Second citizenship refers to a situation where a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Some states disapprove double citizenship, and it is crucial to find out the laws regarding dual citizenship in your country before seeking citizenship in another country. States like Malta, St. Kitts and Nevis and Cyprus allow double citizenship and there are various ways through which an individual can acquire second citizenship. These vary from country to country and include the following:
Most of the states all around the world will allow you to apply for citizenship if your parents are citizens of the country by birth.
In some states, the spouse of a citizen will be allowed to apply for citizenship and eventually grant them permanent residency.
For example, some countries, like Malta, encourage wealthy foreigners to invest in their country in exchange for permanent citizenship status.
An individual applies for citizenship by naturalisation after living in the host country for several years, as stipulated in the country’s laws.
Some of the most popular choice countries for seekers of second citizenship are Cyprus, St Kitts and Nevis and Malta. People seek second citizenship for various reasons. Some of these reasons are as follows:
While some countries impose an income tax of as high as 65%, a few have significantly lower tax rates, and a move to such a state will positively impact your residual income, enabling better planning for the future.
Acquiring second citizenship will allow you to invest in another country while still retaining your mother country’s businesses.
Better Life Quality
As a dual citizen, you get to enjoy high-class facilities in first world countries. Your children get the best education and enjoy better housing facilities.
Citizens of war-torn countries can escape the instability by settling in a peaceful state. Many successful immigrants left their hostile countries behind to live a quiet life in other countries.
Symbol of Affluence
The acquisition of citizenship by investment is a costly affair and is a preserve of wealthy individuals. Citizenship in a country like Malta is the desire of many globe-trotters; only a few can afford it.
Hidden Risks of a Second Citizenship
While the benefits of second citizenship are clear, it is essential to know the risks involved with this kind of citizenship. Here is a focus on some of the risks of second citizenship in Cyprus, St Kitts and Nevis and Malta, to enable you to make an informed choice.
What these countries have in common is a provision for second citizenship through investment programs. For example, a citizenship applicant in Cyprus has to invest a minimum of €2,000,000 in a combination of investments.
In Malta, an applicant invests a minimum of €650,000 and acquires property valued at a minimum of €350,000. To obtain citizenship through investment in St Kitts and Nevis, an applicant will donate $ 150,000 to the government’s Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF)
You should note that these financial investments are not the only requirement. The governments of these countries deal with applicants from an individual perspective, and issuing or denying citizenship is at the government’s discretion. Before you apply for that dual citizenship, here a few hidden risks to ponder on:
Possibility of Losing Your Money
Obtaining second citizenship is a costly process, primarily where the applicant aims to acquire citizenship by investment. There is a lot of paperwork and checks involved and can be draining and time-consuming. Without proper diligence and expert opinion, you might spend a lot of money and still get rejected.
As a citizen of two countries, you might find yourself paying taxes to both governments. Seek the services of a qualified tax consultant to get to know your tax obligations for better tax-planning as a dual citizen.
Possible Conflict in Laws
As a citizen of two countries, you are expected to abide by the rules of both. However, both countries may take a different stand on some issues. For example, gay marriage was made legal in Malta on 1st September 2017. On the other hand, Poland’s level of tolerance for the gay community is low. To avoid troubled citizenship, understand the laws of a country before you apply for citizenship.
Risk of Revocation
Once an applicant has acquired citizenship after an investment plan, they are required to adhere to some conditions. In Malta and Cyprus, these regulations apply for 5 and 3 years. Take proper caution to manage your investment as per laid down rules to avoid a revocation of your passport.
In some countries, politicians may incite the public against immigration for political leverage. As a citizen by investment, you may have to bear with the negativity associated with a “bought “citizenship, especially where individuals with hidden criminal backgrounds have received citizenship.
Restricted Assistance Abroad
As a dual citizen, the rules of either country apply to you. If you commit a felony, the authorities might have a difficult time deciding which laws to enforce.
You might have to reconsider applying for second citizenship if you intend to work in the Public Service or Defence Department of any country. This is because many governments may see a dual citizen as a security threat. However, the private sector is booming; for instance, Igaming experts are in high demand in Malta.
Countries will inevitably differ significantly in terms of societal norms and lifestyles. It would be best if you were open-minded in the face of drastic changes. Parents with young children should take serious considerations on moving their families to a new country. Be sure they can thrive in their new environment; otherwise, you might jeopardise their future.
There are many advantages to a second citizenship. In the wake of globalisation, many people are bound to give it a shot owing to factors like inter-marriage. Take your time to analyse these risk factors and only take the chance if you believe the pros outweigh the cons.