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The Best New Insurance Policy? Getting a Second Passport

24 November 2016

The Best New Insurance Policy? Getting a Second Passport
These days, having enough money can get you a second passport. A second passport is both your ticket to live in another country as well as to travel freedom. It is without question the ultimate insurance policy.

Citizenship by investment programs are those that offer foreign investors the opportunity to obtain citizenship in exchange for an investment into the specific country’s economy. Some investors choose to relocate to the country applying to, while others simply want a more powerful and convenient passport for travel purposes. High net worth immigrants often do not qualify for traditional immigration programs due to their age, or insufficient work experience in the eligible occupation, or they cannot find a job offer in the country in question. Thankfully, immigration through investment programs allow these investor-class emigrants the opportunity to apply for citizenship.

The perception that the second passport industry allows just about anyone to buy a passport couldn’t be further from the truth. Obtaining citizenship is protected by legal and constitutional principles and applicants must all undergo strict due diligence procedures regardless of the country applying to. After all, a country is only as strong as its weakest citizen, and countries offering these programs are not blindly accepting criminals.

Every year, more than 50,000 investors around the world apply through citizenship by investment programs. Nearly 50 countries around the world offer such programs with more capitalizing on this opportunity each year. The second passport industry generates billions of dollars annually and is nowhere near slowing down.

Why you should consider getting a second passport

For many Middle Eastern nationals, the economic and political outlook does not look promising for the future. Even those that have thriving businesses who are not looking to physically relocate should consider diversifying their passport portfolios.

Millions of Arabs live abroad, with more migrating each year. From those seeking asylum to the ultra-rich investing in passports, there is clearly a big divide. While wealthy Middle Easterners used to choose countries with the largest advanced economies including Canada and the USA, many are now opting for immigration programs in less-traditional parts of the world like the Caribbean, Cyprus, and Malta.
What are the incentives?

Some foreign investors choose to physically relocate to another country with the intention to start a new life with their families while enjoying the benefits of their new citizenship. However, not all investors want to emigrate.

For those that choose to stay put, a second passport is the ultimate insurance policy against an unpredictable future. It is a second place to call home when things take a turn for the worst. Thousands of investors already own second passports without ever leaving their home countries. These investors are known today as “Global Citizens,” or people who identify with being part of an emerging world economy. Aside from having two (or more) passports, global citizens also sometimes have offshore bank accounts, and properties and businesses overseas.

To make the most out of the increasing number of global citizens, many countries now offer second passports without requiring the applicant to set foot in the country before or after the passport is issued. The entire application process can be completed from the comfort of your own home. Countries such as Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis have no residency requirements while countries such as Portugal have very short residency requirements (7 days in a year).

Another benefit of a second passport is the increase in travel freedom attained. For frequent travellers including those that travel for business, a powerful passport is a valuable and almost essential asset. Some countries in the Middle East have among the weakest passports in the world, and adding a passport that would offer both convenience and mobility is optimal.

Examples of countries with powerful passports include Canada, giving citizens visa-free travel to over 170 countries, and Malta with over 160 countries. Even Caribbean countries, such as Antigua and Barbuda, offer visa-free travel to approximately 130 countries, making these passports relatively powerful. What makes the Caribbean an attractive option is that obtaining citizenship is very affordable starting at just US$100,000.

I am considering a second passport. What are my options?

The number of citizenship and residence by investment programs are numerous with the cheapest options being in the Caribbean islands. Investment requirements start as low as US$100,000 for Dominica.
European options include countries such as Spain and Portugal that offer Golden Visa residency options, where an applicant is required to purchase an approved property for about €500,000. Hungary, on the other hand, offers investments in risk-free bonds, where the initial outlay is returned after a lockout period of five years.

Canada’s province of Quebec offers its own program requiring an investment of CAD 800,000 for five years without interest, while the U.S. offers the EB-5 investor visa for an investment of US$500,000 or US$1 million depending on the location of the business investment.

Choosing the right program will all depend on your personal circumstance and expectations of the future. Do you intend to move to the country you are applying to, or are you just in need of a second passport for your portfolio? Do you intend on running a business in your new country of citizenship, or would you prefer to just lay back? How much are you willing to invest? Would you prefer investing in real estate, or in a government-backed security? These are all important questions you should know the answer to before committing to any immigration by investment program. Our office will discuss all of these (and more) with you to come up with the best immigration solution for you and your family. Contact us today.

For more information on Caribbean and European Citizenship by Investment Programs, please click here.

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