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How Governments use Passports as Weapons

Governments around the world use passports as a weapon against their citizens. Your passport can be taken from you for any reason at any time, locking you, your family, and your capital into your home country.

Likewise, passports are a tool used by your government to control you while you’re outside of their borders. Your passport links you to foreign bank accounts, investments, and real estate transactions. If your passport is canceled, revoked, or a renewal refused, you’ll be forced back to your home country to face whatever justice your government has in mind.

And, I’m not talking about only the United States here…

Other countries are catching on. For example, China recently began using passports as a weapon to keep its Muslim population in check. The Chinese government is forcing residents in a Muslim-majority region to hand over their passports and to apply for a travel permit if they wish to leave the country.

According to Newsy, and a report from the state-owned Global Times, say all residents of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are subject to the “passport-management policy,” which requires them to turn in their documents and get approval if they want to leave the country.

Considering the rhetoric coming out of the United States of late, it is hard to believe such a passport-management policy might be coming our way?

The United States is the world leader in using the passport against it’s citizens. Whether you owe the IRS money, haven’t filed your returns, have a judgement against you, are charged with a crime, owe back child support, or a court wants to force you to appear for whatever reason, your passport can be revoked.

For more on the United States, see:

The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom has the broadest powers to revoke the passports of its citizens. Not only can passports be revoked for tax debts, criminal offenses, and with a court order, they can also be stripped for any reason which is “in the public interest.”

That’s right, ever since the London bombings of 2015, the UK government has had the power to revoke a passport for any reason the Home Secretary deems to be in the in the public good. And the public good includes all manner of tax and civil offenses.

Specifically, the Home Secretary has the power to withdraw or refuse to issue British passports under the royal prerogative. Additionally, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill of 2014-15 made it easier to seize passports and exclude British nationals from the UK. Finally, the British Nationality Act 1981 includes provisions for stripping British citizens of their citizenship (typically used against dual nationals).

I’ll end with Canada. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship may refuse a passport to a person for the standard reasons above. More interestingly, Canada may revoke the passport of any of it’s citizens charged with a crime and by a foreign government. There’s no mention of what type of offence or the severity of the crime… if you get in trouble while abroad, your Canadian passport can be revoked.

There’s only one way to protect you and your family from governments using its passports as a weapon. You must secure a second citizenship and passport before you lose your primary travel document. If you have two passports, you can’t be locked into one country. A second passport will give you the travel options, privacy, and freedoms of a global citizen.

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Note that you must receive your second citizenship before having any issues in your home country. If you’re going to buy a passport, you’ll need a valid primary citizenship for about 90 days. If you are going to acquire citizenship through residency, you’ll need a valid passport throughout the process (typically 5+ years).

If you have the cash, the best way to gain a second citizenship and passport is to buy it. You can purchase a second passport from Dominica for about $140.000, St. Kitts for about $300,000, and St. Lucia for about $200,000.

If you prefer to get citizenship through investment, St. Lucia offers the best investment option. Buy government bonds valued at $500,000 to $550,000 for 5 years and receive your passport immediately. Legal and government fees are about $50,000.

If you can’t afford these passports, you might consider residency in Panama. A U.S. or Canadian citizen, or anyone from a “friendly nation,” can become a resident of Panama with an investment of only $20,000.  

After 5 years of residency, you can apply for citizenship. This will get you one of the best passports available, with visa free travel to the European Union and 127 countries in total.

  • You can also get residency in Panama using your U.S. IRA
  • Only Malta and Austria get you visa free in the United States

If Panama will take to long, and Dominica is out of your price range, then give the Dominican Republic a read. This passport has only 54 countries on its visa waiver list, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Japan and Malaysia. But it will provide you an exit route and a tool to fight government overreach. I consider the Dominican Republic more of a hedge against risk than a true second passport.

However, the Dominican Republic is in negotiations with the European Union to add visa free travel to the Schengen Region, which includes France, Germany, and everywhere you want to be in the EU. If this happens, the value of their passport will jump from $35,000 to $150,000+ overnight.


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