Over the last decade, second passport programs have sprung up around the world, offering wealthy individuals the chance to acquire second or third citizenship in return for investment in that state’s economy. Second passports bring a variety of benefits but can be complex to acquire. In this article, we’ll address the most frequent inquiries we receive about citizenship by investment.
Is it legal to buy a second passport?
Yes, it is. Several countries and states have engaged in citizenship-by-investment programs that provide citizenship in return for investment in their economy. This method has helped smaller states increase foreign direct investment, and to boost their economies. It is legal as long as all requirements are met and satisfied honestly.
As for European countries that offer the program, such as Malta and Cyprus, the European Commission and European Parliament have raised concerns about money laundering and tax evasion. They called for tighter due diligence requirements, tougher rules on eligibility, and even banning the programs altogether. However, the EU does not have the power to make second passport acquisition illegal, and it’s up to each member state to decide and amend their laws accordingly.
Acquiring citizenship via investment remains legal and valid. It’s worth noting that negative cases associated with such programs are very small in number and do not account for the vast majority of applications.
What are the benefits of citizenship by investment?
Citizenship by investment provides you with a great number of benefits. They include:
- Visa-free movement or easier visa processes in more countries.
- Ease of conducting business globally.
- Financial, social, and economic security for you and your family.
- Better access to education, healthcare, and investments.
- Some can be passed down through generations.
- Opportunity to expand into more markets.
What does citizenship by investment cost?
Citizenship by investment is not something that comes cheap. Again, it depends on where you are applying. Some are more accessible than others, with lower price points for investments, donations, and fees. You’ll probably spend anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars, to over a million to acquire citizenship for yourself. Additional dependents come at a cost but are generally lower than the main applicant.
You must factor in compiling documents, certifications, translations, professional service fees, and even travelling to the country to give biometrics and receive the passport.
Can I have dual or even triple citizenships?
This topic can be complex, and rules can vary depending on the nationality at birth and the nationality being acquired. Some jurisdictions allow dual or multiple citizenships, whereas others do not. In some countries, if you acquire a second passport, you may have to revoke your first citizenship or apply for special permission. The process of renouncing citizenship can also be difficult as some states require paying a fee or passing through a convoluted process. In a few countries, getting second citizenship can be considered treasonous.
Before starting the application process for a second passport, you should consult with a professional. They can advise on the obligations you have when applying for additional citizenship, and how to approach the matter with your native country. If possible, it’s also advisable to get legal advice in your native country to ensure you have taken all possible precautions.
What are the requirements?
There are a variety of different citizenship by investment programs out there, and the specific requirements vary. There are, however, some fundamental obligations.
- Satisfying a due diligence process. This will include criminal record checks, bad media checks, pending cases, and whether the applicant is a politically exposed person.
- Satisfying a Know Your Customer check. This means declaring the source of funds, proving identity, and proof of current primary address.
- Making a financial investment. This investment can take several forms; property, business, and investments in government funds or stocks/bonds. It can even be a combination. Typically, applicants make a donation to a government fund that must be held for certain years.
- Completing an application form. The applicant must submit an application form, along with any necessary declarations, forms, documents, and other bits of information.
- Pay a fee. As well as financial investments, often a fee is required to be paid to the government. Fees must also be paid to the agent that helps you through the process.
Some jurisdictions require you to apply for a residence permit beforehand, while others ask for a certificate to state you are healthy. Some even require you to swear an oath, while others take a more relaxed approach. Be sure you’re fully aware of the requirements before you start compiling documents and spending money.
How long does it take?
There is no simple answer to this question. The entire process can take between 6 and 18 months, depending on the jurisdiction. Each country has different timelines, not to mention caseloads and capacity for processing applications. It will also depend on whether they require additional information from you at any stage.
Are there any restrictions on who can apply?
There are some restrictions on who can apply for citizenship by investment. There are often limitations on politically exposed persons and their family members. This can sometimes be negated on a case-by-case basis. Some jurisdictions may have restrictions on which nationalities can acquire citizenship, but again, this must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If in doubt, speak to the corporate services provider that is assisting you with the process will provide you with more information.
Contact Fast Offshore for assistance with citizenship by investment
Second passports are an investment in you and your family’s future. Don’t restrict yourself to the limitations of your country of birth. Contact Fast Offshore to talk about the program that suits your current situation and needs best.
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