Find Out Which Celebrities are Enjoying the Advantages of Dual Citizenship
With the idea of second passports gaining popularity in recent years, many high net-worth individuals have been exploring citizenship by investment programs. Having dual citizenship status offers protection, flexibility, and freedom to multi-passport holders, especially in a post-pandemic world.
In fact, many of these high net-worth individuals are well-known around the world. Whether these are celebrities who engage in citizenship by ancestry, or top executives who pursue citizenship by investment – we have highlighted a few of the many famous people who have procured a second passport.
Peter Thiel (New Zealand)
Peter Thiel is a German-American billionaire entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and political activist. He is also the co-founder of PayPal, and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel was born a German citizen, and became a naturalized citizen in America. Thiel then secured his New Zealand citizenship status in 2011 after establishing permanent residency in 2007.
Although Thiel did not complete the necessary physical presence requirements, he was granted citizenship status under an “exceptional circumstances” clause of the Citizenship Act. His application specifically cited his contribution to the New Zealand economy in exchange for citizenship. He founded a venture capital fund in Auckland, invested US$ 7 million in local companies, and donated US$ 1 million to the Christchurch earthquake appeal fund, thus making more than the minimum investment required. If anything, Thiel’s story provides proof that you can buy citizenship, as economic contributions are prioritized above all.
Tom Hanks (Greece)
Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson recently became Greek citizens in 2020. Wilson has Greek ancestry, and Hanks joined the Greek Orthodox Church in 1988 after marrying her. The couple also owns real estate in Antiparos and have produced several movies about Greek communities (such as Mamma Mia! and My Big Fat Greek Wedding).
The couple also played a large role in bringing attention to a wildfire near Athens in 2018, promoting the issue in the media. This reason was cited in their honorary naturalization citizenship paperwork. According to Greek law, honorary naturalization can be bestowed upon foreign nationals who have “offered special services to Greece”, or if their “naturalization may serve the country’s interest”. It seems that Hanks and Wilson have traded in these services in exchange for citizenship status in Greece.
Kirsten Dunst (Germany)
Kirsten Dunst acquired German citizenship in 2011, through her ancestry on her father’s side. While United States citizenship is renowned worldwide, Germany is considered the third strongest passport in the world. The passport also allows the actress to firm in Europe without the need for a work visa, which is highly convenient and advantageous.
Sandra Bullock (Germany)
Like Kirsten Dunst, Sandra Bullock was also born in the United States but acquired German citizenship. Bullock spent much of her childhood in Nuremberg due to her father’s career in the army, where he met her mother, who was a German opera singer. She applied for German citizenship status in 2009.
Angelina Jolie (Cambodia)
Angelina Jolie was born in Los Angeles and is therefore an American citizen. However, she was awarded Cambodian citizenshipstatus by order of royal decree from King Norodom Sihamoni in 2005. The honor was granted in recognition of Jolie’s environmental and conservation activities in Cambodia. She has agreed to spend $5 million over the next 15 years to set up a wildlife sanctuary in the country. She also adopted her son, Maddox from Cambodia, and therefore has significant family ties to the country.
Elon Musk takes citizenship to a new level, as he is a triple citizen! Musk was born in South Africa to a South African father and Canadian mother and therefore had dual citizenship to the countries. He had South African citizenship at birth, and Canadian citizenship through his mother. Musk went to university in Canada, before completing his bachelor’s degree in the United States.
As for his additional citizenship, Musk then started an internet company, Zip2, investors of which helped Musk procure an EB-5 investor program green card. He then acquired his American citizenship through naturalization in 2002.
Vince Cate is an expert in encryption. He used residency by investment to escape the United States and renounce American citizenship in favour for the Caribbean island of Anguilla. He did this for business purposes and to avoid United States laws on cryptocurrency. However, Cate could not become a citizen of Anguilla without waiting the minimum period of time for naturalization, so he instead invested in a Mozambique passport so that he could renounce his US citizenship and continue living in Anguilla.