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Should I Get a Golden Visa or Dual Citizenship?

If you are looking for ways to expand your personal freedom, consider Dual Citizenship.

A great way to achieve a second passport is through a Golden Visa.

A Golden Visa is a "Residency by Investment" program, run by a nation-state. Governments offer a deal to foreigners: a residency permit in exchange for investment. After a few years, some programs allow Golden Visa residents to apply for a passport, enabling dual citizenship.

This is the first in a series of articles to explain quickly and clearly, the process of getting a "Golden Visa", and second citizenship.

What is Dual Citizenship?

It all comes down to political systems. Your passport - your citizenship - is your membership to a specific political system.

Each system comes with its own unique mix of benefits and restrictions. Different countries offer citizens different "deals". Each deal is a combination of pros and cons that we, as individual people, accept in exchange for the benefits of citizenship.

A privileged few, who have more than one passport, have access to more than one system!! This provides two enormous benefits:

  1. An ability to expand their own personal freedom by selecting elements from each system to maximize benefits and minimize restrictions.
  2. If one system gets worse for its citizens, or even collapses, they have an insurance policy in place.

Let's face it - we live in uncertain times. Nobody wants to store all their precious eggs in a single basket. But most of us do exactly that!

If we have one passport, we're trapped in one single system with no choice or flexibility.

Residency in a second country provides that freedom.

You might think you need to live abroad to make that work. But... that's the beauty of the Portuguese Golden Visa...

...you only need to spend 7 days per year in Portugal. (Portuguese also speak great English - another reason for the popularity of its visa program)

The rest of the time you can live your life, as usual, at home.

Motivating Factors

Each month, thousands of individuals (like you!) come to the Golden Visa Community to learn how to boost freedom for them and their families.

We see individuals motivated by "push factors", away from their home countries:

  • Political instability
  • Polarized society
  • Gun violence in schools
  • Unhealthy work culture
  • High taxes
  • Unreliable court systems
  • Weakening currency
  • Corruption

And others motivated by "pull factors", from another country:

  • Beautiful weather and nature
  • Social cohesion
  • Peace
  • Free education and healthcare
  • Wonderful food and culture
  • Favorable taxes
  • Work-life balance
  • Easy international travel with a powerful passport

The list goes on. But... can anyone apply for second citizenship?

Very few countries run "Citizenship by Investment" programs anymore. These used to be more common - investors could, in effect, buy passports.

Nowadays, an investment into the local economy will usually allow favorable terms on a residency permit. This is called as "Residency by Investment".

This is enticing because, in some countries, after you have held a residency for enough years, you can apply for citizenship.

What I Need to Apply for A Golden Visa

Requirements for Golden Visas (and ultimately citizenship) vary from country to country. Key considerations include:

  • Financial requirements
    • Usually, you'll need to make an investment in an Investment Fund or Real Estate
  • Where you will live
    • Some countries make you spend more than half of your time there to retain a residency permit
  • Learning languages
    • When applying for a passport, you may need to pass a language test. Sometimes this is basic, sometimes advanced.
  • Renouncing your passport
    • Some countries, like India, don't allow their citizens to hold a second passport. Would you be willing to give up your original citizenship for your new one?

How to Choose the Right Citizenship for Me?

Be Clear on Your Personal Goals.

It is helpful to understand why you want a second passport. This will vary from individual to individual. You should take time to sit and clarify your requirements.

  • Push factors:
    • What do you wish you could avoid in your home country?
  • Pull factors:
    • What are you hoping you could get from another country?

Here are a few examples we often hear, to help get you started:

  • I am looking for a safer place to raise my children
  • I want to retire close to the sea, in warm weather
  • I want to make sure I can afford healthcare
  • I want to expand the number of places I can travel to, visa-free
  • I'm concerned about the direction of politics at home

There are many different types of dual citizenship available, each with its own set of pros and cons. By identifying those, you can start to identify some options for countries that might be a good fit.

Pros and Cons of Dual Citizenship

Some countries require that you move there to eventually claim citizenship.

Compare the Options

Based on your own goals, begin to compare the countries you like and that allow dual citizenship. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Will I have to live there to make this work?
  • How close will you be to friends or family?
  • What is the cost of living?
  • How close is the culture to your own culture?
  • What is the social security framework, like healthcare and education?
  • What is the crime rate like?
  • What is the education system like?
  • What will the impact of a foreign retirement be on my children?
  • What are the job opportunities if I move there to work?

Freedom of Movement

Another aspect to consider is movement agreements between friendly states.

A passport to any European Union country comes with a huge number of rights in other EU countries. These include the right to work, access to healthcare and education, and live as a citizen of that country.

Most South American countries also have a (more limited) freedom of movement agreement.

Difficulties of USA Citizenship

There are not a huge number of cons to dual citizenship. Although, more than usual fall on US citizens.

The US government taxes its citizens, regardless of where they live. The tax implications are complex and beyond the scope of our Community. But the long arm of Uncle Sam should be consciously considered.

Needless to say, US citizens live happily all over the world, so there are suitable solutions available.

There are many factors to consider when deciding if dual citizenship is right for you. Each element should be researched. But it's a personal decision that only you can make, based on your own family's needs.

What Next...?

Want to learn more?

Our next page will teach you everything you need to know to pick a country that is right for you.