A new international industry has been thriving in recent years. Countries offer people the opportunity to acquire citizenship or residency. The International Monetary Fund has pointed out the fast blooming of this trend, proposing that in this day’s geopolitical climate people are looking for “political and economic safe havens”.
A recent survey by CS Global Partners found that 89% of people want to have dual citizenship, with 34% even considering investing to get another passport. Moreover, 80.68% said they would agree to invest 5% of their annual salary in obtaining an additional passport, which is higher than what they spend on rent.
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Fortunately, more than 20 countries are offering a new home to people willing to invest in a business, real estate or government bonds. Some of these countries offer citizen citizenship programs (CIPs), in which an investment of $ 200,000 or more buys citizenship. These programs often include real estate investment in exchange for citizenship status, and other programs offer “residency” – a kind of extended visa with benefits, in return for similar investments.
“For many rich people, second or third citizenship is important because it allows them to travel freely in the world,” says Nuri Katz, president of Apex Capital Partners, an international consulting firm that specializes in citizenship programs for investors. “For some, it’s a status symbol, like buying a fancy car to show off to friends.” He added that such programs also allow people to ease their tax burden. “Citizenship becomes more important than just issuing a passport,” he said, “There are certain advantages in using second citizenship to create residency in countries where the tax burden is lower than the original state.”
The Chinese are the largest market for citizenship programs, more than 100,000 Chinese have spent $ 24 billion over the last decade to purchase residency through such programs. However, there is a difference between investment plans for citizenship and residency programs. “Citizenship is forever, and it can not be ruled out unless it is granted under false circumstances,” he explains. A residency visa, on the other hand, can be denied, but on the other hand, it is a less expensive way of receiving benefits that accompany housing in another country.
Business Insider has found 17 countries where your money can get another passport, or at least an opportunity to live long-term abroad.
17. Thailand – “Senior Residency Status” Starting at $ 15,000: The Government of Thailand has begun to offer “senior residency” visas to established foreign nationals. According to the plan, it is possible to live in the country for about $ 3,000 a year. Seven different packages are offered, the most expensive being called “Ultimate Ultimate Benefits”. 20-year residency costs $ 60,000, plus membership fees of $ 600 a year. The price includes VIP access to government agencies dealing with immigration, licensing and work permits, airport travel reimbursements, annual medical examination in a private hospital and 24 spa treatments and golf trips per year. Other packages include a $ 15,000 payment for five-year residency, no annual payments, or ten-year residency at a cost of $ 30,000, which gives discounts to family members.
16. Latvia – Residency Starting at 64,600 Euros: In order to become a resident of Latvia, a minimum investment of 286,000 Euros should be made over a period of five years or an investment of 36,000 Euros and a minimum of 28,600 Euros a year thereafter. After five years you can apply for citizenship, which will also include a language and history test. However, Katz notes that Latvian is an impossible language to learn as an adult, and the authorities are aware of it.
15. St. Lucia – Citizenship Starting from $ 100,000: There are three ways to obtain citizenship in St. Lucia – a donation of at least $ 100,000 to the Saint Lucia Economic Fund, an investment of at least $ 300,000 in a certified real estate project or an investment of $ 3.5 million In an approved enterprise project.
14. Dominica – Citizenship Starting at $ 100,000: The country’s main source of attraction is the fact that it provides visa free entry to more than 110 countries. There are two options for citizenship: a donation of $ 100,000 to the National Transformation Fund for a single candidate, or $ 200,000 to a family of four. A second option is an investment of $ 200,000 in real estate.
13. Malta – Citizenship Starting at 150,000 euros: The current investment options in Malta are as follows: an irrevocable contribution of at least 650,000 euros to the National Development Fund and the Social Fund, an investment of at least $ 350,000 in real estate, Of at least 16 thousand euros for five years. A third option is to buy government bonds worth 150,000 euros and hold them for at least five years.
12. Granada – Citizenship Starting at $ 200,000: There are two ways to get citizenship in Granada by investing: a donation of $ 200,000 to the Granada National Transformation Fund or an investment of at least $ 350,000 in real estate.
St. Kitts and Nevis – Citizenship Starting at $ 250,000: The program has become particularly popular since 2009, when citizens were allowed to enter European countries without a visa. The options for obtaining citizenship are an investment of at least $ 400,000 in real estate for five years or a non-refundable donation of at least $ 250,000 to the Sugar Industry Association (depending on the number of family members).
10. Greece – Residency Starting at 250,000 Euros: In order to win the status of a Greek resident, a minimum sum of 250,000 Euros should be invested in Greek assets. This is the cheapest housing program in Europe.
9. Antigua and Barbuda – Citizenship Starting at $ 250,000: There are three ways to get citizenship by investing in the country: real estate investment of at least $ 400,000, a contribution of $ 250,000 to the National Development Fund, and an investment of $ 1.5 million in an existing business venture Relatively new.
8. Portugal – “Gold Visa” starting from 350,000 Euro: This program offers non-European investors a fast track for obtaining residency permits. The visa is initially valid for one year and can be renewed twice thereafter for two years at a time. Candidates and their family members can obtain a Portuguese passport after six years of permanent residence. To do so, they must fulfill one of the following: investing € 500,000 in a fund investing in small and medium-sized companies, purchasing at least 350,000 euros worth of real estate and creating at least 10 jobs in Portugal.
7. US – Residency Starting at $ 500,000: Over the past decade, 75% of US investment visa recipients are Chinese. During the same period, the state had entered at least $ 7.7 billion and issued over 40,000 visas to Chinese investors and their family members. The visa, type EB-5, grants conditional residency status (better known as the Green Card), from which you can apply for citizenship and passport. Two years after receiving the green card, investors and their family members become eligible for permanent residence. Investment options include an investment of $ 500,000 in an intended employment area or a direct investment of $ 1 million in a commercial venture in the United States.
6. Spain – a “gold visa” from € 500,000: in order to qualify for a visa, a minimum investment of € 500,000 is required in real estate, and after five years you can apply for permanent residency and after 10 years apply for citizenship.
5. Bulgaria – Citizenship Starting from a million Lev: There are two investment options in Bulgaria. The first is a one-million-pound investment in government bonds for five years, and the investment is returned to the investor after the end of the period, but without interest.The second track is the fast track and includes a million-pound investment in government bonds, Of a year in the country, and keeping both investments for at least two years after receiving citizenship.
4. Canada – Citizenship Starting at $ 800,000: In the late 1980s, Canada launched a successful immigrant investment program. Due to the high demand, in 2014 the Canadian government decided to close the program on the grounds that it significantly reduced the value of residency in Canada and almost did not provide economic benefits to the state. However, some districts in Canada have smaller programs. Quebec, for example, receives only 1,500 people a year and must meet the following conditions: to live in the country for three years within a four-year time frame, to have at least a legal capital of at least 1.6 million Canadian dollars, Human resources and management, to announce their intention to settle in Quebec and sign an agreement according to which they will invest $ 800,000.
3. Australia – Residency Starting at A $ 1.5 million Australian: Australia has a residency program that can lead to long-term citizenship. However, it is among the precious ones that exist. The terms are a personal capital of A $ 2.25 million in the two years prior to the application, or an investment of $ 1.5 million in a project or local venture that will benefit the Australian economy.
2. Cyprus – Citizenship Starting from € 1.5 million, the Cyprus program offers several options: real estate investment of 2 million euros, a capital of at least 500,000 euros, or ownership of a house in Cyprus worth at least 1.5 million euros.
1. New Zealand – residency from NZ $ 3 million: the most expensive program ever tested. New Zealand offers two options to become residents: an investment of 3 million New Zealand dollars for four years, or an investment of 10 million New Zealand dollars over a period of three years. For those who choose the option for four years, a business experience of at least three years is also required.