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Saturday, April 13, 2024

    Benefits of Dual Citizenship During A Pandemic

    Benefits of Dual Citizenship During A Pandemic: Dual citizenship is an incredible privilege to have. Not only can you live abroad, but you can use your second passport to access more countries visa-free.

    Plus, the coronavirus outbreak has made dual citizenship even more useful — in a world where many borders are closed to Americans, having a second passport means you may be able to travel where others can’t.

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    That said, actually traveling with a second passport can be confusing. You have to know which passports to use and when to use them. Plus, it’s hard to know which passport gains entry to which country, and the benefit of using one passport over the other.

    As a dual Czech/American citizen myself, I’ve used two passports when traveling for the better part of the last decade. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about traveling abroad with two passports during the pandemic.

    Being a dual citizen means you’re a national of two countries. In turn, you’re afforded the benefits of being a citizen of both countries. For me, this means I can live in the U.S. or the EU with my American and Czech passports for as long as I’d like.

    Likewise, I am entitled to other benefits when I’m in the Czech Republic, like healthcare, the right to enroll in Czech universities and the right to vote.

    Dual citizenship gives you a handful of travel benefits too, and that’s what we’ll focus on in this article. Here’s a quick look at the practical travel benefits of dual citizenship.

    More visa-free access

    Each country has its own set of countries wherein its citizens can travel without getting a visa. The U.S. has one of the world’s most powerful passports, offering visa-free access to 186 countries worldwide. There are still many countries where U.S. citizens must get a visa though, so you may turn to your second passport and see if it offers visa-free travel to said country.

    For example, I can travel to Venezuela without a visa and enter Turkey without an eVisa with my Czech passport. This makes travel to these countries easier and more seamless for myself and other European passport holders.

    You can compare visa-free access across two passports using Passport Index’s passport comparison tool. It’s updated with coronavirus restrictions too, so you can see where exactly you can travel during the pandemic with each of your passports.

    This is incredibly important if you need to travel during the pandemic. With my Czech passport, I can still enter the EU despite the region being closed to Americans. When I land in the EU, I will be treated like any other EU citizen despite my American residency — though I could still be subject to quarantine.

    Travel for longer than a travel visa

    You may be able to visit certain countries for longer with a second passport too. Some countries let certain nationalities stay in their country for longer on a tourist visa, making it easier to plan long trips or work remotely from another country.

    The most obvious example of this is having freedom of movement with an EU passport. Any EU citizen can stay in any EU member country for as long as they’d like, meaning that you can move anywhere in the Union at-will. Americans, however, are only given a 90-day visa on arrival in the Schengen Zone.

    Other countries simply let select nationalities stay in the country for longer. For example, Barbados lets American tourists stay for up to 180 days while Europeans can stay for 90 days.

    You cannot be denied at the border of your home countries

    This may be the most valuable benefit during the coronavirus pandemic. Under most circumstances, you cannot be denied access to countries where you’re a citizen, even if your country of residence isn’t allowed in the country.

    This means that an Australian dual-citizen living in the U.S. can travel to Australia even if the country is closed to tourists from the U.S. However, keep in mind that you may be subject to mandatory quarantine or other restrictions on arrival.

    Expedited entry to your home country (and others)

    Certain countries offer expedited or digital border checkpoints for their citizens. For example, I can use automated passport controls at most major airports in Europe with my Czech passport. This is far faster than waiting for an actual border guard to check my passport — a welcome benefit on my frequent trips to and from Europe.

    Consular protection from both countries

    Another benefit of dual-citizenship is being able to claim consular protection from both of your nationalities. Further, many European countries have partnerships with each other, allowing citizens of one European nation to claim consular protection with another.

    This can be helpful if something goes wrong when traveling. If there’s a natural disaster, war or another mishap pops up when traveling, you can visit whichever consulate is closer to get the help you need.

    That said, you may not be able to claim consular protection from one of your nationalities when in the country of your second nationality. For example, I may not be able to claim consular protection from the U.S. when I’m in the Czech Republic.

    You’re subject to the laws of both countries

    This one isn’t a huge deal, but it’s still worth noting. When you’re a dual-citizen, you’re subject to the laws of both countries. If you break a law in one the countries in which you’re a citizen, the other cannot help you. In other words: The U.S. couldn’t help me if I broke a law while in the Czech Republic.

    Dual citizens traveling abroad during the pandemic

    In a perfect world, you should be able to use your second nationality to travel abroad to places accepting said nationality during the pandemic. If you have EU citizenship, this means you can travel to the European Union and other countries that are allowing European citizens. That said, things don’t always go as planned.

    For example, I heard from a friend who flew from Boston (BOS) to Copenhagen (CPH) via New York-JFK and Amsterdam (AMS) on Delta and KLM during the pandemic. He is a dual Danish/American citizen, so he shouldn’t have had any issues with his flight.

    That said, he was almost denied boarding by a Delta gate agent in Boston who was unfamiliar with rules on transitioning through Europe on an EU passport.

    Speaking of Europe, the EU recently published a list of countries that can enter Europe for non-essential travel, listing countries like Canada and Australia. The list specifically states that this only applies to residents of these countries, not citizens.

    This means that an American with a Canadian passport cannot visit Europe at this time. Other regions may have similar rules as well.

    EU citizens, essential workers and long-time EU residents are exempt from this ban, so an American resident with a French passport would be able to enter the EU. Likewise, an American citizen living in Canada would also be able to enter the EU on their American passport.

    Finally, traveling to another country with a foreign passport may not make you exempt from mandatory quarantine. Read up on this beforehand and ensure that you follow all local laws and regulations surrounding the coronavirus when you land.


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