that having a second passport alone will not change your tax situation. What truly matters is where you live, as it determines your tax residency. (That said, acquiring a US passport means you become subject to US taxation regardless of your place of residence.)
Still, a second passport can make a move to a low-tax jurisdiction much simpler.
Even US citizens benefit here. Americans living abroad can take advantage of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which allows you to earn up to $120,000 of income each year, tax-free.
Depending on the tax laws of your new country, you may even find yourself paying no taxes at all. Many countries worldwide have substantially lower tax burdens than much of the Western world, including the US.
Being a dual passport holder means you can renounce one of the citizenships.
US citizens, in particular, can drastically reduce their tax burden by renouncing their US citizenship. At the very least, you will avoid the stress and cost of dealing with the IRS every year.
And even if you never decide to renounce, just having this option means more flexibility and freedom.
Lastly, a second passport typically extends its benefits to future generations.
If you become a dual citizen before your child is born, they’re likely to inherit both your passports right from birth — quite a remarkable birthright indeed.
And if your child is already in the world when you secure your second citizenship, you can usually include them in your application for naturalization, although the specifics differ from country to country.
In either scenario, you’re passing down the advantage of dual citizenship to your offsprings and even your grand- and great-grandchildren. Bestowing them with this privilege could be one of the most rewarding things you can ever do to them.
Here are the four ways ANYONE can get a second passport:
Before we get started, I want to pose fair warning:
Although it’s true that anyone can get a second passport and there are many options that are easier than others, it doesn’t mean that it’s always easy.
On top of that the internet is full of scammers today who will claim to be able to sell you a passport in exchange for $10,000 or less from some far-fetched island you’ve never heard of. On top of that, they promise that you’ll get it in four months.
They might also try to sell you diplomatic passports, which they in reality have no authority to issue.
Even worse, they might try and sell you on a passport program that is defunct – meaning it used to exist, but no longer does.
If you find a program or option you like, make sure to find official information from the government’s website that confirms the option actually exists.
Try to speak directly to a government agency or a consulate, and not some shady “lawyer” who insists that everything has to go through him or her to work.
The goal of this article is to give you an unbiased and realistic overview of what’s actually possible to get – and point you to additional (free) resources that cover all of the programs that are worthwhile in the world.
Our team has extensive experience with second passport programs (we’re even an official provider of one citizenship-by-investment option ourselves).
Our goal is to keep this page up-to-date so that you can always refer back to it for the latest and most reliable information regarding citizenship abroad.
When people talk about second passports, they really mean a second citizenship. The passport is just a travel document issued as one of the benefits of having citizenship in a country.
While some countries, like Singapore, don’t allow their citizens to have any other citizenships, many other countries don’t have this restriction and allow unrestricted dual citizenship.
By far, the easiest way to get a passport is by demonstrating you have parents, grandparents, or in some cases, even great-grandparents from the right place in the world.
If you happen to be part of what I call the “lucky bloodline club”, then you might be entitled to citizenship based on ancestry.
This means you can get a second passport in a very short time and at a very low cost.
Because of that, you should explore this option first if you are interested in getting a passport.
Examples of countries which often grant citizenship to the descendants of emigrants are:
Requirements for eligibility vary from country to country, but you will usually have to demonstrate an uninterrupted lineage between you and your ancestors.
Most often, “uninterrupted” means that no ancestor renounced or lost their citizenship before passing it onto the next descendant in your lineage.
To get a better idea of how this process works, you can download a free in-depth intelligence report on How To Get an Italian Passport & Citizenship By Descent here.
Even if you don’t have Italian ancestors this report will give you a better idea of how citizenship by descent works.
In most cases, you’ll need to start by setting up an appointment with your nearest consulate.
Don’t be surprised if they make you wait months. But be sure to spend that time hunting down and obtaining the necessary documents (and, if required, have them officially translated and certified).
Make sure you understand exactly what is required for you to bring to the appointment.
(Some countries will want to see an FBI or police report showing that you’re not a criminal. This takes a while to push through the right channels, so don’t delay.)
You’ll likely need to bring your birth certificate, marriage and/or divorce certificate (if applicable) and passport, as well as the birth certificates of any children you have.
You’ll also need birth certificates (and death certificates) for your ancestors on both your maternal and paternal lines, going all the way back to the ancestor. You’ll need any naturalization certificates those ancestors acquired as well.
If you are interested in pursuing citizenship by descent, our team recently updated an in-depth article on citizenship by descent that covers how to get citizenship and a passport through your ancestry in eight countries.
I encourage you to check it out if you are interested in this option.
In most countries around the world, you can acquire citizenship in a country by first becoming a legal resident, and then maintaining that residency for a certain number of years (generally at least five years).
Some countries make it harder than others for foreigners to obtain residency and citizenship.
In the United States, immigration rules make it difficult for foreigners to obtain a Green Card, but in Argentina, for example you could apply for citizenship after just two years of legal residency.
In some countries (like the Dominican Republic, for example), you don’t even need to actually spend significant amounts of time in the country to become eligible to apply for a second passport (but it’s still always advisable to be able to demonstrate strong ties to the country in order to be approved).
This is a great option for people who do not want to uproot their lives right away, but want a place to go no matter what happens in the world, and a second passport a few years down the line.
Keep in mind, however, that residency (and passport) opportunities change frequently. They are heavily subject to the laws of supply and demand.
Countries generally make it easier for foreigners to establish residency and obtain citizenship when they need money, or talent.
But once that need is no longer there, they’ll close the loophole and shut down the residency paths.
So it’s important to start taking these steps now – while they are still available.
We have recently compiled all the easiest options into a Passport Comparison Sheet that lets you see all the best opportunities at a glance… This sheet could save you tens of thousands of dollars and YEARS of time.
The fastest (but certainly not the cheapest) way to acquire a second passport is through investing money in the country in exchange for a passport.
It’s called economic citizenship or Citizenship By Investment and is a legitimate way to buy a second passport and citizenship.
These programs often take either one of two forms.
The first is that you make an outright donation to the government in exchange for citizenship.
The second is that, on top of an outright donation to the government, you make an actual investment in property, financial instruments or businesses within a pre-screened and pre-selected set of investment opportunities.
These can range from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars.
Citizenship by investment is certainly not for everyone, because of the steep price.
For a lot of people, it might make more sense to just acquire residency in a country and let time work for them until naturalization.
But even if economic citizenship is right for you, we can only wholeheartedly recommend that you pursue citizenship by investment after you have checked whether you are eligible for citizenship by ancestry if you need a passport quickly.
However, if you find that citizenship by investment is the right choice for you, there are several options that offer passports of varying quality.
The Caribbean has five active citizenship by investment programs that will grant you and your family citizenship starting at around $110,000 (for singles) and $150,000 (for a family of four).
St. Lucia as well as Antigua and Barbuda had even gone on “COVID sale” in an attempt to attract economic citizens to the countries, which rely on tourism and have been hit hard by the pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Their passports are of decent quality (they rank between B and B- in the Sovereign Man Passport Index).
But the highest quality passports by investment are from Europe.
Cyprus used to offer a CBI program, but it was shuttered in late 2020 after widespread bad publicity. This program required you to fork out over two million dollars for a passport.
The Montenegro CBI program, too, was shuttered – also due to EU pressure – at the end of 2022. Malta is therefore the only European CBI program left in 2023. The island nation runs their so-called MEIN (Malta Exceptional Investor Naturalization) program – which will give you a fast citizenship for a donation of either €600,000 (~$652,000) or €750,000 (~$812,000), depending on the timeline to naturalization.
(And that’s excluding the hefty service, processing and ancillary fees.)
Yet it too is under pressure from the EU.
Malta’s passports gets an A score in the Sovereign Man Passport Index.
If you’re a high-income earning US citizen who intends to move abroad and renounce your US citizenship, then an economic citizenship program might make sense for you.
US citizens are the only people in the world (together with Eritreans) who have to pay taxes on their worldwide income no matter where they live in the world.
And if you’re a US citizen, simply eliminating your US tax burden alone could offset the costs of a new passport very quickly.
If you acquire citizenship and residency in a country with low or no tax, you could completely eliminate the taxes you pay – legally, and forever.
We discuss who economic citizenship is right for and all 13 official programs in more detail inside our in-depth article on citizenship by investment.
If you don’t have the right ancestors, have no intention of moving abroad for many years and do not want to invest money in acquiring a second passport, there’s one more option for you.
If you’re willing to be flexible, you can acquire citizenship abroad in a number of different ways.
Get a second passport through Marriage
Most countries will loosen the requirements for citizenship if you marry a citizen of another country.
In most cases, you will still be required to live in the country you’re looking to get citizenship, but being married to a citizen of the country will usually make it a lot easier and quicker for you to become eligible.
(If your spouse can claim ancestry through bloodlines, it might be prudent to have him or her go through that process first and then help you acquire citizenship through marriage. Check with a qualified immigration attorney first, as this might not always be the most expedient or convenient option.)
Get a second passport by adopting a child or giving birth abroad
Another option is to either adopt a child or give birth to a child in a country that grants citizenship to everyone born on its territory – the so-called jus soli.
Some countries have fairly lenient requirements for residency, and eventually citizenship, for persons who are legal guardians of citizens of their country.
Brazil is a fantastic option.
Immediately after your newborn’s birth, you, your spouse and your other children have the right to apply for a “residency of indefinite term,” which grants you the right to stay, live and work within Brazil.
After securing residency, one year later you can apply for citizenship. You’ll need to pass a Portuguese language test, and then wait for a few months for the Brazilian government to process your citizenship application.
So, within two years of having a baby in Brazil, your entire family could have second passports in hand.
And Brazil is also not the only country that gives citizenship by birth. If you want to give your future child the invaluable gift of a second citizenship and passport, download our free report The Four Passports ANYONE Can Obtain.
Get a second passport by changing your religion
Are you Jewish? Do you want to be? If so, you can get an Israeli passport.
In Israel, the “Law of Return” provides means for all Jews, and individuals of Jewish ancestry, to acquire Israeli residency and citizenship.
Israeli law defines Jewish ancestry as having at least one Jewish parent or grandparent.
In the event that you don’t fit the ancestry definition, the law also provides the ‘right of return’ to all converted Jews of all denominations, and the conversion need not take place in Israel in order to qualify.
In either case, the onus is on the applicant to provide adequate documentation proving either Jewish ancestry or conversion to Judaism… the Israeli authorities won’t just take your word for it. They will check.
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Here are six factors you should consider before picking a passport option...
It is important to make sure that the passport you acquire is completely legitimate and opens up as many doors for you and your family as possible.
At the same time, some passports come with obligations, and you need to make sure you are aware of those before you pursue naturalization.
Below are a number of factors you should consider when deciding which passport is right for you.
The reputation of the country you choose can make all the difference in how you are treated by immigration officers and your home government.
It is possible for a government to choose not to honor your foreign citizenship if they do not believe it is legitimate. This is rare, but has happened in extreme circumstances.
Some countries, for example, are known specifically for selling passports. Travel documents from these countries are still useful to have, but they may face greater scrutiny.
If other countries decide to remove visa-free travel from and to that country, its value would also likely decrease in the future.
Generally speaking, Europe offers some of the best passports in the world. Luckily, it is also the continent with the most easily accessible citizenship by ancestry programs – so do make sure to check those out first.
For a more detailed overview of the quality of different passports, you can visit the Sovereign Man Passport Index.
The legitimacy of your passport may also be influenced by how immigration officers deem you fit in with the local culture. These officers are not immune from racism, and thus may not trust your document if you look vastly different from the local population.
You can side-step this problem by choosing a country in which it’s easier to blend in for you. This means picking a country in which the inhabitants ethnically look like you – or where you could easily blend in.
For example, pretty much anyone can look Brazilian. But if you carry a passport from the Caribbean and you are pale white with red hair, immigration officials might look at you twice before letting you pass.
One great benefit of having residency abroad is the ability to potentially minimize your tax burden. For example, US citizens living abroad can file for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which allows you to exclude more than $100,000 of your income from your tax return.
Of course, you would still be subject to taxes in your new adopted country (if you move there). But if it’s few or no taxes, you could essentially pay no taxes for the rest of your life.
That’s why some Americans choose to renounce their US citizenship. They live abroad, and even after qualifying for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, they are still left with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay each year in US taxes.
Keep this in mind also if you wish to acquire US citizenship. The US is the only country in the world, together with Eritrea, that taxes its citizens no matter where they live in the world.
So if you acquire US citizenship, you will be liable to pay American taxes – even if you live in Singapore, or Chile, for example.
Citizens from most other nationalities can benefit tremendously from acquiring citizenship from a lower-tax country. If they move there, they can permanently eliminate most if not all of the taxes they pay.
If you are looking to have easier travel access to the rest of the world, it makes sense for you to acquire a passport which complements the one you currently have, and adds more visa-free travel options.
(If you want to know which passports give access to which countries, our Sovereign Man Passport Index gives you all the answers you need)
For example, if you are a US citizen, it makes a lot of sense to acquire a European passport, which then gives you access to the entire European continent. You could live and work in the 27 EU countries.
Similarly, if you are from Europe, it makes sense to get a second passport from a country or region that allows you to access new opportunities away from home.
For example, an Argentinian passport will grant you access to not only Argentina, but also to all of the Mercosur trading bloc that makes it easy for Argentinians to obtain residency in neighboring countries.
Most countries allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship. Some, however, don’t. Before you pursue citizenship abroad, you should check whether your home country allows you to obtain multiple citizenships.
If it doesn’t, then simply obtaining residency abroad could do the trick for you. In that case, if something were to happen in your home country, you would have a place to go.
Of course, if the passport you are looking to obtain is significantly better than the one you currently have, you may consider renouncing your initial citizenship in favor of the new one.
That is a highly personal decision, and one we don’t advise you to take lightly. But with the right decision, you may open up a new world of opportunities to you and your families for generations to come.
Some countries require their citizens to fulfill certain special obligations to retain their citizenship.
For example, some countries require all male citizens to do military service. Israel requires both males and females to serve.
The requirements may range from a few weeks to several years (like Singapore and Israel).
These obligations will likely be imposed on your children too if they inherit the foreign citizenship. (Although if you don’t live in the country of your second citizenship, you are generally off the hook.)
Therefore, we highly recommend you check if there are any special obligations (like military service) that you might need to fulfill upon becoming a citizen (or that your children might have to fulfill).
Then, you are free to consider whether these obligations still make it worthwhile for you to obtain the foreign citizenship.
If you don’t have time to read the full article, here are the most frequently asked questions we get…
There are four ways to gain citizenship in a foreign country.
A second passport will provide you the lifelong benefits of having more options for living, working, investing, traveling, and doing business around the world.
And these benefits won’t just be available to you… but to entire generations to come.
On top of that it gives you…
Citizenship by descent should be the very first option you look into. If you qualify, you could get an excellent passport (most likely a European one) in just a few months and at a very low cost.
But even if you don’t qualify there are some options that are relatively easy.
We have an entire article on this topic: The 8 Easiest Citizenships & Passports To Get [Including the EU]
More people than ever are working from home indefinitely due to the pandemic. That trend is unlikely to reverse.
And with this newfound freedom, remote workers have the option to live where they want. You can get away from a riot torn city, or even seek lower taxes outside the country.
But these options are vastly expanded if you have a second passport. And it might even help you escape a strict lockdown for a better life in your country of second citizenship.
But right now Americans are essentially stuck. The passport is weaker than ever due to COVID travel restrictions. Many Americans have no access to the entire European Union, and many other countries around the world.
If you are looking to acquire a second passport, the first step we recommend you take is to understand whether you qualify for citizenship by descent anywhere.
It is the easiest path that requires very little effort, time or money on your end.
Next, you should consider citizenship by naturalization – acquiring residency in a country for a few years before acquiring citizenship.
There are several excellent programs out there right now. And some of them don’t require much time on the ground and are very cost effective.
If the situation fits you, and you are more flexible you can pursue other options like having a baby in Brazil or acquiring Israeli citizenship by converting to Judaism.
And last, if money isn’t a problem and that you are in a hurry, consider acquiring citizenship by investment.
Once you’ve chosen which path is right for you, here’s how you can decide which passport is the best for your situation.
No matter what you choose, we encourage you to research your options – and then TAKE ACTION.
To continue your research consider reading our other in-depth articles and download our free resources below…
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Easiest Citizenship & Passport Comparison Sheet
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The Four Passports ANYONE Can Obtain
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Italian Passport & Citizenship By Descent
Inside this free version of our premium intelligence, you’ll see how this process works if you have Italian ancestors.
And even if you don’t have Italian ancestors, this report is still useful to get a better idea of how the process works.
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Citizenship By Investment Comparison Sheet
This comparison sheet will give you a birds-eye view of the most important things you need to know about each citizenship-by-investment program…
It could potentially help you save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by picking the best passport for your personal situation at the lowest price…
Our intelligence reports cover all four ways and dozens of options step-by-step to get a second passport and citizenship…
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