HOW TO GET A SECOND PASSPORT AND SECOND CITIZENSHIP ?
Having dual citizenship can help protect your freedom, expand your investment horizons, and even save your life. In an era when governments are imposing more and more draconian regulations on their citizens, a second passport is “citizenship insurance”.
Having a second passport can dramatically increase your personal and economic freedom. Having dual citizenship – or even multiple citizenships – is an important step in internationalizing your life so that no one government owns you.
No one should be forced to be a slave to one government merely because of their birth in that country. Throughout history, governments have used citizenship as a tool of economic enslavement, rather than a cherished gift. Not only can a second passport help enhance your freedom, but it can help you leave a better life for your children and their children, by giving them citizenship in the best countries possible. Among other reasons, some Americans consider obtaining a second citizenship to prepare for future expatriation, as the United States is the only country on earth to impose worldwide taxation based not on residence, but on citizenship.
Today, Americans are being excluded from lucrative investments and even the ability to open foreign bank accounts just for carrying a US passport. Most people carry only one citizenship and one passport, leaving them vulnerable to capital controls or restrictions of their movements.
By acquiring a second passport, you can achieve the peace of mind that you always have another place to turn to. It gives you an escape hatch in times of economic or political chaos. Imagine: your country’s currency collapses thanks to bad decisions by your government. Inflation runs rampant. Looters and rioters take to the street, forcing an ongoing state of emergency to be declared. Soon, martial law prevails and the government lowers the boom. If your country is in a period of chaos, you may not be able to travel. Who will give you refuge?
With a second passport, you will have more options. While some might suggest that having more than one passport makes you a slave to more than one place, a second passport actually allows you to engage in what I call “government arbitrage” – pitting governments against each other to compete over you. One of the greatest examples of this is in Nazi Germany when Jews had their passports stamped with large “J”s to make them easily identifiable by officials. Game over. Some Jews were able to get second passports through offshore connections, but most were left with few options.
Recently, citizens of Arab Spring countries attempted to escape the chaos around them, but were turned away from most safe havens because of where they were coming from. When things heat up at home, many other countries won’t want to help you. As with anything else, it is better to be prepared than to seek preparation once it’s too late.
THE HISTORY OF PASSPORTS – AND WHY IT’S GETTING HARDER TO GET ONE
It used to be that a passport was a tool of convenience. Your ruler gave you a set of papers to show to another ruler in asking for your safe passage. Now, passports are just another form of government identification. If your government takes your away, you might as well just lock yourself in your house. So you might as well have at least two of them. The United States government is even making it harder to get their passport if you’re a citizen.
Owe a small balance to the IRS, for example, and they may put the kibosh on your passport – or not even issue one to you at all. The proposals that have floated around Capitol Hill to effectively limit freedom of movement among US citizens are mind-boggling. In fact, a US passport can even be a strike against you in a tough situation. Not only could having only one passport limit your travel options in an emergency, but citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, and select other countries are more likely to be a target in attack.
Even in times of peace, have fun getting into Iran with a US passport, and forget about doing business there. Countries around the world know this. Places like Switzerland and Singapore have made it harder to get a second passport from them because the worldwide demand for second passports is increasing. Wealthy Chinese, Russians, and Middle Easterners realize the value of diversifying beyond their own countries, and many Americans overseas are learning the hard lesson of just how much a government can limit your options. A Swiss businessman could literally outpace an American business just in being able to do business in more places around the world, and with fewer restrictions.
FIRST THINGS FIRST – DON’T FALL FOR SECOND PASSPORT SCAMS
There are a lot of myths about second passports. Unfortunately, the increasing desire for second passports have created a cottage industry of scammers and misinformation peddlers. If someone tells you they can obtain a “diplomatic passport” for you in a month, or citizenship in some far-flung place for $10,000, they’re either lying or severely mistaken. Passports aren’t just available for the taking to anyone with a small roll of bills. There are several second passport scams:
- Diplomatic passports. No, even some banana republic is not going to make you part of their diplomatic corps. Diplomats are subject to certain standards around the world, and even countries with looser standards wouldn’t want to give away such a high honor in their country. And certainly not for $7,000.
- Cancelled economic citizenship programs. While there are new countries starting to offer citizenship by investment programs, others no longer exist. For instance, Ireland once offered citizenship in exchange for investment in the country. While Ireland now offers residency and the potential for future naturalization to those who invest in Irish businesses or government bonds, they don’t have an instant passport program. Belize also used to have a program that no longer exists.
- “Camouflage passports”. Camouflage passports were initially offered to Americans working in high-risk places. They are passports from countries that no longer exist, like British Honduras or Rhodesia. However, some scam websites claim you can become a citizen of a country that changed its name years ago – and never offered second passports.
- Gray market passports. This is where someone bribes a guy in the immigration department to take some passports and put their clients’ names on them. Promoters will refer to their “special friend” at the immigration office. Sure, the passport itself is “real”, as much as a framed photograph of the Mona Lisa is “real”. Gray market passports may or may not be entered into the official system, and they may be canceled if the government official taking bribes is found out, or if a future government decides to take action against “foreigners”.
- Black market passports. Black market passports are always illegal. They are the domain of scammers and are not legitimate in any way. They could be stolen or counterfeited. They could also be as simple as cutting someone else’s picture and information to and putting yours in.
- “Banking passports”. Some promoters offer “banking passports” which they advise you not to travel on; the idea is that immigration officials would discover their fraud and throw you – the passport holder – in jail, while a bank would not.
Using an illegitimate passport could cause you a world of trouble. Not only are these scam passports difficult or impossible to renew, but you’d be silly to think you could get away with using a fraudulently issued passport forever. Governments use linked systems to determine which passports are legitimate, and an illegitimate passport could be cancelled at any moment, leaving you in hot water the next time you cross a border.