Obtaining a Second Passport

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Post by Ego » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:55 pm

A second passport. I'm sure many of us would get one if we could. You never know how it might come in handy.
I recently discovered that it is possible for those of Italian ancestry to claim Italian citizenship if their immigrant ancestor had children in their new country BEFORE becoming a naturalized citizen of the new country.
For example, my great-grandfather came to the U.S., had my grandfather, then became a naturalized U.S. citizen. As far as the Italian government is concerned he was an Italian citizen who bore little Italian citizens until the day he became American. My grandfather passed the citizenship to my father who passed it to me. I just have to (re)claim it.
The process is somewhat labor-intensive. I met one person who has gone through the process and has both US & Italian/EU passports.
Here is a website explaining the process: http://www.italiancitizenshipforamericans.com/
I would imagine that Italy is not the only country where this is possible. Has anyone else done this?

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Post by Chad » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:06 am

I don't know much about that, but the Pacific island of Nauru (did a money laundering report on it in grad school) used to sell passports rather cheaply. Plus, you can open your own bank for a couple hundred dollars and a P.O. Box on the island. Russian mob used to launder their money through the hundreds of banks that exist there and possibly still use the island. I would use it as a last resort, as I'm sure it would red flag you to some troublesome surveillance.

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Post by tac » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:17 am

I've done it and I know others who have also. It can be a real pain for some countries, fairly easy for others. In general, countries with a large historic diaspora (e.g. Italy, Ireland) seem to have more permissive rules. From my own experience, I think it is only worth it if you seriously plan to work or live in the 2nd country (or in the case of somewhere like Italy, if you plan to live/work in the EU), and in that case, absolutely do it. If you are just planning to do an occasional trip though, not worth the hassle.

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Post by akratic » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:58 am

My girlfriend got German citizenship through a process like this (her grandfather was a German citizen). It took her around two years to complete all the paperwork. Her cousin who started the process at the same time was done in only a couple of months, because he encountered fewer random bureaucratic snags.

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Post by noskich » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:48 am

If you want to have a child give birth in Brazil. Child will become a citizen automatically and you as a parent after one year of residence after birth.

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Post by EMJ » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:17 pm

This can also be a hassle. My daughter's father is American, we only lived in the US for a few years, now live in Europe. She is considered a US citizen, as are her children (who never filed for citizenship). They all need to pay US taxes according to IRS (If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the United States or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.)

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Post by Ego » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:29 pm

With regard to taxes, the US & Italy have a tax convention which permits dual citizens to avoid double taxation. Here's a link to the pdf.
You pay taxes in your resident country. Article 4 spells out how to determine residency.
The LDS Church has made genealogical research much easier by creating a library of resources on the website www.familysearch.org
Amazingly, they hold a microfilm collection of the records from many villages and cities around the world. For a nominal fee you can have the records you need transferred to one of their Family Research Centers (they are all over the world) and a volunteer researcher will help you to find what you need.
I'm slowly crawling backward through my family history, obtaining the documents I need to present to the consulate to reclaim my citizenship.

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Post by jacob » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:04 pm

Oh man, I wish the world's national leaders would believe as much in the free movement of people as they would of the free movement of stuff and capital.
The EU passport is certainly handy because it opens up a large part of the developed world to live it.
The alternative approach is to be rich. It's more than ERE standards, but about $500k will give you access to countries through start-up business visas. Some countries charge less, for the US it's around half a mil. I even remember seeing some organization in the US that was running some LLC where you bought a 500k share---it has to do with "creating jobs for Americans".
The second alternative approach is to be highly educated. That's the H1 or J1 equivalent of the US. Of course that ties you to a company instead. This transnational corporation domain is probably where the world is moving anyway.
Then there's the WTSHTF reason which is escaping a country gone crazy. This would likely be done along with a bunch of other refuges and having an alternate passport to separate yourself from the crowd would help. (I really think North America is one of the least likely regions in the world to call for this problem.) In this regard, I'm not sure a passport from an alternative trouble-zone is going to be as strong as a trouble-free country.
The downside to dual citizenship, I'm told, is that if you're ever in diplomatic trouble, each country might say that you're the "other country's" problem. Also more paperwork wrt taxation for some countries.

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Post by Ego » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:26 pm

Our primary goal is to open up new options. Being able to work in Europe would be great. Also, being able to live there without the 90 day stay limitation would eliminate a big hassle. I enjoy starting small businesses and look forward to going through the process somewhere else. I like putting myself in positions where I have no choice but to do something. If I have a business in Italy, I've got to communicate in Italian. I've found that it is in those sink-or-swim moments that I learn the most.

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Post by m741 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:47 pm

@akratic - was your girlfriend formerly an American citizen? It appears to me that Americans who become Germans must renounce their American citizenship.

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Post by Ego » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:11 pm

It is possible to have both German and US citizenship.

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Post by m741 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:22 pm

Here's what I see under dual German/US citizenship:
Under German law, a person may not have more than one citizenship unless he/she was born with both, as described in paragraphs 2 and 3 above. Thus, German law requires an American who becomes a German citizen through the Einbürgerung process (see paragraph 5 in the section entitled, "Basic Primer on German Citizenship Law") to formally renounce his/her American citizenship.

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Post by Ego » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:28 pm

Ahhh... I see what you mean. I was thinking of it from a different point of view. If a U.S. citizen where to prove that they were born to a German citizen then they are technically a citizen of both. They may have to provide the documentation to "reclaim" their citizenship, but in that case they could hold dual citizenship legally.

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Post by grendel » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:20 am

good info; thanks for sharing. I was excited personally at first but I found out my Italian great great grandfather was already a U.S. citizen when he had my great grandmother.

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Post by llorona » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:15 am

@Ego: If you need help finding copies of documents or whatnot, feel free to PM me.
In Italy, the process is known as "jure sanguinis" or "right of blood." At least for Italy, claiming the right to citizenship may not be as easy as it sounds because information (e.g. names, dates) on vital records and other official documents has to match up precisely. Minor discrepancies require filing affidavits. It can also be pricey to obtain all the document in apostille and have them translated.
I started on this process a couple years back, but my efforts were waylaid because my great-grandfather was a liar. He was born in Sicily and never naturalized after coming to the U.S., but he began claiming to be a U.S. citizen after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. No one could prove otherwise since so many vital records were destroyed in the quake and subsequent fires.
Wikipedia has some information on other countries that may offer similar immigration privileges: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_sanguinis

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Post by Ego » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:36 am

llorona thank you!
I'm in the process of filing a court case in Philly to correct a birth certificate. It's going to be a chore, but it is interesting also.
Isn't it better that your great-grandfather never naturalized? He was a citizen of Italy when he had your grandparent so that should make it easier, no?
That's a really nice offer to help with documents. Thank you.

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Post by llorona » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:42 am

I'm a genealogy buff, so I'm happy to help or share information.
For jure sanguinis, it's not necessarily better that a paternal ancestor never naturalized. First, it's more difficult to prove that someone didn't naturalize than if they actually did. Two or more documented searches are required to prove that naturalization didn't occur. Second, if naturalization papers can't be found, the next step is to look at U.S. census records. In my case, two census records show that my great-grandfather was born in America. (Yup, he was a big liar.) He also shaved 10 years off his age, and he went by the name "Joseph" even though his Italian name was "Cosimo."
My case is hopeless, but it's inspiring that you're pursuing Italian citizenship. Good luck with the court case!!

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Post by LonerMatt » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:04 am

Dual US and Australian citizen.
Saves me some hassle at the airport if I visit. Not much else, to be honest.

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Post by sdmdwct » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:51 pm

I am able to obtain dual German American citizenship through the article where descendants of those who were denaturalised by the German government under the Nazi regime can become naturalised. It used to require two parents/grandparents etc. to fall under this rule, but it has been reduced down to one. I have not taken advantage of this at the present time, but hope to do this in the future.

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Post by RealPerson » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:05 am

I have 2 passports. You get to vote in 2 countries. You travel freely between the US and your second country. It could be of real benefit if you want to work in the second country. Otherwise, it is mainly a hassle to maintain 2 passports.
A second passport can function as a "back-up". WTSHTF in the US, you can simply pack your bag and leave. However, very few places match the stability of the US, so that is a very unlikely scenario. As anyone who has lived in other countries can tell you, the US is hard to beat for quality of life, safety, personal space, relatively low corruption, reasonable taxes (compared to many other places) and above all, opportunity!
All in all, I don't think it is worth spending much time thinking about. A US citizen is taxed on their worldwide income, so that is hardly a reason to move. You may consider moving if you either have a green card, or relinquish US citizenship, have a large fortune and can move to a low tax country. Think Facebook co-founder from Brazil. If you are in that category, you are most likely not reading THIS blog.

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