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Powerful Passports for Global Mobility

posted 1 year ago

After two years, the desire for travel and movement abroad among many has naturally been reignited. Indeed, if these past two years have collectively taught us anything, it is the power of mobility.

As a result, it is no wonder that those who are looking for the power of choice are looking into additional passports to expand their mobility.

While Japan and Singapore have consistently ranked among the top passports that allow the most mobility for their holders, obtaining citizenship in these countries is considered a difficult and often onerous path for the applicant.

Instead, many individuals wish for an alternative citizenship route that is faster and less onerous, essentially, one that would grant them a passport with visa-free access to a sizeable number (110+) of countries, within a relatively short amount of time, and fewer or no requirements of language, age or residency.

As a leading international law firm specializing in residency and citizenship-by-investment programs, we at Harvey Law Group have more than 30 years of experience advising our clients on their options for securing residency or citizenship abroad. Below are a few alternative options that we propose to our prospective clients seeking a fast and powerful secondary passport, with a number next to each country corresponding to the number of countries that passport holder can access visa-free or with a visa-upon-arrival.

CARIBBEAN CITIZENSHIP-BY-INVESTMENT

As a collective, Antigua & BarbudaSt Kitts & NevisGrenadaSt Lucia and Dominica, in the Caribbean, offer an attractive citizenship opportunity to their country through a citizenship-by-investment program.

By donating or investing in a real estate project, you will be able to obtain a citizenship. These programs allow an applicant and qualifying family members to become citizens of the country in return for making a qualifying local investment. The donation option usually attracts those intending to obtain an additional passport as soon as is practicable and who wish to spend only minimal time (if any at all) in the country.

The real estate option is usually attractive to those who may consider spending some time in the country, or who are willing to stretch the process by a few weeks or months to invest locally and reap the potential benefits of future property market growth. The real estate option normally requires a greater investment amount at the onset and is subject to restrictions on resale (such as a three-to-five-year holding period).  Trusted lawyers will be able to advise on the most suitable options, starting from around USD 100,000 for the donation option.

These citizenship-by-investment programs are renowned, efficient and simple. There is generally no language or residency requirement, and all five programs provide extensive tax benefits, including no personal income or corporate tax, capital gains tax, estate, wealth or gift tax.

Vanuatu, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is also often considered by individuals looking for a renowned, efficient and simple way to acquire an additional citizenship through a donation. In many ways, it presents advantages similar to those offered by the Caribbean countries’ programs and can be processed within a month or two.

Below is the list of countries in descending order of mobility, as measured by the number of countries a passport holder can access visa-free or with a visa-upon-arrival:

  1. Antigua & Barbuda: 151
  2. St Kitts & Nevis: 162
  3. Grenada: 144
  4. St Lucia: 147
  5. Dominica: 145
  6. Vanuatu: 125

EUROPE CITIZENSHIP-BY-INVESTMENT

European passports such as Irish and Portuguese passports have consistently ranked high for mobility.

The Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) and the Portugal Golden Visa are attractive to all kinds of investors and are a proven and reliable path to a strong European passport.

You will be able to obtain the residency or the citizenship after five years for both programs. Both an Irish passport and a Portuguese passport afford the holder visa-free or visa-upon-arrival access to 166 countries.

Portugal Golden Visa puts investors on the path to citizenship after five years, provided they spend at least seven days per year in Portugal. The investment required for a Portugal Golden Visa starts from EUR 280,000 for a property investment.

The Ireland IIP is available to individuals able to demonstrate a net worth of at least EUR 2 million and provide an investment of at least EUR 1 million (or EUR 400,000 in the case of a donation) in Irish funds or enterprises for at least three years. If you reside in Ireland for five years, you can obtain the Irish Citizenship. Nevertheless, investors that do not meet the physical residence requirement will simply be able to maintain permanent residency status by spending one day in Ireland per year until they decide to settle in Ireland and embark on the citizenship path.

Countries offering citizenship-by-investment programs in Europe include Montenegro and Turkey. Investors may be looking at these countries as a platform towards USA E2 Visas, or betting on the future potential of the country. Both Montenegro and Turkey citizenship-by-investment programs do not require any language, education, or management requirements. A Montenegrin passport affords the holder visa-free or visa-upon-arrival access to 123 countries, while a Turkish passport holder affords the holder the same to 117 countries.

Montenegro requires a financial commitment of at least EUR 450,000 (inclusive of a donation of EUR 200,000); while Turkey requires a qualifying investment of USD 400,000 or Turkish Lira equivalent in real estate property and held for at least three years.

The present article only touches upon some of the options available, but there are plenty more. Trusted lawyers will be able to advise the options most suitable to your circumstances and goals.

For more information about our services, please visit our website at www.harveylawcorporation.com

If you would like to discuss with one of our professionals, please contact us via email at [email protected]

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