Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Get a Second Passport if You are not Irish, Polish, or Italian

Simon Black reports:

Potentially the most important and most powerful aspect of your life to diversify, however, is citizenship. I view this as the ultimate insurance policy– something that you hope you’ll never have to use, but you’ll really be glad you have it in case you do.

Having a second citizenship is like having a ‘get out of jail free’ card. It creates options. No matter what happens in the world, you’ll always have a place to go. You’ll always have a ticket out. And as I’m fond of saying, nobody ever hijacks an airplane and threatens to kill all the Lithuanians. Second citizenship does bring a greater sense of security.

Obtaining citizenship, however, is elusive for many people. Some people are lucky enough to come from a line of Irish, Polish, or Italian ancestors. For most, though, it takes a combination of three things:

- Money
- Time
- Flexibility

If you’re willing to simply pay for it, there are certain countries like St. Kitts and Dominica which offer citizenship to people who are simply willing to pay. Most folks unfortunately can’t afford the $250,000+ price tag that’s required, so that leaves the other two.

Just about every country is willing to eventually naturalize permanent residents who reside in the country for a particular amount of time. It varies greatly from place to place. This past weekend, I learned from a subscriber who came down to Chile that, in Japan, it takes two decades of continuous residence.

Other places, like Belgium, offer naturalization after as little as three years, possibly two in extreme circumstances. This is a much easier option for most people, especially for such a valuable passport.

Then there’s the ability to obtain citizenship through what I call ‘flexibility’. This may include something like getting married to a local, which in many countries can provide an extremely rapid path to naturalization.

As an example, I’d like to outline a few options below of high quality passports that anyone can obtain with either time and/or flexibility:

1) SINGAPORE. Easily the most valuable travel document on the planet, a Singaporean can travel almost anywhere without a visa, including to the US and Europe. It takes two years of residence after obtaining permanent residency to qualify for naturalization. And obtaining permanent residence is a snap– you can simply set up a local company to qualify.

Pitfalls: Singapore does have mandatory national service, and it’s important to review the rules to find out whether you would fall within the window.

2) BRAZIL. There are two great things about Brazil. One, they refuse to extradite their citizens to answer for foreign crimes. It just doesn’t happen. Two, ANYONE can be Brazilian, whatever their ethnicity– black, white, brown, it doesn’t matter. Brazil is a huge melting pot. We are all Brazilian.

Brazil is the KING of ‘flexible’ citizenship options– getting married, adopting a child, hell even adopting a rain forest in some cases. And it can happen in as little as six-months to three years. Just don’t expect the process to be crystal clear.

3) ISRAEL. Speaking of flexible, if you’re willing to become Jewish, the State of Israel’s Right of Return entitles you to citizenship. Make no mistake, though, it’s not just going through the motions– you have to work with local religious leaders and actually make the conversion before they’re willing to go through the process.

Pitfalls: The downside of Israeli citizenship should be clear as military service is compulsory.

4) BELGIUM. At its core, Belgium’s naturalization laws allow foreigners who have maintained residence in the country for three years to apply for citizenship. “Residence” can either be in Belgium, or even abroad so long as you can demonstrate ties to Belgium, i.e. family, friends, employment, property ownership, paying taxes, etc.

Aside from being an incredibly valuable travel document, Belgian naturalization also passes to all minor children– in other words, if you become a naturalized Belgian, your kids do too.

Simon Black has more details here.


  1. Belgium ? Really - who would want to be a Belgian? and

    Enjoy :-)

  2. I lived in Belgium when I was younger... nice people, amazing fries, beer, chocolate and waffles and a beautiful countryside.

    The weather is the pits and the girls aren't as pretty as the French or Dutch.

  3. anyone have info about how it works if you have partial Irish, Polish or Italian ancestry? What about spouses of such?

  4. Poland is "law of the blood" but I think you have to be 100% but I could be wrong.

    Both of my parents were born there so I am automatically entitled to citizenship.