Many parents don’t realize that their children are eligible for a special gift: dual citizenship.
While you may imagine your child going to the same university you did or getting a job near home, today’s world is more international than ever and not only are there plenty of opportunities in other countries, but college tuition in places like Europe is much cheaper than it is in the United States, especially for citizens.
Simply put, having dual citizenship allows your child two, three, or even 30 different countries they will always have access to live, study, work, and retire in. Dual citizenship can also be passed down, so you’ll be doing grandchildren and great grandchildren a favor as well.
European passports in particular are in demand because the citizen of any European Union country can live in any other European Union country, kind of like an American who can move from California to Texas. Let’s say your family qualifies for citizenship in Slovakia; even if you don’t want to live in Slovakia, Slovak citizens have the ability to travel or move to any other EU country – including Spain, Italy, Ireland, or Germany – any time they want, forever.
The good news is that it’s easier than you might think to become a dual citizen. Let’s review a few ways:
- Place of Birth
Where your child was born may – or may not – allow them a second citizenship. Any child born in the United States is a US citizen by default, no matter where their parents are from. This also applies to most other countries in North and South America; if your child was born in Canada, Mexico, or anywhere else in Latin America or the Caribbean (except Chile or Colombia), they’re a citizen of that country. That applies even if you gave birth while on vacation; your child would already be a citizen even if you don’t know it.
- Parents’ Citizenship
Many parents aren’t aware that they may have dual citizenship either. If you were born in another country, you may already have a second citizenship even if you don’t carry that country’s passport. You as the parent could have citizenship based on where you were born, or because your parent had it. You may need to claim this, but the process can be straightforward; one mother didn’t realize she was Croatian through her parents, and was able to claim that for herself, and then claim it for her children.
- Family Tree
Do you have an Irish grandparent? What about an Italian grandparent? Dozens of countries allow you to trace your ancestry back to a second passport that could give your child a world of opportunities. The process is called citizenship by descent and it’s an affordable way to get high-quality second passports for the entire family. Some countries allow you to go back up to four generations, so find out where your ancestors came from and then starting collecting documents proving your relation to them.
- Citizenship by Investment
If you aren’t entitled to dual citizenship through any other method, you can make an investment and be granted citizenship in a matter of months. Wealthy families can donate $100,000 and up to any of five Caribbean island nations such as Saint Lucia or Antigua and Barbuda and receive passports that allow them to travel to 160+ countries within a matter of months. These passports aren’t quite as useful as a European citizenship for living or studying, but giving your family a lifetime pass to live in the tax-free Caribbean isn’t the worst thing in the world.