If you have a felony or criminal history, it’s nearly impossible to get a second passport. There are a few countries that will allow those with white-collar offences in if you have the cash. Here’s how to get a second passport with a felony.
To reiterate, I am talking about white-collar felonies and not violent crimes, drugs, or gun offences. White-collar crimes such as minor SEC or IRS charges from a few years back are the easiest to work with.
Remember that a second passport includes citizenship. You might use it to travel more freely. You might use it to move to the country, start a business, live there, and otherwise become part of the community. Most nations don’t want to admit violent felons because it looks bad for the politicians and could present a danger to their citizens.
And, of course, I will assume you are off paper (no longer on probation). There’s no point in applying for a second passport with a felony until you have completely paid for your crime. Also, applying for citizenship might be a crime or a parole violation… don’t try it.
Where Can You Get Second Citizenship With A Felony
Let’s start with the countries where you have no shot at being accepted. No one with a felony will get a second passport from any of the European countries. This means Malta, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Austria are out. These are the most difficult to negotiate a deal with and they will not accept a convicted felon.
There is one exception to this rule. An exception I have successfully used in Bulgaria.
What you need to apply for citizenship and a second passport is a clean FBI background report. If you can get your conviction expunged, then you can provide a clean background report.
In the US, a Federal conviction that resulted in prison time remains on your official Dept. of Justice criminal record for life. For more information on how to get a conviction expunged, see: Felony Expungement
It’s easier to get a clean report, and thus apply for a second passport with a felony if you are from the United Kingdom. The UK will remove many offices from your record once a certain amount of time passes. Once the offence is “spent” you can apply for a second passport from the UK (Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974).
We don’t have such a statute in the US and a felony follows you forever unless you can get it expunged from your record.
Latin America Is Your Best Bet For Second Citizenship
If you can’t get your felony expunged, then look to Latin America.
Countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Ecuador are more pliable when it comes to background checks for residents. Thus, you might start with residency and work up to a passport over a few years.
If you want to live in Latin American, and one of these countries can become your home base, they are a solid option for rebuilding your image.
Then, after 5 years, you can apply for citizenship and a second passport. A passport from Ecuador will only get you visa-free travel to 81 countries, and Guatemala is just a little better at 116, but they will help you begin the reconstruction process.
Strong Travel Document
You might be surprised to know that a passport from Guatemala is quite valuable. It includes visa-free travel to only 116 countries, but the entire Schengen Region of Europe is on the list. This means you can spend up to 90 days in Switzerland, France, Germany, etc.
Once you have citizenship from one of these countries, you can apply for another better second/third passport. This is because several countries only require a background check from your “home” country. Once you have a passport from Guatemala and have lived there for a few years, Guatemala will be your home country for future applications.
If this is too long to wait, and you can spend $300,000, some of the lesser-known Caribbean countries will consider your application for citizenship from a felon. St. Lucia, Dominica and others will give you a fair shake and consider each application on its merits. Where others refuse felons out of hand, these countries will at least give it a read.
The major factors considered when reviewing a second passport with a felony is the amount of time that has passed since the crime, your history since being released, how long you were incarcerated, and, of course, the offences you were charged with.
In order to prepare a second passport application with a felony, we need the charging order, supporting court documents, probation documents (if any), a description of your work and life history since, and as many reference letters from quality sources as possible. With this, you will have a fighting chance to get citizenship from one of the Caribbean islands.
Finally, some countries in Latin America offer residency or passports in private transactions. These are especially popular when a government agency wants to increase revenues in the short term but can’t get an official program approved… or doesn’t want the attention an official program will bring with it.
The unofficial programs I’ve seen typically run $65,000 for a single applicant and are completed in about 2 months. The donation amount will vary by country and the quality of the passport.
I hope you have found this post on applying for a second passport with a felony to be helpful. For more information, please send contact us HERE.
For information on a Nicaraguan Passport, read our article Nicaragua Passport – One of The Best Spots For Financial Foreign Investments.
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