Would you like to acquire a second passport in the most efficient and timely manner? If so, your choice should be acquiring foreign citizenship by investment. Highly qualified experts of InternationalWealth portal will be happy to help you make the optimal choice. Our first consultation on the matter is free of charge!
We do not charge a fee for the initial consultation on acquiring foreign citizenship by investment. All you have to do is complete the form below the text or contact our experts directly.
Foreign citizenship by investment: the basics
What is foreign citizenship by investment? It is reasonable to break the concept down into key elements thus developing an understanding of its essence.
What is citizenship in general? This is an agreement between the citizen and the national state to work together with the purpose of acquiring mutual benefits. The citizen undertakes certain duties (they have to abide by the law, pay the taxes, etc.) and in exchange, they receive certain benefits from the state such as the right to elect and be elected, the right to work on the territory of the country, the right for consular protection abroad, access to healthcare and educational services, and so on.
Normally, national citizenship is granted by birth, by naturalization or by marriage. However, since 1984, several countries have started selling their passports to foreigners for money. Every citizen is supposed to contribute to the growth and development of their country. The investment that the foreign national brings when applying for a second passport will serve as such a contribution. In exchange for money, the investor acquires the following key bonuses:
- Protection against political or economic instability in their home country;
- New investment, banking, and business opportunities at the international level;
- New opportunities for asset protection, tax planning, and tax burden reduction;
- Visa-free transboundary travel;
- Access to high-quality healthcare and educational infrastructures;
- An opportunity to quickly evacuate from the country of their present residence and enter the foreign state as a full-fledged citizen, not as a refugee;
- An opportunity to upgrade their living standards;
- An opportunity to acquire second passports for all members of the family.
Foreign citizenship by investment: the selection criteria
Citizenship of a foreign country is an extremely valuable asset in the modern world. If you can afford making the investment, you should give this opportunity some serious consideration. The following nine countries allow literally purchasing their passports and acquiring foreign citizenship in a few months after applying for it: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Malta, Montenegro, Turkey, and Vanuatu.
Citizenship by investment – support from experts of InternationalWealth portal
A few other national states also grant citizenship to foreign investors but their programs are less appealing. As you can see, you do not have too large a choice of countries where you can acquire foreign citizenship. At the same time, each country will grant its citizenship to foreign nationals on different conditions. How can you make the optimal choice? We recommend that you should take into consideration the key criteria specified below and then consult InternationalWealth experts for some in-depth analysis of the options that look especially attractive to you.
Benefits of foreign citizenship by investment
As we have noted above, foreign citizenship by investment will bring a number of valuable benefits. However, the scope of the benefits that you can acquire will differ from one country to another. Below we discuss where each country stands in terms of the advantages that it has. (Please contact InternationalWealth experts for more detailed information.)
- Visa-free travel: Most countries granting citizenship to foreign investors guarantee visa-free entry to Great Britain, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and South America. All Caribbean passports with the exception of the passport of St Lucia now give visa-free access to Russia. The same is true for Vanuatu. The Caribbean states, Malta, and Vanuatu guarantee visa-free entry to the Schengen zone countries and Great Britain simultaneously (this opportunity is unavailable to citizens of Turkey and Montenegro). Grenada, Montenegro, and Turkey give their citizens a chance to acquire a non-immigration E2 visa to the United States. This visa will make you a legal resident in the USA while it does not entail tax residency in the country (unlike the green card). The Grenadian passport gives an additional bonus of visa-free travel to China, which is a unique advantage of this Caribbean country at the moment. The Maltese passport, in its turn, gives a visa-free entry to the USA.
- Taxes: The Caribbean states and Vanuatu levy very few taxes. No gift tax, nor inheritance tax, nor capital gains tax is payable in these countries. The Governments of Antigua, Nevis, and Vanuatu do not tax their citizens’ global incomes.
- Military service: Most countries that we are discussing exempt their citizens from military service. Grenada, for example, has no armed forces at all! This allows the local Government to levy smaller taxes on the people as the army costs do not have to be covered.
- Banking opportunities: If you hold one of the ‘toxic’ passports, you will especially appreciate the opportunity to gain access to international banking services when acquiring the passport of a reputable jurisdiction. The Maltese passport is certainly the strongest one in this respect.
- Business opportunities: If you are planning to use your new home country as a platform for launching an international business venture, it is important where the country is located on the planet. Vanuatu, for instance, is perfect for engaging in large-scale business in Asia and South Pacific. This is the only passport that gives visa-free transit through Australia and New Zealand. The passport of Montenegro or Malta will make your business operations in Europe simple. A Caribbean passport will let you establish business contacts with partners from North, Central, and South America.
- Lifestyle perspectives: All the countries granting citizenship to foreign investors are popular tourist destinations with a nice climate and a ‘resort’ lifestyle. Vanuatu, probably, stands out in this respect simply because the country is so remote! The Caribbean countries are far away from Europe but they are rather close to the Americas.
- Future developments: When choosing what country to apply to for a second passport, you should not limit yourself to considering only the present advantages that the country has. Things may change in the future! For example, Montenegro is preparing to become a member of the European Union in a couple of years. Vanuatu and Dominica are negotiating visa-free entry with China. St Lucia is thinking of offering a special tax regime to wealthy citizens.
The price of foreign citizenship by investment and the financial options
Foreign citizenship can be attained by making a non-returnable donation or a returnable investment in the host country’s economy. In the latter case, the investor has to keep the property in their possession for the period defined in the corresponding legislation.
- Donation: This option is normally the cheapest and the most effortless one. However, you have to give your money away. The state funds that receive donations from foreign investors applying for citizenship use the money to finance infrastructure development, promote the educational, medical, and other communal services in the country. All the countries that we are discussing here accept donations with the exception of Malta and Montenegro. A combination of a non-returnable donation and a returnable investment is required to qualify for citizenship of either of the two countries.
- Investment into real estate: This is the most attractive and the most popular option. The general tendency for real property is to grow in value over time. This means that the price for your house or apartment may grow over the years that you keep the property in possession. Another way to gain some return on investment is to let your property on a lease. Turkey would be interesting to consider if you are planning to acquire foreign citizenship by investing into real property. The required investment amount is comparatively small in the country and the foreign investor is free to choose any piece of property that they want to buy. This is an important note to make because in the Caribbean countries, you can buy only Government-approved property. Most of the time, this will be apartments or villas in resort complexes.
- Bank deposit and state bonds: There is also an opportunity to make a fixed-term bank deposit or purchase state bonds with the obligation to keep them for a fixed period. These kinds of investments are highly secure and simple to implement. The largest advantage of this investment option is that you are guaranteed to get your money back after a few years. However, the required investment amount is comparatively large and only two countries offer this opportunity, namely, St Lucia and Turkey.
- Investment into business, local company shares, and creation of jobs: St Lucia, Antigua, and Turkey offer such an opportunity but these investment options are least popular ones. Clearly, investing in an existing business venture or launching a new one always involves risks.
The ultimate price of the foreign citizenship is another important factor to consider. The Caribbean states sell their passports at the lowest costs. A single applicant for foreign citizenship should consider Dominica and St Lucia, as they both require a donation of US$ 100,000. A large family thinking of acquiring second passports should consider Antigua and Barbuda. A donation of US$ 150,000 will make a family of six members qualified to obtaining passports of the country.
If you would like to make a returnable investment when applying for foreign citizenship, its minimum required amount is naturally going to be higher. In addition, you will have to hold the property in your possession for three, five, or seven years. After the period expires, you can sell your property back (withdraw the money from the bank) without losing your second passport. The exact period of property possession will depend on the particular country and the type of investment that you have made.
The property possession period is the shortest in Turkey and Dominica, and the longest in St Lucia and Nevis. In any case, you can count on getting your money back eventually and maybe even making a small profit.
Ease of foreign citizenship acquisition
When applying for foreign citizenship, you have to bear in mind that ALL countries require that foreign investors bring clean criminal records. Besides, all of them want healthy foreigners only so you will also have to bring medical certificates for all members of your family. Finally, all countries granting citizenship by investment require that the applicant prove the legality of their sources of income. Some countries will also have additional requirements to foreign investors applying for their citizenship.
- Personal visit to the host country: Montenegro, Malta, and Turkey make it obligatory for foreign investors to visit the country before obtaining its passport. Applicants for citizenship of these countries have to acquire a legal residence permit first and submit their biometric data. All other states from the list above allow obtaining their passports remotely.
- A visit to the country after acquiring the passport: Antigua and Barbuda requires that the foreign national who has acquired citizenship of the country by investment should visit the islands at least once and spend at least five day there during the first five years of holding the passport of the country. If the investor fails to comply with this requirement, they face losing their passport of Antigua and Barbuda.
- Strict due diligence checks: The Republic of Malta practices strict due diligence checks when it comes to granting its citizenship to foreign nationals. The local authorities have to be so strict because they are under pressure from the EU authorities. Vanuatu, on the contrary, has the most relaxed requirements to the foreigners applying for citizenship of the country.
The speed of foreign citizenship acquisition
The timeframes of foreign citizenship acquisition vary from one country to another. In any case, however, acquiring foreign citizenship by investment is much faster that acquiring it by naturalization or even by marriage.
The average timeframe of foreign citizenship acquisition is four to six month. Some countries, however, process applications for citizenship faster than their competitors do. Nevis and Vanuatu will issue their passports to foreign investors after six to eight weeks (an additional payment for accelerated application processing is required in the former case though).
Malta is the country that takes the longest time to issue the passport to the foreign applicants for citizenship. You will have to wait at least for one year before you can become a citizen of Malta by investment. Such an extended waiting period is pregnant with risks. For example, the Maltese authorities might close their citizenship-by-investment program under the pressure from Brussels as Cypriot authorities did a short time ago.
Other important factors to consider when applying for foreign citizenship by investment
We suggest that you should take some other factors into consideration when choosing the country to apply for a second passport to. The most important of these additional factors include the following ones:
- Foreign citizenship confidentiality: All countries granting citizenship to foreign investors guarantee a certain level of confidentiality. None of them informs the authorities of the investor’s home country about their acquiring foreign citizenship. At the same time, some states make this information partially public. Malta, for instance, publishes the list of its new citizens every decade. The list contains the names of all new citizens who have acquired citizenship of Malta by investment, marriage, or naturalization. The method of citizenship acquisition is not specified in the publication. In Dominica, the immigration authorities have to report to the Parliament the names of all ‘economic’ citizens. The report is submitted once every ten years. After the report has been made, its text goes to the library that stores all official documents.
- Prestige: Some foreign passports are more prestigious in comparison to others. The passport of Malta stands out in this respect as well as the passport of Montenegro as the country is soon to join the EU.
- Passport terms of validity: Obviously, the longer your passport is valid, the better. Malta, Dominica, Nevis, Montenegro, Turkey, and Vanuatu issue ten-year passports. Other countries from the list above issue five-year passports.
Free consultation on acquiring foreign citizenship by investment
If you can afford investing in a second passport, foreign citizenship can bring you a number of weighty benefits. The choice of countries that administer citizenship-by-investment programs may not be so great but there are some important differences between the national programs anyway. The experts of InternationalWealth portal have profound knowledge of all such programs and we monitor all the changes that are constantly introduced to them. We will be happy to tell you about the latest discount programs and special offers that occur on a regular basis.
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