Dual or multi citizenship has been in much debate over recent years and never more so since the day the UK electorate opted to leave the European Union that fateful day in June last year.
Dual or multi citizenship means that a person is a citizen of two or more countries at the same time, having legal rights and obligations in connection with both or all countries. Whilst dual citizenship certainly has its advantages, there are also legal considerations, which can result in making life more complicated.
- Global mobility as one passport may offer more unrestricted travel than the other
- Security in the event of unrest in one country
- Quality of life as second citizenships offer an additional choice of health services, education and lifestyle
- Greater business opportunities as dual citizens can have interests in both countries
- Tax optimization as some countries only tax income earned from that country and do not subject capital gains tax to either. This allows investors to manage their wealth more effectively and efficiently
- The potential for double taxation
- A long and expensive process to obtain dual citizenship
- Bound by the laws of two or more nations, which, depending on your business or personal lifestyle could give rise to conflict
- Mandatory military service if one country operates this policy
Certain countries, such as Singapore, do not allow for their citizens to obtain nationality from any other country. In the event that an individual obtains citizenship from another country, they may be required to renounce their current citizenship prior to being made a citizen of their ‘new’ country.
If you are considering applying for British Citizenship, you may be eligible to ‘register’ as a citizen if you meet any of the criteria below. Registering as a British citizen is usually simpler than becoming naturalised.
- You have another form of British nationality
- You were born before 1 January 1983 to a British mother
- You were born to a British father, even if he was not married to your mother
- You were born in the UK on or after 1 January 1983
- You’re under 18 and don’t fit into the other categories
- You have a connection with Gibraltar or Hong Kong or other British Colonies
- You’re stateless
As well as belonging to one of these groups there are other eligibility rules for each category, and of course there are the usual Government fees.
The bottom line may well be that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages but dual or multi citizenship laws are very stringent and each country has its own set of standards and criteria for granting citizenship to individuals. Because this is such a complex issue and the rules and laws regarding citizenship vary from one country to the next, be sure to consult with our qualified experts, including tax accountants and experienced citizenship lawyers, before making a final decision.