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Obtaining Second Passports Increasing for Middle Eastern Nationals

26 March 2017

Obtaining Second Passports Increasing for Middle Eastern Nationals
Immigration policies around the world are becoming more stringent and as a result, many Middle Eastern families are using their wealth to obtain a second passport. Families residing in the MENA region are among several countries opting for immigration solutions, including foreign nationals from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon, and Palestine to name a few. Even more, Middle Eastern citizens are willing to invest hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, to obtain a second citizenship and passport in the Caribbean and Europe.

For high net worth individuals, obtaining a second passport offers a number of benefits to qualifying applicants and family. Holders of a second passport are not only afforded more travel freedom, but are able to take advantage of economic and social benefits granted to citizens. As immigration becomes more uncertain for Middle Eastern nationals, having a second passport in the Caribbean or Europe is similar to acquiring a life insurance policy. So which option is best for you and your family? Below we will provide an overview of Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) that offer second passports in the Caribbean and Europe as well as numerous benefits provided.

Second passports in Caribbean nations

In the Caribbean, fast-track second citizenship and passports are offered in Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint-Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada through each country’s Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIPs). For those looking for affordable immigration options, investors can obtain a second passport for themselves and eligible family members in Saint Lucia or Dominica for USD $100,000 in as little as 2-3 months. Acquiring a second passport in the Caribbean also grants visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to more than 100 countries worldwide, including the UK and Schengen region. For example, applicants to the Saint-Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI) are granted visa-free travel to over 125 countries including the European Union (EU), and citizens are able to reside in any of the Caribbean Community countries (CARICOM).

However, applicants to Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs are not bound by physical residency requirements. What this means is that an applicant and his or her family are not obligated to permanently relocate to their country of choice. In fact, Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Program is the only Caribbean program that requires applicants to spend 5 days in the country within a 5-year period. With such lax residency requirements, it’s no surprise that many families are opting for a second citizenship and passport in the Caribbean.

Second passports in European nations

If obtaining European a citizenship and passport is what you’re after, applying to Cyprus or Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program is the more popular option for ultra high net worth foreign investors. For Middle Eastern nationals experiencing political turmoil or government restrictions due to their country of origin, obtaining a European passport an excellent way to secure more freedom.

In Cyprus, second citizenship and passports are granted to applicants and dependent children (up to the age of 28) in 3 months. Unlike Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs, European second citizenship and passports come at a higher price. For those who can afford it, benefits of holding a European passport provide applicants added benefits including greater travel freedom.  Cypriot citizens are also provided visa-free and visa-on-arrival to 159 countries across the world, as well as employment and residential mobility, access to top-notch healthcare, and greater safety. However, holders of a Cypriot passport are not required to permanently live in Cyprus and there is no need to renounce current citizenship in order to maintain your new one.

Similar to Cyprus, Malta grants successful applicants and their dependents (up to the age 25) Maltese second citizenship and passport by investing EUR 1.15 million in combined investment options that include real estate and economic or social contributions. In exchange, applicants holding a Maltese passport have the right to live, work, and study anywhere within the 28 EU countries, as well as granted visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 168 countries including the U.S. and Canada. In general, applications to Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program are processed in as little as 4 months.

Final thoughts

Obtaining a second citizenship and passport in the Caribbean or Europe is without a doubt increasing for Middle Eastern families, and it is the best way to acquire greater travel freedom and benefits provided by his or her chosen country. For some, acquiring a second passport is like an insurance policy and handy to have in a case of an emergency. Choosing between Caribbean and European Citizenship by Investment options also depends on personal circumstances and/or needs when looking for immigration solutions abroad. At QICMS, our qualified team members are ready to answer any questions and assist you in your immigration planning. Contact our office today to discuss your options.

To see our Citizenship by Investment Comparison Table, please click here.

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

Fill out our Free Assessment to see if you qualify for any of the investment programs offered.
 

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