Dual nationality is great, unless you are a politician

Dual nationality is great, unless you are a politician

It seems amazing that at least three, and possibly more in the near future, Australian politicians have been forced to resign positions due to holding dual citizenship.

This is happening for two reasons. The first is that the Australia constitution is unbendingly strict on its elected representatives having legal allegiance only to Australia. The second is that an incredible percentage of Australians are eligible for a second passport, many without even knowing it.

The 2016 census showed that 49 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or had one or more parents born overseas.

Going back a generation or two this percentage is even higher. Australia’s population has grown from seven million people in 1940 to 24 million people today and a large part of the driver for that growth has been immigration.

The key takeaway from this is that as an Australian there is an excellent chance you and your family may be eligible for a second passport directly through descent. Australians are also generally eligible ― if they meet the thresholds ― of the multiple global citizenship through investment (CTI) schemes globally. While this is a distinct disadvantage if you are running for parliament, in every other way it is a massive win for you and your family.

It’s incredible that a second citizenship, something many people in the world would love to have, has impacted our politicians negatively.   Where I can see the logic in having our representatives as single country citizens, it is a real gift for everyone else to have options available to them and their kids.

So, why would you want a second passport?

The answers range from the trivial, like standing in the short queues at airport terminals to the profound, as evidenced by the rush of British expats desperately trying to access European Union citizenships in the wake of Brexit.

A second passport opens options for travel, education, relocation, career, business and financial investment and is something that you can use when you need it.  Obtaining a second passport for your children is a profound gift that could well change their lives.

With all these options, it is time to go out and get started on the investigation, unless you are heading to your local electorate pre selection meeting!

Some options that may be open to you that you may not know about include:


If a parent, grandparent or even, in some cases, great-grandparent was born in Ireland you may be eligible for citizenship and a passport. 

United Kingdom

If one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you are over 17 and a citizen of a Commonwealth country, you can apply for British residency.

If one of your parents is a British citizen, and you were not born in the UK, you need to apply before the age of 18 to be eligible to become a British citizen.

If you, one of your parents or grandparents was born, registered or naturalised in a British overseas territory you may be eligible for British citizenship. 

If you were an ordinary resident in Hong Kong on 3 February 1997, you may be eligible for British citizenship.


You can get Italian citizenship without limitation of generation if none of your ancestors in the Italian lineage has ever renounced their citizenship. 

Italy is one of the few countries that give you a passport through matrimony even if you have never lived in Italy.  If you live abroad you can apply after being married for three years.  The timeframes are reduced by half in the presence of children born or adopted by you and your spouse.


If one of your ancestors was forced to leave Germany under the Nazis (this mainly includes German Jews and members of the Communist or Social Democratic Parties) you may be eligible to claim German citizenship.


Sephardic ancestry law was introduced in 2015.  This opens the doors for thousands of people across the globe to obtain Spanish nationality if they can prove they are descendants of the Jewish community expelled from Spain in 1492. 

Investment and income visas.

There are many countries around the world who offer a variety of residency options and paths to citizenship directly linked to your ability to invest into the local economy, whether that be through buying a home, starting a business, buying government bonds or in some cases just having your pension paid into that country. You may think that it is only the wealthy that have this option open to them but residency visas start for as low as proving an annual income of USD$9,000!

For your personalised report on every country in the world where you can live, use our handy tool here

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Alison Johnson

Alison is a travel junkie, digital nomad and the co-founder of www.wherecani.live She has lived in 7 countries on 4 continents and is passionate about opening the world up for others.

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