I have often explained that having a passport is mandatory documentation for anyone interested in survival and preparedness. The reasons why you should have a passport are many. Even if you don’t plan on traveling, it’s the best form of ID world wide and an excellent additional ID if you lose your driver’s license. Many times, potential employers will ask you to have one for business travel. You may end up losing a great job opportunity if you don’t have one. Even in your existing line of work you may need to travel unexpectedly for closing a deal, talking with a potential client or going to seminars, all of which you may lose if you can’t travel at short notice. Maybe it’s not even yourself that is traveling. Maybe you’re retired or just don’t like traveling abroad, but your children do. What if they suffer an accident or get sick while abroad and you can’t travel to help them?
Two is one and one is none
If having one passport is a great idea, having two is even better. Having two passports opens up a world of opportunities. In my case it allowed me to emigrate to Europe and enjoy the advantages of doing so as an European citizen.
One way in which the power of a passport is measured is by how many countries you can travel to without a visa. In this aspect, the United States of America and United Kingdom passports are the best ones to have, giving you access to 147 countries. This is followed by France, South Korea and Germany with 145, then Sweden and Italy with 144. http://www.passportindex.org/byRank.php
Of course, access to a country without a visa is just one aspect. The South Korean passport may have four more countries than the one from Portugal, but clearly the Portuguese Passport has the advantage of allowing you to reside anywhere in the European Union as any other citizen, making it a far more desirable passport.
The country of origin of the issued passport is also important. Powerful countries don’t always provide the most benefits, especially in this time and age. For example, opening a foreign bank account with an American passport is very difficult given how much information the American government ends up demanding from the bank if doing so. It’s just not worth the trouble in the eyes of most banks, at least not for ordinary American citizens. Then you have to take into account the reputation and foreign policy of the country. Currently, in many parts of the world, there’s an anti-American sentiment that may work against you. During terrorist attacks, Americans and British citizens may be killed immediately while others are allowed to live. This happened during the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Since the American and British government “does not negotiate with terrorists”, there’s a good chance you’ll end up killed immediately, or end up brutally executed. On the other hand, countries such as Spain and Italy, they will pay for your release and have stated so publicly on several occasions. In 2012, Mariasandra Mariani tried to explain her al-Qaeda captors that held her in the north of Mali that her family didn’t have money to pay. Her kidnapers told her to relax, that Italy “always pays”.
Italian Citizen Sergio Cicala and his wife Philomene Kabore, kidnapped in 2009 in Mauritania. They were held captive for five months before being released.Some will argue that paying only makes things worse because it finances terrorism or it even makes you more likely to be kidnapped. So far evidence shows that foreigners are equally targeted, and it’s only after the actual kidnap takes place that their faith is decided. As for what’s morally right… guess being in an orange jumpsuit with your head about to be detached from your body puts things into perspective.
Spanish Citizena Albert Vilalta, Alicia Gámez and Roque Pascual kidnapped in Mauritania in 2010. They were released 268 days later.France has more of an “unofficial” stance, but they are known to pay as well. Depending on the passport, you may not even be taken captive. This will of course depend on the country’s foreign policy stance in regards to the group that has taken you captive or the country where you happen to find yourself in trouble.
Some of the more humble countries that aren’t seen neither as a world power nor as a threat may be even more advantageous. In 1995, and while detained by Croatia special police, a group of Argentine and French UN delegates noticed a sudden, friendly change by their captors once they noticed the Argentine flag worn by one of the men. “Argentino!” he cried out one of the Croatian fighters, while at the same time pointing at the markings on the Argentine made FM FAL rifle he carried.
Getting a second passport
Getting a second passport may not be as hard as you may think. In some cases, it may cost very little money if you have the right paperwork and enough patience. In my book “Bugging Out and Relocating” I explain several ways in which you can get one. In general, having money makes things easier as many countries either sell passports directly in exchange for donations or provide one after a significant investment is made in the country. If you don’t have several hundred thousand dollars sitting around though, one of the best ways to get a second citizenship is by taking a closer look at your family tree. If you have grandparents that came from certain European countries, such as Italy, Poland, Germany and Ireland, you have a good chance of getting a EU passport.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.