The "Citizenship By Investment" Stack
A primer on buying a second passport.
Note: For information purposes only. Not intended as personalized advice of any sort. Please consult a qualified professional.
"No man is so virtuous as to refuse the highest bidder." -George Washington
"Everything is for sale if the price is right." -Lucio Tan
Yes, you really can buy citizenship in another country. It’s not cheap, nor is it quick, but it can be done.
“There are many ways to obtain a second passport, but the quickest path is to simply buy one. Yes, you read that right: whether you refer to it as ‘buying a passport’, ‘economic citizenship’, or ‘citizenship by investment’, they all mean the same thing. Certain governments are willing to grant you citizenship and a passport in as little as three months in exchange for a sizable investment or donation in their country.”
"The need is that more people are figuring out that they may well find themselves in a squeeze. And generally speaking, most of the countries that formerly made up the 'Free World' have become more militarized and more regulated. The writing’s on the wall and more people are seeing it."
"Having a second passport is... the ultimate insurance policy. It ensures that, no matter what, you always have a place to go- to live,work, do business, retire, and in some cases, even seek refuge. That way, when things go bad, you can take yourself and your family out of harm’s way. With a second citizenship and passport, you are no longer beholden to one nation. No single government has exclusive authority over you. Ultimately, a second passport is all about options – the more options you have for you and your family, the more freedom you will experience."
Having a second passport, or even renouncing your citizenship in favor of a new citizenship, can open up more of the world to you. Henley and Partners has free tools that show you how you can build a passport portfolio:
Speaking of passport portfolios, Andrew Henderson, the Nomad Capitalist, on Why You Need a Second Passport Portfolio, and How to Create One:
"If structured properly, your passport portfolio can free you from heavy tax burdens, give you greater travel opportunities, allow for increased privacy and investment opportunities, and even permit you to hand down the benefits of your portfolio to your future (or even current) children."
Let’s take a look at these CBI programs:
Grenada: "Grenada is the only program that offers visa-free access to both China and Russia... Having a Grenadian passport will allow you to obtain a visa to live and invest in the United States. That’s an incredible opportunity for those who’ve always wanted an ‘in’ – or for those looking to renounce their US citizenship who want a backdoor into the country."
St. Lucia: "Extensive due diligence has been the hallmark of the Saint Lucian program. In addition, the Saint Lucian government has run the program differently than its neighbors. For example, it has not gained visa-free access to Russia or China, possibly on purpose. It has positioned itself as a somewhat ‘Western’ passport, which certainly makes it appeal to some. In fact, it has sided with Taiwan on the international scene, probably delaying China’s visa-free access indefinitely. Daring and bold, Saint Lucia’s CBI program has a solid reputation. It has meant rejecting a fair few applicants and even revoking the citizenships of six of its own naturalized citizens due to acts committed by them. Simply put – Saint Lucia doesn’t deal with people who have any ‘issues,’ no matter how small."
Antigua and Barbuda: "Although other Caribbean countries with CBI programs don’t have residency requirements, Antigua and Barbuda does. And we don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing because it shows that Antigua wants its applicants to take the whole citizenship thing a bit more seriously. There is no pre-passport residency required. In fact, you can get an Antiguan passport without ever leaving your home. There is no requirement to attend an interview either. But they do have a residency requirement for after you receive your passport - you’ll need to spend five days within a period of five years to maintain your citizenship. If you don’t, you won’t be able to renew your passport when the time comes. After your passport is renewed, there is no more residency requirement. There shouldn’t be any problem fulfilling this requirement, however. It’s a beautiful country with gorgeous beaches and luxurious amenities to get you fully relaxed."
St. Kitts and Nevis: "The ‘Platinum Standard’ program was established back in 1984 when the sugar industry collapsed and the country found itself in dire need of money. Fast-forward to today, the St. Kitts and Nevis’ program is one of the most trusted and successful ones out there. The process is relatively quick, taking just three to four months, and it results in the new passport holder gaining access to over 150 countries in the world, including all of the EU, UK, Ireland, and Russia."
Dominica: "Dominica remains one of the best value citizenship by investment options in the Caribbean. It is tied for first place as the cheapest economic citizenship that you can obtain anywhere in the world, really. Dominica is a great option for several different kinds of people. If you have bad visa-free travel on your current passport, for example, a Dominica passport will grant you access to over 135+ countries. And, because of its low price and fast processing time, it is also a good option for those who are looking for a fast second passport as an insurance policy or a means to quickly renounce US citizenship."
Turkey: "[Acquiring real estate] is the main attraction of Turkey’s CBI program. Since the lira has plummeted, real estate options are plentiful and they are cheap for foreign buyers. You need to invest $250,000 in real estate in Turkey to become eligible for a passport and there are no restrictions on what you buy. It can be a house, apartment or land – do whatever makes the most financial sense to you. There is no pre-approval of properties as you’d get with other CBI programs where the real estate is usually overvalued. Historically speaking, real estate in Istanbul doubles its value within 5-10 years. So if you’re looking to buy, rent, and hold for the long-term, this is the perfect option to gain another passport... A lot of countries in the world have bilateral agreements with Turkey for a visa-free travel regime. These include Japan, Mexico, South Korea and pretty much all of Latin America. So, if you’re looking to take your current western-friendly passport and add on to it without wasting a lot of money, a Turkish passport may be an interesting option... Another Western country that’s open to business people from Turkey is the United States. If your dream is to quickly relocate stateside, you can use the E-2 investor visa to get the process started."
Malta: "As the only CBI program in the Schengen Area, a Maltese passport is powerful — it’s the 8th strongest passport in the world. It provides citizenship in a highly livable area of the world with easy access to the rest of Europe. That sure is an attractive option for people looking for a top-tier passport. However, it’s also one of the most expensive citizenship by investment programs in the world... Not to mention, you’ll also have to demonstrate 'genuine links' to the country to get a passport, and that generally means actually becoming a resident of Malta."
Vanuatu: "A tropical archipelago in the South Pacific, Vanuatu is many people’s idea of paradise. It’s ideal for those who want the utmost privacy in a place as far removed from the rest of the world as possible. Apart from its remoteness, one other thing that sets Vanuatu apart is its citizenship by investment program – the only one in the Pacific region. However, even though Vanuatu is used to being an offshore tax haven, it certainly has found running the passport scheme (or schemes) challenging at times. Getting up-to-date information about Vanuatu’s CBI program is extremely hard, to say the least. With lots of similar attempts, failed programs and different variations of CBI, the information available about Vanuatu’s program is the most confusing of all citizenship by investment programs. And it’s a huge shame, because Vanuatu’s CBI has a lot of potential as a tax-free jurisdiction with visa-free access to 125+ countries, including the Schengen Area, Russia, the UK, Ireland and many others."