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The biggest portal about international asset protection and diversification

Economic Citizenships: No Longer a Luxury but an Essential Insurance

There were times when offshore jurisdictions were of interest to just a limited number of wealthy people who wanted to get a second citizenship. Otherwise, they were traditionally used to realize aggressive taxation schemes, and this practice was considered almost legal. An alternative passport that you could get from an offshore state did not seem to give considerable advantages to ordinary people, so the target audience of the service was very limited, and dubious brands and “gray” intermediaries flourished in the market.

But the epoch of changes has come to stay. They started with the COVID-19 pandemic, and anti-offshore hysteria gradually captured the minds. As the situation around Ukraine began to deteriorate, stability and predictability in the relations between the leading countries became a thing of the past. Europe was hit by waves of refugees, several regional conflicts entered an active phase, and the confrontation between the United States and China seemed to cap it all. On the whole, those who were used to caring about the future suddenly found a lot of reasons to worry about it.

Second passport - insurance policy

Under these circumstances, the growing interest in second citizenship was quite natural and understandable. After all, an alternative passport provides a much higher level of personal security and simplifies asset protection and diversification. And, most importantly, it allows you to form a backup algorithm of actions, Plan B, in case you encounter significant difficulties that will pose a threat to you and your family.

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CBI Programs

At present, citizenship by investment is a highly effective tool that gives you more freedom and safety in life. Its target audience in the current geopolitical situation is not limited only to wealthy people: it also includes successful freelancers, people aged 50+ with a sufficient level of guaranteed income, businessmen (not necessarily those that own dozens of companies), private investors, and even some representatives of the budget sphere.

Relatively high investment requirements are no longer an insurmountable obstacle to prospective second citizenship program applicants. Prices for CBI services have decreased, but the total cost of the second passport is still relatively high. The market has undergone a “self-cleaning” procedure, thanks to which the number of unscrupulous intermediaries has significantly decreased (although the risks of facing fraud still remain!).

According to experts, CBI programs now rely on the rule of 3Cs: COVID, Climate, and Conflict. In the future, circumstances will be different and new “rules of the game” will be formed, but even these factors are sufficient to understand the obvious truth: CBI programs are no longer a toy for wealthy enthusiasts but a kind of “gold standard” when it comes to safety or asset protection.

Comparing citizenship by investment programs

Compare the programs →
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The main advantages of the second passport (remember, however, that you need to choose a jurisdiction after a thorough analysis – see more information here):

  • Guaranteed visa-free regime. Second citizenship is a much more reliable option for this purpose than residence permit/permanent residence: the latter can be taken away relatively easily while depriving you of citizenship will require much greater effort.
  • Unique opportunities to provide children and grandchildren with quality world-class education.
  • You can benefit from a much higher level of healthcare. The medical industry in the United States, the European Union, and advanced Asian countries is highly developed, while it is much more difficult to get quality medical care in Central and South America, poor Asian countries, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
  • Political and economic stability. CBI programs are highly appreciated by residents of Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Russia, and any other countries where life is becoming uncomfortable and inconvenient to some extent, and sometimes you can face real danger.
  • Wide opportunities for doing business and career building. Citizenship often becomes an obstacle to company registration and management, and the same factor may be particularly evident when you open bank accounts. But if you have a passport issued by a solid and safe jurisdiction, most of the problems disappear.
  • Legal tax optimization. If you have only one passport, your options are substantially limited, and tax savings will entail additional costs or an increased risk of being in the “gray” semi-legal zone. The second citizenship balances these problems and gives you a carte blanche.
  • Asset diversification. You will probably agree that it is quite difficult to protect your property if you have only one passport as the opportunities are limited. But if you can legally withdraw your assets (or at least a part of them) to a suitable offshore jurisdiction, you will be protected from any problems that may arise in your home country, including lawsuits, divorce, hostile takeover of the business, and the authoritarian measures taken by the governmental authorities.
  • You will pass the citizenship down for generations to come. In most cases, your children and grandchildren will get second citizenship almost automatically. Therefore, competent investments will have a really long-lasting effect.

A Surge of Interest in Second Citizenship Amid Global Uncertainty

It looks like global uncertainty became the main factor that boosted the popularity of second citizenship programs with ordinary citizens. There were surely many other aspects, but it is this lack of clear vision of the future that suddenly pushed many of us to seek some additional support, and CBI programs came in useful.

Let’s look at the terms “second citizenship”, “economic citizenship”, “citizenship for investment” and “golden passport”. They are sometimes used interchangeably, but not all of them are synonyms.

First of all, you can still obtain second citizenship in the traditional way – by naturalization, through marriage, by right of birth/blood, etc. There is an obvious drawback, though: it will take quite a long time, sometimes up to 10 years, which is incredible with the present-day pace of life. In addition, the probability of failure will be quite high, so this path is chosen only by those who are back to the wall or have plenty of time. If your priority is just a Plan B to add safety to your life, the traditional option looks absolutely unsuitable.

So, “second citizenship” does not always mean that you “buy” your passport for money: you can also pay with time and effort.

As for the remaining terms (economic citizenship, citizenship by investment, and golden passport), these are really synonymous. Keep in mind that a second passport is not something you just “buy”. This may be de facto true, but it is more of a mutually beneficial cooperation between you and the respective country: you invest funds into its economy to support it, and it gives you all the rights associated with its passport (after checking that the nature of your cooperation is clear and you will not use the rights illegally).

The second citizenship enjoys the highest demand with the following categories of people:

  • Citizens of countries with an unstable economic or political situation
  • Those who want to travel more freely
  • Those who want to form a safe airfield for the Plan B for themselves and their families 
  • Residents of countries involved in military or civil conflicts
  • Business people that use CBI programs to optimize taxation

Economic Citizenship Programs in the Caribbean

If you ask our experts about the winning citizenship by investment offers that enjoy the highest popularity with customers, we would definitely mention those of the Caribbean region. We surely have much more to propose, and Montenegro, Malta, Turkey, Vanuatu, or Cambodia could be among the destinations of your choice that offer CBI programs. But the Caribbean is now an optimal choice by overall characteristics that you are sure to appreciate as many more of our customers did.

Here are some comparative characteristics of CBI offshore programs in the Caribbean region (* – minimum value, ** – there are additional conditions) that may be of interest to you:

Criteria/CountryagAntigua and BarbudaknSaint Kitts and Nevis>gdGrenadalcSaint LuciadmDominica
Donation*USD 100,000USD 150,000USD 150,000USD 100,000USD 100,000
Investments in real estate*USD 400,000/USD 200,000USD 200,000USD 350,000USD 300,000USD 200,000
Dependent childrenYes (under 30 years of age)Yes (under 30 years of age)Yes (under 30 years of age)Yes (up to 25 years of age)Yes (under 30 years of age)
Application processing time3-6 months3-6 months3 months3-6 months2-3 months
Parents, grandparentsYes (55+)**Yes (55+)Yes (55+)**Yes (65+)**Yes (55+)
Visa-free entry, number of countries140+140+140+140+140+
Duration of mandatory residence5 days in the first 5 years of citizenshipNot requiredNot requiredNot requiredNot required
US E-2 VisaNoNoYesNoNo
One-time commission fee(1) USD 30,000 + USD 15,000None(4) USD 1500 + USD 500(5) USD 2,000 + USD 1,000 USD 1,000 (for application)
Identity verification (2)USD 7,500 + USD 7,500 USD 7,500 + USD 4,500 USD 5,000 + USD 5,000USD 7,500 + USD 5,000 USD 7,500 + USD 4,000 
Verification of dependents’ identity(3) USD 0 + USD 2,000 + USD 4,000 USD 4,000 (16+ years of age)(6) USD 0 + USD 2,000 + USD 5,000 USD 5,000 (16+ years of age)USD 4,000 (16+ years of age)
Application processing feeNoneUSD 250 per personUSD 1500 per personNoneNone
Control of nationalitiesYesYesNoNoNo
Mandatory interviewNoNoNoNoOn a case-by-case basis

Key to Table:

  • 1 – a family of 4 members + each additional dependent
  • 2 – for the main applicant + for the husband/wife
  • 3 – dependents aged 0-11 years, 12-17 years, 18-30 years
  • 4 – each applicant over 18 years of age + each child under 18
  • 5 – main applicant + each dependent
  • 6 – dependents aged 0-11 years, 12-17 years, 18-25 years

Main features of investment options:

  • One-time donation. It is non-refundable, but the total cost would be minimal.
  • Investments in government-approved real estate. The list of available facilities is shorter, but the threshold of financial requirements is lower.
  • Investments in any real estate. This option will require higher costs, but you will be unlimited in your choice.
  • Investments in business. The costs required are rather high, and you will have to fulfill some additional conditions (for example, create a certain number of jobs or keep your investments in the country for some time).
  • Investments in government bonds. The level of profitability will be quite low, and the costs to be incurred can be estimated as average.

Conclusions

Which of the above programs would be the best choice? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as the final decision will depend on many individual factors that our experts will take into account. Stay away from consultants who will offer you a miracle solution that will solve all your problems. Citizenship by investment is not a miracle but an instrument that may solve particular problems for you – if you analyze your situation beforehand and look at opportunities realistically.

What factors do we analyze to offer you the best solution? You may be a sole applicant or you may wish to get passports for all family members, and there are good options for each case. You may be willing to invest in a business in the Caribbean – or you may be very far from the world of entrepreneurship, and investments in business would be a poor choice in this case. Finally, each program has a particular bonus – for instance, visa-free traveling to China. And this bonus may be valuable to some of you and absolutely useless for others. And this is a consultant’s job to ask you the right questions.

You may be interested in reading more on a particular country where citizenship by investment program is offered:

Residence permits/permanent residence by investment are sound alternatives to CBI programs, and you can read more about these options here. The consultation where we can help you choose the best jurisdiction to suit your needs is free of charge, so you are welcome to write us an email at info@internationalwealth.info to book a session and talk to a competent consultant.

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