Problems with having a Second Passport

woman holding two passports, second passport problems

People end up with dual citizenship, and therefore a second passport, for many different reasons.

Some inherit dual citizenship from birth. Others obtain it because of their ancestry. And, some people get it when they marry a foreign national.

There can be many advantages to having a second passport, most notably the ability to travel visa-free to more countries. You may also be able to work in both countries.

But there are disadvantages as well and people aren’t always aware of that. So, knowing what second passport problems you could encounter ahead of time will save you trouble in the long run. 

Keep reading to learn more about what those advantages are and how they might affect you.

Twice the Taxes

The United States taxes all income their citizens earn, from anywhere in the world. If you are living and working in another country you could owe taxes to both the U.S. and the country where the income is earned. 

The U.S. does have tax treaties with many countries to help reduce and sometimes eliminate the tax liability. But you are required to file US taxes every year and will be penalized if you do not. Penalties could include having your U.S. passport revoked, so make sure you remember to file your taxes each year!

Tax laws in most countries are complicated and change often. You should consult with a qualified tax accountant each year to make sure you are handling income taxes properly for each country where you have citizenship. 

In the same way as you are obligated to pay taxes to both countries you have passports for, you are bound by the laws of both countries. In most cases, this shouldn’t be an issue but there are some things to be considered.

Do both countries have a draft? Is there a mandatory military obligation? The U.S. recognizes that as a dual citizen you may be legally obligated to serve in a foreign military. However, you could lose your U.S. citizenship if you serve as an officer in a foreign military that is engaged in a war against the U.S.!

If you travel often between the countries where you have your citizenships make sure you know the residency requirements in both countries. Make sure you know just how long you can stay in one country before it affects the rights and privileges in the other.

Ineligible for Some U.S. Government Jobs

If you want to work for the U.S. government or take a job that requires a security clearance, you could be at a disadvantage. Dual citizenship might bar you from gaining U.S. government clearance.

If you are born into dual citizenship (ie, you are born to U.S. parents while they’re visiting a foreign country) you may be able to work around it. But those who actively seek out dual citizenship might have more difficulties.

Don’t Let Potential Second Passport Problems Stop You

There are many advantages to having a second passport, so if you have the opportunity to obtain one you should definitely consider it. Check with the U.S. Department of State and the second country’s consulate so you are aware of all implications and obligations involved.

Contact us to learn more about dual citizenship and what to do about passport issues.