Dual citizenship has been a hotly debated issue in recent years, whether as part of a wider debate on immigration, or an incentive to widen the talent pool in some countries. Having dual or second citizenship is not always something that a person chooses, since it often comes from being born to parents of two nationalities, granting the child the citizenship privileges of both countries. However, for one reason or another, some nations do not recognise dual citizenship, with many insisting that anyone with dual citizenship who wishes to become a citizen there must renounce one citizenship and take full citizenship of that country.

Despite this controversy, a growing number of countries have begun to provide people the option to gain a second passport and full citizenship in exchange for a contribution to their economy. This comes as a voluntary fast-track form of a process which otherwise traditionally requires years of residency or being born to the “right” parents in the “right” country to complete. Here, we’ll explore how this process works, and its benefits.

How to get a second citizenship

As noted above, there are various routes to dual citizenship. The most common is second citizenship by birth. In  many countries, birthplace citizenship is also immediately granted to any child born there, regardless of their parents’ nationality.

Second citizenship can also be applied for, through the process of naturalisation. While this is a much more time-consuming way to gain citizenship, it is also the most commonly undertaken by far. The amount of time a resident has to spend in a country to become a naturalised citizen varies from nation to nation, as do the restrictions placed upon those residents during that time. However, the process generally takes between five and ten years, and allows residents the time and experience to get acclimated and settled into their new home.

Citizenship by investment (CBI), on the other hand, is a relatively quicker process. More and more countries have begun to offer the possibility of obtaining their citizenship in exchange for investments into their economies, ranging from a little under £100,000, as is the case of Dominica, to more than £2 million depending on the country in question. The majority of territories offering citizenship by investment are located in the Caribbean or mainland Europe, and provide an array of benefits to those who can afford them.

What are the benefits of having dual citizenship?

Being granted second citizenship to a country affords people a number of wider perks beyond simply being made citizens of another nation. Indeed, as London-based investor immigration specialists CS Global Partners note when discussing their CBI programme for St. Lucia, one of the benefits of dual citizenship is gaining visa-free travel to many countries, while maintaining your original citizenship, where possible. These programmes are often most beneficial to business owners. This is down to the fact that, by making an investment in their desired new territory in return for their citizenship, they will be able to use their citizenship to expand their enterprises into the country and make a lasting, beneficial contribution to its economy.

Primarily, however, second citizenship simply allows someone the basic benefits of the rights that a country offers to its citizens. Chief amongst these is the promise of an improved quality of life. For example, applying for dual citizenship promises security for those seeking a refuge from a politically unstable climate in their home country.

Whilst the benefits of second citizenship vary drastically depending on how people are applying for it and their reasons for doing so, the fact that it offers so many people such wide-ranging uses demonstrates why it is so important.