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.
出生地，确定公民身份的一种常见方式是出生地 - 被称为soli（拉丁语，意思是“土壤权”）。目前，一些国家（加拿大和美国）提供不受限制的土地权利。在其他一些国家中，土壤权也受到限制，要求子女的父母中至少有一方在子女出生时是该国公民、国民或合法永久居民，或者至少有一方在该国居住了一段特定的时间。法律因国家而异。阅读更多
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Submit the application and pay the due diligence fees. PassPro will facilitate a secure and trusted payment option.
Due diligence is carried out by the government. The due diligence check takes about four weeks, on average.
Approval is received. The investment is paid directly to the government at this stage.
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.
You will get your second passport. You can travel on it the same day, if you wish.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.