In this article, I’ll cover several possible countries I’m considering for my “country B”, which will be the country I will acquire a second passport from. It’s important to understand that, per the five flags model, I will not be living in the country where I get this passport. I’ll be living in country A which we discussed last time, not country B. So my passport country B doesn’t have to be nice, friendly, enjoyable, or livable. All it needs is a government that’s not too insane and that allows foreigners to acquire passports relatively quickly.
Why get a second passport?
Many people will give you many reasons, but the biggest reason for me is that down the road, your country’s government could move in a frightened or totalitarian direction and limit travel for it’s citizens. It could even block all travel to outside of your country, effectively trapping you inside.
I don’t expect the United States to do this, but you never know. A second passport is a very good insurance policy.
Another reason is banking. Most countries dislike banking with Americans, because our government is so powerful and intrusive, it forces banks to file all kinds of paperwork if they have American customers. As a result, many banks around the world simply don’t take American customers, or jack up their fees for Americans.
If I have a second passport, I’m no longer an American, at least to that bank, so I won’t have this problem.
A final reason is taxes. The US is one of the only countries on planet Earth that taxes you even if you don’t live in the country and don’t consume any of the country’s resources to earn a living. It’s insane. If, as an American, you have a second passport, you have the option of renouncing your citizenship and freeing yourself from this bullshit. I don’t ever plan on doing this, but at least I want the option if the US goes totally insane down the road, and starts jacking up taxes on expatriates, which is entirely possible.
Just to answer the question I know is coming, you could move to another country and renounce your citizenship from your home country without getting a second passport, but if you did that you would be forever locked into your new country and could likely never travel internationally (unless you did so as a criminal, and you don’t want to do that). So for those of you who are actively planning on renouncing your citizenship, you’re going to need a second passport.
There are three ways to get a second passport:
1. Move to a new country, or at least spend a lot of time there. Then after a while, ask for one. This can take 2-10 years or longer, depending on the country.
2. Prove ancestry in that country. This is the fastest way to do it, and often can take just a few months, but it obviously isn’t an option for most people. I’ll discus this further in a minute.
3. Spend a lot of money (starting at low six figures) and invest there in assets or real estate. This is called “economic citizenship.” This is another fast way to do it; you could have a passport in your hands within 2-6 months. Neil Strauss did this. In his book Emergency, he bought a house for $250,000 in St. Kitts and Nevis (a small Caribbean nation) and they gave him a passport.
I will not be doing economic citizenship, since it’s a direct violation of the five flags model. I don’t want my residence or my investments in my country B. I want my residence in country A and my money in country C or D. All I want is that passport. That’s it. By having your citizenship and your residence in the same country, you are at risk for that country screwing with you in seriously bad ways, as what happened to John McAfee.
Listed below is my current shortlist of options I’m looking at for my country B. Note that laws often change, so what I describe below may not be the same a few years from now. Also note that most countries won’t give you passport/citizenship if you have criminal record in your home country, so behave yourself.
Argentina. They love new citizens down there. If you’re there for six months out of the calendar year for two years in a row, they’ll give you a passport if you ask. They’ve actually naturalized illegal aliens without them asking. Pretty funny. Argentina has a good passport too, which offers near-full European access.
For a country with a requirement like that, you could move there for two years, get your passport, then move to your true country A. It’s possible I may end up doing something like this.
Various European countries if you can prove ancestry there. If you can prove your parents or grandparents were citizens, often these countries will give you citizenship. For example, many Americans get Canadian citizenship just by showing that both of their parents were born in Canada. It’s a huge bureaucratic hassle and a lot of paperwork since governments are so inefficient, but worth it if you can pull it off. These countries include: Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bosnia, Serbia, Greece, Poland, and several others I’m forgetting.
I will be giving Italy a shot. I’m visiting there later this year. If you can show citizenship back to three generations, they’ll give you a passport, and I’ve got lots of direct relatives on my mom’s side who were legal Italian citizens. The trick is that it must be an unbroken line of citizens. Not sure if I can pull this off, but I’ll know by the end of this year. Otherwise, I’ll choose one of the other countries listed in this article.
Dominican Republic. Just put $5000 in a savings account there, hang out there a few weeks a year, and in just two years a passport is yours if you want it. Very nice. The passport isn’t as good as Argentina’s though.
Peru. Pretty much the same process as Argentina.
Paraguay. Like the Dominican Republic, except that you don’t need to put $5000 in an account, but you have to wait three years instead of two.
Russia. This one is a little complicated, but if you start a business there and pay a tax, you can get a passport within three years. I honestly don’t know how good a Russian passport is though. This also violates the five flags model, since you want your business based in country C, not country B. Though again, you could set up a shell company in Russia and set up your real company in country C.
Uruguay. This is the best passport of all the countries listed here, but the requirements are a pain in the ass. You basically need to move and live there full time for five years. If you’re legally married and do this with your wife or a live-in family member, they’ll drop this to three years.
Again though, living in Uruguay for five years, getting your passport, and then moving to your real country A is a perfectly viable option if you’re not in a rush. It might be worth doing for Uruguay’s amazing passport, particularly if you plan on travelling internationally a lot for the rest of your life as I do.
If you have over $100,000 to spend or invest, and don’t plan on fallowing the five flags model like I am, the following nations offer economic citizenship: Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Malta, Cyprus, and a few others.
In the next article in this series, I’ll be discussing the three key aspects of what makes a country ideal for your residence, passport, or business. Stay tuned.