If you were a southern Italian peasant around the turn of the 20th century, your life was pretty rough.
The feudal system had officially ended with the unification of Italy a few decades earlier. But most laborers probably didn’t notice the difference.
The vast majority of southern Italians were farm workers. But the landlords who still controlled most of the land charged high rents, paid little, and employment was unsteady and unreliable.
These workers lived in one room houses without running water, plagued by disease.
Farm laborers made upwards of 30 cents per day in Italy. But over in America, farm laborers could make about $1 per day.
Three million Italians immigrated to the United States between 1900 and 1915– the most prevalent nationality of new immigrants during those years.
Since these were mostly poor peasants, they traveled steerage on ships. That meant when they arrived in the new world, they had to go through a more rigorous entrance procedure compared to first and second class passengers.
Poor Italians were entirely at the mercy of American immigration officials. They got on a boat in Italy, and just had to hope that they wouldn’t be denied entry in the USA.
Passports didn’t come into wide use worldwide until the 1920s. Then people could stay in their home countries to get the paperwork in order before taking a leap of faith to move abroad.
But still, the only way to know for sure that you will be accepted and allowed to enter and stay in another country is to be a citizen of that country. Otherwise, you are still at the mercy of immigration officials.
Having a second citizenship and a second passport gives you options of where to live. That’s a major insurance policy, and a pillar of any Plan B to make sure you thrive no matter what happens in your home country, or around the world.
There are four different ways to get a second passport. You could for example buy a second passport. It’s completely legitimate and there are currently 13 countries that will provide you with a second passport in exchange for an investment or a donation.
The prices start at around $100,000 in the Carribbean and can go up to over $2 million for a European passport.
But even if you have that kind of money to spend, you should first check your ancestry. Without evening knowing it, you may already qualify for an excellent passport.
It’s called citizenship by descent and means that you could be eligible to get a second passport at almost no cost if you have parents, grandparents, or in some cases even great grandparents who came from a number of countries which offer citizenship to the descendants of their citizens.
It’s offered predominantly by European countries such as Italy, Germany, Ireland, and many more.
Like many other Americans, some of my ancestors were Italian immigrants. So I went through the process myself to get an excellent Italian passport years ago.
Having an Italian passport gives me visa free access to 161 countries. It is ranked #9 out of 198 countries on our Sovereign Man Global Passport Ranking (while US passport is ranked #33) .
Plus it gives me access to the Schengen area, where I can travel, live, and work freely among 26 European nations.
And all it took to get it was a little bit of time to research my family history, filling out a few forms and a small government fee of less than $100.
There aren’t a whole lot of investments that can generate lucrative returns.
So I definitely encourage everyone to look into this.
First you have to make sure you are eligible. That means being able to prove a blood line connection to your ancestors in a country that offers citizenship by descent.
You will have to gather birth, marriage, and death certificates. It actually can be a pretty fun and rewarding project digging through your family history.
Then you just have to submit the application and proper documentation to the country’s embassy.
There is generally a lot of waiting involved, and some bureaucratic mazes.
But all in all, it is a relatively simple process.
So if you have grandparents, great-grandparents or other ancestors from Germany, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, or Armenia, do yourself a favor and start looking into it now.
We explain the specific requirements from each of these countries, and go into the process in much more detail in our free in depth article on how you can get a valuable Second Passport & Citizenship By Descent.