You might have seen your friends and peers working towards acquiring a second passport, which is dual citizenship. You may not know, but citizenship by investment has become a $25bilion industry today.
If you have been wondering why applying for a second passport has been getting this much attention nowadays, well, holding a second passport has both personal and economic benefits. It improves mobility, opens up new opportunities, and acts as a safeguard.
In case you are unsure about going through the hassle of applying for second citizenship, we have a list of advantages for you to consider and help you arrive at an informed decision.
There are four ways to get a second passport:
- Citizenship by Descent: Done based on proof of ancestral ties with the country.
- Citizenship by Investment: A country will grant citizenship in exchange for your investment in its economy. An example of this is the St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship by investment, an immigrant investor program to attract foreign investors.
- Citizenship by Marriage: You can apply for citizenship if you are married to a citizen of the country.
- Citizenship by Naturalization: After a specific time of living as a legal resident, you can apply to become a national.
Now that you know how to get a second passport, let’s explore why you should get one;
Unforeseeable risks such as financial or economic downturns, natural disasters such as tsunami or earthquakes, or security threats such as political unrest or war terror, can expose a country to hardships and lead to a downtrodden economy.
In such time, the second passport of non-controversial, small, and peaceful countries with responsible governments, for example, Iceland, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Canada, will come in handy. Citizenship by investment in the Caribbean countries is most desirable for this reason as the countries are peaceful with abundant natural resources and are the easiest countries to get citizenship.
One of the biggest pros of a second passport is the freedom to travel without worrying about a visa. Whenever you plan a trip, the most significant step is applying for a visa. It is time consuming, costly, and hectic, which is best avoided. You never thought you could do that, right? Well, you can.
You may not know, but even the U.S. or Canadian passport isn’t very useful to travel to South American countries like Brazil or Paraguay. You will have to get a visa to travel to many countries, but with a second Caribbean passport, you can enjoy visa free travel. For example, a St. Kitts and Nevis passport ensure visa-free access to 156 countries, including the European Union, Russia, the U.K., and all of South America.
If you have dual citizenship in a country, your travel experience can be a 100 x smoother. This benefit makes all the more difference if you are a frequent visitor due to office/ business requirements. Instead of filling deep pockets for an urgent visit, you can make a long term investment in a second passport.
More Investment Opportunities
Often we notice how developing countries are lacking behind in terms of technological advancements or business opportunities. These countries’ governments already have a lot on their plates- debts, inflation, sanitation, healthcare, and a new and improved way of life through technology takes a back seat.
Thus, such countries’ citizens are deprived of investing in more significant financial markets, bigger corporations, and the ever-growing tech market. Through dual citizenship of a country where the government focuses on capitalization rather than consumption, you can get involved in a more worthwhile investment.
If you are looking to set up businesses for luxury goods or capital goods, you will have a broader market in developed countries or small developing countries with stable governments. This benefit will also help reduce your cost through evading freight fees or import duties. In such cases, a second passport is nothing short of an investment in the long run.
Certain countries follow the Residential Tax System, under which you have to pay taxes imposed when you meet very specific resident criteria. Thus, in such countries, if you have a second passport, you can exit the home country’s tax system and start paying taxes in the country where you have your second nationality.
This act will lower taxes if the other country has lower tax rates prevailing. Passports by investment will also act as a safety net if your home country tightens tax regulations. Usually, the cheapest citizenships also have incredibly low tax programs.
Double the Citizenship Benefits
If you want better social benefits than provided in your country, a second passport can do wonders. Countries like Germany or Canada have efficient healthcare systems with low costs. If you get dual citizenship for such countries, you can make use of these when needed. In case of a healthcare emergency, where your country does not provide the best treatment or has not developed any treatment yet, you can urgently fly out to the other country as a national.
In some countries, the education system is too expensive and not even worth the money. In this case, through your dual citizenship, your children can get a passport through descent and move to a country with better options.
Even if you are satisfied in your home country, the second passport can work as an insurance policy if things went south. It’s a tricky business when one loses a job when the employment rate is already low. In these challenging times, you can look for job opportunities elsewhere as a national.
During unfavorable circumstances in your home country, you can resettle as a national and not be treated as a refugee. It will act as a safety net that you might never need but have to fall back on.
Why Get A Second Passport?
These were some of the benefits of dual citizenship. In the end, deciding to get dual citizenship or not is somewhat a tough call to make. You have to do your research, navigate your way through the misconceptions, and choose the right company to get you the best second passport as per your situation efficiently and comfortably.
Whatever your reason to build a passport portfolio, looking at the long list of benefits, it is evident that a little work today can considerably benefit you and your children in the future.
Ways to Obtain Citizenship
Citizenship by investment program is a legal way and an opportunity to get a certain country’s citizenship. A person invests in the country’s economy; in return, he is offered the citizenship of that country.
Provided a person clears all the background checks, has complete documentation, and invests a sufficient amount, one becomes eligible for citizenship status under the citizenship by investment program of a country.
So far, only a handful of countries are offering citizenship programs through investment. The Caribbean countries are the most known where you can easily get a nationality provided you sufficiently invest in these areas.
Why Get A Second Citizenship?
Having dual citizenship has its perks. It opens gateways for greater global mobility, much greater economic opportunities, raises the standard of life, and can also increase your financial and personal security.
Through investment, citizenship can be approved in as little as three months and may also take around a year. However, waiting for dual citizenship bears its fruits. Citizenship for life and a second passport also ensures visa-free travel. Economic citizenship also paves the way for more economic investment and mobility.
So, how to get a second passport? There are four ways to get a second passport:
- Citizenship by Descent: If you can prove ancestral linkage (family ties in a country), you can get dual citizenship or, better, multiple second citizenships using the method.
- Citizenship by Investment: You can get economic citizenship in exchange for your investment in a country’s economy. It is the fastest and easiest way to get a second passport.
- Citizenship by Marriage: You can apply for second citizenship if you are getting to a citizen of another country. Many countries quicken the naturalization timeline for spouses to get citizenship, such as France and the United States. You can also get married and immediately become a citizen in some places like Cape Verde.
- Citizenship by Naturalization: You can apply to become a national after staying as a legal resident in the country. It can take as little as 2 years or as long as 40 years to get citizenship by naturalization.
Also, you need to pass cultural, language, and historical knowledge exams sometimes or renounce your citizenship in your primary country as some countries do not approve of dual citizenship.
Benefits Of Getting A Second Citizenship
Recently, as Covid-19 has struck deadly blows to the global community and has brought the economies of many countries down to their knees, people are realizing that citizenship by investment programs are a blessing in terms of visa-free travel freedom, protection from war or political problems, tax relaxation, investment opportunities and upgrade in lifestyle.
- Tax Relaxation
Whether it is the low number of taxes or lower rate, second citizenship has much to offer as most countries offering citizenship by investment programs are known for their tax relaxation policies such as Vanuatu citizenship by investment.
But remember, tax relaxation is completely dependent on the country you choose and mostly acts as a safety net when you decide to reside in the second country in the case your primary country stiffens tax regulations.
- Better Insurance Options
For all those looking for a second passport without renouncing your current citizenship status, getting citizenship through investment in a country can be the best and possibly the quickest way to do so.
- More Travel Options
If you are a frequent traveler and need visa-free access to hard-to-go countries such as Russia, China, and South Africa, a second passport can give you that feasibility. For example, St. Kitts and Nevis passport ensure visa-free access to 156 countries while you can travel to 129 countries with a Vanuatu second passport.
Different Citizenship by Investment Programs
Here are some of the most popular Citizenship by Investment programs as of 2022.
- St Kitts And Nevis
St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program is one of the oldest and probably the easiest citizenship program in all of the Caribbean. The minimum requirement is $150000 as a one-time contribution, or you can invest a minimum of $200000 in real estate to acquire citizenship.
The application takes only around 2 months to be processed. Since there are no residential requirements, you are most likely to get citizenship.
Grenada is a Caribbean country with one of the strongest passport. With the right price, you can enjoy the extensive benefits that come with it. To become a citizen here, you need to contribute $150000 or $350000 in real estate.
The application takes around two months to be processed, and there is no need to visit Grenada, nor there any residence requirement. You can get the passport within 2 months.
Montenegro started its special citizenship by investment program in January 2018. The requirements here are a bit tough. Foreigners must invert a minimum of EUR 250000 in real estate, in addition to EUR 100000 for application fees.
The worth of the Montenegro passport can be understood by the fact that it is well on its way to becoming an EU member by 2025, making it an ideal place for future investment. Real estate prices are also very low here. In fact, it has the cheapest housing costs in all of Europe.
Vanuatu is the only country in the South Pacific with such a program. It offers the fastest citizenship by investment program (within 30 days to 1.5 months) with visa-free access to 130 countries, including the UK, Russia, Singapore, and many more.
The requirement is USD 130,000 for one person and required only one time. You do not have to stay in the country, and Vanuatu is known for its no tax policy.
Things to Consider
Detailed planning and careful preparation while deciding on a country for second citizenship are vital. The process can be lengthy and complicated if not approached correctly.
So, how to choose the right citizenship by investment program? Here is a list of things you must consider while choosing second citizenship:
- Each program requires different investment fees. Certain programs are more expensive than others. So must consider your budget before choosing the plan.
- These programs also usually come up with greater benefits, but some may not return your investment. So, if you can afford to take the risk, go for them and always consider your purpose before finalizing the country.
- Time for getting your citizenship approved plays an important factor in which program you opt for. Some countries declare you their citizen in around a few months, whereas others could take even more than a year.
- Always consider the visa-free travel policies of that country. A country with a key geographic location is always a hot choice in this aspect. For example, visa-free travel arrangements of the EU are much better than Caribbean countries.