If you have dual citizenship, you are a citizen of two different countries at the same time. Citizenship of a second country is normally obtained by parentage, birthplace, or marriage; however, there are legal and financial options for getting citizenship in a second country.
While dual citizenship is often regarded as a benefit, certain countries have laws in place that make it unlawful to hold second citizenship. Politicians in these countries can view people with a second nationality as threats and so do not want them to participate in politics. Children born outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo can keep both nationalities until they reach the age of 21, after which they have one year to renounce one of them. Ethiopians who acquire another nationality lose their Ethiopian identity, according to a statute passed in 1930. Moise Katumbi, a leading Democratic Republic of Congo opposition politician, has been barred from competing in the 2018 presidential election because he was an Italian citizen for seventeen years.
A person's dual nationality provides substantial advantages. Mobility is greatly facilitated by the fact that having a passport ensures your right to admission into a certain nation. Unlike other travellers, you are not required to get long-stay visas or answer questions about the purpose of your journey. Dual nationals have the right to work and attend school in both countries without having to pay foreign tuition expenses. Due to the fact that certain nations restrict property ownership to citizens only, dual nationals have more options to buy homes abroad. Furthermore, political advantages include the ability to vote in either country, as well as cultural advantages like being steeped in two cultures and maybe being able to communicate in two or more languages.
The simplest and most obvious path to dual citizenship is through family ties. Citizenship by ancestry is available in a number of European nations, including Spain, Poland, Hungary, and Ireland. Italy also has more lenient ancestry requirements: Citizenship in Italy is passed down from parent to child for an unlimited number of generations. If you can show that you are descended from an Italian citizen who lived after 1861, the year the Kingdom of Italy was founded, you may be eligible for an Italian passport.
In Spain, for example, you can apply for citizenship after marrying a Spaniard and living with them in Spain for a year; in the UK, on the other hand, you must apply for a Spousal Visa after marrying a Brit.
Italy isn't the only country that uses the past to determine citizenship requirements. People whose relatives escaped the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s can recover their German citizenship through a scheme run by Germany. Spain and Portugal are providing citizenship to descendants of those who were victims of the Inquisition in the 15th century, as well as the mass expulsion of Jews and Muslims that followed the Reconquista's end in 1492. On these grounds, some 10,000 special passports have been issued.
However, obtaining dual citizenship is not always straightforward. Even if you meet all of the conditions set forth by the country in issue, you may not be eligible for a passport. Citizenship in France and Germany is based on a minimum of five years of residency in the nation, as well as proof of language competency, integration, and a citizenship test. In certain cases, marriage may provide a shortcut to citizenship, although many nations still demand that you be married and have lived in the country for a specific number of years before applying.
There are other options for obtaining a second passport besides parentage and marriage. Passports can be purchased by the wealthy for a hefty sum, frequently in the millions of euros. Malta and Cyprus both provide citizenship to property investors, while Cyprus requires you to have lived in the country for two years and pay a non-refundable €650,000 fee.
Brexit has had a substantial impact on the volume of dual citizenship applications across the EU in recent years. The number of Britons awarded citizenship of another EU country surged by 158% between 2016 and 2017 [numbers received by the BBC from 17 of the EU's 27 member states]. Since the 2016 referendum, Germany and France have remained the two most popular nationalities among applicants, with each seeing a rise of 835% and 226%, respectively.
And it's not just applications from the United Kingdom that are on the upswing. In 2016, 13,700 people from outside the UK applied for a British passport. This was a third higher than in 2015, and more than double the increase between 2014 and 2015. Between June 2016 and June 2017, the number of applicants for British citizenship increased by 30,000.
The advantages of dual citizenship, as well as the massive surge in applications for a second passport across the EU after the Brexit referendum, imply that having two nations is preferable to having one.