The COVID-19 pandemic has severely limited everybody’s mobility. Does it make sense to apply for a second passport now when the borders are closed? Can we hope that things will be ‘back to normal’ soon? Will we ever be able to travel around the globe just the way we used to do? Opinions differ. Let us see what the pessimists forecast and what the optimists hope for.
Some experts believe that the restrictions of mobility that the pandemic has entailed are going to remain in place for years to come even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Other experts insist that it is the right time to acquire a second passport thus gaining an advantage over other people in the post-COVID era. Below we analyze the arguments that both parties put forward.
Second passport and paradigm shift
Before the pandemic started, global mobility had been growing over a few decades. Between 2006 and 2019, the average number of visa-free destinations available with 20 strongest passports grew from 126.5 to 187.
It looked as if this tendency was impossible to overturn until March 2020. However, the spread of the coronavirus has made governments introduce some restrictive measures. These include the following ones:
Travel bans: Many national borders remain closed. Some states have introduced lockdowns. People who were active travelers before are facing a completely new reality. The changes have affected everyone from state leaders to ordinary tourists.
Visa revocations: In addition to the closure of borders, travelers have had to face visa revocations. A number of national states have resolved not to let any foreigners in to combat the spreading of the virus.
Expert opinion: after mass vaccination, the degree of mobility will be determined not only by the first/ second passport that the traveler holds but by his/ her personal history
Currently, vaccination is occurring at the rate of ten million injections per week and this number is growing. Some people hope that temporary restrictions on mobility will soon be lifted. Once and forever. However, some globalization specialists believe that going ‘back to normal’ is highly improbable.
Some less skeptical experts say that it is going to take a long time before the world becomes fully functional again. During this time, a second passport and foreign citizenship are not going to be effective instruments that allow crossing national borders with ease.
The United States serves as a bright example of a country whose citizens have faced a sharp decrease in their mobility. In January 2020, Americans had 184 countries that they could visit without visas and now they have only 75 such countries. This number is expected to start increasing with time but the increase is going to be gradual.
Holders of European, Japanese, Singaporean, and South Korean passports have not seen such a sharp drop in the number of foreign countries where they can go. However, they have to face much stricter security protocols when crossing borders anyway.
For instance, those who want to avoid a burdensome quarantine when arriving in a foreign country have to submit proof of their immunity to the virus. They have to submit a document to the customs control that certifies their having antibodies (such as a vaccination certificate, for example).
At the same time, it is important to realize that the vaccination campaign is not a panacea that is capable of restoring the freedom of movement for second passport holders. Experts expect that travel restrictions will initially be relaxed within regions only and only after some time, they will be lifted globally.
Even if the vaccination campaign proves successful notwithstanding the gigantic costs that it has, migration is going to be limited to the continents at the initial stage. Europeans will be free to move across Europe, Asians – across Asia, Americans – across the western hemisphere, and so on. The economic depression that many countries are experiencing now, the political and cultural xenophobia, and other factors make this scenario quite probable.
These predictions are rather gloomy. However, there are some alternative views that can brighten up the perspectives that the world has.
Second passport, coronavirus, and world crisis: an alternative viewpoint
Some island states do not have large territories nor natural resources that would be sufficient for survival. For this reason, they have to look for some sources of income that are somewhat out of the ordinary. Five Caribbean states, for instance, offer their citizenship to foreign nationals who make investments into their economies.
Acquiring a second passport of a Caribbean country does involve going through serious due diligence procedures and this should be clear. Thus, to obtain foreign citizenship you do not only have to have a sufficient sum of money at your disposal but you also have to be a reliable person. Only law-abiding citizens of other states can acquire a second passport in the Caribbean.
Please bear in mind that you will not be able to apply for a second passport unless you can submit a clean criminal record from the police authorities of your home country.
Another important factor to take into account is the heavy dependence of some island states, including those located in the Caribbean basin, on tourism. Now, the tourist industry is suffering more than any other industry from the pandemic and the global lockdown. People cannot go on vacation to a foreign country these days!
As the number of tourists has dropped dramatically, the Caribbean states that run citizenship-by-investment programs are trying hard to promote the sales of second passports to foreigners. Obviously, they have to find some way to compensate for the losses that their hotels, restaurants, and beach facilities are making. This is why you can see some really attractive offers during the pandemic times. We understand that this may sound cynical but now is the right time to take advantage of the satiation and buy a second passport at a discounted price.
Here are five more reasons to apply for a second passport without any delay:
A second passport provides for the possibility to freely move around the world (when the pandemic is over).
Having citizenship of a foreign country means having a place to resort to if staying where you are becomes unsafe or too burdensome for this or that reason.
In times of crises, the number of wealthy people wishing to acquire second passports always grows. As the world is certainly going through a crisis at the current moment, you may soon find yourself in a long queue for a second passport. This is a good reason to act now without doubt.
The crisis has caused uncertainty about the stability of various national residence permit acquisition procedures and citizenship-by-naturalization requirements. These are alternative ways of acquiring foreign residency/ citizenship but first, they require that you physically reside in a foreign country to qualify for a permanent residence permit or citizenship by naturalization (citizenship-by-investment programs do not require that). Second, becoming a naturalized citizen of a foreign country will take between three and twenty years of living there, depending on the particular national legislation. Acquiring a second passport in exchange for an investment normally takes between two and four months. Third, the rules can change! What is available today may become unavailable tomorrow! You should act now!
Global instability makes it hard to predict what will happen next in your home country whatever country it is. The economic crisis may prove extremely deep, as a matter of fact. So do not wait for too long to use the chance to diversify your assets geographically. It is unlikely that all national states are going to suffer to the same degree and if you have a piece of property or a bank account in a foreign country (or two or three), you will definitely feel more secure.
Where do we stand? Nobody knows what the future has in store for us. Nobody knows when the pandemic is going to end and how terrible its economic consequences are going to be. But in order to protect the future for your family you have to take measures right now. Investing in a second passport is a must do if only you can afford it. The price of a second passport starts at US$ 100,000 and you can apply for it remotely. The latter fact is an especially valuable opportunity in the lockdown times.
Build a safety net by purchasing a second passport with professional assistance
Do not put off until tomorrow… you know the ending of this saying. Offshore Pro Group is a team of experts who have been in the investment immigration business for years and years. We know all the requirements that each national citizenship-by-investment program puts forward. We know what competitive advantages each of them has. We know what pitfalls need to be avoided when applying for a second passport. We will be glad to see you among our clients who happily hold second passports (and some of them have even more than two passports!).
You are welcome to apply for a free professional consultation on acquiring a second passport. We practice a personalized approach to every customer and we will find a solution that will be optimal in your personal case.
Please contact us by email (see top of the page), WhatsApp (see bottom of the page) or the live chat that pops up on the right. Things are changing very quickly and there is no time to waste at all! We are looking forward to hearing from you soon!
Why do I need a second passport during the pandemic when the borders are closed?
There is a philosophy that suggests that we should live for today never thinking about the future. If you do not care what your future is going to look like, then you do not need a second passport. If you do, however, the crisis times are the best times to acquire foreign citizenship: it is sold at a discount that you may never find again, when the bad times are over.
How is the pandemic affecting the value of a second passport?
Experts are positive about the prospects of the investment immigration industry. The demand for second passports is growing and the prices are lowering. If the current tendency continues, we may soon see long lines of foreign investors applying for a second passport. This clearly means that you should not procrastinate and apply for foreign citizenship as soon as you can.
Can I acquire a second passport of a European state instead of a Caribbean one?
Yes, you can. Malta is an EU member state that has a citizenship-by-investment program. The price of the Maltese passport is substantially higher than that of a Caribbean passport (close to a million euros in total). Montenegro also offers an opportunity to obtain a second passport at a lesser price. Besides, some countries have ‘golden visa’ programs. A golden visa issued in exchange for an investment is a permanent residence permit that makes the holder eligible to apply for full citizenship after five years. Portugal, for instance, provides for such an opportunity. You do not have to permanently reside in the country during the five but you do have to spend at least one week there every year to qualify for citizenship.