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Second Citizenship and Passport Market in the MENA Region: An Overview

 QICMS

Published   05:31 AM 30 May 2017
Updated    05:32 AM 30 May 2017

Second Citizenship and Passport Market in the MENA Region: An Overview
For companies that specialize in Citizenship by Investment Programs (also known as second citizenship and passport schemes), business is booming all over the world as global strife and crises continue to affect foreign nations—particularly in the Middle East. It’s no surprise that a number of wealthy citizens from countries entangled in political upheaval or civil war are seeking a way out by obtaining a second citizenship and passport. In this respect, the connection is simple: as regional conflict increase, there is a greater chance an individual will seek a more stable destination such as Europe or the Caribbean.

Now more than ever, foreign nationals in the greater MENA region are exploring second citizenship and passport options. In fact, citizens from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, make up about 30% of the Citizenship by Investment market—a number that has doubled not only following the Arab Spring, but the recent election of Donald Trump in the United States. While Trump’s travel bans failed to last, heightened anti-immigration rhetoric has continued to raise concern among Middle Eastern citizens facing travel sanctions or restrictions due to their country of origin. As a result, obtaining a second citizenship and passport is becoming a universal trend for those who can afford it.

You may still be asking yourself, “Why is having a second citizenship and passport important?” For starters, having a second passport is similar to life insurance—it’s there when you need it or in case of an emergency. For foreign nationals from war-torn areas of the world, it’s a commodity worth its weight in gold. By obtaining a second citizenship in countries such as Cyprus, Malta, St. Lucia, or Grenada (to name a few), successful applicants and their family are granted a second passport and access to hundreds of countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival.

Although companies that offer immigration solutions through investment are becoming more commonplace, it is still a niche market. Currently, there are ten countries that offer the best Citizenship by Investment Programs—not to be confused with Residency by Investment Programs—around the world. Even more, Citizenship by Investment Programs target a specific audience: high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals. In other words, applicants are required to make a minimum investment amount into a country’s economy in order to receive their second citizenship and passport.

Some of the most popular programs are in the Caribbean, which offer eligible applicants more affordable options and fast-track application processing, as opposed to some European Citizenship by Investment competitors. For example, investment amounts in the Caribbean can be as little as USD $100,000, whereas countries such as Cyprus require investments of up to EUR 2 million. This is why which type of Citizenship by Investment Program is chosen depends on what benefits an applicant is looking for, whether it’s full rights of a European citizen or simply greater travel freedom with a passport from St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, or St. Lucia.

Whichever route is chosen, it’s important to keep in mind that all countries that offer foreign nationals a second citizenship and passport take effort, time, and you guessed it: money. Because of this, applying to a Citizenship by Investment Program should not be taken lightly, and it is a decision that requires commitment from beginning to end, whether it’s obtaining all documents required by the program, making the proper investment amount, or filling out the actual application.

Due to the tedious process of applying for second citizenship, applicants rarely (if ever) work directly with the country’s government, but instead use the assistance of immigration consultancy firms, such as QICMS (Invest-Visa), immigration lawyers, or licensed agents. Finding the right people to work with can be challenging, especially for foreign nationals in the MENA region, and why we at QICMS always advise individuals seeking immigration solutions to do proper research about Citizenship by Investment Programs and companies that offer them.*

*For more information about these topics, please refer to our blogs ‘Finding the Right Immigration Company’ and ‘Immigration Lawyers vs. Consultants: Weighing Out your Options’.

Final Thoughts

For Middle Eastern citizens, obtaining a second citizenship and passport is becoming the best way to secure a better future for themselves, and especially their family. Although it comes at a price, investing in a second citizenship and passport from Caribbean or European nations provides a number of benefits that include greater travel freedom, safety, and more importantly, a second citizenship and passport provides a valuable “back-up plan” in an emergency situation.

If you are still unsure about Citizenship by Investment Programs, perhaps now is the time to ask yourself, “What is my family’s future worth?” Contact our office today to discuss your second citizenship and passport options with our team of professionals.

For more information on Citizenship by Investment in St. Lucia, please click here.

For more information on Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus, please click here.

To view all of our Citizenship by Investment Programs, please click here.

To see our Citizenship by Investment Program comparison table, please click here.

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