How many citizenships can you have?
Or are you limited to only one citizenship and passport?
The answer depends on the individual citizenship policies of each country. You can certainly hold multiple citizenships if all of the countries in question allow it.
Although lot of countries allow dual citizenship, some still forbid it.
If you hold a passport from a country that forbids dual citizenship, then it will be difficult – and potentially risky – to acquire an additional nationality.
It’s risky because your original country may decide to revoke your citizenship, if they find out that you’ve naturalized in another country.
But let’s say your original country does allow dual citizenship. For example, the UK and the US.
You then focus only on acquiring additional citizenships from countries that also allow it. Then you can have as many citizenships as your heart desires!
So how do you go about acquiring more than one citizenship?
How to Get Multiple Citizenships
How many citizenships can you have? Getting multiple citizenships starts by getting your first additional citizenship.
It may sound complicated to get another citizenship, but you can use a number of different routes to get there.
Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Citizenship by Birth
In some countries, you can gain citizenship simply by being born within their borders. This is a government policy known as birthright citizenship, governed by the principle of jus soli (right of soil).
Here’s a list of all the countries that have unrestricted birthright citizenship:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- The United States
(Source: World Population Review)
Citizenship by Marriage
Marrying a citizen of another country is another useful route to acquiring second citizenship.
However, many countries have developed stringent policies to prevent sham marriages, in which people marry simply for the sake of getting a passport.
You may need to provide detailed proof that your marriage is genuine.
Citizenship by Descent
If your family tree includes ancestors of another nationality, then you may be able to claim citizenship by descent.
For example, anyone with an Irish parent or grandparent can apply for Irish citizenship by descent. This route became popular for British citizens in the wake of Brexit.
Another example: anyone with Italian parents, grandparents, or great grandparents, can apply for Italian citizenship by descent.
The process of applying for citizenship by descent isn’t always straightforward. You’ll need to gather certain paperwork to p[rove your family tree, which may be hard to track down.
However, if you have foreign ancestors, it’s worth finding out if you can get second citizenship by descent.
Citizenship by Naturalization
If you don’t have any family links to help you get second citizenship, then citizenship by naturalization is the best route for you.
Becoming a naturalized citizen of a country normally involves living there as a legal resident for a certain number of years, after which you can apply for citizenship.
Residency timelines vary by country. For example, you can naturalize in Argentina after just two years of residency.
In contrast, becoming a naturalized citizen of Liechtenstein requires you to live there for 30 years before applying.
Most European countries have timelines that fall somewhere in between these two extremes. A common example is Portugal, where you can apply for Portuguese citizenship by naturalization after five years of legal residency.
The citizenship by naturalization process usually involves passing a language exam and sometimes a citizenship exam. The latter exam usually includes questions about the history, culture, and politics of your new country.
Citizenship by Investment
You can also gain second citizenship by investing in a country, to get what’s often known as a ‘Golden Visa’.
This is a form of citizenship by naturalization, but the investment route often allows you to apply in a much shorter time frame, or with other benefits to make the process less arduous.
In some cases, such as Portugal, you can apply for citizenship without actually living in the country. The Portugal Golden Visa gives you the right to residency, but without the usual physical stay requirements.
After maintaining your residency status for five years, you can then submit an application for citizenship by naturalization.
The Portugal Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment scheme that makes you eligible to apply for citizenship. Most European Golden Visa programs are designed along similar lines.
Other countries outside the EU offer true citizenship by investment far more easily. For example, you can get immediate citizenship by investment in places like Turkey, Antigua and Barbuda, or Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Countries that offer citizenship by investment schemes allow you to obtain dual or multiple citizenships.
If you have the funds to invest, using various investment programs around the world is the best way to build a portfolio of multiple citizenships .
Should you get more than one citizenship?
The answer to this question is highly personal. Some people enjoy the challenge of collecting multiple citizenships. For others, having just one alternative citizenship is enough.
It’s important to consider your key objectives, then evaluate how each new citizenship can help you fulfil them.
For example, if you’re a British citizen seeking visa-free access to Russia, getting Turkish citizenship by investment would open up that option for you.
Let’s say you’re an American citizen wishing to freely visit Iran. In that situation, your best bet would be to get a second passport from a neutral country such as Ireland, New Zealand, or Portugal.
If you want free access to both the UK and the EU, then Irish citizenship is the only possible way to get it. Post Brexit, Ireland now offers Europe’s most powerful passport in terms of freedom of movement.
And finally, if you want freedom to live, work, do business, study, and retire across the 30 safe and prosperous countries of the EU and EEA, then getting a passport from one of the EU countries should be your top priority.
Consider whether the second passport will improve your personal situation in terms of safety, travel, doing business, investing, and the freedom to live your life as you choose.
FAQs: How many citizenships can you have?
Is it possible to have triple citizenship?
If all countries involved allow dual citizenship, then yes, it’s possible to have triple as well.
Can I obtain multiple citizenships by investment?
Yes, you can obtain as many citizenships by investment as you want.
Do US citizens need to renounce their citizenship to obtain another citizenship?
No, US citizens don’t necessarily need to renounce their citizenship to obtain another one, because the US allows dual citizenship. However, if you wish to get citizenship in a country that doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, then you may have to renounce your US citizenship.
How many citizenships can you have?
You can have as many as you like.
But first you should consider the dual citizenship policies of each country in question. Not every country allows dual citizenship, but many do.
Next, consider whether acquiring multiple citizenships will improve your personal situation and the future prospects of your family.
Finally, you should identify the best route to acquire second citizenship of your target country. Potential routes include birth, marriage, descent, naturalization, and investment.