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PassPro’s Complete Guide to
Second Citizenship by Investment

All you need to know about investing in a second citizenship,
from Cyprus to the Caribbean

All you need to know about investing in a second citizenship, from Cyprus to the Caribbean

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Second Citizenship by Investment

Whether you've been thinking about investing in second citizenship for some time, or have only recently started to explore the idea, you're likely to have many questions running through your mind. It's something we at PassPro Immigration Services help our clients with every day and our experience has inspired us to create this useful guide, which answers the 10 most common questions people ask, along with top tips and advice on obtaining second citizenship and how to find the right program for you. We hope it helps you on your way to enjoying a life of greater freedom and opportunity.

Family Security via Citizenship by Investment

Imagine a brighter future

If you're looking to benefit from greater freedom and flexibility for you and your family, investing in a second citizenship can help you achieve your goal, says Giselle Bru, COO, PassPro.

Offering visa-free travel to some of the world’s best business hubs, the flexibility to make your money work harder and a secure and stable future for you and your family… it’s clear to see how investing in second citizenship can be a smart move. As citizenship by investment routes become more affordable, this legal path to a second citizenship, with no residency required, is increasingly being viewed as a valuable way to safeguard a successful future – and that's where PassPro Immigration Services comes in. Headquartered in Dubai,UAE, PassPro is a leading government approved second citizenship advisory company, helping clients around the world to open the door to greater opportunity. From the start, our Citizenship by Investment consultancy firm has enabled many new business ventures and has processed hundreds of applications for clients from more than 30 different countries.

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Changing lives

Our deep experience and strong local links make us exceptionally capable of representing clients to achieve successful citizenship approval. One of the most common scenarios among our clients is that they are accomplished in business but continue to face challenges when it comes to ease of travel and expanding their business into new markets. Plus, for those who come a second citizenship by investment opens the door to more options for pursuing further education for their children and, in the future, a solid solution for residency and retirement. PassPro focuses on the Citizenship by Investment programs (CIPs) of Cyprus and the Caribbean region and is a government authorized representative of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.

How does it work?

Simply get in touch and our second citizenship consultants will review your needs to confirm if a second citizenship is a suitable path to take. Next, a short questionnaire will help to pinpoint which citizenship by investment program would be the best fit. PassPro devotes ample time to screening clients and carrying out due diligence. We rely on word of mouth so we wouldn’t process any application that could damage us. The service we provide is based on trust, as our clients essentially invite us into their lives. They share a lot of private information, so confidentiality is key and we take pride in maintaining the utmost discretion. Once an application is initiated, we concentrate our efforts on making the paperwork as thorough as possible, plugging any gaps of information as required, and ensuring all essential supporting documents are presented in the correct format. Potential queries are anticipated and answered to help ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible and the file does not get delayed for any reason. The research and information compiling phase usually takes around 10 days to three weeks. We strive to maintain an impeccable reputation, which is why we focus on quality of applications, rather than quantity.

A bespoke approach

There are many companies that do what we do, but a personalized approach and dedication to our clients is what makes us stand out. We care about the journey the client has along the way and it’s our mission to maintain long-term relationships by ensuring a hassle-free process. Processing a second citizenship application usually takes three to six months and, once you've obtained your second passport, we will continue to support your second citizenship journey. All our clients gain access to the MyPassPro information and service portal, which is regularly updated and provides an easy way to contact us. The process can be life-changing and when we hand over a client’s second passport it can feel quite emotional, as we appreciate the impact it can have on their lives and that of future generations. It’s something that stays with you forever.”

Giselle Bru, COO, PassPro Immigration Services

Top 10 Questions

1. Why should I consider a second citizenship by investment?

Visa Free Travel With Second Citizenship By Investment Being a citizen of a country, as opposed to a temporary resident, provides more than just a sense of belonging – it invites you to engage with the country completely, including its economy, laws and investment potential. Indeed, obtaining citizenship as a permanent legal status puts you in a position of strength whereby you enjoy equality with all other citizens of the nation, for the rest of your life. You will have the same rights and opportunities as someone who was born there. This includes the right to travel freely overseas and return on the passport of that country, and to take up opportunities available to nationals. Put simply, obtaining a second citizenship can be a life-changing move that opens the door to better prospects around the globe. It comes as no surprise, then, that it is increasingly being viewed as one of the most powerful investments you can make. While the motivations vary according to the applicant, for many people, enjoying visa-free travel to up to 80% of the world (depending on the program you choose) is a major draw card, which can allow you to be much more flexible when it comes to living your life and running your business.

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Even if you’re used to traveling far and wide without a hitch, it’s worth bearing in mind that visa requirements are reliant on current foreign affairs policies and could change in the future – something a second citizenship can help to safeguard against by offering alternative options. With a second citizenship, you can also take advantage of greater financial flexibility, without any need to reside in your adopted country.

This paves the way for expanded individual and corporate asset management options that, in turn, will allow you to maximize the benefits from your income and assets wherever you live. Plus, some countries offer investment packages that include a real estate asset that has the capacity to generate rental income and can be sold after a number of years if desired, allowing you to recoup part of your investment. On a personal level, citizenship can be passed on to your children, providing a secure and stable second home for you and your family. This is especially relevant for those in destinations affected by war and political turmoil, for whom strong global mobility is a window to a better quality of life – not to mention a solid option for residency and retirement further down the line. If you’re thinking it sounds too good to be true, rest assured that investing in second citizenship is 100% legal. The regulations governing a Citizenship By Investment program (CIP) are set out by the respective country’s Constitutional Acts and are strictly binding. Once second citizenship is granted, it is done so for life and can never be revoked, so you can feel confident your newfound status is secure.

2. What are the various ways of obtaining citizenship?

Citizenship By Investment Routes & Options It may surprise you to learn there are a number of different ways that citizenship can be recognized or granted. What’s more, each country has its own policies, regulations or criteria as to who is entitled to citizenship, and how to obtain it. We highlight a selection of the most common ways you can be granted citizenship…

Place of birth. A common way for citizenship to be determined is by place of birth – this is called jus soli (a Latin phrase meaning ‘right of soil’). A selection of countries currently offer unrestricted jus soli, including Canada and the US. Restricted jus soli is practiced in a number of other destinations, requiring that at least one of the child's parents be a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the country at the time of the child's birth, or that at least one parent has resided in the country for a specified period of time. The rules vary from country to country.

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Via the parents. There is also jus sanguinis (meaning ‘right of blood’), where the nationality of an individual is determined by the nationality of one or both of the parents, irrespective of where he or she is born. Several countries – many in Europe whose populations historically left home to settle in other parts of the world – also grant citizenship by descent up to two or three generations of ancestorship.

By naturalization. If you have long been settled abroad, you may be eligible to apply to be naturalized in order to become a legally recognized citizen of that country. A selection of countries, such as New Zealand, offer this although there are specific requirements, like having been a legal resident for a certain amount of time, the intention to continue living there, having a good command of the local language and demonstrating a good character.

Citizenship by investment. Jus pecuniae, the acquisition of citizenship through financial contribution, is a quick and simple legal route to acquiring a second citizenship with investment programs becoming increasingly competitive. Selected countries have been offering this for more than 30 years, with Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Saint Lucia among the most popular second citizneship programs currently available. Each offers a number of ways to invest and different benefits alongside.

How is second citizenship by investment legal?

In short, what makes these programs legal is the presence of Constitutional Acts that detail how an individual can acquire citizenship through investment, and ensure that citizenship granted is for life. The respective country’s Constitutional Acts explain exactly how the applicant can invest in citizenship. Most of the Caribbean citizenship programs, for instance, require the investor to apply through an authorized agent and invest in government funds or approved real estate projects, business ventures or government bonds.

Of course, for any legal second citizenship program, applicants will need to undergo a due diligence check and prove that he or she has clean a source of funds. As long as the criteria is met and all the paperwork is in order, it’s a very secure and straightforward process.

Residency vs. Citizenship Five important points to consider…

  1. It’s for life. One major difference between residency and citizenship is that some residency permits, like those issued in certain GCC countries, have an expiry date attached, whereas citizenship is for life. Many of those seeking a second citizenship by investment are unlikely to want to reside in the country they're applying to, but want to enjoy the travel benefits while living in their current country of residence.
  2. You do not have to relocate. Acquiring citizenship through permanent residency programs can be time-consuming, as it often requires you to physically live in the country – which can involve uprooting your family and starting afresh with your business. Plus, eligibility rules can change based upon government policy. Many businesspeople cannot afford to make such a dramatic shift, making citizenship by investment an attractive alternative.
  3. It cannot be revoked. Once second citizenship is granted, you have it – and the right to a passport of that country – for life. The only way it can be revoked is if it was discovered that you provided false information in your application, the conditions of granting citizenship were fraudulently met, or if any information comes to light that will bring the country into disrepute.
  4. You can pass it on. Many of the most popular second citizenship programs allow you to pass on the citizenship to your children through registration – this is a benefit that residency programs simply do not offer.
  5. It’s a stable option. The requirements one needs to meet to acquire permanent residency can change according to the politics of the country. With Brexit, for instance, there has been uncertainty around the future of EU nationals living in the UK who do not hold British citizenship – namely their right to live and work there – and how this may change if new laws are passed as Britain leaves the EU.

3. What does the typical application involve?

Application For Legal Second Citizenship by Investment Our handy guide outlines the typical journey and how PassPro helps you every step of the way…

Step 1

Choose your second citizenship by investment program. The first step you need to decide upon is the second citizensip program that best suits your profile and is a match for your eligibility criteria. PassPro is happy to guide you when it comes to making the right choice. The company can gain a full picture by sitting down with you to discuss the details in confidence.

Step 2

Gather the documentation. Your citizenship consultant will supply a list of required documents needed to take the process forward. Essentially, there are five important requirements you need in order to apply, including: proof of funds (together with 12 months' bank statements at the time of application); valid proof of residence, such as a utility bill featuring your residential address; valid government-issued ID, like a driver’s license; valid birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) which must be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country issuing the document; and valid police clearance certificate from your country of citizenship, as well as any country you've resided for more than six months over the past 10 years. At this stage, you will also need to reserve a property, if you are investing in real estate.

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Step 3

Preparing the file. This is where PassPro’s expertise comes to the fore. The expert consultants review your application with a fine-toothed comb, as it is their duty to anticipate any potential issues and solve them in advance in order to avoid any delay. For example, PassPro is able to assist with translations when needed, gain any necessary legalizations, and ensure all the documents are supplied in the required format, and that there are no missing signatures, expired documents or any other discrepancies that slip through the net. You are kept firmly in the loop at every stage.

Step 4

Submit the application and pay the due diligence fees. PassPro will facilitate a secure and trusted payment option.

Step 5

Due diligence is carried out by the government. The due diligence check takes about four weeks, on average.

Step 6

Approval is received. The investment is paid directly to the government at this stage.

Step 7

You will receive your naturalization certificate. This is the most important document you will receive as proof of your legal second citizenship, so keep it safe.

Step 8

You will get your second passport. You can travel on it the same day, if you wish.

4. What are the ways in which I can invest?

Buy Real Estate & Get CitizenshipDepending on the country, applicants can generally pursue three investment routes: making a non-refundable contribution to a Government Fund, investing in an Approved Real Estate Project, or investing in an Approved Business.

Contributing to a Government Fund will see your investment go to a fund designed to support the development of selected enterprises, which can include financing infrastructure projects, as a contingency or resilience fund against natural disasters or to deliver important services such as healthcare and education. These funds can only be utilized for specific purposes that have been laid out by the government. Fund utilization is often discussed as part of the annual budget plans.

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Investing in property is one of the most popular routes to legal second citizenship as it offers a good match of mutual interests – the country offering second citizenship benefits from your investment directly through building long-term physical assets and using local providers, while you benefit from gaining a legal second citizenship. You also have an asset in hand to sell after the initial holding period. In the Caribbean, investments can only be made in a government approved real estate project. When choosing a property to invest in, it is important to pay attention to the location. Pick an approved project in a prime tourist area that, coupled with a country’s good air links and solid tourism infrastructure, means you can look at earning good returns on your investment when you decide to resell or rent out your property. Projects that are backed by a branded hotel, for instance, will manage the property and rental of the units and some guarantee a fixed rate of rental returns during the initial period of investment so you should look for the best overall package. PassPro can help advise you on this. PassPro only works with reputable developers and complexes that have been inspected and vetted first-hand by a member of the team so the company can personally vouch for the quality. PassPro uses knowledge built over many years to keep your best interests at heart and can also help you pick a unit with intrinsic value that can be rented or sold after the holding period. Its experienced employees can also negotiate the best terms of purchase and vet contracts on your behalf. The team will go through the small print to ensure all the details are correct.

Investing in an approved business is another viable way to invest. Usually, the government will outline a number of business opportunities in priority investment sectors, which can include sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, geothermal energy, transport and healthcare services. The common thread between the different countries offering this as a means of investment, however, is that it requires the investor or group of investors to put in a prescribed amount of investment to help finance a business that creates a set number of local jobs.

Government fund: Investment starts at US$100,000
Real estate: Investment starts at US$200,000
Local business/enterprise project: Investment starts at US$1.5 million

5. How do I choose the best program for me?

Choosing The Best Citizenship By Investment Program The citizenship by investment program you choose will depend on your individual circumstances. However, there are three key factors to consider when choosing a second citizenship program that will bring you and your family value in the long run.

Your future plans. For single applicants and young couples, whether you are intending to start a family in the future is a crucial consideration, as the cost of acquiring citizenship for a new spouse or a newborn child at a later date differs significantly from program to program. Hence, your long-term plans for a family should factor in your decision. Some programs allow you to register your newborn baby for free while others charge a small fee. Each country has its own procedure for registering the birth of a newborn child. Once you have obtained second citizenship, you can take advantage of the MyPassPro service and to get in touch if any further assistance is needed.

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Your number of dependents. Those with large families should bear in mind that certain countries offer more competitive investment packages for groups. Plus, if you are applying for yourself and a number of dependents, consider choosing the real estate investment route, which may be more economical as you can sell the asset and recover part of your investment further down the line.

Your travel goals. If you travel frequently to certain countries, consider looking more closely at the programs that offer visa free access or a visa-on-arrival to different parts of the world, including key business hubs. This is especially worth checking if any country in particular is important for your regular work or personal travel needs, although this should not be a primary deciding factor, as visa-free access is reliant on current foreign affairs policies and could change in the future.

6. How do governments conduct background checks?

Due Diligence For Second Citizenship By Investment The key elements of a background check include looking into an applicant’s credibility, character, source of funds, source of wealth and criminal history (if any). Governments use third-party independent Due Diligence (DD) providers who utilize a mixture of open-source information and on the-ground intelligence – this includes fact-checking an individual’s birth certificate at official institutes of record, checking local media reports or visiting business addresses to ensure they are legitimate companies, for instance.

There is a third level of checks also applied during the DD process during which an individual is vetted by law enforcement agencies and INTERPOL to ensure that they are not blacklisted for any criminal activity. Occasionally, a red flag can crop up, such as if a person runs a cash business, in which case their accounts will be looked into on a deeper level to rule out money laundering or financing of terrorism. It is common for people, especially those from the Middle East, to have identical names, which can also pose a potential concern. When people have similar names to those on blacklisted lists, it is the duty of the DD provider to carry out a thorough check to confirm the correct identity of the applicant. Along the way, if any information turns up that questions the character and record of the applicant, the processing agent is notified and offered the opportunity to rebut or explain the information, supported by the necessary affidavits.

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Reasons for rejection There are two main reasons why an application for citizenship by investment can be denied, based upon a background check.

Security risk. If an applicant is deemed a security risk due to a previous criminal conviction or suspected money laundering activities, they would receive an automatic denial.

Reputational risk. Anyone who has had a civil suit against them or their business won’t automatically be denied but they would need to have mentioned it and to be able to explain it in a satisfactory manner in order for the application to progress. Any recommendation for denial will be taken up by a technical committee independently commissioned by the government, which will reconfirm the decision after ensuring due process has been carried out. If the applicant is deemed a reputational risk the processing agent is informed and asked to present any further documentation that could sway the decision, supported by the necessary affidavits. The technical committee then evaluates all the information presented before taking a decision. With all this in mind, it is crucial to be completely transparent when filling out an application. Don’t leave out any information as it will be discovered and it will cause more issues if this happens at the DD stage than if it is declared upfront. Furthermore, it is vital to share complete information. Don’t leave out information about any companies you operate, as PassPro will be asked to explain your relationship to them and how they impact your source of funds and wealth. Ultimately, applicants must bear in mind that citizenship is a privilege not a right. Governments have a duty to their existing citizens and to ensure that any new citizenships do not compromise the safety and reputation of the nation and its people. PassPro's goal is to ensure that applicants of good character are approved in a timely and efficient manner.

7. How will second citizenship benefit my children and my business?

Second Citizenship by Investment For Your Family When thinking about your family, it is important to remember that many of the most popular second citizenship programs invite you to pass on your citizenship to your children, allowing you to build a secure and stable future for you and your family. At the time of applying, you will be able to include your spouse and any dependent children in the same application. Many of the countries offering Citizenship by Investment programs (CIPs) are home to prestigious universities, allowing your children to pursue a high standard of further education. Many educational establishments in the Caribbean, for instance, are linked to institutions in the US, providing a route to future studies that can open up a world of opportunity. In addition, it can present more options when it comes to attending schools around the world by making it easier to obtain a study visa for destinations such as the UK, Europe, Australia and Canada.

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TOP OF THE CLASS
The Caribbean is home to a number of leading universities. Here’s a selection of the best…

American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine. Founded in 2004, AUA is a great choice for those who want to study medicine. It has an impressive 96% first time pass rate for USMLE Step 1 (the most important exam for medical students in the US and the Caribbean) and a growing network of 35 hospital affiliates across the US and Canada.

University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA ). Aspiring physicians, nurses, postgraduates and researchers can head to UHSA, which opened in 1982. Graduates have obtained residencies in many medical specialties at hospitals and medical centers across the US.

St. George's University (SGU). Located in Grenada, SGU has been established for more than 40 years and has produced more than 17,000 graduates, including physicians, veterinarians, scientists and public health and business professionals. The university offers medical and veterinary medical degrees and independent and dual graduate degrees in the sciences, public health and business. Undergraduate degree programs are also available through its School of Arts and Sciences. SGU is affiliated with educational institutions around the world, including in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.

Ross University. This premier School of Veterinary Medicine was launched in 1982, and has graduated more than 4,000 veterinarians from its campus in Saint Kitts.

All Saints University. With a campus in Dominica, this university helps those seeking a career in medicine to earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) Degree. The first Canadian-owned and operated medical school in the Caribbean, it is the educational destination of choice for more than 1,000 medical students from at least 35 different countries. It facilitates clinical clerkships and training at top-notch ACGMEaccredited/teaching hospitals across the US.

Medical University of the Americas. Located on Nevis, this university was founded over 20 years ago and believes students are best taught medicine in small classes, with one-on-one instruction. It's committed to providing an education on par with US and Canadian medical schools.

Your business

There are many businesspeople who have lived abroad for decades – such as those settled in the Arab Gulf States – but who still face many challenges on account of their nationality of birth, if they originally hail from a war-torn or unstable country. When it comes to opening bank accounts, wiring money for foreign transactions or even applying for a business license, individuals from countries on the United Nations sanctioned list, or places that have had recent conflicts or a refugee crisis (such as Syria, Libya, Yemen or Iraq) can face challenges no matter how settled and financially secure they are. In turn, this can become a roadblock to doing business in the West – and often even within the Arab world.

Second citizenship brings with it a range of benefits that can have a positive impact on your ability to do business. It is increasingly being viewed as a smart solution to ease access to global travel and banking, and the good news is that the investment packages are becoming more competitive. PassPro receives a lot of inquiries from clients in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, India and Pakistan where there is a very active and connected start-up community and news of the life-changing benefits of second citizenship quickly spreads by word of mouth. Having a citizenship of a neutral country can make it very easy to apply for business licenses without facing unfair prejudice, allowing you to expand your business in markets all over the world.

Understanding how you want to utilize your second citizenship can help you decide upon the best citizenship by investment program for you.

Caricom 101

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a grouping of 20 countries, stretching from The Bahamas in the north to Suriname and Guyana in South America, that is home to approximately 16 million citizens. The 15 main Member States are Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Montserrat; Saint Lucia; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; and Trinidad and Tobago. Associate Members are: Anguilla; Bermuda; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; and Turks and Caicos Islands. CARICOM passport holders benefit from freedom of movement in this part of the world, including the right to live, study, work, and import and export goods, providing a coveted opportunity to expand your business.

8. Is buying property for citizenship good value?

Buy Property & Get Citizenship

Buying property in the Caribbean.

If beautiful beaches, fabulous weather and laidback living appeal then owning a home in the Caribbean can be a dream come true. The good news is that it is a surprisingly affordable destination in which to acquire a slice of real estate paradise. Known for its tropical setting, each Caribbean island has a unique identity rich in culture and history. Taking a cue from the relaxed way of life of the locals, holidaymakers will find it easy to slow down the pace and discover more about the music, art and cuisine while admiring the stunning natural attractions on the doorstep. Indeed, the lure of the Caribbean has given rise to a number of developments by global hospitality brands, which bodes well for the general uplift of the value of real estate, as well as the destination as a whole. In addition, it is becoming an increasingly popular stop-off for cruise ships, which is bringing even more high-spending tourists to its shores. Looking at the longer term, no matter how the market fares, beautiful properties on an island paradise are always in high demand. Plus, the 5% rate of return you will receive on your investment, on average, is higher than what the same amount would earn in most savings accounts. It’s even better value for money when you consider that the investment you are making in the property comes with a passport and citizenship for life.

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Buying property in the Cyprus.

When obtaining Cyprus citizenship by investment, investing in real estate is one of the most popular routes to take. As there are no "Approved Projects" and therefore no restriction in terms of what properties you can buy, you are advised to visit the country to make your chosen investment. PassPro recommends staying a minimum of five working days to explore the options thoroughly, as there are several ways in which you can invest, the team will personally accompany you to help you explore the options. The investment(s) need to be held for a minimum of three years after which they can be sold, if desired. Rental income can be drawn on it during this time – just remember that income generated in Cyprus is subject to tax based on your personal tax status in Cyprus.

When house hunting, you'll have plenty of options to pick from, such as holiday homes in popular resort destinations like Larnaca and commercial and residential offerings in those areas aimed at the local Cypriot market. Limassol is the main business city in the country, which is currently undergoing a number of exciting developments, while top tourist spot Paphos is home to family-friendly facilities, including an international school. PassPro will gladly assist in choosing property that best fits your needs with regards to how you wish to use the asset and if you intend to sell the unit(s) after the lock-in period. While you're visiting, you will also need to complete your biometrics, which is needed in order to issue your Permanent Resident (PR) card.

Where to buy?

Paphos

Paphos is a cosmopolitan holiday resort, yet it also has spectacular countryside and historical sites to explore. Visitors can enjoy the sea and the mountains, and get a taste of the island's culture by discovering its many archaeological sites. A popular activity is swimming in the sea by the Petra tou Romiou rocks, where Aphrodite is believed to have risen from the waves.

Limassol

Cyprus' second largest city, Limassol is home to the island’s main port, and is a bustling holiday resort. From its glamorous marina and archaeological monuments, to its 15km-long coastline flanked by restaurants, bars, cafés, shops and entertainment venues, this vibrant city is thriving. It will soon be home to a new multi-million-dollar casino resort, which will be the largest casino in Europe.

Larnaca

Compact and authentic, Larnaca is Cyprus' longest continually inhabited region, with a history that dates back 4,000 years. Now a modern city, it attracts a healthy blend of locals and visitors eager to explore its varied coastline, shopping and dining venues and fascinating architecture.

Top tips for Investors

What to bear in mind when picking a property…

Location. Pick a project in a prime tourist area in a CIP destination that has good air links and a solid tourism infrastructure. This way, you can look at earning good returns on your investment when you decide to rent out your property.

Consult a trusted advisor. PassPro can offer dependable and accurate advice to ensure the property you buy has intrinsic worth. A good citizenship by investment agent is also handy at the contract preparation stage as he or she will vet contracts on your behalf, pick the best units within a complex, and negotiate the best terms of purchase.

Read the fine print. When paying property reservation fees, some agents charge a percentage of the value of the property while others charge a fixed fee. Whatever you pay, always ensure that the property reservation fees are fully refundable in the rare case your second citizenship application isn’t approved.

Read up on the developer. Focus on projects that are backed by a well-established and experienced team that has a proven track record and offers a turnkey management and maintenance contract. Shop around for the best packages that protect the long-term value of your asset and generate income during the holding period.

9. What should I prepare for before changing or renouncing my birth citizenship?

Citizenship By Investment Programs Obtaining a new citizenship is an exciting process. Being organized during the transition period can help make the process smoother and allow you to start enjoying the benefits of your new citizenship without delay.

There are four key things you should start thinking about when you are considering a change in citizenship or acquiring a second citizenship. The first is whether you will need a visa to enter your home country. If you have family and business concerns back home, sorting out your ability to freely enter your home country should be a priority.
If your original country of citizenship does not allow dual nationality, apply for a long-term visa or look into whether your country offers a program or special status that allows you to maintain lasting connections with your country of birth. For instance, the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status granted to former citizens of India.

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Next, consider if you will pay exit taxes. Certain countries such as the US levy a tax on exiting or expatriating citizens. Estate taxes and gift taxes paid on transferring your property to non-US citizens can also be higher than transferring them to US citizens. Have your accountant look carefully into the implications of renouncing your citizenship to ensure you do not make any avoidable costly errors in managing the process.

It is also prudent to consider how you will access your money and assets in your home country. Certain kinds of bank accounts can only be operated by citizens, while foreign ownership of specific categories of land (such as agricultural land) and media companies is regulated via citizenship. Many countries impose laws governing who can own a majority stake in a company. Get professional advice in structuring all your assets to ensure you continue to have the level of access to them you desire.

Lastly, look into whether you can travel freely with your children across international borders. Many countries have checks and balances in place to curb the threat of child trafficking. These can include asking for letters of authorization to travel with your children (minors) when they hold a different nationality from your own. Ensure that you research the exit and entry procedures of any country you plan on traveling to if your children hold a different nationality to ensure you do not end up on the wrong side of border protection.

Duplicity rules

The legalities around second citizenship differ depending on your nationality…

If you're... Russian.

Dual nationality is legal for Russian citizens, but not declaring it is a criminal offence so you must notify the Russian Ministry for Internal Affairs. Parents are also responsible for declaring the second citizenship of children under 18.

If you're… Indian

The Indian constitution does not allow or recognise dual citizenship. Instead, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who have acquired citizenship of a foreign country, other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible to be granted Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status, as long as their home countries allow second citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.

If you're… American

US law does not mention dual nationality, or require a person to choose one nationality or another. A US citizen may naturalize in a foreign state without any risk to his or her US citizenship. However, persons who acquire a foreign nationality after age 18 by applying for it may relinquish their US nationality if they wish to do so.

If you're… Iraqi

Dual nationality is allowed, so it is possible for an Iraqi citizen to keep an Iraqi passport, despite having a foreign nationality, unless he declares a written abandonment of the Iraqi nationality.

If you're… Lebanese

Lebanon accepts the principle of dual citizenship. Acquiring another nationality does not result in losing the original Lebanese citizenship.

Need to know

Some countries allow dual citizenship and some don’t. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact your embassy for the most up-to-date information on your government’s legal view on second citizenship and how that will impact your status if you apply.

10. I've acquired second citizenship, what else should I know?

Second Citizenship Programs Firstly, congratulations for making the life-changing decision to enjoy a life of greater choices, freedom and opportunity. Now that you have acquired a legal second citizenship, it is vital to keep your documents safe at all times. The Naturalization Certificate is equivalent to your birth certificate, so you won't want to lose it. With this in mind, you shouldn't routinely travel with it. Travel with a copy and keep the originals in a secure, fire-proof place along with your other valuable documents. It is advisable to keep it in a dedicated and secure place at home.

You need to ensure that your certificates are considered valid wherever you currently reside. To do so, you may need to have them attested by your country’s representative and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country of residence in order to prove that they are genuine documents.

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When you are traveling, research some basic information about the country and ensure that anyone traveling with you is also aware of how you obtained citizenship, and can answer basic questions. Remember, it is a legal route but you may still be questioned at immigration, so answer factually and calmly.

Always carry emergency contact details, and a printed copy of the visa advisory from IATA and any communication you’ve had with various embassies regarding visa-free travel, as some immigration or airline staff may not be very well informed. MyPassPro offers access to IATA’s up-to-date visa advisory service and you are always recommended to contact the nearest embassy or consulate for the most recent and up-to-date visa information on any country you plan on traveling to.

If you lose your passport or need to renew it, you can do so at the embassy that is geographically closest to you. Alternatively, PassPro can take care of all your requests, including the renewal and any No Objection Certificates (NOCs) that are needed in order for it to be processed.

ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTS

Help ensure a smooth application process with our checklist of essential documents

Documents Checklist - Top Tips

  • All documents must be translated into English
  • Ensure your documents are issued by relevant government authorities (e.g. a birth certificate would need to be issued by a registrar or similar official government body and not a hospital)
  • Ensure that your name is clearly mentioned on all documents
  • Be mindful that certain documents, such as proof of residence or police clearance reports have an expiry date. For most countries, it is three months from the date of issue but in some it can be as little as one month. Ensure you submit your documents as soon as they are issued to avoid their validity expiring