Citizenship by investment
Citizenship-by-investment is on the rise around the world. According to the Knight Frank World Wealth Report 2017, over 2.4bn is spent on citizenship-by-investment each year – with most of this demand coming from China, the Middle East, and Russia.
Plenty of other countries have seen a spike in the popularity of dual nationality however – particularly those in Europe. Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Croatia, Romania and Portugal all saw an increase in second citizenship of over 100% in the past decade or so.
But just what is behind this popularity? And why are so many high-net-worth individuals turning to citizenship-by-investment to secure dual nationality?
Why choose citizenship by investment?
Each investor will have their own specific reasons for taking part in citizenship-by-investment programmes – and there are plenty of good reasons to chose from.
Global mobility: Global mobility is an issue of personal and professional freedom. Of being able to travel, live, and work wherever you want – without the headache of lengthy visa delays and restrictions. For many – those with ‘strong passports’ – this is a non-issue. For others, it can be a very real barrier to success. For high-net-worth individuals, citizenship-by-investment and the second passport that it offers can bring a level of global mobility that might not otherwise be available.
Stability and security: Obtaining second citizenship is a great way to insure against government instability, war, or any other factor that may lead to displacement. For the increasing number of people who worry about increasing political and economic turmoil, citizenship-by-investment can offer invaluable peace of mind.
Tax advantages: Many wealthy individuals are realising second citizenship can pay for itself in tax relief. With a 0% corporate income tax rate (along with many other favourable rates) offered by several countries around the world, particularly those in the Caribbean, the potential savings are clear.
Trade and investment: A restriction in travel often relates to a restriction in trade and investment. Countries that enjoy positive standing on the world stage also enjoy an abundance of global treaties and agreements, which grants citizens increased rights to travel, trade and invest freely. Citizenship-by-investment can offer access to preferential trade agreements, services and conditions that would be inaccessible to non-citizens.
Quality of life: Obtaining a second passport via a citizenship-by-investment programme not only improves your ability to trade and travel, it can improve the quality of your life too. While most citizenship-by-investment programmes don’t require you to relocate, the fact that you can if you wish is a real plus to many. For those with means, second citizenship can be the first step in building a new life somewhere you really want to be.
Second citizenship – where will you choose?
There are plenty of citizenship-by-investment programmes that offer second passports around the world, from Europe to the Caribbean. NGE’s range of services currently includes 15 citizenship and residency-by-investment programmes:
Antigua and Barbuda
St. Kitts and Nevis
The Caribbean is considered to be the grandfather of second citizenship programmes and remains a popular choice. The top five Caribbean programmes all offer economic citizenship and a second passport in exchange for investment. They also offer security; a guaranteed home-from-home whenever you want it and attractive tax regimes that safeguard your wealth for the future.
The European citizenship-by-investment programmes offer much of the same and are also very popular among those seeking economic citizenship. The fact that Europe is home to 15 of the 20 most desirable passports according to the 2017 Nomad Passport Index,
You can secure a second passport in Europe for as little as EUR 250,000 and enjoy the same freedoms and prestige as any other European citizen – including the ability to live, travel or work across any EU member state.
Am I eligible for economic citizenship?
The major eligibility requirement when applying for economic citizenship is financial – therefore if you have the means, you are likely to be approved.
The total financial contribution required will depend of which of the many citizenship-by-investment programmes you choose. The two countries with the most affordable second passports are Saint Lucia and Dominica – both awarded on non-refundable donations of USD 100,000 into government funds. Many of the other Caribbean programmes are available on similar terms – a minimum of USD 200,000 for Antigua and Barbuda; USD 200,000 for Grenada; 250,000 for St. Kitts and Nevis.
Securing second citizenship in the EU requires a higher investment – up to EUR 2m in Cyprus.
The most attractive European second passport from a financial perspective is arguably Bulgaria, which allows you to invest just over EUR 500,000 into fully secured government bonds for five years, with another EUR 500,000 earning you fast-track to economic citizenship within one year instead of five. Financing options are available on most European and Caribbean programmes.
Finances aside, there is one other major eligibility consideration. Every programme requires that investors in economic citizenship are of ‘good character’ – meaning you should hold a clean criminal record, and your wealth must be of legal origin. You’re often further required to demonstrate a clean bill of health, particularly with regards to infectious diseases. Many EU programmes also require you to be in good standing, which usually means you are not in debt, haven’t had any assets frozen and are not on a banned travel list.
NGE second citizenship services
Our team of multi-national citizenship professionals have the experience and expertise to help you and your family apply for the right citizenship or residency option.
We are available for a confidential consultation by phone, email, or in person. Please submit the form to contact us online or call us to arrange a visit. We look forward to hearing from you.