What ways to get a second passport are offered by scammers
Scammers offer to become citizens of another country quickly and bypass the law. Most often they promise to help obtain a passport of Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Greece. If the standard procedure for obtaining citizenship takes months or years, scammers guarantee that their client will receive status in just a few months.
Fraudsters hint at connections with influential people, promise to bribe officials or forge records in the archives. These methods do not work and can bring about big trouble.
States are tightening the rules and more carefully monitoring the procedure for obtaining citizenship every year. For example, 370 criminal cases were opened in Hungary due to falsification of documents when applying for citizenship in 2020.
Typically, scammers use one of three schemes: identity falsification with a fake passport or fake ID, non-existent relatives, or a fictitious marriage with a fake marriage certificate. We will explain how activities like making fake passports are dangerous.
Identity falsification. The company finds local residents who are ready to “sell their identity”. A figurehead submits documents for a passport. But a client of the company comes instead to submit biometrics or fingerprints and photographs.
Deception is revealed when checking or when a person begins to use the document. This leads to administrative or criminal liability.
Fictitious relatives. In some countries, you can obtain citizenship under a simplified scheme if you prove that you or your immediate family was born in the country. This is a legitimate way that scammers are trying to use.
The client is promised to “find” his Romanian or Bulgarian roots. After the money has been paid and the process of collecting documents has begun, the “lawyers” stop communicating.
Sometimes foreigners are immediately offered to forge a birth certificate in order to confirm non-existent family ties with a citizen of the country. This method is unreliable: all documents are carefully checked, and fake certificates and certificates are easy to spot.
Consequences for customers of such companies are serious: deportation from the country, a ban on visiting EU countries, fines and criminal liability.
Fictitious marriage. Each country establishes its own procedure for obtaining a passport for those who marry its citizen. Most often, obtaining citizenship will not work right away: you will need to live together in the country from one to several years, pass an exam on knowledge of the language and history, and confirm integration into society.
For example, in order to apply for citizenship in Germany, you need to be married for three years. Officials check whether the spouses really live together and lead a common life. If the deception is revealed, the marriage is annulled and the violator can be deported from the country.
In most cases, detours to citizenship lead to loss of time and money, and in the worst case, to criminal liability and the loss of the ability to travel to the European Union. For example, in Romania, falsification of documents can result in up to three years in prison.
Legal ways to get a second passport
Citizenship can only be obtained in a legal way: for example, by confirming kinship with EU citizens, going through the naturalization process after obtaining a residence permit, or investing in the country’s economy.
The required package of documents, cost and terms depend on the legislation of a particular country.
Second passport by ancestry. In many countries, it is possible to acquire citizenship by descent: if the applicant’s parents or grandparents have the citizenship of the country. To do this, you must confirm the relationship. Most often, you will need the original birth certificate and a copy of the relative's passport.
Each country has its own conditions: some states allow citizenship only to children and grandchildren, while others allow great-grandchildren and more distant relatives.
Countries that allow citizenship by descent
|Country||Who can get citizenship|
|Bulgaria||Grandchildren and great-grandchildren|
|Greece||Grandchildren and great-grandchildren|
|Hungary||Grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other generations|
|Latvia||Grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other generations|
|Poland||Grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other generations|
Second passport by marriage. You can get a country's passport after marriage with a citizen of the country. Terms and conditions vary from state to state.
For example, the spouse of a Portuguese citizen can acquire Portuguese citizenship after only three years of marriage. To do this, you need to confirm cohabitation, connection with Portuguese society through work, property or study and demonstrate basic knowledge of the Portuguese language.
Second passport by naturalization. If you live in the country officially for a long time, for example, going to work or for study, you can obtain citizenship by naturalization.
Naturalization usually occurs in several stages. First, the applicant receives a visa, then a temporary residence permit. After that, they can get permanent residence, and then citizenship.
The grounds for obtaining a residence permit are different:
- study at a local university;
- working for a company or volunteering for charitable organizations;
- marriage to a citizen of the country;
- investment in real estate, the economy or business in a European country.
Second passport by investment. In some countries, there are government programs for obtaining a residence permit or citizenship for investors. To participate in such a program, it is necessary to invest in real estate, funds, the preservation of cultural heritage or open a business in the country and create jobs.
Maltese citizenship can be obtained for exceptional services by direct investment. The minimum investment amount is €690,000.
Citizenship in the Caribbean allows you to enter the Schengen countries and the UK without a visa, while Dominica and Grenada passports also give you visa-free entry into China.
It is possible to get a second passport in the Caribbean countries within 3 to 6 months under the investment program. You can get a Vanuatu passport even faster: on average, the procedure takes a month.
The minimum investment amount is $100,000 to $200,000. In some cases, investments can be returned after 4 or 5 years.
Depending on the specific country, the parents, spouses, children and in some cases brothers or sisters can also acquire citizenship with the applicant.
The most popular investment programs in the Caribbean and Vanuatu
|Country||Investment amount||Time to obtain a passport||Who can obtain citizenship|
|St. Kitts and Nevis||$150,000+||2 to 6 months||Spouses, children under 30, siblings under 30, parents|
|Grenada||$150,000+||4 to 6 months||Spouses, children under 30, siblings under 18, parents|
|St. Lucia||$100,000+||3 to 4 months||Spouses, children under 30, siblings under 18, parents|
|Antigua and Barbuda||$100,000+||3 to 6 months||Spouses, children under 30, siblings, parents|
|Dominica||$100,000+||2 to 6 months||Spouses, children under 30, siblings under 25, parents|
|Vanuatu||$130,000+||1 to 2 months||Spouses, children under 25, parents over 50|
In most cases, citizenship in a Caribbean country does not require permanent residence there, which means that it is not necessary to move. however, you can freely travel and go to the country at any time.
All documents for citizenship can be submitted online, there is no need to personally go to the country.
Second passport in the European Union. In most EU countries, it will not be possible to make an investment and immediately become a citizen. First you can get a “golden visa” which is a residence permit for investors. It is easier for an investor to obtain such a status than a standard residence permit as in most cases it is faster and does not require permanent residence in the country.
The terms of obtaining a residence permit in the EU and the amount of investment depend on the conditions of a particular country.
Where in Europe you can get a residence permit by investment
|Country||Investment amount||Time to obtain a residence permit|
|Portugal||€250,000+||2 to 6 months|
|Spain||€500,000+||2 to 3 months|
After obtaining a residence permit, the applicant can apply for permanent residence, and then for citizenship. The terms and conditions for submitting documents for permanent residence and citizenship depend on the specific country. For example, in Portugal and Austria, you can apply for permanent residence after 5 years of living in a country with a residence permit.
A second passport allows you to freely travel around the Schengen countries, take your business to the international arena, study at European universities and move to live in a country with a warm climate.
Applying for a second passport on the black market can lead to fines, a ban on entry into the European Union, and even criminal liability.
You can get a second passport in the EU and the Caribbean in legal ways by going through the naturalization process from a residence permit to citizenship or by participating in investment programs.
Frequently asked questions
A second passport allows you to freely travel around the Schengen countries and enjoy the rights that citizens of these countries have. With a passport of an EU or Caribbean country, you can:
- move to another country to study or work;
- move freely within the Schengen countries without the need to obtain a visa;
- register a company abroad;
- open accounts in international banks;
- change tax residence.
All investment programs allow the spouses and minor children of the investor to apply for citizenship. The participation of other relatives is limited and depends on the conditions of a particular program. Vanuatu citizenship can be obtained by the investor’s children under the age of 25 and parents over the age of 50. All adult relatives must be financially dependent on the applicant. Montenegrin citizenship can be obtained by children even over 18 years old, provided that the parent is financially responsible. Citizenship of Malta after 3 years of holding a residence permit can be obtained by children under 29 years old, parents, as well as grandparents over 55 years old, subject to financial dependence on the investor. Caribbean citizenship can be obtained by the entire investor’s family, including brothers and sisters.
The minimum investment in Caribbean countries is $100,000. In some cases, the funds spent can be returned after 4 years or 5 years. In most EU countries, you can get a passport only after obtaining a residence permit and permanent residence. The average investment amount for obtaining a residence permit in European countries is €250,000. You can invest in real estate, government funds, business or scientific activities. Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the EU and the Caribbean. Our lawyers will help you collect the necessary package of documents, pass a Due Diligence check and provide legal support at all stages of obtaining a second passport.