Trials and Tribulations of Triple Citizenship
As I’m getting ready to acquire US citizenship, a coworker of mine made a comment in passing about how I will now be able to travel anywhere in the world without issues or visas. My instant reaction was to just say ‘yeah, that’d be great’, but it got me thinking. How many proverbial doors will open to me when I acquire US citizenship?
As anyone who has dual citizenship, I get to enjoy the benefits of swapping my passport when entering other countries to avoid having to apply for visas (or in some cases, a lower priced visa cost). I (and by marriage, Jon) get to enjoy skipping the lengthy non-EU line whenever we visit Europe, just like we both get to go through the Mercosur lines when visiting many countries in South America. When I get back home, I get to use Global Entry as I’ve been a resident in the US for over 5 years.
Passport and Visa Pages
Bot now, as I’m getting closer to taking my US citizenship tests, I’ll join a somewhat more select group of people who get to have triple citizenship. It’s not a very usual occurrence since some countries do not allow for dual citizenship, let alone triple. But the more I kept thinking about its benefits – beyond being able to vote in US elections – the more I realized there aren’t a lot of places I can’t currently access visa-free that I’ll be able to visit after.
According to Passport Index
, as an Italian
I am able to access 119 countries visa-free
, which is more than the 112 countries American
passport holders can visit without a visa
. As an Argentine
, I have access to 105 countries visa-free
, which is still just seven fewer than with an American passport. So if we add all the countries I’m allowed to visit visa-free as an Italian plus the delta of those I get to visit as an Argentine, the Italo-Argentine tally goes up to 123.
Once I become American (or Italo-Argentine-American…), I’ll only be adding Canada, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea to this list for a total of 126 countries without ever having to apply for a tourist visa
. As for the countries that offer visa on arrival, eVisa, or eTA, my count goes from 45 countries for Italy, 52 countries for Argentina to… 53 countries for United States. That’s not bad at all, but also certainly isn’t as life altering as everyone keeps telling me.
Unione Europea – Repubblica Italiana
On the other hand, when Jon gets his Italian citizenship via marriage to me, he will add Bolivia, Brazil, Gambia, Paraguay, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Venezuela and Vietnam to the list of countries he can visit as an Italian-American.
Having said that, I do understand the fringe benefits of multiple citizenships when visiting other countries. It would never in a million years occur to me to use an American passport to check into a hotel in Russia, or to use my Argentinian passport when traveling to the Falkland Islands. Nationalities have a way of projecting an image that invokes certain feelings in other people, and if given the chance, I’d like to avoid awkward circumstances.
Another great benefit is the ability to visit countries and get stamped on different passports. Say I wanted to go to both Israel and Iran. It would probably save me a lot of heartburn if I were to keep those stamps in different passports.
Same goes for losing your passport or having it stolen when you’re abroad. I always travel with both my passports and keep them separate so that if something happens to one, I’m not stuck somewhere else waiting for an Embassy to issue an emergency passport on a weekend or some other nightmare scenario.
As for downsides of holding multiple citizenships, one of them has to be being detained by US Customs and Immigration a few times while coming back home to explain why I’m holding multiple passports with mismatching names – something CBP agents should at this point not be surprised with at all (yes, you can have different names in different countries). And I have even had to explain in my very rustic Italian why my Italian is very rustic when visiting Italy (no, not all Italians speak Italian).
In other cases, having multiple citizenships might imply having to pay taxes in more than one jurisdiction, or being conscripted by more than one country’s military. In my particular case this is of no concern to me mostly because none of these countries have mandatory service and I’m no longer in a draft age.
While I’m looking forward to my citizenship ceremony, and albeit with a somewhat bittersweet feeling given the current state of affairs, I am a bit disappointed that the travel related benefits I will get out of this will be rather marginal. At least I paid the $725 application fee with my credit card and got some miles out of it…
Do you have multiple citizenships? Do you know of any other benefits I may have missed?