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Best Citizenship Program for Americans in 2023: Caribbean and Vanuatu

Americans request immigration services more and more frequently each year. Many U.S. citizens are well aware of the fact that the Caribbean and Vanuatu are the top destinations to be considered if you are thinking of adding another passport to your collection. If you are an investor, you have a unique opportunity to obtain a second passport online really quickly and enjoy lots of advantages at a moderate cost.

Second passport for Americans

Why Should Americans Get a Second Passport?

“How do I get a green card?” – any American immigration agent heard this question thousands of times from foreigners wishing to take root in the United States. However, new times bring new trends: in the 20s, the number of Americans seeking a convenient way to have a second passport in a safe jurisdiction – well, just in case – began to grow. What drives them to explore new horizons? Let’s take a look at the main reasons: 

  • Love for trips: The pandemic has fueled American interest in expanding rights to stay in other countries and cross foreign borders. As a tough lockdown was announced after the pandemic onset in March 2022, the American passport sharply lost its attraction for tourism lovers. It ensured visa-free entry to around 50 destinations, a modest figure comparable to the rights granted to citizens of third world countries (the CAR, Cameroon, Turkmenistan, and so on) before the travel restrictions were imposed following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Travel-hungry Americans accustomed to the absence of restrictions discovered how vulnerable they can be with just one citizenship in hand. As a result, they switched their attention to second passport opportunities to secure their right to cross borders even when crises hit hard. 
  • Remote work: The spread of remote work culture and a growing number of digital nomads following the pandemic have pushed many Americans to think about a permanent or long-lasting stay abroad. A readily available second passport simplifies such relocation. 
  • Taxes: US citizens pay income tax to the US Treasury – no matter where they actually reside or what period of time they spend outside the country. This is quite a burdensome obligation that you will not encounter in any other countries, except for Eritrea. Is there any way to get rid of personal income tax duty that Uncle Sam imposes? Well, you will need to give up your rights and obligations associated with American citizenship. 
  • Renunciation of US citizenship for other reasons than taxes: Political views, ideology and other similar considerations are sometimes referred to as a reason to give up American citizenship. A second passport in your pocket will prevent you from going nowhere as you will have a safe ‘reserve airfield’. 
  • Disguise: There are times when Americans feel safer if nobody knows their true country of origin, and a second passport satisfies this demand. There are places on the globe where the attitude to Americans is rather unfriendly, ranging from unflattering remarks of local residents to falling a victim of kidnappers or terrorists.
  • Plan “B” for the future: None of the above refers to you? Well, prudent Americans make far-sighted decisions and invest their time, money and effort in a second passport as a kind of insurance policy that will help them be more flexible and have more choices in the future if the situation in the homeland suddenly ceases to be comfortable. 

Why do Americans Invest in Economic Citizenship?

US citizens looking for an opportunity to quickly renounce American citizenship or those who need an urgent second passport deal with other motives in mind have finally got it: the procedure of economic citizenship acquisition is almost instantly done online! 

By comparison, a typical path to citizenship (for example, through naturalization) is quite a long story that will force you to be physically present in your potential new homeland for some unreasonably extended period. Just to illustrate, we’ll mention that Andorra sets 20 years (!) of residence as a minimum demand (however, the term is halved if the applicant attends local schools and language courses, but it still remains considerable). And if we take its neighbor, Spain, we will not see much difference: you have to stay glued to the country for 10 years, and this is just a declared figure! The reality is harder as the bureaucratic machine grinds its way too slowly, and the waiting period may last so long that it becomes unbearable. 

Do you think that endless bureaucracy and prolonged naturalization are the only hurdles you have to overcome? Nope. There are some other considerations which make citizenship by investment an obvious choice, and you can see the most important of them below:

  • You will need no proof of your integration into the local society
  • Neither will you need to take exams on the culture and laws of the host state
  • You don’t have time to learn another language and take a test? Economic citizenship means that you can skip this step
  • You will not have to meet strict physical residence requirements
  • The period of naturalization implies that you become a fiscal resident in the country where you intend to live. It means that you will be obliged to pay taxes without obtaining the citizen’s rights, and this may last for a long time. However, citizenship by investment spares you the effort: you start paying taxes after you become a citizen
  • Imagine you lived in the country for 9 years out of the required 10 and hoped to become a citizen in just one year… And the immigration rules changed all of a sudden as a new government came to power and adopted a new geopolitical doctrine. Sounds frustrating, right? Some people even feel devastated on hearing the news. Fortunately, economic citizenship means that you will never undergo this experience.

Most Americans that read the points above agree that economic citizenship is a much better choice than an ordinary way through naturalization and decide to obtain a second passport by investment.

In the long run, economic citizenship may be a much more profitable option for Americans with considerable income than meeting the fiscal obligations imposed by their native land.

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One Size Does Not Fit All: A Customized Program That Suits You Personally

If you think that there is one best-of-the-best economic citizenship program to address every need, we have bad news for you. The option you finally choose should make your life better in some way rather than add just another passport to your collection or give you an opportunity to relocate. If your immigration agent refers to a “unique offer” that suits everyone, you’d better find a different expert. 

Let’s look at the criteria helping to distinguish a good immigration agent from an unscrupulous one. 

  • The first one is interested in YOU and sells the product to YOU. He strives to give a recommendation that would be a perfect match to your situation. It is the reputation he puts first, not the sales. 
  • The second one will try to sell one program, a golden visa or passport, that he considers best. The problem is he offers the same option to everyone – just because he may receive a good commission from it, or he simply cannot propose any good alternatives which would suit you better. 

The second citizenship market is a live organism, which means that offers come and go. And a good immigration agent keeps track of all events and knows the nuances you would appreciate. Needless to say, this is the standard we stick to:

The questions below will help us select an optimal product for you, so you’d better think of answers before scheduling a meeting with our experts: 

  • What major goals do you set in life?
  • What countries are you planning to visit?
  • Are you ready to relocate to pay 0% tax?
  • When you are thinking of an ideal place to live, what is it?
  • Where is your bank based?
  • In which countries do you conduct business?
  • Where do you invest money?
  • What passports are there in your collection?

The world market currently has a dozen economic citizenship programs on offer to investors from the United States or other countries. The result? An independent search for the optimal product can become a real “headache”. You may decide to put up with it – or let the specialist do the job.

The information below will be useful to readers who are not ready to explore all the intricacies and features of individual products on their own.

Some of our clients answer these questions and then decide to look for an economic citizenship program by themselves – just to find nearly all available options, get lost in details and come to us to get relief. Well, this is our job to know all the technicalities and spare you the headache. 

Anyway, how to choose something suitable? Here is our way of addressing the issue.

Suppose you come to a drugstore and ask for the best pills. The logical question is – best for what? And we will adopt the same approach and give you a ranking of jurisdictions that are “best” for some particular situation. Ultimately, what matters when you make a choice? The right answer is – you matter. Knowing your priorities will help you pick several favorites from this list to discuss them with our experts:

  • Top choice for single candidates: Saint Lucia, Dominica
  • Fastest citizenship: Saint Kitts, Vanuatu
  • Citizenship with the most confidential procedure: Grenada, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu
  • Visa-free access to China: Grenada; Dominica
  • Optimal citizenship by investment in real estate: Turkey
  • Best for life and work in the EU: Malta
  • Top choice for a tax-free life: Antigua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Vanuatu
  • Best for applicants with families: Antigua
  • Visa-free access to the Schengen countries and the United Kingdom: Saint Kitts, Antigua, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Malta
  • A neutral country without an army: Grenada

Tick the items that are important for you, and the choice may become obvious. For example, you need exemption from taxes and access to Schengen states. It logically follows that the best options for you are St. Kitts and Antigua.

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Keep in mind that any conclusions you can make are of general nature. The result of working with our expert is a plan tailored to your needs which will be offered after a detailed analysis of your personal case. We are proud to say that we have helped a lot of wealthy people to set and achieve the goal in the field of investment immigration. 

Caribbean and Vanuatu: Our Favorites

We are all for individual approaches, and still we have our favorites… How can this be? There is no contradiction here: our experts analyze each case on an individual basis, but practice shows that citizenship by investment in the Caribbean and Vanuatu offers the best value for its money to Americans and investors from other states in most cases. Look at detailed information on each item in the list that we give below.

Saint Kitts

Want to quickly cut down on taxes? Welcome to St. Kitts and Nevis!

This island nation has the oldest economic citizenship program of those available on the market: it was launched back in 1984 and has retained its popularity up to the present day. In fact, other Caribbean programs are nothing more than its copies, which is the mark of time-proven reliability.

The requirements are quite straightforward – just choose one of the following options:

  • Make a $150,000 donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund
  • Buy approved real estate at $200,000
  • Buy approved real estate at $400,000 for a 7-year period (until November 2022, you can buy any housing at $400,000 for a 5-year period)

There are three advantages of St. Kitts which may be essential to you: 

  • You can pay a surcharge and obtain approval within 45-60 days (otherwise, applicants may wait for 4-6 months). 
  • You will enjoy visa-free entry to the United Kingdom, Schengen states, and Russia.
  • There is no personal income tax in St. Kitts, which means that you will pay no personal income tax at all if you renounce American citizenship. Otherwise, you will be subject to it no matter where you live.

CONCLUSION: St. Kitts and Nevis is the oldest and the most prestigious economic citizenship program that surely deserves your attention. Visa-free access to over 100 countries worldwide, efficient international tax planning and wealth management, a strong legal framework that makes it hard for creditors to get to you – all these features make St. Kitts and Nevis a Platinum Standard CBI, and we highly recommend it.

Dominica

A single applicant can get citizenship in a Caribbean paradise on Earth by making a $100,000 donation to the government of Dominica, and this is the cheapest option you can find!

The Dominican golden passport program was initiated back in the early 1990s and gained popularity as a product that gave good value for money. The local passport ranks first as the cheapest economic citizenship opportunity for solo applicants after Belize ($40,000) and the Comoros ($60,000) left the world market a few years ago. 

Candidates can either make a $100,000 donation or opt for investments in approved real estate ($200,000 or more). If you choose the second option, your investment will be refunded within 3 to 5 years. Successful applicants will benefit from visa-free access to China, Great Britain, and the Schengen countries.

Dominican investor passport is an award-winning program, recognized as the world’s best one by the Financial Times Professional Wealth Management magazine. However, this does not make the product universal. We recommend sharing all details of your situation with our experts – just to get confirmation that Dominica will meet your expectations. An essential thing is to be satisfied with your newly-received golden passport, right?

CONCLUSION: Dominica is one of the top-ranking options in the region if you need an affordable investor passport. Visa-free access to China will be useful for entrepreneurs that conduct business in Asia. 

Grenada

Do you need visa-free entry to China? Here is an opportunity to take. But that is not all: Americans that renounce US citizenship and get a Grenada passport can easily get an E-2 visa and visit their homeland without much hassle.

Grenada offered a full-fledged investment citizenship program more than 20 years ago and closed it in 2021 under pressure from the United States. The matter is that the US sought to tighten security and stop violators flocking to their territory after the shocking September 11th attacks in New York. An unconfirmed report refers to the Government of Grenada being bullied by the US authorities to curtail the program.

In 2013, Grenada’s citizenship by investment got back on track. Applicants opt for a Grenadian golden passport to travel to Russia and China without a visa and obtain an American E-2 business visa, which is a unique opportunity you will not find in other Caribbean analogs. 

A few more details about the E-2 option. 

As soon as you become a Grenadian, you can visit the US as a business owner using a simplified procedure. A beneficiary obtains a non-immigrant visa that does not require its holder to stay in the United States for most of the year (as a green card does). Subsequently, you don’t get a fiscal resident’s status or acquire any tax obligations to the US. This is a truly remarkable option that far-sighted business owners will appreciate. 

However, this feature attracts not only entrepreneurs. People wishing to give up American citizenship to reduce the tax burden usually want to visit the US without much trouble, and the Grenadian product gives the opportunity to do so. 

Want to become a Grenadian? There are two ways to do that:

  • make a $150,000 donation to the state
  • invest $350,000 in an approved real estate for 5 years

You can share the cost of real estate with 2 and more applicants, and you will have to invest $220,000 in this case.

Let’s look at the price tag. The truth is that Grenada’s scheme is not the most affordable offer on the market. But is it justified? Once again, we have no answer to that question until we know your needs and priorities.

As a Grenadian citizen, you will get:

  • no-visa access to Schengen countries and the United Kingdom
  • simplified visa procedure for China, Russia, and the US

Do you need all of these opportunities? Are you ready to pay a little more to get them? You may be unsure, and that is an ordinary course of things. In this case, come to an expert and clear your doubts. Actually, that’s what an expert is for!

The Grenadian product boasts an impeccable reputation in the investment immigration market. Applications are processed online, which is very convenient. Grenada is a politically neutral country that has no armed forces, so you will not have to pay any additional taxes on state defense. 

CONCLUSION: Grenada offers an expensive golden passport. However, many applicants are ready to bear additional costs to travel to the world’s key countries without bureaucratic hurdles. 

Antigua

Going to get second citizenship for a big family? Antigua is a place for you!

Antigua citizenship by investment was first granted in 2012. The requirement set for newly-minted citizens was quite simple: to live in the host state for 5 days in the first 5-year period of citizenship. The pandemic made its adjustments: you no longer need to spend any time in Antigua at all, remaining a ‘virtual citizen’. However, it would be nice to visit the island just to celebrate your new passport and relax at the seaside!

Antigua offers two more ways to invest your money into its economy in addition to those you will typically encounter in other Caribbean programs:

Ordinary ones:

  • A $100,000 donation to the government fund (this amount includes supplementary fees that are higher than in Dominica) 
  • Investment in approved real estate: a property worth $200,000 for 7 years or $400,000 for 5 years

Unique ones:

  • A $150,000 donation to the University Fund (the most advantageous option for families of 6 members if we consider additional fees). If you choose this option, you will be entitled to 1 year of study at the local branch of the University of West Indies.
  • Business investment: $400,000 to support the business conducted by locals. You don’t open your own company but rather invest in the government-approved business.

There is one undeniable benefit of the Antigua scheme for those especially concerned about taxes: fiscal residents don’t pay personal income tax on their income worldwide. This is the feature which distinguishes the program from competitive offers in the Caribbean. 

CONCLUSION: Antigua proposes a really interesting program with a variety of investment options and a low entry threshold for families. Ultimately, the larger the applicant’s family, the more profitable the program is. If you are the only one to apply, please turn to some other options.

Saint Lucia

An offer worth considering by solo applicants

The Caribbean paradise of Saint Lucia is a magnificent and truly inspiring place. The country with just over 180,000 inhabitants gave the world two Nobel laureates and an appealing citizenship by investment program – one of the youngest CBIs in the Caribbean and globally.

The program launched in 2016 set really tough requirements for prospective investors: personal wealth of at least $3 million (!). Fortunately, this requirement was canceled a year later.

The figure was reconsidered several times ever since. In 2022, an economic citizenship in Saint Lucia will cost you $100,000 – just like in Dominica. 

CONCLUSION: Saint Lucia’s modest donation requirements ($100,000) have made it a good competitor to Dominica, with solo applicants flocking in to obtain a second passport as an important component of their Plan B. However, large families seeking citizenship by investment are advised to look for other alternatives. 

Vanuatu

Speed and simplicity: that’s what Vanuatu is about 

The launch of new economic citizenship programs in the Asia-Pacific region was in the air for many years. However, only one local jurisdiction offers investor passports right now, and this is Vanuatu. 

Applicants will need to make a $145,000 donation (payments to government funds and agency fees included). The Vanuatu passport entitles the holder to travel to the UK, Ireland, and about 90 other destinations without a visa.

In May 2022, visa-free entry to the Schengen countries was temporarily suspended for Vanuatu citizens. The matter is that the European officials expressed their dissatisfaction with security checks that newly-minted economic citizens underwent and called them ineffective. The Vanuatu authorities are expected to address the concerns by February 2023, or the sanctions will be further extended. 

Additional bonuses:

  • no personal income tax on worldwide income for fiscal residents
  • the right to pay for your golden passport not only with standard American dollars but also with Japanese yen, New Zealand and Australian dollars, as well as crypto. 

CONCLUSION: Vanuatu will be the best choice for those who dream of living in a tax-free tropical state or want to prepare a bridgehead for business expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Do You Have One or Two Citizenships? Get More!

A part of our job involves working with people who want to have a safe future and wide opportunities. And here is a popular wisdom that we share with our clients: you cannot have too many citizenships. The golden passport you will get should be just one item in your collection! We often say that keeping all eggs in one basket is a bad idea, but nobody says how many baskets will be safe. And if you want to know our opinion, here it is: get as many as you can, but at least three!

Economic citizenship is an investment, and the concept of investment is not just about money. In a wider sense, it’s about diversification of opportunities. You should have a choice of fiscal jurisdictions, political systems, travel possibilities, and much more. You ultimately invest in your mobility and flexibility in many aspects of life, which creates the safety and security we are all seeking.

Is there an optimal ‘passport collection’? Well, we can surely give some general recommendations, but it really depends on the opportunities you want to have and your personal details. For instance, why should you get a passport that allows visa-free entry to China if you are not planning to ever visit the Celestial Empire? Or else – why spend 715 thousand euros on the economic citizenship of Malta if you can get an Italian citizenship by origin and enjoy no-visa travel to the EU? These are just some of the considerations, and we strongly recommend discussing the rest with our experts to make a final decision.

Citizenship by Investment: Options Accessible for Americans and Non-Americans

If we talk about a good combination, here is one of them that we, the portal experts, usually advise our clients to think about: a low-cost economic citizenship in the Caribbean and a European golden visa. This combo will allow you to obtain prestigious European citizenship by naturalization and freely choose a place to settle down in the EU in just a couple of years.

As for the choice of a European country, we usually recommend Portugal. The truth is that not many EU states will give you a residence permit in return for your investment, but Portugal is one of these. In addition, when it comes to naturalization, investors undergo a simplified procedure.

The requirements are quite liberal as compared to its neighbors:

  • stay in the country for a week each year for a 5-year period
  • when the first requirement is met, pass the Portuguese language test
  • it’s in the bag! You get your naturalized citizen status without becoming a Portuguese tax resident, and this may be an essential feature for some of you.

To summarize, the plan looks as follows: you get a residence permit (golden visa) by investment, comply with the requirements for 5 years, pass the language test, and finally become a naturalized citizen in Portugal. Meanwhile, you take advantage of all the rights granted by your Caribbean passport and the Portuguese golden visa. Read more on Portugal here to see the process in detail – or schedule a meeting with our expert.

Obtain a New Item for your Collection: Apply for a Second Passport

There are people who buy so many things that their home becomes cluttered. In contrast, there are buyers who adopt a conscious spending doctrine and never purchase more than they really need to. And we are all for the second approach: our experts help clients identify their real need and choose the right citizenship to satisfy it.

Some clients address us and say that they need visa-free entry to as many countries as possible – and we can satisfy this need, of course. However, we always try to identify the real priority behind it. You don’t need a discount to all shops in the world, do you? You have several shops you like, and you would be happy to buy things there at a lower price. And this is something we discuss with our clients at a personal meeting, which sometimes brings surprising results.

And another important point looks like this: if you see a really good second passport option that suits you perfectly, don’t deliberate for too long. Opportunities available on the market tend to suddenly disappear.

Several good programs have been closed in recent years due to external pressure, new government coming to power, corruption scandals and some other factors. Comoros, Cyprus, Moldova, and Bulgaria are among the countries that no longer offer investor passports. Montenegro will not accept any applications after December 31, 2022.

No matter what you listen to – your dreams, cold ratio or some inner urge – when you identify a great opportunity, go for it. This is one of the greatest lessons of the offshore world: you never know what will happen in a matter of several months. And our experts are here to help you see what you need and take it.

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Contact the portal team for a free introductory session! Send a request via a live chat or use one of the phone numbers above to reach us.

What exactly do you mean by ‘Citizenship by Investment’?

Citizenship by investment is a procedure that allows wealthy persons to become foreign passport holders in just a few months. You typically make a state-approved investment into the respective country’s economy and get your citizenship with all associated rights.

Citizenship by investment is actually a business transaction. You are not required to have any ties with the country, like being married to a local or originating from it. You pay for the right to be in that society and take advantage of its privileges.

Which economic citizenship scheme is at the top of the range?

That depends on your requirements. If you need an opportunity to visit as many countries as possible without a visa, Malta would be ranked first. However, a Maltese passport is quite a costly affair, so you have to be sure you need all those opportunities and no cheaper alternative exists. A destination for immigration by investment is something that should be selected with care. With that in mind, we offer personalized services and comprehensive support on your way.

Which citizenship by investment option is the most affordable one?

If you are a solo applicant, Dominica and Saint Lucia share first place with $100,000 payable for the passport. Applicants with a large family are advised to look at Antigua where you can get 6 passports for $150,000 + a free one-year study at a local university.

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