How many passports can one person hold?

Pille of passport image by Marek Kosmal from

Immigration laws all over the world enable one person to own more than one passport. This is known as dual citizenship or even multi-citizenship.

Owning more than one passport is beneficial because it allows you to travel easily, and it gives you the rights that citizens have of the country in which your passport was issued. You can easily work, study, own a home among other rights when you own a passport from a particular country.

Obtaining Passports

Although each country has its own requirements as to when and how a passport can be issued, the number of passports one person may have is unlimited. Citizenship is determined based on place of birth, marriage, permanent place of residence and by being passed down from parents. A child gains citizenship and therefore a passport based on the country of birth of his parents, and/or the country of his citizenship.

Passports at Birth

The Multiple Citizenship website's informative page titled "Dual and Multiple Citizenship" claims that at birth, a child may already hold five passports. This is possible if the father is, for example, from the UK, but is now a naturalised citizen of the U.S., and the mother was born in Ireland but is now a citizen of Canada and the child is born in New Zealand. This child is then able to own passports from these five countries. Since citizenship is determined based on place of birth, permanent place of residence and by being passed down from parents.

Passports in Adult Life

In addition to the passports a person is able to hold at birth, she may also obtain additional passports in adult life based on country of residence or marriage. However, according to U.S. Immigration Support, not all countries allow dual citizenship, which means having more than one passport. Many countries allow for a person to gain that country's citizenship after living there for three to five years, or after being married to a citizen of that country and living in that country for at least three years.


As stated on the Multiple Citizenship website, studies show that approximately 89 countries in the world allow dual or multiple citizenship. In Australia, 4 to 5 million Australians have had dual citizenship even when it wasn't allowed. The U.S. government does recognise dual citizenship and about a million Americans have dual citizenship. The numbers of people having dual citizenship are increasing by the years and many people who have dual citizenship, do not even realise it.


Dual citizenship is beneficial and widely acknowledged nowadays. It is possible for one person to have more than one passport depending on the above mentioned factors. Get to know the laws regarding dual citizenship of the country in which you are residing or in which you are interested in getting citizenship or a passport and to avoid possible consequences, such as having one of your passports voided. Certain countries such as China, Denmark, India, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Singapore and South Africa do not allow dual citizenship. One of your passports then would be voided.