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How many citizenships can you hold: two, three, or more?

Is it possible to obtain multiple citizenships? The answer is yes! You may be a citizen of two countries or even hold more than two citizenships.

But legislation in some countries does not allow dual citizenship: your home country's passport may be invalidated. For example, Austria obliges foreigners to give up their previous passports.

Read on to find out the conditions and pitfalls under multiple citizenships.

How many citizenships can you have

Which countries enable multiple citizenship and which do not

The number of passports directly depends on the legislation of your home country and other countries. Not all countries allow multiple citizenships. 

For example, suppose you live in Finland and are interested in obtaining a Monaco passport. In that case, you are forced to renounce your first citizenship and be only a citizen of Monaco since Monaco strictly prohibits dual citizenship.

But suppose you live in Finland and want to obtain Dominica citizenship, a Caribbean country. In that case, you will not lose your original passport since both countries do not limit the number of nationalities you can have. In this case, you will have two passports.

Countries that enable multiple citizenship 

AlbaniaBelizeFinlandKosovoNigeriaSouth Africa
AlgeriaBoliviaFranceLatviaPakistanSouth Korea
AngolaBrazilGreeceLebanonPanamaSri Lanka
Antigua and BarbudaBulgariaGrenadaLibyaPhilippinesSweden
ArgentinaChileHong KongLuxembourgPortugalSwitzerland
ArmeniaCosta RicaHungaryMalawiRomaniaSyria
BangladeshCzech RepublicIrelandMauritiusSaint Kitts and NevisTurkey
BelgiumDominicaJamaicaNew ZealandSloveniaVanuatu

Some countries do not allow multiple citizenships, and some even consider having dual citizenship a criminal offence. These are some Asian states, African countries, and others. 

People who obtain Dutch citizenship automatically lose their previous passports. The Austrian Citizenship Law does not allow dual citizenship, except for persons who acquire two citizenship at the time of their birth. For example, a person born to Austrians living in the United States acquires both Austrian and American citizenship at birth. 

Countries that do not allow multiple citizenships

AzerbaijanEstoniaKyrgyzstanNamibiaSan MarinoTurkmenistan
BahamasEthiopiaLaosNepalSaudi ArabiaUzbekistan
ButaneHaitiMonacoNorth KoreaTaiwanZimbabwe

Multiple citizenships with restrictions: pitfalls of having multiple citizenships

However, certain countries that do not prohibit their citizens from holding more than one passport may impose legal restrictions in different fields.

Travelling. US citizens with a second passport issued by another country must show an American passport when entering and leaving the US. Similar rules are also applied in Canada, Australia, Turkey, and other countries.

Legal jurisdiction. Some countries that allow having multiple citizenships do not legally recognise it. This means that when in the country, a person is treated as a citizen only of that particular country. For instance, in France, multiple citizens with French passports are not allowed to request consular help from another country of their citizenship.

During conflicts between two states, citizens holding passports of both countries might have to choose which country to carry out military service. In the second country, such a choice may lead to a tribunal.

Right to hold public offices. In many countries, nationals with multiple passports cannot be elected to governmental bodies such as the parliament, ministries, and local administrative bodies. This is relevant to Mexico, Australia, Colombia, Egypt, and others.

Certain countries, for example, Israel, oblige dual citizens to renounce any other citizenships before taking a job as an official, for instance, in diplomatic service or the parliament.

Taxation restrictions. If there’s no double taxation avoidance agreement between the two countries, people holding citizenship might face double taxation or a tax rate increase. For example, foreigners with dual citizenship in the UK must file US taxes.

How to obtain multiple citizenships 

The process of obtaining citizenship of another country can be both simple in some cases and cumbersome in others. There are several paths you can take to gain a second nationality.

Family ties. This way is quite simple if you have a family relationship with a person who has lived in another country and can prove it. There are laws called “citizenship by descent” that allow you to gain a second passport in the country of your ancestors. Citizenship by descent can be obtained in Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and other states. 

Marriage. You can apply for a second passport after marrying a country citizen. The period of obtaining citizenship depends on the state. For example, you can become an Argentine citizen the day after you get married. 

To have a Swiss passport, you must be officially married and live together for at least six years. In the EU countries, there is a strict policy to prevent fictitious marriages. In Germany, couples must live together for at least three years to apply for citizenship.

Naturalisation. Another possible option to gain citizenship of a different country is to live there for a long time.

Obtaining citizenship by naturalisation is a long-term process. Moreover, you should have a strong reason to live in a foreign country. It is not eligible to get a tourist visa and stay abroad for 10 years. On the contrary, studying or working abroad allows you to obtain citizenship in future if you meet the following conditions:

  1. Long-term residence. It is necessary to reside in the country for a long period of time. For example, in Argentina, this timeframe is about two years; in Portugal, it is five years; in Germany — eight years. Some countries, such as the Vatican or San Marino, grant citizenship only to those who have lived in the country for at least 30 years.
  2. No criminal record. You must have a clean police record in your home country and other countries where you have a residence permit or citizenship. This condition is mandatory for any citizenship options.
  3. Knowledge of the state language and history. Some countries, for example, Greece, require a language proficiency test and confirming knowledge of the country's history. When applying for a Greek passport, you may be asked questions about Alexander the Great, the history of Athens, and others.

There may also be other conditions depending on the country. For example, the German law requires applicants to have official employment. While to get Netherlands citizenship, one must come to the country to take the oath of allegiance.

Investing. Some countries give the possibility to obtain citizenship by investment in their economy. For instance, the list of such countries includes St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Vanuatu, Dominica, and Turkey. Foreigners and their families can apply for participation in the investment program and get a second passport.

There can be several investment options: 

  • buying a property;
  • making a non-refundable investment to a state fund;
  • purchasing government bonds;
  • investing in a local business.

This path is simple and suitable for wealthy people. Investors usually receive passports within 6 months after the submission of documents. Most of the programs allow returning the investment after a while. For example, St Lucia enables selling the purchased property or getting a bond redemption five years after receiving citizenship.  

In the case of obtaining citizenship by investment, applicants must pass a Due Diligence check to confirm the legitimacy of the source of income.

Which countries grant citizenship by investment

Country Minimum investment amountPeriod of citizenship obtaining 
Turkey$400,0006 to 8 months  
Antigua and Barbuda$100,0003 to 6 months 
Dominica$100,0002 to 6 months 
Grenada $150,000 4 to 6 months 
St Lucia$100,0004+ months
St Kitts and Nevis$125,0002 to 6 months 
Vanuatu $130,0001+ months

Certain countries do not directly grant citizenship to investors but provide a residence permit that might be a quicker path to a national passport.

One of the examples is Italy. Under the Golden Visa for Italy program, foreigners who invested from €250,000 in the country’s economy can apply for citizenship 5 years after residing in Italy.

A similar residency program operates in Greece. The minimum investment amount is the same as for Italy and equals €250,000, but participants can apply for a Greek passport 7 years after permanent living in the country. They are also obliged to prove their knowledge of the Greek language and the country’s history and geography.

The first step for a national passport in the US could be participation in the EB-5 visa program. This visa is granted for investment from $800,000 in the US economy and provides a path for US citizenship after 5 years.

Portugal provides a residence permit to non-EU nationals with a passive income outside the country. This is possible via the D7 visa program. Applicants must purchase or rent property in Portugal and prove their passive income of at least €9,120 annually. Five years later, D7 visa holders can apply for citizenship.

Benefits of having multiple citizenships

Ample opportunities for business development. Entrepreneurs can open new sales channels abroad and expand their business. It is possible to open accounts in reliable banks and work with partners without currency control. In the Caribbean, such as St Lucia, there is an opportunity to invest in a local business, obtain citizenship, and have a good return on investment.

Visa-free travel. The second passport of Caribbean countries, for example, Grenada, allows visa-free entry to more than 140 states. European citizenship opens visa-free entry to more than 170 countries, such as Germany, France, Italy and others.

Countries that open up visa-free travel with a second citizenship

Second citizenshipNumber of visa-free destinations
Antigua and Barbuda150
UK, Schengen Area, Singapore, Hong Kong
UK, Schengen Area, Singapore, Hong Kong, China
Grenada 144
Schengen Area, UK, China, Singapore
European, Asian, and African countries. Caribbean states and Oceania
Malta 185
European, Asian, and African countries. Caribbean states and Oceania
European, Asian, and African countries. 24 American countries such as Cuba, Dominica, Haiti
Portugal 187
European, Asian, and African countries
Spain 189
European, Asian, and African countries
St Lucia146
European countries, Singapore, Hong Kong
St Kitts and Nevis156
European countries, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong
Countries of South America, one‑third of Africa, Middle Asia
Vanuatu 95
Ireland, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong 

Better education. Second citizenship allows studying at the best universities without a student visa or extending the job search time abroad. As a rule, international students must find a job within a certain period of time to legally remain in the country. For example, it is limited to just four months in the UK. With a second passport, you have more time to get a better offer.

More choice and freedom. Multiple citizenships allow one to live in a country with a better ecology, a pleasant climate, and a better health care system. Those having a passport in the Caribbean, for example, in Saint Kitts and Nevis, can spend winter in a warmer place with attractive views. With access to European countries, travelling to the world’s best attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum will be easier.

Frequently asked questions

How many passports can you have?

The number of passports or nationalities you can have depends on the legislation of the states. For example, countries such as Austria and India oblige foreigners to give up their previous passports. In contrast, countries like the USA and Italy allow for multiple citizenship.

Can you hold 3 citizenships?

Yes, if the legislation of your home country and other states you are interested in does not prohibit having several passports, you can hold triple citizenship. For example, Austria obliges foreigners to give up their previous passports.

Suppose you live, for instance, in Finland and would like to obtain Dominica citizenship, a Caribbean country. In that case, you will not lose your original passport since both countries allow multiple citizenships.

Can you get 4 citizenships?

Yes, if the legislation of all the countries you would like to be a citizen of allows for multiple nationalities, you can obtain and hold more than 2 citizenship.

Can you have 6 citizenships?

Yes, if the legislation of your home country and other states whose citizenship you would like to obtain allows multiple citizenships.

What's the most amount of citizenships you can have?

The maximum number of citizenships depends on the legislation of the countries you would like to be a citizen of. Some countries, like Austria, do not allow you to have more than one citizenship, while others do, which means that you can hold more than 1 and even more than 2 citizenship.

When choosing countries for citizenship, you should contact corresponding embassies to know whether the country allows for multiple citizenships.

Do any countries allow triple citizenship?

Yes, some countries do not limit the number of nationalities their citizens hold.

However, there are also countries that do not allow multiple citizenships. Some of them even consider having dual citizenship a criminal offence. These are some Asian states, African countries, and others. Some European countries, for example, Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany, oblige to give up the previous passport.

How many citizenships can you hold in the USA?

The USA allows dual citizenship and does not require giving up a previous passport. But before you apply for US citizenship, it is essential to contact the embassy of your home country to find out whether that country allows multiple citizenships. Otherwise, you may lose your citizenship in that country without knowing.

Does the UK allow triple citizenship?

Yes. The United Kingdom allows triple citizenship. To obtain British citizenship, you do need to give up your previous passports

Is there a difference between dual citizenship and multiple citizenship?

The difference between dual and multiple citizenship is in legal terms.

“Dual citizenship” is obtained when there is a special agreement between countries. Under a dual citizenship agreement, the countries mutually recognise the rights and obligations of a person holding 2 passports. Moreover, in this case, the person pays taxes or serves in the armed forces only in the country of residence.

Multinationals are considered to have second or multiple citizenships when there’s no dual citizenship agreement between the countries. This means that each country considers a person exclusively its own citizen and obliges them, for example, to pay taxes irrespective of the country of residence.

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How many citizenships can you hold: two, three, or more?