Let me ask my fellow Expats, especially those with native passports from third world countries, this question before I start. How many of you already changed your citizenships since becoming an Expat? And if my guess is correct, it is very likely most of you already have, in the process of doing so, or planning to do so once you’ve reached the years of “reckonable” residency.
I did not write this to “judge” your decision to do so or question your nationalism to your home country – I have done the same thing. In fact, I am in the final stages of my application and waiting for the final decision for it.
The purpose of this article is to help “confused” Expats who are probably doing the “should I or shouldn’t I” question regarding this subject. And hopefully, at the end of the article, I have achieved my goal of trying to help you out come up with a decision for yourself.
Provision for you (and your family) more options for a “better life”
Expats coming from third world countries often immigrate because of “greener pastures”. And it is often, the regulations surrounding healthcare, social welfare benefits, or even education, varies depending on the passport you are holding. While it is true that you have access to most benefits if you have a work permit or permanent residency status in your Expat country, there are some instances where you don’t receive the “full” benefit locals get because you are still not officially recognized as a citizen.
Less discrimination, especially when traveling
The Philippines is not as “badly marked” by embassies (or Immigration officers) but we always go through the hassle of applying for Visas to travel – even for short stays. In the process, we often need to submit A LOT of supporting documents to provide assurance we have no intentions of overstaying or to take employment while we are there. And for somebody who loves to travel, this is quite a drag considering that there are lots of nationalities who need not apply for a visa when traveling.
Stronger sense of belonging to the Expat country you currently live in
If you have lived in your new home country for so long or long enough to apply for citizenship, then what’s stopping you from making it official? Is it because of losing your citizenship from your native country?
It is very likely that over your years of residence, you have adjusted to the life out there; you are “almost” a local, too. Applying for citizenship allows you to become more “at home” to your Expat country. Especially if dual citizenship is possible, there is nothing to lose if you do so, right?
But even if dual citizenship is not allowed, do not shut off the doors to acquiring citizenship from your host country. Especially if you are not planning to head back to your native country anytime soon, becoming a citizen allows you to be “one of them” – citizens of that country. You do not feel as if you are a second-grade citizen or feel as if your residence status is always at risk. In a way, acquiring citizenship gives you security, especially in employment.