triple citizenship

Is It Possible To Have Triple Citizenship? [Latest Update]

In an increasingly globalized world, having ties to multiple countries is becoming more commonplace. This makes many people wonder: Is it legally possible to have triple citizenship? Can you hold three passports from different countries if the laws allow it? What are the ways to obtain triple citizenship, and what are the pros and cons? Read on as we take a closer look at this concept.

What is triple citizenship?

Triple citizenship, or triple nationality, is the simultaneous possession of legal citizenship and passports from three different countries.

While the popular vernacular may refer to “dual citizenship” as having two nationalities, many countries’ laws actually use broad terminology that does not specify that you are limited to two citizenships. For example, U.S. law simply states that U.S. citizens may retain their citizenship status if they acquire foreign citizenship, with no numerical limit. Similarly, Australian law explicitly allows multiple citizenships if other countries allow it.

Thus, triple citizenship is indeed legally possible in certain situations. The main requirements are that:

  1. A person’s “home country” (where they have their primary residence/domicile) must allow multiple citizenship. Some places, such as Austria, require newcomers to renounce their existing citizenship, but such rules are becoming less common.
  2. Any secondary countries acquired must also not have laws prohibiting their own citizens from holding multiple statuses.

In other words, you cannot hold Austrian citizenship along with two others, because Austrian law prohibits it. However, since the laws of the United States and Greece do not restrict multiple citizenship, Austrian-American-Greek citizenship is theoretically possible.

Meeting these criteria depends heavily on a combination of favorable personal circumstances and navigating citizenship laws and application requirements.

Paths to Triple Citizenship

Some of the most common pathways that can lead an individual to legally hold three passports include:

Birthright & Descent Citizenship

Many countries automatically grant “birthright citizenship” (jus soli) to anyone born within their borders, regardless of parentage. Many also grant “citizenship by descent” (jus sanguinis) to children born abroad if their parents or even grandparents were citizens.

An example is someone born in the United States (automatically American, per the 14th Amendment) who also derives Mexican citizenship from one parent and Honduran citizenship from the other, which grants jus sanguinis citizenship to third-generation descendants abroad. Bam – instant triple citizenship.

Naturalization

For people without such hereditary claims, patience and perseverance through the naturalization process can be rewarded with multiple passports. This involves living in a country for the required residency period, often 3-7 years, and meeting “good character” criteria before being eligible to apply for citizenship by registration or ceremony.

Someone from France could therefore naturalize as a dual German-Venezuelan citizen after sufficient long-term stays for work or family in the latter two countries. Since both Germany and Venezuela allow multiple nationality, the French nationality would be retained. Waiting the required number of years to naturalize in a third country again will result in triple citizenship.

Citizenship by marriage

Another way is through citizenship by marriage. For example, an American woman marries a Dutch man, and after 3+ years, under certain conditions, obtains Dutch joint citizenship. Later, the couple moves to Thailand for an extended period of time. She can now potentially become a Thai citizen while retaining both American and Dutch citizenship (both of which allow multiple citizenship), which is equivalent to triple citizenship.

Investment & Economic Citizenship Programs

In recent decades, many nations have begun offering fast-track citizenship to foreigners willing to invest substantial sums in national development funds, government bonds, real estate, businesses, etc.

Known colloquially as “citizenship by investment” or CBI programs, these programs are designed to attract foreign capital and business expertise through the carrot of easy second citizenship and passports for so-called “economic citizens”.

Because some nations do not enforce exclusivity, it has become possible to essentially buy triple (or more!) citizenship by cycling through CBI processes. Someone with natural American citizenship could pay to obtain Saint Lucian and then Grenadian citizenship/passports in short order. Despite the controversy over such “pay for passport” programs, they generate revenue for governments and expand opportunities for globetrotting citizens.

Exceptions & Discretion

Finally, most countries have exceptional naturalization clauses that allow government officials to use their discretion to grant citizenship in special cases without the typical requirements. These are usually invoked for luminaries such as renowned scientists or star athletes who bring immense prestige to the country. The new status is exceptionally granted in addition to existing citizenship.

So a creative person with a lot of resources and connections might at some point down the line be granted honorary citizenship of Malta, in addition to the Dutch and Canadian citizenships he or she already holds. Networking with the rich and famous can pay unlikely dividends.

In summary, the main methods of obtaining triple (or theoretically even quadruple) citizenship, although highly unusual, are:

  • Birthright/Ancestry
  • Naturalization
  • Marriage
  • Investment Programs
  • Discretionary waiver

So while achieving triple citizenship is difficult, it is certainly possible through the right mix of lucky circumstances, patience in fulfilling residency requirements, willingness to spend money on investment visas/passports, and/or charming the right government VIPs to secure that third grant of citizenship!

Benefits of Triple Citizenship

The benefits of triple citizenship begin with enjoying all the combined advantages of three different passports and expanded citizenship rights. Let’s explore why doubling or tripling up can be beneficial.

Greater freedom to travel

Each country’s passport offers different travel privileges, most notably visa-free access for tourists and business travelers. No single passport allows easy entry everywhere, given foreign policies and ever-changing geopolitical relationships.

Visa restrictions may suddenly be imposed on one nationality while remaining relaxed for others. Having three travel documents protects against such unpredictability.

For example, random selection:

  • U.S. passport holders can easily visit 185 destinations. But Americans may need tourist visas if political tensions flare up with nations such as Russia, China, Venezuela, etc.
  • A Philippine or Indonesian passport alone allows easy entry to about 70 countries. But not the USA/Europe.
  • Swiss passports enjoy visa-free entry to 185+ countries continuously, even during turmoil.

Thus, an American-Filipino-Swiss triple citizen would have Atlantic reliability, Asian familiarity, and Swiss stability – able to smoothly enter over 190+ jurisdictions worldwide despite diplomatic chaos, simply by strategically brandishing the best passport for each destination or situation.

Cross-Bloc Right of Establishment

Many cooperative regional alliances and economic trade blocs offer mutual freedom of movement, residence, work and business rights to member citizens. This often exceeds the privileges of non-bloc aliens.

For globally mobile entrepreneurs and investors seeking jurisdictional arbitrage, the ability to wisely alternate between multiple bloc citizenships opens up tax advantages and operational flexibility.

Examples of trade blocs with expansive residency/work rights include the European Union (EU), CARICOM, Mercosur, ECOWAS, etc. An American businessman who obtains Grenadian citizenship through the CBI program could potentially use the related Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) privileges to efficiently locate manufacturing operations in other Caribbean islands.

Meanwhile, Swiss and British citizenship theoretically allow for seamless relocation anywhere within the EU trade zone or to financial hubs such as Singapore or Hong Kong. A trifecta of American, Swiss, and Grenadian passports allows for selective relocation of corporate headquarters or supply chains to maximize tariff efficiencies and minimize tax exposure.

Insurance Against Political/Economic Turmoil

Multiple citizenships serve as backup “insurance policies” or escape hatches from financial instability, burdensome taxes, overbearing regulations, corruption, surveillance overreach and other domestic problems.

Even in countries with strong governance and institutions, things can go wrong quickly. And governments often target wealthy minorities first to finance deficits or clamor for wealth redistribution. When the political winds blow cold at home, insured globetrotters simply pack up and leave for more hospitable economic climes.

So pragmatically, folks focused on high-risk countries like China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil or Venezuela can mitigate sovereign risk by prudently acquiring second or third foreign citizenships and overseas bolt holes as contingency plans.

Cyprus offers a popular halfway house within the EU, while Portugal, Greece, and Spain court Golden Visa seekers of means. And far-flung New Zealand lures wealthy individuals worried about global war, pandemics, and climate change with investor visas. Triple-passport members of this “backup citizenship” club can sleep easier knowing that an alternative haven is secured should local conditions deteriorate.

Legacy & Intergenerational Benefits

Unlike material assets that are inevitably divided among descendants, multiple citizenship legacies can benefit entire family lines indefinitely into the future.

Children, grandchildren and potentially beyond inherit citizenship jus sanguinis style in some countries, regardless of where subsequent generations are born or end up residing. This dynastic continuity provides reassurance for planning families.

Many motivated migrants therefore seek “sticky” citizenships that can be passed on to children who may wish to attend European or American universities and then embark on globalized tech careers or entrepreneurial ventures that require intrepid mobility.

So savvy millennials today would be wise to leverage ancestry to triple down with Italian, Irish, Greek, Israeli, Korean, and other heritable citizenships. This will future-proof multinational identity options for future offspring destined to inhabit this globalized world.

Possible combinations for triple citizenship

With nearly 200 countries in existence, the possible three-country combinations for collecting triple citizenship are endless. Common and practical pairings include

U.S. – Canada – U.K.

Three Anglophone, transparent tax jurisdictions form a North Atlantic triangle that attracts flows of people, tech/financial industries and capital. Each country of immigration offers a well-developed infrastructure within the Five Eyes security alliance. Special relationships lead to reciprocal residency rights. For example, Canadians and Britons can obtain certain types of U.S. work permits more easily than other foreigners. However, asset reporting requirements and potential estate taxes are disadvantages.

Spain – France – Mexico

Romance-speaking countries on opposite sides of the Atlantic with centuries of intertwined history. Spain and Mexico share royal roots with porous citizenship laws that favor descendants of former colonists. France grants citizenship to certain deep-pocketed investors after only 2 years of residence. Relative geographic proximity and transportation links between Europe and Latin America facilitate transatlantic business opportunities.

Taiwan – Singapore – Australia

East Asian tigers and a distant but resurgent Pacific neighbor lumped together by strong educational, commercial and diplomatic ties. Taiwan offers immigration incentives such as gold cards. Singapore maintains special work permit and migration programs that favor Australians. English remains the lingua franca for international business. Strategically located countries that punch above their weight economically behind globalized Chinese diaspora networks.

Russia – Israel – Greece

Ancient cultures and historic religious faiths spanning the Levant, Eastern Mediterranean and Slavic worlds. Over 1 million Russian Israelis hold dual citizenship and benefit from Jewish nationality laws. Greece and Israel cooperate closely in energy, defense and tourism, while competing fiercely for shipping and investment capital. Throw in the wild card of Turkish citizenship, which makes visiting Russian and Greek territory easy, to cover all regional bases.

India – Singapore – Rwanda

The Indian mega-state shares longstanding financial, military and educational partnerships with tiny Asian hub Singapore, anchored by a prosperous shared Tamil heritage. Meanwhile, high-growth Rwanda offers an African foothold at the axis of the expanding ECOWAS and East African federations. This trident of opportunity offsets some of the governance and instability deficits of each country.

The optimal mix ultimately depends much on your individual situation, risk tolerance, net worth level, and personal preference priorities regarding taxation, visa-free travel, asset protection, livability, business friendliness, political freedoms, healthcare access, climate preferences, etc. An immigration attorney can help you objectively weigh the pros and cons.

Challenges & Drawbacks

While holding multiple passports and citizenships certainly opens up more opportunities, the balancing act comes with some financial, legal, and logistical complexities to navigate.

Tax & Reporting Issues

One major drawback that looms over serial citizenship accumulators is increased tax reporting burdens. Some jurisdictions tax worldwide income claims on foreign assets or bank balances if you spend a minimum number of days there or maintain a residence.

So folks juggling household goods scattered across three countries must be careful to structure their affairs intelligently or be penalized for “accidental American-style” tax sins that trip up naive expats and international investors. Penalties for failure to file obscure forms can run into six figures for those unaware of multi-country tax filing requirements. Getting help from an expert global accounting firm is paramount.

The US is notorious for requiring foreign citizens to file and potentially pay American taxes regardless of where they actually live, work or conduct business. Failure to report foreign assets or income flows using FATCA, FBAR and other alphabet soup reporting forms can result in severe civil and criminal penalties. If you think having American citizenship is bad, try having triple citizenship, including the IRS!

Similarly, Australia, China, India, Italy, Nigeria, Singapore and others also impose remittance taxes or universal worldwide taxation on non-resident citizens. Double jeopardy double taxation definitely deserves to be double checked beforehand by competent professionals to avoid redundancy.

Residency challenges

Some countries impose stricter entry procedures for those with multiple nationalities, or limit the window for submitting immigration applications. As a result, jumping between three home countries is not always a given. Partner relationships, inheritance rights, and insurance coverage also become murky in “bigamy”-like situations of divided loyalties or rotating residences.

And travelers with multiple passports must take extra care to consistently enter and exit countries with the same corresponding passport. Failure to do so can lead to visa problems or suspicion of illegal behavior.

Logistical burdens

There is also the practical frustration of managing triple renewal paperwork for passports, visas, tax filings, bank accounts, domains/registrations related to national IDs, driver’s licenses, etc. Critical documents or application verifications that require original signatures or wet ink seals become a challenge to shuttle between global addresses and representatives.

If you think coordinating with an embassy or immigration is tedious, prepare for triple frustration with unaligned government bureaucracies! Gone are the simplicity and anonymity perks of single-nationality life. But some smart organizations exist to help shoulder the externalities through concierge services aimed at taxed global citizens and multi-passport holders dealing with the barrage of international red tape.

Loss of rights Some national rights or career opportunities also diminish with multiple citizenships, such as eligibility for public positions requiring security clearances, certain insurance protections, or social benefits. Transitioning between passports can also affect length of stay or ability to sponsor relatives on family/spousal visas.

And during emergencies, such as evacuations from war zones or pandemics, authorities prioritize “true” individual citizens over the perceived convenience of passport mercenaries. So even after securing multiple nationalities as a backstop, risks remain. Always maintain a foothold in case policies change.

Summary: Weighing advantages and disadvantages

In conclusion, triple citizenship is technically possible but extremely rare due to the narrow combination of circumstances required to obtain multiple citizenships, coupled with permissive policies for maintaining triple citizenship status without exclusivity requirements. The protracted effort only makes tangible sense for:

  • Jet-setting moguls who need operational flexibility or insulated wealth/freedom due to high risk tolerance.
  • Those with a net worth in excess of 5-10 million as the direct costs and professional planning fees involved are not trivial, with elite investment immigration options starting at US$100,000 paid for each new nationality.
  • Citizens or ancestral descendants who are able to incorporate certain hereditary European bloodline citizenships without excessive burdens or residency requirements.

Otherwise, for ordinary dual passport holders without pressing reasons, the plethora of associated tax/compliance frustrations for temporary benefits often outweigh the benefits. Permanent expatriation requires adapting to a flexible, non-partisan “global citizen” mindset anyway.

Too many cooks in the kitchen ultimately makes citizenship management more confusing. Dual passports provide satisfactory travel freedom and insurance redundancy for most. People who crave first-class government coddling or welfare-state support may find aggrieved national authorities unsympathetic to divided loyalties spread thinly.

So weigh motives carefully before pursuing triple (or quadruple) option plays just for the sake of health care, education, or visas. Increasingly, savvy immigrants are realizing that citizenship itself means less these days than simply gaining easy visitor access anywhere. Residency cards and special travel passes open doors faster than naturalization papers and oaths of allegiance.

Rather than stretching loyalties and identities too thinly by chasing multiple passports, perhaps we should focus instead on building robust cosmopolitan networks, inheriting assets, and solidifying bonds that are most closely aligned with personal priorities or family roots for the long term.

Triple Citizenship – FAQs

Is triple citizenship legal?

Yes, triple citizenship is legal in many countries, as long as the countries involved allow it. You will need to check the specific laws of each country before pursuing dual citizenship. Some countries prohibit dual citizenship outright, while others impose conditional restrictions. Make sure that none of your existing or future citizenships prohibit multiple citizenship before spending time and money applying for additional passports.

How can I verify that I’m eligible for dual citizenship?

Determining eligibility requires investigating your personal situation, ancestry, marital status, residency history, wealth level, and professional skills to unlock qualifying paths. An immigration attorney can help objectively assess whether pursuing triple citizenship is feasible based on opportune combinations of birthright citizenship, naturalization potential, or investment immigrant visa options in favorable countries.

What is the fastest way to obtain triple citizenship?

The fastest way is almost always through investment immigration programs, colloquially known as “citizenship by investment” or CBI programs, which are now offered by more than a dozen countries. These allow foreigners to gain instant citizenship, typically within 3-6 months, by contributing substantial sums to government funds or public projects. Due diligence fees and processing times for a principal applicant can range from $100,000+ (St. Lucia) to over $1 million (Austria). Barbados, Montenegro, St. Kitts and Vanuatu are other popular citizenship for sale options.

Can I lose one or more citizenships if I have triple citizenship?

Yes, it is possible to lose a pre-existing nationality when acquiring new citizenships, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some countries have clauses that automatically revoke citizenship if you naturalize elsewhere or fail to meet residency, tax filing, or other administrative requirements over time while living abroad continuously. Issues such as acquiring prohibited political affiliations or joining foreign military forces can also trigger citizenship revocation. Monitor evolving policies and fulfill dormant citizenship obligations to avoid jeopardizing dual or triple status through prolonged absence or misplacement.

How many citizenships can I have?

Aside from the evaporating willpower to complete endless residency stints or front cash for investor visa schemes, there is no universally enforced limit on the maximum number of citizenships a serial accumulator could theoretically obtain! Quadruple, quintuple, or even sextuple citizenship is hypothetically possible, though managing the mounting tax, legal, and compliance burdens eventually becomes impractical for diminishing incremental benefits. A trio of passports is likely to remain the popular limit for satisfying the pragmatic insurance redundancy, legacy planning and mobility privileges sought by most multinational families.

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