Writer: Hira Ejaz
Second citizenship is no longer just for ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) to relish the luxuries of life. Instead, in this day and age, it has become essential for any entrepreneur or investor who treasures their freedom of mobility and wants to widen their business horizons and attain socio-economic stability.
Dual citizenship, multiple citizenship, multiple nationalities, or dual nationality refers to a person’s status as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states.
No one wants to unnecessarily suffer multiple barriers like how much one can earn, spend, travel, etc. Religious, sexual bias, and prejudice are other obstacles one faces while living in a country. Conversely, by acquiring a passport from a new country where such restrictions are not entrenched in their social fabric, one can gain a truly liberating experience. The right to travel without undue restrictions and limitations should be the right of the qualified and eligible people. A second passport has the potential to open incredible avenues for you in terms of economy and liberty.
Economic citizenship or Citizenship by Investment is a process in which citizenship is granted to a person and their immediate family. It is dependent on a specific and quantifiable investment by the investor in the country he aspires to reside. The majority of these initiatives are designed to ensure that the investment brings welfare and advancement to the country and contributes to its economic development and prosperity.
Citizenship by Investment Programs foster exciting prospects for foreign investors to attain citizenship status from host countries, whose masses benefit from the financial and social rewards that come with increased foreign direct investment (FDI). Simultaneously, foreign investors enjoy favorable tax breaks, eased travel rules, and greater possibilities for their families to live, work, and study in the country.
The top seven countries are listed below which offer citizenships along with myriad benefits that come with their citizenship status so that you know how they can uplift their standard of living.
In the wake of a plethora of benefits, the European Citizenship by Investment program has become the most sought by the majority of foreign investors around the world. Any investor who meets the minimum investment criteria and social standards specified by the respective government authorities can obtain European Citizenship status.
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Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country wedged between Europe and Western Asia, with its cultural roots in the ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. The cosmopolitan city of Istanbul is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia, with its towering dome and Christian mosaics. Ankara is Turkey’s modern capital.
A minimum investment of USD 250,000 is required if a person wants to obtain Turkey’s citizenship status by investing in property (real estate).
Alternatively, a minimum deposit of USD 500,000 in cash or the equivalent amount in Turkish Lira has to be maintained in one of the Turkish banks for at least three years.
Capital investment is another viable option that includes a minimum capital amount of USD 500,000 or an equal value to the Turkish Lira. This investment must be confirmed by the Ministry of Industry and Technology.
A person can also commit at least USD 500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or the Turkish Lira into government bonds.
Whatever option a person opts for attaining citizenship, the specified investment should create jobs for at least 50 people, as attested by the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services.
The eligibility criteria require a person to be a minimum of 18 years of age and produce personal, business, and bank Reference Letters. He must pass strict Due Diligence checks regarding Past Criminal Records & Sources of Funds.
The prime benefits of Turkey citizenship include citizenship from day one. It is a speedy and reliable process. There are no minimum residency stay requirements. Free healthcare and education, family inclusion, and visa-free travel to 111 countries are other perks accompanying Turkey citizenship. Above all, Turkey is an E2-treaty signatory country, which means its nationals are eligible for E-2 visas in the US.
Montenegro is a sovereign country in Southeastern Europe. Podgorica is the capital and largest city, whereas Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital, as well as the official house of the President. The Prime Minister heads the government. This Balkan country is poised to become the new extravagant lifestyle and investment destination for the world’s ultra-wealthy and elites with its beautiful award-winning marina.
According to the Montenegro citizenship program, a contribution or donation of EUR 100,000 to a Government Fund is required. Similarly, there are two investment options for real estate investment: Investment of EUR 250,000 in approved real estate in underdeveloped areas of Montenegro or EUR 450,000 in developed areas.
Furthermore, there is a government fee of EUR 200,000 per application. This contribution will go to a special fund for the advancement of underdeveloped areas (EUR 100,000) and will be directed towards the Innovation Fund of Montenegro (EUR 100,000). The processing time of the application is six-to-eight months.
Lifetime citizenship in Montenegro comes with multiple advantages, including low taxes, low residency requirement, no previous education or managerial experience requirements, and visa-free travel to 123 countries, including Europe’s Schengen Area, Russia, and Turkey.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The United States of America has the world’s largest economy by nominal Gross Domestic Product and is the only global superpower. The country has 50 states and is the fourth largest in terms of land area in the world. Because of the abundance of economic prospects, the United States is the most sought-after destination for business immigrants. The country’s population is multinational, multiethnic, and diversified, and the United States Dollar is the global default currency.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) can grant residency to a foreign investor if he invests $500,000 into a qualified American business that will benefit the US economy and create at least ten full-time jobs for American employees.
For this, there are two categories of EB-5 visas available in the United States. The first option is for the traditional small-business entrepreneur. The second and the most popular option is the “Regional Center,” which is for passive investors.
The EB-5 visa, also known as the employment-based fifth preference category or the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, allows eligible immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents by investing at least $1,000,000 in a business in the United States that will employ at least ten American workers. Most EB-5 investors invest their money into a targeted employment area (TEA), which is a rural or high-unemployment area, lowering the investment threshold to $500,000. The processing time for the application is three-to-five months.
After the successful applicants have received a green card, the funds must stay invested until permanent resident status is granted whose duration is roughly five years. Conditional green cards will be issued to pre-approved applicants for a two-year term. After demonstrating to USA immigration authorities that the jobs were created or maintained, the conditions on the green card are then removed at the end of the two years.
The benefits of attaining citizenship of the US are multiple. For example, investment requirement is low: $500,000, there’s no requirement of English language, minimum education, management experience. A person can live, work or retire anywhere in the US. He can remain physically present only three to four months per year in the United States, investment can come from gift, loan, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activities. The approved applicant can become eligible for U.S. citizenship (U.S. Passport) in only five years.
Investing in property in a hot and sunny climate is the ideal approach to expanding your portfolio. Grenada is a viable place because it has not been overdeveloped yet, and it’s close to the US. Grenada is the ideal Caribbean island for relaxing vacations in beautiful natural surroundings. If you choose to buy a property in Grenada, you will be able to enjoy the amazing beaches and several outdoor activities throughout the year.
Under the Grenada citizenship program, a foreign investor can invest in pre-approved real estate and obtain Grenada citizenship. A minimum purchase of USD 220,000 is required from a government-approved real estate project. This option requires an additional non-refundable donation of USD 50,000.
Grenada has a flourishing real estate market with properties for sale at reasonable prices and an extensive range of options. It offers tax exemption too.
Dominica’s Commonwealth is unlike any other Caribbean island, with beautiful beaches and verdant rainforests. Dominica is known as the “Nature Island” for its natural wonders, including captivating sandy beaches, lush mountainous rainforests, waterfalls, springs, and rivers. The country offers highly agreeable citizenship by investment program, but few people take advantage of it.
Dominica citizenship by investment program has two options for an applicant. The application processing time is three months:
The Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) was created as a part of a national capital mobilization portfolio with the purpose of Dominica’s national development. To qualify for citizenship under the EDF option, a foreign investor has to make a contribution of $100,000 amount.
To qualify for Dominica citizenship through the real estate option, a person must purchase authorized real estate worth at least USD 200,000.
Once granted, lifetime citizenship cannot be retracted. There are no residency or personal visit requirements. Non-residents who gain citizenship under the program are relieved from any tax. No minimum level of education or management experience is required. The investor can hold multiple citizenships.
Alternatively, some countries offer residency programs for foreign investors or entrepreneurs who want to become a resident of a specific country. They can do so legally through a passive investment, such as purchasing real estate or contributing to refundable government bonds, or via a more active option of investment like establishing a business in the country of their choice. Such programs offer investors and their family members unhindered access to quality education and healthcare services, international business opportunities, and a well-thought-out after-retirement plan.
Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and the North African coast. Malta is one of the world’s smallest and most densely inhabited countries, with European Union’s smallest national capital. Malta is known for historic sites related to a succession of rulers. It is a developed country with steady economic growth, business-friendly government, which provides a favorable environment for engaging in business career and high employment rate.
Malta Residency and Visa Program offers the foreign investors have two investment options:
- Bond Investment
A person must purchase a government bond of worth €250,000 and hold for at least 5 years or he can finance the bond for €100,000
- Real Estate Investment
In this option, the investor is required to purchase a property of a minimum worth €320,000 and hold for at least five years, or he can rent a minimum of €12,000 per annum.
Malta residency visa program provides successful candidates with Malta residency within approximately 180 days if the due diligence process is completed without any hurdles or delays.
For attaining lifetime residence in Malta, no language, education, business background, or living requirements are there. The investing methods are investor-friendly and flexible. It offers a remarkable healthcare system that ranks 5th best in the world. Malta is a non-global tax country, and the taxes on enterprises can be lowered to 5%.
Portugal is a southern European member country of the European Union, the Schengen area, and is one of Europe’s oldest countries, with a rich historical and architectural heritage.
Portugal offers Golden Resident Permit Program under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its objective is to encourage foreign direct investments in the country. Portugal Golden Visa qualifications include legal proof for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), a clean criminal record, and the payment of full application and processing fees. Minimum financing or investment of EUR 200,000 is required, and the application processing time is around three-to-six months.
There are three investment options by which an investor can apply for Portugal’s permanent residence:
An investor can request the residency permit just with the signature of the Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale with a payment of a deposit of 500,000 euros.
Alternatively, a joint acquisition of properties is permissible provided that each of the joint owners invests €500,000 or more. There is also a possibility of financing above €500,000, which should be maintained for a minimum of five years. The buyer would have complete freedom to rent or lease the properties
Similarly, there is another option of investment called capital investment. A person can either transfer capital of a minimum of EUR 1.5 million into a Portuguese bank account or specifically approved investment options like he can commit EUR 500,000 for research activities of public or private entities that are part of the national scientific and technological system.
Likewise, a person can make a business investment of EUR 500,000 for the incorporation or rise of the share capital of a company registered in Portugal, creating or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs for three years.
With Portugal’s permanent residence comes the freedom to travel within the Schengen Area, and the ability to apply for citizenship after six years of legal residency. Renowned international and Portuguese schools and universities, quality healthcare, and attainment of Portuguese citizenship after six years of having made the initial investment.
All things considered, dual citizenship and a permanent residence in a new country open up innumerable opportunities for an entrepreneur to derive a multitude of business benefits and more bright prospects of a prosperous, elevated, and lavish life.