New U.S. Visa Restrictions Make Having Second Passport More Valuable

New U.S. Visa Restrictions Make Having Second Passport More Valuable

Vacation News » Miami Edition | By Michael Gerrity | August 16, 2018 11:05 AM ET

According to International Living Magazine, there are good reasons why citizens of many countries should, and indeed, have a right to acquire a second citizenship, particularly in a new country where taxes are reasonable, freedom is greater and property investing is of keen interest.

That new passport can expand your legal rights, allowing freer world travel with fewer problems from curious border and customs officials. When it comes to taking your life and assets offshore, few tools are more valuable than a second passport.

"If you are a U.S. citizen, or a permanent resident alien (green card holder) an important point to know is that under U.S. law, having a second passport does not jeopardize your citizenship," says second passport expert, Bob Bauman. "It is fully legal for a U.S. citizen to hold two or more citizenships, based on rulings by the Supreme Court."

When considering acquiring a second passport, a key factor often overlooked is the visa-free travel possibilities a specific national passport offers.

In a globalized world economy, the need for greater visa-free access has grown. Across the economic spectrum, individuals wish to avoid travel constraints to access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities worldwide.

The U.S. has previously limited the number of countries it has visa-free travel agreements with.

"After the 9/11, 2001 terror attacks, the U.S. government toughened visa requirements for visitors from nations previously free to come to America without a visa," says Bauman. "While there is justification for increased scrutiny at American borders, the government made entry to the U.S. difficult for millions of foreigners in hopes of deterring terrorists."

And new moves by the current government look to complicate matters further.

"In late March, President Donald Trump's administration proposed a new rule that would require many people applying for a U.S. visa to list their social media accounts before being granted entry," Bauman explains. "Applicants will be required to submit details of any accounts held in the preceding five years on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn."

An estimated 14.7 million people a year would be affected by the rule, which includes submissions for both immigrant and non-immigrant visitor visas.

Those countries that have visa-free travel agreements with the U.S., such as the United Kingdom, would not be affected, but non-exempt countries such as China, India, and Mexico would be hit.

"Now, picture how that could work the other way around," Bauman says. "Countries without visa-free travel arrangements with the U.S. might impose similar restrictions--either as a reaction or for reasons of their own--and suddenly your U.S. passport makes it difficult to get in."

This is where a second passport can come to the rescue. If you hold multiple passports from countries that have varying visa-free travel arrangements, then you are insured against negative effects from changing visa laws.

"A country you want to visit, live, or do business in suddenly decides to restrict U.S. citizens from entry? Simply travel on your European or Caribbean passport and you can breeze through customs without a second glance."

It's just one of the many ways that a second passport can make life easier for those with interests overseas.

Though not commonly known, the legal right to dual citizenship--and with it the right to obtain and employ a second passport--is available to millions of people worldwide.

And obtaining a second passport may not be as difficult as you think. There are three main routes to acquiring one:

  • By place of birth: where the laws of the country in which a child is born make them a citizen automatically, as in the U.S., where the 14th Amendment does this. This principle is expanded by what is known as "sanguinity" (blood relationship) citizenship based on that of one or both parents, or even grandparents in some countries, such as Ireland and Italy. This relationship is perhaps the easiest and fastest route to a second passport.
  • By official naturalization: which usually involves a specific period of prior residence in the country. Almost all countries have a route for foreigners to obtain permanent residence, linked to marriage, a job, starting a business, or other commitment to the country. On average, this means living in the country for five years.
  • By purchasing economic citizenship: this usually involves an investment in the country or payment of a substantial fee. Some countries offer this in exchange for investment in real estate, starting a business, or payment to the government. Among these countries are St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Cyprus, and Malta. These citizenships involve an extensive due diligence process and investigation.

A second passport could be key to a whole new world of freedom, greater flexibility, and adventure.


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