So you’ve decided to head for greener pastures?
You’re probably feeling a lot right now. Elation, excitement, a touch of anxiety — they’re all an important part of the process.
Even if you’re only thinking about moving abroad, you probably have some questions about citizenship. What exactly is a citizen? Can you be a citizen of two places at once?
It isn’t easy to come up with a blanket citizen definition, since the word means different things within different contexts. However, it is widely accepted to describe a national of a certain state or country who has all the legal rights of that country.
This includes important things like the right to travel and live within that country, the right to vote, and the right to police protection. If you’re uncertain about citizenship, just check out your passport!
Having a passport is a right normally reserved for citizens. For example, if you have a United States passport, you are a citizen or “national” of the United States. Your nationality has a huge impact on where you can move to, and what rights you have once you are there.
When you decide to emigrate, you have an important decision to make. You can keep your U.S.A. citizenship. If it is legal and possible for you to do so, you can change your citizenship to the country you will move to.
How United States Citizenship Can Help You Out Abroad
Fortunately, the United States passport is a good passport to have. The Passport Index currently ranks the United States passport a one of the most powerful, allowing for visa-free entry into 159 countries.
Having United States Citizenship is generally considered a privilege and a luxury. That’s because as a major world power, the U.S.A. has developed international relations which empower its citizens rather than hinder them in their travels.
Being a citizen of the States will most likely help you when it comes to immigration services in the country of your choice. Of course, this depends on where you wish to emigrate as well, so make sure to do your research. The U.S.A. has garnered a position of trust abroad, with its citizens receiving lots of help from local police.
According to the United States Immigration Services Page, traveling with a U.S. passport entitles you to seek help from any U.S. embassy or consulate in any foreign country — that’s a grand total of 294 venues for citizens seeking assistance.
Changing Your Citizenship: What Does it Entail?
If you are moving abroad, you may want to change your citizenship. This means you’ll become a national of the country you’re moving to. You’ll adopt all the legal rights of a citizen of that country. You’ll be able to vote, to live, to work and everything else you may not be able to do forever on a temporary visa.
Changing your citizenship can be difficult. The process involves filling out a citizenship application, as well as providing a detailed history of yourself and your history in your home country. You’ll have to prove you have enough money to support yourself, or a steady income which allows you to do so.
If you have enough money, you can buy your citizenship from many countries. Some offer citizenship in exchange for a sizeable investment, usually at least several hundred thousand dollars and sometimes ranging into the millions.
Most of us don’t have that kind of cash laying around, so we’ll have to do it the hard way. Filling out all the proper forms and going through traditional channels may seem tedious, but it is necessary. It allows you to have a voice in the local politics and become part of the local community. Citizenship also provides you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you really are at home.
Questions and Answers Regarding Dual Citizenship
Want the best of both worlds? You may have thought about keeping your United States passport and applying for citizenship abroad. You probably have some questions regarding the difficulty of this task. Is it even legal?
According to the U.S.A. government, it is completely legal to emigrate to another country and become a citizen there. You can give up your U.S. citizenship if you wish to do so, but this is not a requirement by the United States government.
Some people choose to give up United States citizenship in order to avoid filing foreign income reports and paying high taxes associated with living abroad. In a recent survey by CNBC, almost 4 in 10 expats would consider renouncing their citizenship in order to avoid filing U.S.A. taxes.
The country of your choice may allow you to become a dual citizen, or they may require you to renounce your U.S. citizenship. Either way, it’s an important decision to make.
Feature image via Layover Guide