Dateline: Wroclaw, Poland
Obtaining a second citizenship is an important step in internationalizing your life so that no one country can control your freedom or your wealth.
And here at Nomad Capitalist, we help people like you do just that.
But having a second passport isn’t ideal if you have to relinquish your original citizenship in order to get it. That’s just trading one passport for another. In some cases, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it all depends on which country you’re trading up to.
While more and more countries are allowing dual citizenship, several dual citizenship countries are beginning to crack down on their citizens with multiple nationalities.
And, of course, there are countries where dual citizenship is strictly forbidden. This list is updated for 2014 and takes into account several European countries which are taking on the prevailing trend of more liberal policies toward people holding multiple citizenships.
Here is a list of countries that allow dual citizenship, as well as countries that do not allow dual nationality.
Countries that allow dual citizenship
*Countries with an asterisk allow dual citizenship under select conditions only.
Albania. Albania generally allows dual citizenship.
Australia. The Australian government claims that it is possible to hold citizenship for two or more countries as far as they’re concerned. This applies to those who obtain another nationality automatically, such as through marriage, or through a residency or other application process.
Barbados. Barbados not only allows Barbadian citizens to maintain a second nationality, they actually encourage those living overseas to keep this potential benefit in mind.
Bangladesh. In case you have the urge to become a naturalized citizen of this South Asian nation, be careful not to be sentenced to a long prison term or incur a criminal fine within five years of your new citizenship. Doing so could void your naturalization. Otherwise, Bangladesh citizens are not eligible to lose their citizens, including when obtaining another nationality.
Belgium. Belgium used to be one of the easiest and best countries in which to obtain a second citizenship. In fact, it was possible to become a Belgian citizen in as quickly as three years if you established ties in the country and kept your nose clean. While it now takes five years at a bare minimum — and as many as nine — to become naturalized in Belgium, the good news it that existing Belgian citizens are eligible to hold dual citizenship as of 2008.
Bulgaria*. Ethnic Bulgarians are entitled to maintain multiple nationalities without having to give up their Bulgarian passport. Those that did relinquish citizenship in the past may be able to get it back. However, those being naturalized as Bulgarians must renounce other nationalities upon becoming citizens.
Canada. Canada is one of the more interesting case studies regarding dual citizenship. Due to its proximity to The Land of the Free, some Canadians were actually born in the United States and don’t know they hold a second nationality (in this case, the United States). Canada seems to encourage its citizens to utilize their status of dual nationality, and certainly allows it. They do suggest you enter the country of your second citizenship using your Canadian passport, though, which may not be allowed under the second country’s rules.
Chile. Contrary to what other people might tell you, Chile allows dual nationality.
Costa Rica. Costa Rica is one of the Americas’ hardest countries in which to become naturalized, but all Costa Rican citizens may maintain other nationalities without issue.
Croatia*. Ethnic Croatians who obtained citizenship by birth or by descent from at least one parent may maintain other nationalities. However, those who become naturalized Croatians must renounce all other citizenships, or be prepared to do so, before receiving Croatian citizenship.
Cyprus. Considering that Cyprus markets its own (expensive) economic citizenship program, it only makes sense that Cyprus allows you to maintain additional citizenships.
Czech Republic. Nationalists in the Czech Republic worked to uphold a long-standing tradition of forbidding citizens from having other allegiances. However, as of 2014, the Czech Republic allows for multiple nationalities. It is part of their effort to further align themselves with the policies of the EU. Former Czech nationals who lost their citizenship can apply for reinstatement.
Denmark. For years, Denmark has restricted its citizens to be Danish… or choose to be something else. However, as of 2015 it will allow dual citizenship.
Egypt. Egyptian citizens may obtain multiple nationalities. However, they must notify the “proper” Egyptian authorities first. There is no such thing as private second citizenship without jeopardizing Egyptian citizenship. Citizens must also inform the government of their intent to keep Egyptian citizenship within one year of obtaining the foreign citizenship. Egyptian dual nationals are exempt from military service and prohibited from enrolling in military and police academies, or from being elected to Egyptian Parliament. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Finland. As of 2003, Finnish citizens are entitled to hold dual citizenships. Those who lost citizenship prior to 2003 had a window in which they could apply to have their former citizenship reinstated; this window closed several years ago. Those naturalized as Finnish citizens are permitted to keep their original citizenship, as well.
France. French citizens are entitled to hold dual or multiple citizenships, and have been for several decades. In addition, France denounced a Council of Europe proposal that attempted to reduce cases of multiple nationalities.
Germany*. The German cabinet just gave the go-ahead to allow Germans to maintain dual citizenship. However, there is a catch. This draft law, which has yet to pass into law, will apply only to young people. Historically, those with foreign-born parents had to choose between their parents’ nationality and German nationality once they became an adult. The law proposes to change that.
Greece. Greek citizens are allowed to maintain dual citizenships unless they request to renounce Greek citizenship. Renunciation of Greek citizenship is subject to completion of any military service requirement. It’s possible to obtain second residency in Greece and work toward citizenship, but the government won’t be on your side.
Hungary. Hungary flirted with its own economic citizenship program (as well as citizenship-based taxation) and does allow its citizens to maintain multiple citizenships.
Iceland. Much like Finland, Iceland overturned its ban on holding more than one citizenship in 2003 and offered those who lost Icelandic status under the old system four years to apply for reinstatement.
Ireland. Like Israel and Italy, Ireland allows those with Irish ancestors to claim an Irish passport. In fact, there are some 14 million Irish passports in circulation, despite the country having a much, much smaller population. Ireland does allow dual citizenship.
Israel. In an attempt to increase the roster of Israeli citizens and Jews with Israeli passports, Israel has a very straightforward passport program through the Law of Return. Israel is more than happy to allow its citizens to maintain dual nationality.
Italy. Italy considers anyone with Italian bloodlines an Italian citizen… even before you apply to claim an ancestral passport. As long as you can prove your Italian ancestry, you can become an Italian citizen. Italy does not require you to renounce other citizenships when you follow this procedure, or when you become a naturalized citizen through residence.
Jamaica. According to Jamaica’s own consulate websites, the country recognizes dual citizenship.
Kosovo. Many Kosovars have special, recognizable Serbian passports issued from a special passport unit in Belgrade, as Serbia still does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Due to many Kosovaars having Serbian citizenship, and even third citizenships in places they migrated to (such as Germany), Kosovo allows dual citizenship.
Latvia. The Baltic country recently liberalized its laws to allow Latvians to hold another nationality (or more than one). This is a great opportunity for those who obtain Latvian residency by starting a business or investing in real estate, and have the eventual goal of becoming Latvian citizens.
Malta. Malta’s $1 million economic citizenship program allows anyone to become Maltese within one year without relinquishing their existing citizenships. This goes hand-in-hand with their favorable view on dual citizenships.
Mexico. A Mexican at birth may acquire other nationalities, but will always be considered Mexican by the Mexican government. Furthermore, all Mexican citizens must enter and leave the country on his or her Mexican passport. They may also be prohibited from partaking in certain investments within the country.
Nigeria. Nigerians may have more than one citizenship, despite some limited public pressure against the practice in the African country.
Pakistan. Due to a growing number of Pakistanis living overseas, the government now recognizes dual citizenship for Pakistan citizens under most circumstances. However, dual citizens are forbidden from certain voting rights, serving in the military, or holding any number of public offices or even civil servant jobs. Not a bad trade-off.
Panama.* Technically, Panama forbids dual citizenship. In practice, however, things are a bit different. During the naturalization process, the Panamanian government will require you to take an oath that includes the renunciation of your previous citizenship. Nevertheless, many countries (including the United States) don’t recognize this oath as part of relinquishing your existing citizenship. That being said, second residence (and an eventual second passport) in Panama can be obtained rather easily by citizens of any of 50 “friendly nations” — namely most Western countries — making dual citizenship an important part of the country.
Peru. Similar to some other Latin countries, Peru’s Constitution allows citizens of other Latin countries (including Spain) who become naturalized citizens to maintain their previous nationality. In practice, dual citizenship is allowed in many cases.
Philippines. Obtaining citizenship in the Philippines is nearly impossible for foreigners (although residency is easy), but Filipinos who obtain a second citizenship usually don’t lose their Filipino passport. If they do, however, there is a process to get it back.
Portugal. Portugal allows dual citizenship, and also offers an easy residency program for those wishing to invest in Portuguese real estate.
Romania. Romania does not cancel the citizenships of those who obtain a second passport elsewhere, although it does not claim responsibility for other nationalities being lost as a result of keeping Romanian citizenship. There have been cases of people who have lost their multiple nationalities after re-applying for Romanian citizenship. Furthermore, Romania has a controversial practice of granting dual citizenship to Moldovans.
Serbia. Located in southeast Europe, Serbia offers one of the least known citizenship by descent programs. As such, it allows Serbians to maintain other nationalities.
Slovenia. Slovenia, whose passport also confers European Union citizenship, may forbid those becoming naturalized citizens from keeping their existing nationalities. However, it does not prohibit native Slovenians from having a second passport in most cases.
South Africa. Until 1995, South Africa forbade its citizens from traveling on foreign passports. A 2004 law changed that and eliminated a requirement that forced those seeking dual nationality to apply for permission. As with many other countries, South Africa requires it nationals to enter and leave the country with their South African travel documents. It is worth nothing that South Africans who wish to obtain new citizenships going forward must inform the government BEFORE doing so, or else they will lose South African nationality.
South Korea*. South Korea, while a great country, is a rather insular culture and long forbade its citizens from having another passport. However, as of 2011, a new law allowed those who became dual nationals at birth to retain both passports if they declared their intention to remain South Korean by age 22. The law does not allow South Koreans to obtain other citizenships as adults. However, expats living in South Korea who obtain citizenship — including through the country’s immigrant investor program — can retain their birth citizenship.
Spain. Spain requires Spanish nationals to inform the government within three years if they obtain another nationality. It makes exceptions for those individuals who are natural citizens of an Iberoamerican country, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Portugal.
Sweden. In 2001, Sweden abandoned a long-held policy of prohibited dual nationalities. Now, Swedish citizens may acquire other passports and foreigners applying for naturalization in Sweden may keep their existing citizenship.
Switzerland. An estimated 60% of Swiss citizens living abroad are dual nationals, and that’s just fine according to Switzerland. As of 1992, the country does not forbid having another passport, nor does it force naturalized Swiss citizens to relinquish their original nationality. (Although celebrities like Tina Turner have obtained Swiss nationality as a means to relinquish US citizenship.)
Syria. Syrian citizenship is a complicated thing. You get it by being the child of a Syrian father, or a Syrian mother whose partner is of stateless or unknown origins. And obtaining Syrian citizenship is near impossible: you have to marry a Syrian and live in the country for ten years. However, Syria generally allows its citizens to have other passports, although the government itself advises that renouncing Syrian nationality is so difficult it’s best not to even bother.
Turkey. Turkey allows multiple nationalities, but does require those obtaining them to provide a load of documents to Turkish officials during the process. Unlike many countries, Turkey does not require dual nationals to use their Turkish passport when entering or leaving the country.
United Kingdom.Since the British Nationality Act of 1948, the UK does not restrict its citizens from having other nationalities. However, British Overseas Territories citizens (such as citizens of Anguilla) may lose their ability to obtain a British passport if they obtain another nationality.
Does the United States allow dual citizenship? In almost all circumstances, yes. You may be required to declare “other allegiances” when applying for certain government programs or a US passport, but their request is more snooping than anything else.
You should be aware that taking up a foreign citizenship with the “intention” of relinquishing your US citizenship can cause you to lose US citizenship. So can fighting in a foreign military or working for a foreign government in any number of jobs.
Countries that don’t allow dual citizenship
Andorra. Andorrans who take up a foreign citizenship lose their Andorran nationality, but can apply to have it reinstated later if they are willing to renounce the citizenship they took up. Foreigners shouldn’t need to worry about this procedure, since becoming a naturalized citizen of Andorra takes twenty years of residence, one of the longest periods on earth.
Austria. Austria severely limits dual nationality in the country. This is interesting, considering there is a “secret” economic citizenship program that allows wealthy investors to become Austrian citizens in exchange for a donation of several million dollars — so long as they can prove they are “Austrian enough”. The only exceptions to these restrictions are 1) for children born to one Austrian and one foreign parent whose country confers citizenship to children, 2) to children given foreign citizenship by virtue of being born in a foreign country (like the United States), 3) to those unable by law to renounce their existing citizenship at home, or 4) to foreign professors who receive Austrian nationality.
Bahrain. While the Kingdom of Bahrain has a long tradition of awarding citizenship to expats who make a substantial contribution to the tiny Middle Eastern country, Bahrain does forbid dual nationality, except for a few Gulf state passport holders.
China. China technically forbids dual nationality, but many Chinese tell me enforcement of this is weak. They also mention that China considers Chinese citizens to be only Chinese, but does not actually restrict them from holding other passports.
Djibouti. Djibouti does not recognize its citizens’ ability to hold another passport, and any citizen who obtains another nationality will lose his or her Djibouti passport. Enforcement, however, is another matter.
El Salvador. El Salvador allows for dual citizenship, but only for those who obtained El Salvador nationality by birth. Naturalized citizens may not hold multiple nationalities.
Estonia. Although not technically allowed, plenty of Estonians hold second passports, mainly from Russia. The Estonian government may allow naturalized citizens to keep existing citizenships, or may simply not check. However, naturalized citizens who obtain another citizenship after being naturalized will lose their Estonian nationality. Native born Estonians are not subject to this provision, however, because Estonian citizenship is determined “by blood” and cannot be taken away from anyone.
India. Does India allow dual nationality? Sadly, the answer is “no”. However, due to demands from its diaspora, the country did introduce the Overseas Citizenship of India program. The program offers a document that looks like a passport, but does not serve as a substitute for a travel document, nor does it confer Indian citizenship.
Indonesia. While Indonesian officials are working to allow citizens to hold multiple nationalities, no such law exists yet, and Indonesians may not hold other citizenships.
Japan. Japan is one of the strictest immigration countries on earth. It does not allow citizens to maintain other allegiances and forces children who hold more than one passport to choose which one they wish to retain once they become adults.
Lithuania. Lithuania offers citizenship by descent to those with Lithuanian great-grandparents, but requires all Lithuanians to choose between their citizenship and another nationality. The only exception is those with ancestors who left during times of occupation for reasons of persecution.
Luxembourg. While the Luxembourg passport is an excellent travel document, it will be the only one you have because the country disallows multiple citizenships.
Malaysia. Although I recommend the MM2H visa program for residency, anyone holding Malaysian citizenship is disallowed from holding any other citizenship.
Montenegro. While there have been talks to allow dual nationality between Serbians and Montenegrins (in light of the two countries’ being one until 2006), citizens of Montenegro are forbidden to hold other citizenships and will lose their citizenship if they are naturalized elsewhere.
The Netherlands. In general, Dutch citizenship forbids obtaining an additional nationality. However, there are exceptions for Dutch subjects — including those in the Dutch Antilles — who obtain other citizenships at birth or through marriage.
Norway. While Norway offers one of the world’s most valuable passports, it generally does not allow Norwegian citizens, or those naturalized to become Norwegian, to hold an additional citizenship. The only general exception is for those whose former countries refuse to release them from a prior citizenship.
Poland. Poland does not recognize its citizens who maintain other allegiances, but it tolerates the practice. However, there are cases where “exercising a second citizenship” is disallowed, such as identifying yourself to Polish authorities as a foreign citizen.
Singapore. Singapore has been a much-ballyhooed second passport in the offshore world, with claims citizenship can be obtained in as little as two years. That opportunity is no longer available. Plus, Singapore citizenship confers mandatory military service on the citizen as well as their children. In an attempt to protect the “fabric” of their small country, Singapore aggressively forbids dual nationality.
Slovakia*. As part of an argument with Hungary over its citizenship by descent policies, Slovakia limits dual citizenship in many cases. It does, however, allow dual nationalities for those that obtain its passport through birth or marriage.
Tanzania. While some officials in the African country have suggested loosening the policy, Tanzanians are currently not permitted to hold dual citizenship, except in the case of women who acquire a second nationality by marrying a foreigner. The country’s Asian immigrant population is often cited as a factor for “potential disloyalty” if the citizenship rules were to be loosened.
Thailand. As one of the most insular and imperious countries on earth, Thailand forbids dual nationality. They are “The Land of the Free”, after all.
Ukraine. Currently, Ukraine does not easily allow for dual citizenship. They even considered imposing prison sentences of up to ten years for having dual nationality. It’s possible to have another nationality, but if the government finds out, you could be in trouble.
United Arab Emirates. Emirati passport holders are forbidden to maintain other citizenships. The only exception is in cases when an individual holds another citizenship from birth, but also has a father who is a UAE national and who confers citizenship upon him or her.
Venezuela. While children born on Venezuelan soil are entitled to Venezuelan citizenship (regardless of their parents’ nationalities), dual citizenship is only possible until age 25. After that time, if an individual maintains a foreign citizenship, the Venezuelan nationality will be terminated.