Getting a Second Citizenship

Getting A Second Citizenship
By Adam Starchild

Consideration should be given to the acquisition of more than one passport. The acquisition of multiple passports of course presupposes that you are willing to accept multiple citizenship-and this is not at all a bad idea for many people. With terrorism on the rise, international travel can be particularly hazardous to citizens of certain countries. Hostage-takers and kidnappers who have commandeered planes and boats have often looked at passports in deciding who shall live and who shall die. A second passport may also give you access to travel in countries where your own passport might not be used because temporary or permanent travel restrictions. If you think this can't happen to you, consider all the Canadians who were refused permission to land in Spain a few years ago during a Spanish-Canadian fishing rights dispute. For others, the benefits of a second passport may not be quite as pressing, but dual citizenship does none the less convey several advantages. Many nations have laws which restrict the purchase of real estate properties. Typically, coastal properties and those in large desirable metropolitan areas are off-limits to foreigners. Such practices have been widespread throughout Europe, Asia, South America-even in Mexico.

Paradoxically, some of the available properties have remained unsold for long periods of time, not because they are outrageously priced but rather because locals could not afford to purchase them. The acquisition of a second nationality could be your key to living like a king or queen in one of the world's most desirable cities.

Financial advantages of dual citizenship include the ability to purchase otherwise restricted shares in emerging foreign companies. Many foreign stocks and mutual funds are only available to local citizens. Issuers will require affidavits from potential buyers. Present the appropriate second passport as proof of citizenship and you are home free.

Employment is yet another issue. Foreigners are largely banned from working anywhere outside their own borders. Citizenship in another country can change all of that quickly. In fact many of the world's largest multinational corporations favor employment candidates with dual passports. If you set out to open your own business overseas, the same advantages will apply. Finally, dual nationality could open all kinds of doors overseas including participation in foreign social security programs, national health programs, even university tuition remission programs. The specific benefits naturally depend on the country you choose. In most instances, governments only extend citizenship to individuals who have resided within their boundaries for minimum periods ranging from three to five years. These provisions can of course be waived.

Few nations are begging for immigrants and those which encourage immigration are selectively looking for individuals who can provide specific services-like physicians, agricultural experts, entrepreneurs likely to create new jobs, and science teachers. After all , what possible benefit can a nation derive from wantonly issuing passports to outsiders with no purpose other than to skirt another nation's laws or to protect the privacy of individuals it hardly knows? It is possible that you already qualify for a new passport by virtue of your ethnic background. If you are of Germany, Italian, Irish, French, or Jewish ancestry, it is likely that you are eligible.

Other countries, however, are eager to naturalize those who do not automatically qualify especially if they can bring professional talent or expertise to their nations. If you have a distinguished career in teaching,engineering, general management, administration, or medicine, you have a decided advantage. Several international firms claim to have connections which enable them to expedite the passport issuance process, obtaining dual nationalities for their clients in as little as two weeks. Sometimes this can be effected by bribing government bureaucrats, a common and accepted practice in many developing countries. You may be charged $5000 or more for these services with money passing through Swiss banks. Drivers licenses and other documents useful for identification can be obtained in the same fashion.

In some cases, completely new identities can be established. You should be a little wary of such claims. There have been numerous reports of swindles, however, hundreds of clients losing thousands of dollars each year on documents that are never issued. Stories also abound suggesting that some passport acquisition services have simply issued bogus credentials to their clients. If you find yourself in possession of forged travel documents, you could of course end up in prison for many years. Moreover, if the sole purpose of obtaining such documentation is to conceal your identity so that you can commit fraud or some other crime, or to hide a prior criminal record or divorce, you have merely compounded your troubles. If you choose to pursue dual nationality through legitimate channels, you can probably obtain a valid second passport in a reasonably short time. Be sure to consider any adverse consequences, however.

If your are a naturalized American citizen, you risk losing your American citizenship by swearing allegiance to another flag, voting in a foreign election, or deliberately renouncing your American citizenship at a U.S. embassy abroad. Native-born Americans will find that their US citizenship is virtually cemented in stone. You might also be conscripted into the armed services of another nation if you happen to find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately, many nations have moved towards voluntary armies-and if you're as unhealthy as the typical American couch potato, you need not worry anyway.

If you have determined that you don't have a readily available inherited citizenship, and want to pursue the ever changing world of countries that offer nearly instant citizenship to investors, be aware that this will generally cost from $35,000 on up, although a portion of that is usually an investment in government bonds. The countries offering such programs change frequently.

Two of the leading expert's in such matters are Marshall J. Langer, an American lawyer from Florida, now living in London, and Dr. Seymour Samson, offshore guru to the PT world.

Langer practiced law in Miami for over 30 years before moving to Neuchatel, Switzerland. He has written extensively, lectured, and taught on subjects relating to international and citizenship law. He consults with private clients on matters relating to migration from one country to another, citizenship and passports, residency, and domicile. When you are ready to proceed and want to retain the best talent in such matters, we would recommend that you get in touch with:

Marshall J. Langer
Shutts & Bowen
48 Mount Street
London W1Y 5RE

Alternatively just as good, if not better, is:

Dr. Seymour Samson, a leading authority on fiscal, citizenship and privacy matters. Read Dr. Samson's remarkable interview .

He can be reached at:

Dr. Seymour Samson,
Glasgow , Scotland
E-mail: Dr. Seymour Samson c/o of the publisher.

Be prepared to pay an initial consultation fee of €1,500 to Dr. Samson or €2,000 for Mr. Langer. Normally this fee is applied towards purchase should you wish to proceed.

This article is an excerpt from "Useful Ideas For Successful PT's," by Adam Starchild.

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