Dual citizenship can be very useful. It can ease entry through immigration lines when travelling and allows you the privilege of citizenship in different countries. But how do you become a dual citizen from here in Australia? Here are the chief steps.
There are several different paths to dual citizenship. In some cases, you can qualify through familial links going back to your grandparents, allowing you to become a citizen of a country you’ve never visited. Or you can apply for citizenship and simply pay a hefty fee. It you immigrated to Australia, you can retain your old citizenship when you become a naturalised Australian.
Becoming a citizen through family links
This was a path that I became aware of a few years ago. My family came to Australia in the 1950s. Both my grandfathers were Maltese citizens (which, at the time, actually made them British because Malta was part of the British Empire) so it turns out that if I pay a modest fee and complete some paperwork I could apply for a European Union passport.
The precise rules vary depending on the country but if your parents or grandparents were born overseas – which given Australia’s large post-WW2 immigration policies is quite likely for many of us – then you may qualify for citizenship in another country.
A word of warning – if you do this for your children they may be conscripted into mandatory military service if they visit a country where that’s a thing as adults.
If you’ve become an Australian citizen
If you’ve immigrated into Australia and chosen to become an Australian citizen there’s no need to give up your previous citizenship. In fact, it’s important to note that leaving a country and taking up Australian citizenship doesn’t mean your old citizenship is automatically cancelled – as former Senator Scott Ludlam discovered triggering a parliamentary crisis.
So, if you immigrated to Australia and haven’t formally renounced you’re old citizenship, you may be a dual citizen.
Buy your way to dual citizenship
The International Monetary Fund have convened conveniently published a list of countries that let you simply purchase citizenship with minimal residency requirements or waiting periods. But you will need deep pockets.
For example, you can become a citizen of Cyprus for a lazy €2.5M with no waiting periods or perks residency requirements. A number of EU countries, such as Greece, Ireland and France charge plenty with no residency requirements although they have waiting periods.
Other countries have investment based citizenship programs. They offer a route to citizenship in exchange for specific investment conditions.