Getting recognized as a citizen in another country is very significant, as many potential privileges could come from it. That’s not to say that there are no possible downsides to it. For instance, some countries would require you to give up citizenship to all other countries to qualify for their citizenship.
How then do you tell if it is a worthwhile endeavor for you to navigate the complex processes required to become a legally recognized citizen in another country? In this post, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of being a dual citizen. Before that, let’s break down what dual citizenship is.
Who Is a Dual Citizen?
A dual citizen is an individual legally recognized as a citizen in more than one country and shares the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of citizens in those countries. In addition to that, dual citizens carry the passports of both countries in which they are recognized.
There are quite a number of ways to become a dual citizen – some can be very challenging, and some are just down to sheer luck. For instance, a person could acquire dual citizenship by being born to parents who are from different countries, or a person could be born in a country and have to work years or invest considerably to earn a second nationality.
Advantages of Being a Dual Citizen
1. Freedom to work
If you’re a national of two or more countries, you would ordinarily be able to work or carry out your business without having to seek special work permits. More than that, there are certain job opportunities that would require you to be a national of the country. Dual citizens tend to have much more options when it comes to employment.
2. Travel to more locations visa-free
If you have dual citizenship and carry more than one passport, you’ll most likely be able to travel to more locations visa-free than when carrying a single passport. Naturally, you would have to apply for a travel visa to travel to some countries. Still, as a dual citizen, you can travel to more places without applying for a visa beforehand.
3. You can own properties
Quite interestingly, there are countries where you have to be a citizen to own properties. Nations reserve the right to restrict foreigners from owning properties, and even if it is allowed, non-citizens may have to obtain special permits to complete a property purchase. As a dual citizen, however, you can freely own properties in either country.
4. Cultural exposure
Cultural education may not be the most typical reason why people seek double citizenship, but the benefit of being exposed to varying unique cultures is undeniable. Imagine being a citizen of an English-speaking country by birth and obtaining a second citizenship in a Spanish-speaking country. The dynamics of such a cultural experience could be mind-blowing.
5. Revenue for government
Not many people know this, but many countries offer citizenship through investment. Yes, you can become a citizen of another country through investing. The rules vary from country to country, but the general idea is that it’s a source of revenue stream for many governments, especially the governments of smaller nations.
Disadvantages of Being a Dual Citizen
1. It’s a long and potentially expensive process
Unfortunately, becoming a citizen in another country is a process that takes a long time and costs money. Of course, it is much easier if you’re bestowed double nationality by birth. However, it will take considerable time and money if you have to go through the rigors of obtaining a visa, becoming a permanent resident, and then a citizen.
2. Dual obligations
Most people like to focus on the rights and benefits that come with citizenship, not the responsibilities it comes with. Although there are several benefits attached, citizenship also means you’re taking up some responsibilities by law. For instance, some countries mandate military service for some citizens. You could lose your citizenship in one country if you have to serve in another’s military. In particular, U.S. nationals who are dual citizens and have to serve in a foreign army can lose their American citizenship.
3. Dual taxation
Another clear disadvantage of dual citizenship is that you may be required to pay taxes in more than one country. Interestingly, most countries require you to pay tax based on where you reside, but there are a couple of countries – America inclusive – where citizens are taxed globally. It can become a financial burden if you’re required to pay tax in one country where you earn and another country where you’re a citizen.
4. Security issues
A dual citizen could face security issues that would exclude them from getting jobs or appointments in certain offices. Although this is largely political, the likelihood of a potential conflict of interest would impact the chances of a dual citizen getting some security clearances. This isn’t essentially the way it is in all countries, but it’s something to be mindful of if you ever plan to run for public office as a dual citizen.
Is It Worth It?
Dual citizenship, without a doubt, has a lot of benefits. And generally speaking, it does seem like the good outweigh the negative aspects for a lot of people. The ability to travel to more countries visa-free, the opportunity to live and work in different countries, or even the chance to own properties and businesses in two countries are advantages that many individuals dedicate considerable resources, time, and effort to tapping into through dual citizenship.
It comes down to personal preference and individual needs at the end of the day. As there are some disadvantages attached to dual citizenship, you want to consider both the good and bad sides.
Moreover, dual citizenship is a complex and dynamic subject. And the laws vary considerably from country to country. Hence, you need an experienced provider of immigration solutions to help you break down and work around the complexity of dual citizenship.