This is Week Nine of the 26 week series #MyEconomicCitizenship. Each week I give you a glimpse into my life as I share the ups and downs experienced in pursuit of a second passport through economic citizenship. Each feature includes my weekly journal walking you through the process of obtaining economic citizenship, followed by an in-depth look at some of the most important topics people considering economic citizenship should understand. The series is presented by Nomad Capitalist in partnership with Peter Macfarlane & Associates, whom I worked with to obtain my passport. To read the entire series, just click here.
Dateline: Tbilisi, Georgia
One of the first things I received when I began the process to receive Dominican citizenship was a little 6×9 inch card. Written on that small piece of paper was Dominica’s loyalty oath. All I had to do was write my name on the blank line and sign at the bottom after a short paragraph pledging my allegiance to the Commonwealth of Dominica and — after sending it back — I would have officially given my “loyalty” to a new country.
Though it was one of the first documents I received in the whole process, that little card sat around my house for weeks. You don’t have to send it in until the entire process is done, but the government chooses to send it to you from the very beginning because they want you to understand exactly what you are doing by becoming an economic citizen.
So, you might be asking yourself, what does this mean? What is a loyalty oath and what is it all about?
Loyalty and dual citizenship
While there are many questions I’m sure you’re asking right now, let’s start by asking just one: Can you be an economic citizen, sign the loyalty oath and still have dual citizenship? The answer, of course, is yes. We’ve covered this before, but the whole point of economic citizenship is that the countries issuing it don’t care how many citizenships you have. They are not going to demand that you give up your current citizenship.
So, whether it’s the Comoros, any of the numerous Caribbean programs or the two European programs, you should be able to have dual citizenship after obtaining a second citizenship through investment.
Not only is the direction of the world heading in a way that dual citizenship is becoming more and more acceptable, but a country that is charging you for citizenship isn’t going to make you give up your other one. You’re free to do so, but it doesn’t really have an impact.
Unauthorized dual citizens
The next question I hear a lot is whether or not taking a loyalty oath will cause a problem with someone’s current citizenship. The answer? Yes and no. Or, better said: it depends.
If you’re a citizen of Austria, China, one of the Persian Gulf countries or any one of the countries that do not allow dual citizenship, the big question is whether or not they’ll find out. This, in turn, depends on how active any given government is in terms of pursuing citizens with unauthorized dual citizenship.
I don’t know all of the internal affairs of every country on the list — and probably no one does — but what I do know is that some of the countries that offer economic citizenship publish the names who obtain their citizenship by investment. For example, Dominica publishes the names of its newest economic citizens in the Dominica Official Gazette on a regular basis to prevent corruption. But is your government looking at that list? Who knows.
A common issue that we’ll talk about in future blog posts is that there are plenty of people who are from countries that aren’t that powerful who can get away with having unauthorized dual citizenship without much of a problem. As long as they exit and enter their own country with the passport from that country, they’re fine.
Logistically, however, it can become an issue. For example, I recently spoke to someone from Indonesia who said that, technically, if they search an Indonesian passport holder’s bags at customs and they find another passport, they’ll have a problem. Japan is another country that’s very picky about this as well. So, logistically speaking, it may be a bit of a challenge for some people to keep off the radar. There’s always the possibility that you may get caught.
Can I unintentionally renounce my citizenship?
For those of us from countries where dual citizenship is allowed and we just want a second citizenship — or for US citizens who don’t want to be forced to renounce, but want to set the stage and renounce on their own terms — the question is, does this loyalty oath cause a problem?
Again, the answer is no.
It’s been universally held in the United States (and in a number of other similar western countries) that taking an oath by signing a little 6×9 inch card saying that you pledge allegiance to the Commonwealth of Dominica does not automatically void your citizenship. This type of action does not meet the criteria that the United States or other countries have set forward (in the small print on your passport) stating that if you do certain things to demonstrate your allegiance to other countries you’re giving up your citizenship.
This is not what they’re talking about.
While there may be some exceptions for other countries that are not the US, generally if your country allows dual citizenship, they allow dual citizenship. You will know that you’ve renounced your citizenship if you ever decide to do so because you have to go before a consular officer and say you are renouncing your citizenship to actually make that happen. The idea of citizenship relinquishment does exist in the US, but you’re not going to relinquish your citizenship just by signing a card to Dominica.
The symbolism of the loyalty oath
For the most part, pledging your allegiance to any country is largely symbolic. Every country you “belong” to will say that you have to be on their side. Every country says that you’re only a citizen in their eyes. Every country wants you to be loyal to them. But what does that loyalty actually mean? In some countries that means upholding the constitution, in others, they have some slightly different take on it. Mostly, it’s just symbolic.
If you’re from a country that allows dual citizenship and you’re not a high profile (or highly wanted) individual, I can almost guarantee you that no one is even checking how many citizenships you have. And even if they find that you have more than one citizenship, you’re not going to lose your current citizenship for that reason.
Again, if you become Dominican and you are Japanese and the Japanese government finds out, then you may have a problem.
The countries that are more easy going on this are usually the lower quality countries that can’t afford to be picky. Comoros, for example, has no loyalty oath. They don’t bother you. European countries, on the other hand, will be much more demanding and will want to know as much as they can. Who’s to say that Europe’s infamous information sharing policies won’t eventually apply to divulging how many citizenships each inhabitant owns?
Your new love
For the most part, I don’t think loyalty oaths are a big issue. Nevertheless, keep in mind that you will have to say that country X is not only your new country but the new country that you love.
Every country is going to ask that of you.
I know a guy who has five passports and I’m getting up there now and when we met we began joking about being at your naturalization ceremony, raising your right hand and saying “I pledge allegiance to… wait, where am I? At a certain point, it becomes a little silly, but it’s not something that you should worry about.
As long as your country’s not actively looking for you, you’ll be fine.
Get your economic citizenship & second passport
My goal in doing this series is to help as many people as possible become global citizens by obtaining second citizenship. I live this stuff, in part, so that I can better help individuals like you reduce taxes, obtain a second passport and experience more freedom.
If you’d like to work with me directly to create a wholistic global citizenship strategy, then click here. We’ll go through an entire deep dive process to determine exactly what you need — from passports to residency to where you’re going to live — all so we can get you to your end goals.
If you’re just interested in getting a passport and already know which passport is the right choice for you, then you can go directly to Peter MacFarlane & Associates’ website and contact them by clicking here.
If you’re still determining which approach you should take, feel free to keep reading this series to garner all the knowledge you need to form a vision and actionable plan for the future.