SECOND CITIZENSHIP

The Key Do’s and Don’ts

When you start thinking about renunciation you’re naturally going to turn to what your life will look like afterwards. Whilst the option remains to intentionally make yourself stateless (we strongly advise against this at all costs) the typical approach will be to seek citizenship from another country. To give you a broad outline of what this process might look like for you, we’re going to cover the main right and wrong ways to go about this, and the motivations which lie behind them.

Renunciation For Tax Reasons: Don’t Do it

When you renounce US citizenship you should be doing it primarily to build the life you want for you and your family, not to reduce your tax obligations. We would never advise or suggest making yourself stateless or adopting a new citizenship purely to save money on tax. A quick search online will appear to throw up dozens of ‘clever’ loopholes and schemes that you can make use of, but they will all cause issues and legal implications later on. The only citizenship worth obtaining is one which is 100% legal and which will remain legal when subjected to proper scrutiny.

Legitimate Paths to New Citizenship

There are typically four possible paths to new citizenship for any citizen of the US:

Descent

This is where you can prove a relationship and heritage with the country you intend to become a citizen of. A common example would be Israel where you need to prove you are Jewish to be granted citizenship. It is worth noting that the specific details will vary on a country by country basis.

Residency

This is where you have been living in a country for an extended period of time and meet a number of residency criteria that will allow you to become naturalized. Again, this will vary on a country by country basis.

Contributions

This is where you can be adjudged to have made a significant and outstanding contribution to the country you wish to apply to. Some countries will value technical skills, academic achievements and even financial donations and payments. It is important to first look at whether you would enjoy a better quality of life with the citizenship you intend to apply for, rather than whether you can simply meet the requirements for contributions.

Marriage

Marrying a citizen of a new country will give you certain rights to remain and apply for citizenship, but it is no longer the case that you will be automatically granted citizenship in all but a handful of states. The typical time via this route will be 5-10 years of marriage, followed by 2-3 years for your application to be processed.

The Key Thing to Remember

Renunciation should always be a process designed to improved the quality of life of you and your family, and not a means to reduce your tax obligations. With this in mind, we always advise putting quality of life and family ties above anything else when deciding on your second citizenship.