Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why you need a second passport

March 29, 2012
Santiago, Chile

It wasn’t too long ago that nearly every human being lived their entire lives without traveling more than 10-miles from home. For the small handful of people who actually did venture out, you could make it across the globe with no official documents whatsoever.

This began to change rapidly in the 1920s. The newly formed League of Nations began meddling in the business of international travel and worked to standardize an international identification document that would be required by travelers to cross most borders.

The ominous phrase, “Papers, please”, was born from this standardization.

These days, international travel is big business for governments. Think about all the massive bureaucracies that have been created as a result of national borders: Immigration checkpoints. Customs. Border patrol. Passport offices. Even the IRS is involved in passport application procedures.

As much as it would be nice to go back to the days when people were free to criss-cross the world without such inconveniences and indignities, this just isn’t going to happen. So since we can’t go back to a zero passport world, the next best solution is a multiple passport world.

Let me explain.

Nearly everyone on the planet becomes a citizen of some country at birth… either due to the citizenship of their parents or the country that they were born in. Most people live their entire lives with this sole citizenship, and usually reside in the same country.

In a way, this is akin to having all of your eggs in one basket– living, working, banking, etc. in the same country of your citizenship. And history is full of colorful examples of those baskets breaking… from economic hardship to social turmoil to natural disaster to all-out genocide.

Ultimately, the concept of having multiple citizenships is about having more baskets… and spreading your eggs around. It means having more flexibility, no longer being constrained by the limitations of a single country. For example:

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