When it comes to wealth, high net worth individuals can obtain just about anything—including a second citizenship and passport. These days, obtaining a second citizenship in the Caribbean or Europe through Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) is precisely what the ultra-wealthy are doing.
It’s well known that you have at least to spend several years in a foreign country before it allows you to apply for its citizenship. But for those who can afford it, people from all over the world are investing in another country’s economy and in exchange, the investor and his or her immediate family are granted second citizenship and a passport. Depending on the country of choice, a second citizenship and passport provides a number of perks that include greater travel freedom, access to better healthcare, tax benefits, and no government has the exclusive power over your destiny or your net worth.
In recent years, Citizenship by Investment Programs have gained a lot of popularity among the wealthy. There are many reasons why an individual opts for a second citizenship and passport, whether it’s to find solutions to travel restrictions from one’s country of origin or avoid shifting political climates and trends concerning immigration. Whatever the reason, wealthy investors are turning to second citizenship and passports offered by Caribbean and European nations in higher numbers than ever before.
For those who are looking to obtain a second citizenship and passport it can become an essential, once-in-a-lifetime task and thus very significant. Even more, a second citizenship is valuable insurance in case of public unrest, political chaos, major lawsuits, and financial collapse. The most impressive case of how second passports have saved lives, assets, and families is during the Arab spring. For some Middle Eastern nationals, obtaining a second (dual) citizenship and second passport is as vital as having a life insurance policy.
Caribbean Second Citizenships and Passports
Where you choose to obtain a second citizenship and passport also depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If obtaining a second citizenship and passport for a low investment amount is what you’re aiming for, then Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs offered by Saint Lucia or the Commonwealth of Dominica is the practical choice. For as little as USD $100,000, foreign investors can obtain Saint Lucian or Dominican second citizenship and passport in 3-4 months without ever having to set foot in either country. In fact, none of the Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs have strict residency requirements to in order to maintain citizenship.*
In realistic terms, Caribbean second citizenships and passports are often regarded by wealthy foreign nationals as a kind of insurance policy—it’s essentially a travel document that provides greater mobility or a back-up plan in worst case scenarios. On average, holders of a Caribbean passport also have visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to over 100 countries across the world, including the UK and Schengen region. In addition, certain island nations such as Saint Lucia provide passport holders the right to live in any of the 14 states under the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). When it comes to affordable second citizenships and passports, the Caribbean is the tropical paradise you’re looking for.
*Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) requires applicants to spend 5 days in the country within a 5-year period.
European Second Citizenships and Passports
However, not everyone is interested in a tropical paradise. For the ultra-wealthy, Europe is the destination of choice for obtaining a second citizenship and passport. In European countries such as Malta and Cyprus, second citizenships and passports can be obtained by investing EUR 1.5 million or EUR 2 million in the country’s economy. Although investment amounts for European Citizenship by Investment Programs are much higher, holders of a European Union (EU) passport gain a number of benefits that are not offered by Caribbean nations. These extra benefits include visa-free and visa-on arrival access to more than 150 countries worldwide, access to top-notch European healthcare and education, and the right to live, work, or study in any of the 28 EU countries with minimal restrictions.**
Like their Caribbean counterparts, European Citizenship by Investment Programs do not enforce physical residency requirements once citizenship is obtained, nor is physical residency required in order to maintain it. Even more, holders of a Cypriot passport, for instance, can pass down their European citizenship to future generations.
** EU citizens can legally reside in another EU country for up to three months without any restrictions or requirements other than holding a valid EU passport.
Caribbean and European Citizenship by Investment Programs have gained momentum among the world’s wealthy and ultra-wealthy foreign nationals. The first step, however, is weighing out your options for obtaining a second citizenship and passport in the Caribbean or Europe based upon your circumstances and overall objectives. Deciding on what type of citizenship and passport is best for you or your family depends on a number of factors including (but not limited to): immigration purposes, affordability, greater travel freedom, socio-political reasons, ensuring your family’s safety, and plenty other reasons.
It is worth to mention that there are still very few countries where you can opt for a fast-track naturalization program. There are also countries that indeed support the type of immediate citizenship programs granting a citizen’s status to foreigners on a case-to-case basis in exchange for a certain contribution to the country’s economy. Nevertheless, they do not promote nor authorize it as a governmental program. It’s not essentially a red flag for you as an applicant, but you must be aware that programs not put in the form of a law are susceptible. After the specific party or particular prominent officials promoting citizenship are gone, their policy and agendas might be revised and admitted against the law. Consequently, the entire cycle of issued passports might be revoked.
Should you require assistance with official citizenship programs, contact our office today to discuss second citizenship and passport solutions for you and your family or answer any questions you may have about Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean or Europe.
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