Attaining alternative citizenship and, therefore, a second passport is becoming more and more alluring, especially in times of crisis. This will help you drastically to enhance your international mobility, as the second passport opens the door of visa-free travel, diversifies your wealth portfolio, creates business opportunities, and gives you an insurance policy against possible socio-economic or political turbulences. A second passport will save your time, can help to improve your lifestyle, gain more freedom and conceive new opportunities.
Granting citizenship to foreign investors has a long history, and the first official citizenship by investment (CBI) program was incepted by St Kitts and Nevis back in 1984. In 1993 another Caribbean nation, the Commonwealth of Dominica, started such a program. The USA and UK also launched their investor immigration programs (EB-5 and Tier 1 Investor Visas, respectively) in the 1990s. In Europe, Malta maintains the CBI scheme, while Cyprus suspended it in November 2020. Montenegrin and North Macedonian CBI schemes are relatedly new but capped with the number of applications and limited in time. European CBI schemes are more expensive than Caribbean ones, but the intangible benefits and advantages of holding a European passport are also greater.
The real boom of citizenship and residency by investment programs started after the financial crisis of 2009. Countries needed foreign capital and have started to attract investors by giving them residence or citizenship rights. Many European countries have started their own residency by investment, or just ‘golden visa’ programs, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, Ireland, etc.
The popularity of the Caribbean CBI programs surged in the middle of the 2010s, when Caribbean nations (St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica and Grenada) and Vanuatu signed visa-waiver agreements with the EU, allowing passport holders of these countries to travel visa-free in the countries of the Schengen Area.
Eligibility criteria for CBI programs vary from country to country, but generally, there are several options of investment. For instance, in the Caribbean states, you can either make a non-refundable contribution to the special fund or invest in the government-approved real estate project. In some countries (Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia), financing a business or buying government bonds are also accepted as qualified investments.
Turkish CBI program seized the moment when the investment threshold for a real estate route was lowered four times, from $1 million to just $250,000 in 2019.
It has to be also mentioned that the main investment is made after the application is approved in principle. Hence, there are no risks of losing funds.
Why You Need A Second Passport
According to Knight Frank’s report, about a quarter (24%) of wealthy people are considering to apply for citizenship by investment programs in 2021. This will make it easier for them to conduct international business and travel globally hassle-free.
Whatever is your current state of affairs, there are many reasons why you should apply for a second passport and become a citizen of more than one country. For instance, sometimes, it is a very complicated and lengthy process to obtain a travel visa for a particular destination due to the tense political relations between two countries, and there are no guarantees that the visa will be issued. Besides, your passport will not be with you for a certain period of time if you submit it to a consular section of a foreign country to get the visa in it. This can postpone your travel plans and waste your time, money, and energy.
Moreover, there are circumstances when even requesting a new passport from authorities due to validity expiration is not physically possible, as government agencies simply do not operate because of political turmoil, civil unrests, wars, and any other forms of crises. Hence, having a second passport will always help you in such situations and can hedge various kinds of your risks.
Second citizenship and passport are becoming viable tools for international tax planning and reducing tax burdens. Many countries, including the USA, are taxing their citizens despite the fact they physically reside in that country or not. Furthermore, governments are trying to impose more taxes on wealthy people, and this trend is only getting stronger in times of crisis. This explains why US nationals are now increasingly applying for citizenship by investment programs; some of them even relinquish their American citizenship, and others who had obtained a residence permit, so-called ‘green card’ in the US are not hurrying to apply for citizenship if they have a source of income outside the USA. Thus, obtaining a second passport will help you to plan your taxes in a more efficient way, get relatively confidential bank services and make beneficial investments. Remarkably, Caribbean states with CBI programs and Vanuatu are considered as ‘tax havens,’ where there is no wealth or worldwide income taxes.
Perhaps, traveling with a second passport, attained through citizenship by investment program of any small but peaceful country, will help you to feel safer than with your original passport in times of tense inter-state relations, wars, and terrorist threats.
A second passport can become an integral part of your personal security; it will create an insurance policy or so-called ‘Plan B’ against potential uproars. In an uncertain and everchanging world, possessing alternative citizenship is a game-changer. Buying a second passport is a lifetime investment for you and your family members, as they are also eligible to apply. Furthermore, citizenship can be inherited by your further generations, and you will not have to give up your current nationality because all countries running the citizenship by investment program allow dual citizenship.
Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs are state-run initiatives fully corresponding to international law. A foreign investor can attain economic citizenship and a second passport in exchange of investment and after stringent Due Diligence (DD) and vetting process. Countries are prone to grant citizenship only to people with good repute and character. Previous criminal records, visa or residency denials are red flags and can lead to application rejection.
How To Apply
Applications for these programs can be submitted only through legal entities or persons licensed by the governments to promote the CBI program, prepare and submit applications for it. They are called Authorized Agents, and if you desire to get a second citizenship, you will have to select the Agent, sign a retainer agreement and provide the Agent with the required documentation. Agents help you in the application process and serve as filters for the governments they are dealing with.
Generally, to fill out the application for a CBI program, you will need copies of your current passport and IDs, birth and marriage certificates, in addition to police certificates from all countries where you have been living for the past ten years; medical test results and statements about your bank accounts, with a proof of legal origins of your funds.
If you have questions about a second passport and citizenship, as well as various residency by investment and skilled immigration programs, then you can go to the Bayat Group’s website and request a free consultation by filling out a simple form. Bayat Legal Service, headquartered in Dubai, which is a member of Bayat Group, is an Authorized Agent of all Caribbean and Vanuatu’s CBI programs, has a history of around three decades in the investment migration industry. Highly qualified lawyers and immigration experts can assist you with all citizenship or residency by investment and immigration programs.