How Many Citizenships Can You Have?

Article Summary

There is no hard limit to the number of citizenships that an individual can have. Your ability to obtain multiple citizenships will depend on the citizenship laws of each country you wish to obtain a passport for, since not all countries allow dual citizenship. Before diversifying your passport portfolio, consider the benefits and drawbacks of citizenship in each country, as well as your personal reasons for wanting more than one passport.

Maybe you’ve seen spy movies in which the spy is told they need to travel to another country and immediately whips out a veritable kaleidoscope of passports. But have you ever wondered if it’s even possible to have that many passports in real life? Fake documents and aliases aside, it is actually possible to have multiple citizenships. The real question is, how many citizenships can you have?

The maximum number of citizenships depends on the countries you’re considering

The good news is that there is no universal limit to how many passports you can have; it actually depends on the citizenship laws of each country you’re interested in. About half of all countries allow dual or multiple citizenship, but some of them only allow additional passports with a limited number of countries or with specific countries (for example, Argentina only has dual citizenship agreements with Italy and Spain). Other countries require their residents to have only one citizenship (for example, those with Chinese citizenship would need to give up their home country’s citizenship if they choose to obtain a passport for another country).

If you would like to have two or more citizenships, or if you are already a dual national and are considering obtaining citizenship in a third country (or a fourth or fifth), read on to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of dual citizenship, the most common paths to citizenship, and tips for a good passport portfolio strategy.

DID YOU KNOW? “Dual citizenship” is when a person is a naturalized citizen of two countries that have a bilateral agreement, thanks to which they are protected from double taxation. “Second citizenship” means that a person holds a second passport but may have to pay taxes in both countries. Each country allows a resident to possess a second passport, but there is no agreement to recognize the rights and obligations of the dual citizen in the other country.

Pros and cons of multiple citizenships

Before you apply for dual or triple citizenship, it’s worth considering the benefits and drawbacks that dual citizens typically face. The following are some of the pros and cons of dual nationality:


Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider.

  • Education extravaganza
  • Globe-trotting ease
  • Political rights
  • Healthcare hopscotch
  • Business opportunities
  • Career limitations
  • Military obligations
  • Conflicting allegiances
  • Potential double taxation
  • Possible loss of your original citizenship
  • Residency restrictions

Pros of multiple citizenships

According to Robin Novak, co-founder of GoVisaFree and a dual citizen himself, “Dual citizenship is like having the ultimate VIP pass, unlocking perks like:

  • Education extravaganza: Study at local universities without paying increased fees (e.g., an EU citizen studying across the Union).
  • Globe-trotting ease: Use either passport to travel with simplified visa requirements or visa-free.
  • Political rights: Exercise your political rights in both countries; vote, participate in civil life, and enter at any time.
  • Healthcare hopscotch: Pick the country with better healthcare (in some countries, it’s free!).
  • Business opportunities: Choose a country with a more favorable business environment, benefiting from a stable economy, favorable taxes, and a skilled workforce.”

Pro Tip

Several countries in the Caribbean don’t charge income tax, and others don’t charge taxes on income earned abroad or on wealth. However, in many cases, these benefits require residing in the country for at least half the year.

Cons of multiple citizenships

While dual or multiple citizenships have their perks, it’s also important to be aware of the following potential drawbacks:

  • Career limitations, especially for those working in the government
  • Military obligations that may force you to give up other passports
  • Conflicting allegiances and legal obligations between countries of citizenship
  • Potential double taxation if two of your countries don’t have a tax agreement
  • Possible loss of your original citizenship if you apply for a second citizenship without confirming if your home country allows it
  • Residency restrictions, as many countries require their citizens to live in the country for a certain period of time each year

Common paths to citizenship

If you’re seriously considering having multiple passports, the following are some of the most common ways to obtain citizenship:


Some countries, including the United States and Canada, grant direct citizenship to any child born within that country. A few countries also grant citizenship to children born elsewhere if the nation is their parents’ native country, as is the case for children born abroad to U.S. citizens. This means that some people can effectively become dual nationals at birth.


Some countries allow people to apply for citizenship in their spouse’s native country after marriage. For example, someone who marries an American citizen can apply for a green card, then apply for U.S. citizenship a few years later.

Descent or ancestry

Ancestry is another easy path to citizenship, though ancestry laws vary by country. For example, children, grandchildren, and in some cases even great-grandchildren of British citizens may be eligible for British citizenship. Other countries where it is fairly easy to get citizenship by descent include Israel and several European countries.


For people with no ancestral connection to a country, naturalization is the most common path to citizenship. An immigrant can apply for citizenship by naturalization if they are a legal permanent resident and have lived in the county for a specified amount of time — as is the case for acquiring a Canadian passport, for example. The easiest countries to move to from the USA also include several countries in Europe (Maltese, Portuguese, and Greek citizenship are also available by investment) and some countries in Central and South America.


Because countries that offer citizenship by investment programs — also known as a Golden Visa — also allow dual and multiple citizenship, this is often the quickest way to obtain a new passport. Most notably, citizenship by investment has recently become a popular way of obtaining European citizenship. Malta, Portugal, Turkey, Vanuatu, and some Caribbean countries are among the nations that offer investment programs. The minimum investment amount varies significantly by country, with Caribbean citizenship by investment currently being the most affordable.

What to consider before obtaining multiple citizenships

Now that we’ve established that it’s possible to acquire multiple citizenships, the question remains of how many citizenships you should have. If you already have American citizenship and the U.S. passport that comes with it (which is already among the top 20 in the Passport Index based on mobility score), is it really necessary to have more than one citizenship? If you already have dual nationality status, should you aim to have three or four passports (or more)? The answers to these questions will depend on your individual needs and goals.

Just as you would want to diversify your investment portfolio, you probably want a diverse “passport portfolio” to meet your particular financial, travel, and personal goals. With that in mind, it’s wise to have a plan before accumulating multiple passports, as you want to make sure that doing so will provide the benefits you want and avoid the drawbacks you don’t. Here are a few points to consider before applying for citizenship in a different country:

Financial goals

If your reasons for obtaining another country’s citizenship are primarily financial, then looking into citizenship by investment programs may be a good place to start. For income tax benefits, you may want to look at adding a Caribbean country to your portfolio, since citizens can easily open a bank account and don’t have to worry about income taxes.

Also, as long as the naturalization law of each of the countries you plan to invest in recognizes and allows dual citizenship, you are protected from double taxation. According to Gene Caballero, who holds an American and a Peruvian passport, “The main benefit I utilize is the foreign-earned income exclusion. Since I have income from both countries, I can exclude up to $108,700 of my Peruvian income from my U.S. taxes.”

Pro Tip

To fully understand all the potential financial benefits and drawbacks of dual citizenship, you may want to consult a financial or investment advisor who is knowledgeable in international tax laws.

Travel goals

If your goal is to invest or do business in multiple countries, then your travel goals and financial goals may intersect, as in the case of Kimberly Shaw. “As an investor with multiple citizenships, the most obvious advantage is the ability to travel more freely. With multiple passports, you can take advantage of visa-free travel to a wider range of countries, and you don’t have to worry as much about visa restrictions or processing times. This can be particularly beneficial for business travelers who need to visit multiple countries on short notice.”

If your goal is simply to see more of the world, look to diversify your passport portfolio with a foreign nationality that allows you visa-free travel that isn’t available with the passport(s) you currently have.

Vintage globe with Europe in focus

Personal goals

Personal reasons for obtaining citizenship in another country may include wanting a “safety net” to escape to from your home country, seeking better healthcare or education opportunities, or simply expanding your horizons.

If your goal is to experience a new lifestyle in a foreign country, it may be cheaper to simply become a legal resident. You can enjoy a grace period of acclimating to the new country, and if you eventually decide you want to stay there for good, you can choose to pursue citizenship (which should be easier once you’ve already been a resident for some time).

If your goal is to pursue education in another country, obtaining citizenship in that country can make the process much easier. International students need a student visa to study abroad, but dual nationality means you’ll have easier (and often free) access to universities in other countries.

Charles T. Harris, executive director of Get Golden Visa, says that dual citizenship is also a good way to have a “Plan B: In case there’s a social, economic, or any other security threat in one of your countries, you have the luxury to call another country ‘home.'”


Before seeking a second citizenship, make sure that it will support your goals rather than hinder them. Analyze your options for travel and consider your potential obligations to both countries. Will a particular dual citizenship ensure your safety, or will it only complicate your financial and personal situation?

If you want to keep your original citizenship, you will need to do some research to make sure you won’t inadvertently lose the passport to your home country. U.S. law doesn’t require a person to give up their American citizenship if they own a second passport, some other countries do, and one’s passport might be revoked if one chooses another nationality.

Carefully consider the decision to pursue dual or multiple citizenship. It’s important to consult with legal and financial experts who can provide guidance on the legal and financial implications of holding multiple citizenships.


Is it legal to have three or more citizenships?

Yes, you can have three or more passports at a time, as long as the citizenship laws of all the countries allow it.

Does the U.S. allow four citizenships?

Per the U.S. Department of State, “U.S. law does not…require a person to choose one nationality or another.” Citizenship laws in the United States do not include a restriction on obtaining multiple citizenships.

What is it called when you have three citizenships?

Having three citizenships is commonly known as triple citizenship or multiple citizenship.

Which countries allow at least three citizenships?

Countries that allow multiple citizenship include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Greece, Australia, Malta, Finland, Brazil, Turkey, and some Caribbean nations.

Which is the hardest citizenship to get?

Qatar often ranks among the top most difficult countries to obtain citizenship status due to its complicated naturalization process and the limited paths to citizenship it offers.

What is the best passport in the world?

The United Arab Emirates ranks highest in worldwide influence, and the UAE passport is currently #1 in the Global Passport Power Rank.

What is the easiest nationality to get?

That depends on which route to citizenship you want to take. Some of the easiest countries to get citizenship include Malta, Portugal, Turkey, Vanuatu, Ireland, Spain, Israel, the United Kingdom, and certain nations in the Caribbean.

How many citizenships can you have in the U.S.?

Americans do not need to give up their U.S. passport to obtain dual citizenship and can have as many citizenships as they like (provided the citizenship laws of the other countries allow dual citizenship as well).

Key Takeaways

  • There is no hard limit to how many passports a person can have; that only depends on the individual laws of each country for which you wish to obtain citizenship.
  • There are multiple benefits to dual citizenship, such as visa-free travel, access to better healthcare, and expanded education and business opportunities.
  • There are also a handful of risks to having multiple citizenships, including residency restrictions, military obligations, double taxation, and even the potential loss of a previous citizenship.
  • Not all countries allow dual citizenship. If you want to become a citizen of a foreign country without losing your original passport, look into countries that allow dual nationality.
  • Before you expand your passport portfolio, consider your financial and personal reasons for wanting to have more than one citizenship, then seek out countries that align with those goals.
View Article Sources
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