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What would you say if we offered you a second passport in Ireland? Or a second passport in Switzerland?

You can be seeking a second passport for work or as a plan B, and Brazil for example amongst other countries offers incentives for foreigners to become a part of its culturally rich nation.

For years, the Hollywood-fed stereotype of marrying a foreigner for a green card has been prevalent in the Western world. It’s now assumed that someone from an emerging economy marrying a US citizen or other Westerner is merely seeking a life of opportunity. But with so many tax requirements, who wants to acquire US citizenship (or even a green card) anyway?

Besides, the stereotypical process of marrying a foreigner for a visa or a green card can go both ways today. There are countries around the world that offer expedited naturalization to those who want citizenship by marriage and the second citizenship that comes with it.

Now, let’s take a dive into the list of 10 easiest citizenship by marriage countries in 2021.


1. Spain - Though things can get a bit difficult due to bureaucracy, you can be granted residence in Spain only after a year of living and paying taxes there. Naturalization in Spain is a highly bureaucratic process and usually requires ten years of solid residence in the country. The tax burden for those ten years could be quite high. However, those married to a Spanish citizen can apply for Spanish citizenship after just one year of tax residence in the country, according to the Spanish citizenship by marriage law. What’s worth noting is that the processing time of the Spanish citizenship will take up
to two years, totalling three years of living in Spain to get the passport. And a Spanish passport is an excellent travel document offering freedom of movement in the EU. 

2. Portugal - If you’re married to a Portuguese person, it will be much easier to get residency, though you will still have to wait a while until you get a passport.

As in neighbouring Spain, Portugal requires those who obtain Portuguese residency to live in the country for at least six years before applying for a passport. 

However, those married to a Portuguese citizen, or even in a relationship with one can apply for naturalization after 3 years of marriage or cohabitation.

The process doesn’t even require you to spend time on Portuguese soil, meaning you could live overseas with a Portuguese spouse and still qualify with some Portuguese language knowledge and some ties to the country.

3. Ireland - If your spouse is from Ireland and you’re willing to live there for a couple of years, you can apply for a passport after three years of marriage or civil relationship, according to the Irish citizenship by marriage law. Don’t have Irish heritage to claim Irish citizenship by descent? Those married to, or in a registered civil relationship with, an Irish citizen can apply for an Irish passport after one year of “reckonable residence” in the European country, provided they have been married or in a civil union with their partner for three years. You’ll need to spend a good amount of time in Ireland for at least two years to qualify. The Irish passport is the 3rd strongest passport on the Nomad Passport Index for 2021, you’ll be able to live anywhere in Europe and travel almost anywhere on earth. Corporate taxes are quite low, too.

4. Switzerland - You will have to be married for five years to be eligible to apply for Swiss citizenship, but the perks you get with it are innumerable.

Perhaps one of the most sought after second citizenships (or first citizenships, for that matter) on earth, Switzerland offers those married to Swiss nationals a “simplified naturalization” process. You may remember that Tina Turner relinquished her US citizenship to become Swiss after fulfilling a rather long twelve-year residency requirement. Getting a Swiss passport through permanent residence alone is a slow process. However, the simplified naturalization process allows for spouses of Swiss nationals to apply for citizenship after three years of marriage, so long as they live in the country for a total of five years. You don’t even need to speak German, French, or Italian; but you should show integration into the Swiss way of life. That means no more being late for meetings.

5. Serbia - Serbians are charming and friendly, not to mention that their laws on how long you’re supposed to live in the country aren’t very precise.
This gives you more opportunities to travel around and explore. Ever been to Belgrade? Walk around for an hour and you’ll realize that some of the most beautiful people on earth come from Serbia and the Balkans. Serbia is one of our “hidden gems” for lower-cost living in Europe and has the world’s fastest-improving passport.

So, how do you become a Serbian citizen through marriage? Quite simply, you must have been married to a Serbian for three years, maintain permanent residence, and sign paperwork claiming that Serbia is “your country” and renouncing any existing citizenship you have.

6. Ukraine - Want to become Ukrainian? Great, you can do that after a couple of years, but you will have to renounce your previous citizenship.

Ukraine has a fast-track naturalization process for foreigners married to Ukrainian citizens, reducing the timeline to citizenship from five years to only two. However, Ukraine technically does not allow dual citizenship, meaning you are likely to be asked to renounce your current citizenship before claiming a Ukrainian passport.

If you’re a US citizen looking to renounce your US citizenship, this might not be a bad option, especially if you have another more secure second passport already.


7. Brazil - Brazil has a very good passport and allows dual citizenship. Those who have a Brazilian spouse qualify to apply for Brazilian citizenship  after just one year of uninterrupted residence in the country. Brazil is a diverse melting pot that allows dual citizenship for naturalized spouses as of 2016. And with Brazilian citizenship, the entire South American continent is at your fingertips. So a second summer replacing your winter paired with excellent visa-free travel, including Russia? Sounds like a great deal to us.

8. Mexico - Marry a Mexican citizen and apply for naturalization after just two years.

As the spouse of a Mexican, the Mexican citizenship by marriage law entitles you to apply for naturalization after just two years of having temporary residence living with that spouse in Mexico, regardless of their gender.

While the United States government and many US persons may have convinced you that Mexico is a dirt-poor country everyone is clamouring to get out of, plenty of people are moving there, including many US citizens. The Mexican passport is a pretty good travel document, ranking as one of the 25 best passports in the world with visa-free access to 133 countries, including the entire Schengen Area of Europe.

9. Columbia - If you come from another Latin country, you can obtain Colombian citizenship in about 2 years after marrying a Colombian. Otherwise, it’s going to be at least five years of waiting. Colombia is the second freest economy in South America. Something that drives people to their residency by an investment program that is a 5 to 10 year-long process. Through marriage, the timeline is shortened to only two years to obtain Colombian citizenship. There’s now only one thing standing between you and your Colombian citizenship: the citizenship test which you have to take in Spanish. The only faster way to get your hands on a Colombian passport is if you’re from another Latin country, in which case the timeline is one year.

10. Belize - Becoming a Belize citizen doesn’t require much – you can apply for a passport after spending one year in the country. If you’re a bit younger and find yourself married to a Belize citizen, you can apply for naturalization after just one year of legal residence in Belize. A Belize passport doesn’t offer excellent visa-free travel, but it does fill in the gaps that many other Tier B passports don’t have, such as the UK, Ireland, Mexico, and South Africa. Belize is also one of the best English-speaking countries to live in.   EG

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