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Second Passports – An Upsurge in Demand for Immigration by Investment

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Driven by the change in lifestyles brought about by the sudden pandemic, reports are coming in of an upsurge in demand from more than 25% of the world’s wealthiest individuals wanting to obtain a second passport or residency in another country.

There have been increasing concerns within the EU that some countries such as Malta and Cyprus were making it too easy for foreigners to acquire citizenships and passports through Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs, without the need to reside in their country for a number of years. Cyprus, even with the required investments in property at € 2.5m was still a very popular and successful program. The program is currently suspended following EU scrutiny although Permanent Residency remains available.

Arising from the pandemic, a surprising dynamic may be emerging amongst High Net Worth Investors (HNWIs) of lifestyle benefits when working from home, leading many to re-evaluate priorities in life.

The Caribbean was always seen as attractive destination from a tax perspective or as a bridge to the U.S. It now seems entirely possible that among HNWIs, many of the more advanced islands may now also be seen as a home destination for their families. With high-speed internet, most entrepreneurs can continue to ply their trade from anywhere in the world.

Many Immigration by Investment professionals and stake holders are saying that immigration will be less driven by visa free travel and more by a growing desire for a high quality of life with decent health care, education, civil liberties all in a culture that feels safe, rewarding and comfortable.

Cyprus, despite the suspension of its CIB program may see an upsurge in demand for its Permanent Residency program driven by the very high-quality lifestyle it offers coupled with an advantageous tax regime and pro-business government.

Peter Mustafa, Partner in Residency Invest, a Citizenship by Investment provider, agrees that among many HNWIs, the uncertainties brought by the pandemic is driving a reboot in the ideals of family values which, together with a desire to provide their children with the best possible education, is driving interest in immigration of one type or another. Moreover, having two or more passports provides a comforting buffer should the need arise. It therefore seems likely that immigration by Investment programs are likely continue to grow more popular.

Immigration Programs

The following represents nations permitting dual citizenship.

U.S. EB-5 immigrant investor visa program

EB-5 is a highly successful route to U.S Residency (Green Card). The process presently takes around 24 months – likely to soon become quicker under Biden. Citizenship options follow after 5 years of your date of entry in the U.S. with your initial Green Card. Dual citizenship is permitted.

The recent increase in the cost of investment capital requirement to USD 900,000 has brought with it an expectation of greater investment repayment security.

E-2 non-immigrant Visa E-2 non-immigrant Visa  applicable only to countries with an E-2 Treaty with the U.S.

The E-2 visa requires the applicants to own or create a business in the U.S. with a minimum business investment of typically $100k to $200k.  The applicant, spouse and children under 21, all receive residency visas enabling them to live, work and study in the U.S. If the applicant does not currently have citizenship from an E-2 Treaty country, Residency Invest can first facilitate fast citizenship to E-2 treaty nations. List of E-2 Nations here.

Portugal EU Golden Visa program

Portugal’s Golden Visa program is the most popular route to residency in the EU. The Residency visa takes around 4 – 6 months to be approved and confers immediate visa free travel to the Schengen zone. A Portugal EU citizenship and passport option follows in 5 years. Dual citizenship permitted.

Turkey Citizenship by Investment program E-2 treaty country

An investment of $250,000 into a property of your choice gives citizenship in just 2-6 months for the investor, spouse and children. Applications to Turkey are becoming popular, not just for being a U.S. E-2 treaty country, therefore a bridge to U.S. business and residency, but because the country is enormously attractive in terms of: scenic beauty, wonderful lifestyle, a pro-enterprise government, access to the Middle East and Visa Free travel to 110 countries.

The process from initial application to citizenship takes 2 to 6 months

Caribbean: Grenada Citizenship by Investment  E-2 treaty country

An investment into approved property projects in Grenada leads to citizenship in 4-6 months. For a family of 4 with children under 30 years of age, the investment becomes approximately $270,000. The property must be held for a minimum of 3 years following attainment of citizenship. Grenada Citizenship provides visa free travel to 138 countries, including the UK and EU. Grenada is also the only country in the Caribbean to hold the E-2 Visa Treaty status with the U.S., meaning citizens are eligible to apply for the coveted E-2 Visa, the fastest working visa to the U.S.

and

Cyprus: Permanent Residency with Citizenship option after 5 years.

Permanent Residency takes 3 – 4 months. Citizenship option after 5 years upon proof of residence for the entire 5th year. Property investment minimum of € 300,000 and children and parents can form part of the application.

Cyprus has a lifestyle that encompasses antiquity, quaintness, Mediterranean coastal beauty with modern living; banks, financial sector, democracy, health and education.

 

 

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