Second passport, a back door in times of economic and political chaos

Second passport, a back door in times of economic and political chaos

For a long time, the majority of people had only one citizenship and one passport; however, this has begun to change. These days, everyone realizes that we’re vulnerable to our money being controlled and that our movements between countries is being restricted; this is why many consider obtaining a second passport as a more reliable option. It acts as a protection that guarantees personal security, it can help you so you can pay lower taxes and for your departure toward other territories when facing chaotic situations like wars, natural disasters and political crises.

What are the advantages of having a second passport?

People tend to have greater international mobility with a second passport, because they can travel to more than 100 countries without having to request a visa. This is because countries who offer programs for citizenship and a second passport have signed various international agreements that grant free access for their citizens to the Schengen area of the European Union and important financial centers like Hong Kong and Panama.

This ease of movement with a second passport can be very useful in guaranteeing the financial and physical security of a person and his family. If the law and order of the country in which you reside disintegrates, or a strong economic crisis or a natural disaster with devastating consequences hits, it’s possible to move immediately to another territory.

A second passport can offer several financial opportunities. More than a few people have faced enormous difficulties when opening bank accounts with their current citizenship, especially if they live in countries considered “unstable”. It’s possible to open bank accounts in all types of institutions if you have a second passport, without greater complications, since the countries that offer them aren’t considered “at risk”.

Additionally, the second passport helps to legally decrease the tax obligations in your country of origin. By placing your earnings in a bank account opened with your second passport, it’s most likely that you’ll pay zero taxes on your earnings. These nations usually have a very favorable tax regime so that the tax burden to be paid is very low or nothing.

A second passport also offers greater security. You can be exposed when traveling to certain countries your native citizenship is known. When using a second passport, your native citizenship is never revealed and it’s possible to pass by the officials unnoticed.

How to obtain a second passport?

There are three ways to obtain a second passport: through family connections, through a residence that leads to naturalization, and citizenship through investment in the economy. Of these three options, the economy citizenship programs are the ones that present the second passport more easily and quicker.

The citizenship through investment programs are offered by several nations, above all in the Caribbean, like Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Granada, Antigua and Barbuda. A common element among all these programs is that those interested in obtaining a second passport have to either make an investment in property or offer a donation to the country’s government. You will never be asked to reside either temporarily or permanently in the territory.

The most used method is investing in property in the country offering the second passport. In this case, you have to sign a contract of real estate purchase, which has to be approved by the government. The amount of the investment varies, depending on each nation.

Meanwhile, the donation to the government is a simpler process, since the only thing that the investor has to do is complete the money transfer, although there is the disadvantage that the amount donated logically isn’t reimbursable and you won’t get your investment back.

Naturalization is another way for obtaining a second passport. In this case, you have to reside in the country for a certain length of time after which you may request citizenship. Each nation establishes its own timetable for offering naturalization and European countries tend more and more to extend their waiting times. For example, you can wait up to 20 years in Andorra. It’s less complex in Latin America; for example, Paraguay allows naturalization after three years of permanent residence, provided that you make some kind of economic investment in the country.

Family connections constitute the third way of obtaining a second passport. Various nations offer ancestral citizenship to those who can prove the existence of family ties with the country.

The best example is Ireland. There are only four million people living in this country, but there are more than 14 million people living around the world who have Irish passports. The reason for this is that the government presents the passport to everyone whose father or grandfather was born in Ireland.

In Italy, like Spain, it’s possible to claim citizenship by descendance if your grandfather was an Italian citizen and if your father didn’t give up the rights to said citizenship. Israel accepts all Jews under the Law of Return. This citizenship isn’t given immediately, but there isn’t a long delay. Lithuania goes much further and has a citizenship by descendancy program for those who had Lithuanian great-grandparents. Meanwhile, Brazil offers citizenship in a year to those with “financial responsibility” for a child born inside its borders.

What are the main scams regarding a second passport?

The growing interest in second passports has created a scamming industry. If someone assures you that you can quickly obtain a diplomatic passport for yourself or offers citizenship in a remote country, for 12,000 dollars, it is certainly a deception. The following are the main scams that exist concerning second passports:

Diplomatic passports: you don’t become part of a country’s diplomatic party, not even of the poorest in the world, quickly and through the internet.

Cancelled economic citizenship programs: several countries have cancelled their citizenship through investment programs, but this isn’t widely known around the world. Ireland and Belize offered a second passport through this program, but then decided to terminate it.

Camouflage passports: some internet sites offer passports from countries that ceased to exist years ago,  like Rhodesia and British Honduras. They allege that this document is used for those who are  in high risk places, but if officials discover the deceit, the person could have a very hard time of it.

Bank passports: the idea behind this document is that a person uses it to open a bank account, never for travel. The concept behind this is that, if the bank discovers the fraud, the passport holder won’t go to prison, but his account will be blocked with the risk of losing his funds.

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