Question: William asks, “How can I gain access to a second citizenship in another country?”
Great question William. There are many ways to acquire a second citizenship. In my law practice, we assist with second passports based on your family heritage, passports by investment and purchase, and by residency.
Get a Second Passport through Your Family Heritage
If your parents or grandparents were born abroad, you might be able to apply for citizenship through descent. The easiest countries to gain second citizenship and a second passport through family lineage are:
- Poland, and
The most “in demand” second citizenships through lineage are Ireland, the UK, and France.
You might be surprised to learn that the largest number of second citizenships we have processed are through family connections. While passports for sale get all the headlines, the first place to start the quest is with your family tree.
If you would like us to review your second citizenship by lineage options, please contact me at NagelLaw.com. I will personally review your situation and determine if you qualify.
Discover Another Option: Citizenship through Residency
This is another relatively low-cost way to get a passport. With residency, you earn your citizenship by becoming a part of the community rather than paying money. Live in Nicaragua or Panama for 5 years and you can apply for citizenship.
In the case of Nicaragua, if you invest $35,000 in their teak reforestation program, you will qualify for residency. In Panama, the investment is $20,000 in teak, but the amount of teak is lower on a $1 per tree basis, so Nicaragua is a better value.
And now, on to second passports that get all of the attention:
Second Citizenship for Sale
The first thing to know about buying a second passport is how to value the citizenship. The worth of a passport is based on the number of visa-free countries it gives you access to. The best passport for you is usually the one with the most visa-free options that’s within your budget.
For example, the most valuable passport for purchase or investment is Malta. This one gets you visa-free access to the United States and Canada, as well as the right to live and work anywhere in the EU. In total, Malta gives you visa-free access to 167 countries and territories.
Because of this, the investment and purchase costs of a Maltese passport are about $1.3 million. Also, it’s become VERY difficult to acquire this passport as the government will accept only the highest calibre professionals.
Most applications are rejected. It takes a great deal of effort and connections to gain a second citizenship from Malta.
The Best EU (or EU adjacent) Second Citizenship is from Bulgaria
You will invest 1,000,000 BGN to gain residency and then another 1,000,000 BGN to gain citizenship. 1 million BGN is about $580,000 USD.
You invest 1 million BGN to gain residency, hold that for about a year, and then invest another 1 million BGN to gain citizenship and a second passport. Your citizenship application can be submitted no earlier than 12 months after your residency permit is granted.
Here’s Why Bulgaria is a Good Deal
Your 2 million BGN investment may be in 5-year Bulgarian bonds. No need to buy real estate you’ll never use, pay carrying costs, tax, etc.
Bulgarian citizens have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 154 countries and territories, ranking it 20th in terms of travel freedom (tied with an Argentine passport).
There are a number of differences between Bulgaria and Malta. If you would like us to compare and determine which is best for you, please contact me at NagelLaw.com. Other European “fast track” citizenship by investment include Austria and Cyprus, both of which are significantly more expensive than Bulgaria.
The Next Tier of Passports for Sale are from the Caribbean
These Caribbean passports typically include visa-free access to the EU and the Schengen Region. They don’t get you into the United States without a visa, but they do give you access to the European Union. Some Caribbean passports include Canada and some do not.
If you prefer an investment rather than a purchase, consider St. Lucia. This passport gives you access to 125 countries and territories, ranking it 37th in the world. You can buy the passport or invest $500,000 to $550,000 (depending on family size) in government bonds plus $50,000 in fees.
The St. Lucia program was modelled after that of Bulgaria and is less than half the price. If you don’t want to live in the EU, and just desire visa-free access, St. Lucia is a great investment.
I hope you’ve found this article on second citizenships and second passports to be helpful. For more information, please contact me at nagellaw.com or call (412) 749-0500. I will be happy to assist you to negotiate citizenship or residency in any of the countries listed above.