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Up until the turn of the 21st century, there was no such thing as a passport. Though there are records dated back to Roman times where they used letters guaranteeing safe passage carried by persons who were traveling through distant lands.
It was only until after World War I where passports were required to prove your identity when travelling. It was first made into law through the British Citizenship and Aliens Act of 1914 and later in the League of Nations where it was instituted into the global framework amongst nations.
Citizenship is the relationship between a specific individual and a nation-state whereby the state grants the resident particular rights, such as the right to vote, work and own property, and in return the resident accepts the authority of the state government and the supporting laws and custom of the state.
There are three standard ways of acquiring citizenship through:
While birth and marriage can be a harder thing to plan for, naturalisation is the route most citizenship planning is done through, whereby an individual can acquire citizenship by living in a country for x number of years.
The number of years required is anywhere from 2-5 years for many Latin countries and upwards of 5-10+ years for European countries. Requirements vary between countries drastically, as well as language and other civil and social requirements.
Economic Citizenship or citizenship by investment is the process of getting a second citizenship and passport through a cash donation or through an investment in real estate.
Many countries around the world offer some form of citizenship by the investment program. They were established to encourage foreign capital into the country and stimulate local businesses and investment opportunities.
Getting a second citizenship through the proper channels together in the right jurisdiction can open up opportunities in travel, investment as well as economic diversification.
Many global entrepreneurs have sought out second citizenship programs as many programs do not require a physical presence requirements in order to be eligible.
There are numerous reasons why people invest in a second citizenship, whether its diversification or personal safety reasons or whether its to increase their global movement capability.
A second passport is perhaps the greatest insurance policy you can buy. Especially for individuals living in politically repressive or unstable countries.
Applications who participate in the 'golden passport' programs in the Caribbean can be approved in as little as 3-6 months that offer citizenship for life, a legitimate passport, together with the possibility of passing on that citizenship to your family for future generations to come.
Getting a second passport allows you the opportunity to have access to different regional financial opportunities by investing and operating businesses in different regions in the world.
Free yourself from being solely identified with just one nationality. A second citizenship allows you to break free from rigid stereotypes that can follow you from place to place depending on the passport you carry.
Increase the number of countries you can visit without applying for a visa. Having a second passport gives you more visa-free travel opportunities.
Having a second passport allows you to bypass control of movement restrictions that may be imposed. You are likely able to bypass travel restrictions if you have a second nationality. During the pandemic, citizens of many nationalities were unable to travel to loved ones because of their nationality.
Untie yourself from the domain of one single sate authority. Having a second passport frees you from being beholden to any single authority. You are more able to move and live where you want when you want without having to rely on any specific jurisdictions mandate.
Having a Plan B in place should anything go wrong helps prepare yourself for the future. Being welcomed as a first-class citizen gives you a backup plan in case you are looking for a second country to live in should you need to implement Plan B.
You are likely to be able to optimize your tax structure through many of the beneficial tax initiatives that come with living in a low tax jurisdiction. You likely will be able to live tax-free if you are able to structure your business and assets properly.
Likely one of the most valuable gifts you can give to future generations. Passing down second citizenship to your children and their children will influence lives for generations to come.
There is no one standard requirement, as each country has its own set of laws however, generally speaking, there are some commonalities that are applicable to all the programs.
A Citizenship by investment program is applied using an agent who is able to coordinate with the respective government authorities. Most economic citizenship programs last between 3-6 months with options to expedite the process in the case of several Caribbean countries.
In order to apply, you will be required to furnish your:
The only downside of a second passport is that it is not that cheap. The least expensive program hovers around 100,000 USD. However, this does not make a second passport any less crucial.
Many countries around the world provide citizenship by investment programs. The number of these programs are continuously increasing as a growing number of countries understand the financial advantages of opening their borders to highly skilled and wealthy individuals as most investors come with business or entrepreneurial background which has helped many Caribbean countries with the brain drain they currently are facing.
Some of the most popular programs are found in the Caribbean mainly due to their cost which is 10% of what the programs cost in Europe. Malta, Cyprus and Gibraltar, for instance, cost USD 1 mil, 2 mil, and 2.5 mil; whereas Caribbean countries cost anywhere between USD 100,000 - 20,0000.
The most popular Caribbean countries that offer Economic Citizenship are:
St. Kitts & Nevis was the first country to first implement the second citizenship opportunity and started the investment program in 1984; other nations quickly followed suit as a result of the success of the program.
In the last two decades, Nevis has generated over 50 million USD in fees alone, as well as all of the spillover benefits that come through local business development and local investment.
Since the start of the global lockdown and Covid-19, St Kitts and Nevis started offering a 40,00USD discount in its family price. Other Caribbean countries such as St Lucia and Antigua have also been offering reducing pricing in their attempts to attract individuals and clients through the 2020 calendar.
The Island of Dominica offers a passport through their Citizenship by investment program (CIP) for 100,000USD currently making in the cheapest country in the world to offer a full second citizenship and passport.
Dominica is more of a natural island known for its beauty and rainforest rather than a bustling tourist infrastructure. There laid back style can be seen by their low visa requirements. Many countries are even able to enter the country for up to 6 months without any visa.
Also known as a Golden Visa or Investor visa the CIP program gives an individual a Dominican second passport in 3-6 months without any need of physically applying in person. You can apply and be granted citizenship without needing to fulfill any residency requirements nor do you need to visit the country beforehand.
Similar to the Nevis and Dominica Golden Visa program St Lucia offers citizenship through an investment that was started in 2016 and is currently priced at 100,000 USD making it one of the newest and cheapest programs in the world. The program was started by the government in order to promote development and infrastructure projects in the country. A second passport can be acquired also through a real estate investment of 300,000 USD.
The passport gives you visa-free travel access to 146 countries making it a top tier passport. The requirements are only to pass a medical exam and have a clean criminal record
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