The super-rich are no longer just spending their money on private jets, yachts, and hotels – they are also splashing out on second passports.
The “Second Citizenship Survey 2017” report, produced by CS Global Partners, the legal consultancy company, found that 89 per cent of people would like to own a second passport, and more than 34 per cent said they had looked into investing in a second citizenship.
Even more striking were the 80 per cent of respondents, who said they would be willing to invest or donate 5 per cent of their annual salary for a second citizenship – more than they spend on monthly rent.
Luckily, a number of countries offer Citizenship by Investment (CIP) programmes where money – normally invested in real estate – can actually buy a second passport, and the elite status that comes along with owning citizenship in another country.
Other programmes offer “elite residency” – an extended visa with perks – in exchange for similar investments.
Nuri Katz, president of Apex Capital Partners, an international advisory firm that specialises in CIPs, said: “For a lot of wealthy people having a second or third passport is important for the ability to travel.
“For some it's also a status symbol, like buying a fancy car to show your friends.”
He said that along with the travel benefits and the status that comes along with owning property around the world, the programmes also allow people to manage their tax burdens.
“Second citizenship is becoming more than just getting a passport,” he said.
“There are certain advantages towards using second citizenship to create residence in countries where tax burdens would be lower than where you are at the current time.”
However, Katz said there was a difference between CIPs and residency programmes.
“Citizenship is forever and cannot be taken away unless you received it under fraudulent circumstances,” he said.
“You also get a passport.”
Meanwhile, as laws change, a residency visa can be taken away – but it is a more affordable way to get the perks that come along with living in another country.
Here is a complete list of countries that offer citizenship or residency by investment, compiled after consulting the latest CBI Index, published by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine, and talking to Katz and the global investment migration firm Henley & Partners and the global citizenship and residence planning company Knightsbridge Capital Partners.
Whether you choose to pay for full citizenship or invest in residency, these are the top 23 ranked countries where money can buy you a second passport – or at least a chance to live long-term abroad – according to cost, from the cheapest to most expensive.
23. Thailand – ‘elite residency’ from 500,000 baht (US$15,250)
The Thai government offers “elite” residency visas for wealthy foreign citizens, allowing them to live in the country for around US$3,000 a year.
There are seven different packages, with the most expensive being the “Elite Ultimate Privilege” scheme for US$60,000 for 20 years of residency.
The three most popular options, according to Henley & Partners, are:
Elite Easy Access
- A five-year residence visa for a one-time fee of 500,000 baht.
Elite Family Excursion
- A five-year visa for two people, for a one-time fee of 800,000 baht, plus an additional charge of 300,000 baht per dependant.
Elite Superiority Extension/Elite Ultimate Privilege
- A 20-year residence visa for a one-time fee of 2.14 million baht.
(The package includes complimentary VIP privileges, such as government concierge services and airport services.)
22. Latvia – residency from €64,600 (US$75,000)
For residency in Latvia, in Northern Europe, here is what is required:
- A minimum of €286,000 over a period of five years in a credit institution, or;
- To buy equity capital, the foreign national must invest a minimum of €36,000 and must pay a minimum of €28,600 in the next year.
Henley & Partners said there were also options to apply for the residence permit through the purchase of real estate or interest-free government bonds.
You can apply for citizenship after five years through a process of naturalisation (such as a language test and history test), Katz said.
“The true catch here is when [people] want to get citizenship, they have to take a language test and Latvian is an impossible language to learn as an adult,” Katz said.
“No one can, and they know it – and as such they know no one will ever become a citizen.”
21. St Lucia – citizenship from US$100,000
There are three ways to get citizenship in the Eastern Caribbean nation of St Lucia, Katz said.
- A donation of at least US$100,000 to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund (depending on the number of dependants), or;
- Investment of at least US$300,000 in an approved real estate development, or;
- Investment of US$3.5 million in an approved enterprise project.
20. Dominica – citizenship from US$100,000
Dominica, an island in the Caribbean, is appealing because of its visa-free access to more than 110 countries, the Dubai weekly business magazine, Arabian Business reported.
Katz said there are two options:
- A donation to the National Transformation Fund of US$100,000 for a single applicant, or US$200,000 for a family of four, or;
- A real estate investment of US$200,000.
19. Antigua and Barbuda – citizenship from US$100,000
There are three ways to get citizenship in this Caribbean island nation, through investment in Antigua and Barbuda:
- Real estate investment of a least US$400,000, or;
- A donation to the National Development Fund of US$100,000, or;
- A US$400,000 investment in an existing but newly created business venture.
18. St Kitts and Nevis – citizenship from US$150,000
Following the devastation St Kitts and Nevis faced after the 2017 hurricane season, pricing for the CIP programme in the Caribbean dual-island nation has been adjusted, Katz said.
Its citizens also now have access to more than 150 jurisdictions worldwide, since the country has signed travel treaties with the likes of Russia, Moldova, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Rwanda and Taiwan.
Here are your options, according to Henley & Partners:
- A non-refundable donation of US$250,000 for a single applicant to the SIDF, a non-profit foundation which funds the development of alternative industries to support the national economy, or;
- A non-refundable donation to the SIDF of US$300,000 for an applicant with up to three dependants, as well as an additional US$25,000 per additional dependant, or;
- A non-refundable contribution of US$150,000 to the SGF, a fund which supports economic growth in all sectors of the economy, with an additional US$25,000 for a spouse or US$10,000 for each additional applicant, or;
- The purchase of real estate valued at least US$200,000 which cannot be sold for a seven-year period, or; the purchase of real estate valued at a minimum of US$400,000, which cannot be sold for a five-year period.
17. Grenada – citizenship from US$150,000
There are two ways to get citizenship through investment in the Caribbean nation of Grenada:
- A US$150,000 donation to the Grenada National Transformation Fund, or;
- Real estate investment of at least US$350,000, plus some additional fees.
16. Vanuatu – citizenship from US$155,000
According to the latest CBI Index, the Vanuatu Contribution Programme (VCP) is one of two active citizenship by investment schemes, alongside the Development Support Programme (DSP), but under the DSP, citizens cannot vote or participate in political life in the South Pacific Ocean nation.
Under the VCP, here are the requirements:
- A minimum contribution of US$130,000, plus US$25,000 in processing fees, and;
- A minimum net worth of US$250,000.
15. Moldova – citizenship from €146,300
A CIP programme has been confirmed for Moldova, in Eastern Europe, and according to Henley & Partners, to qualify for citizenship, an applicant must make the following contribution:
- A minimum non-refundable contribution to the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of €100,000 for a single applicant, plus service provider and agent fees of €35,000, government fees of €5,000, due diligence fees of €6,000, and biometric passport fees of €300.
14. Cambodia – citizenship from 1 billion riels (US$245,250)
The Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia has been allowing foreigners to naturalise there following an investment since 1996, according to the latest CBI Index.
While the Cambodian senate approved a draft law on June 11, 2018 that could alter the country's economic citizenship landscape (and increase the investment thresholds,) for now, these are the options:
- Invest 1.2 billion riels into the nation. Investment must be approved by either by the Cambodian Development Council or by the Royal Government, or;
- Donate 1 billion riels for the restoration and rebuilding of Cambodia's economy.
- Applications must also have knowledge of Khmer history and language, and must travel to Cambodia to obtain good behaviour, police, and health certificates, as well as to sign the relevant citizenship oath.
13. Greece – residency from €250,000
To gain residency in Greece you need to invest a minimum of €250,000 in Greek properties.
12. Portugal – ‘Golden Visa’ from €350,000
To gain residency in Portugal, there are plenty of options, Henley & Partners said.
- A transfer of at least €1 million into a Portuguese bank account, or approved investment option, or;
- A €350,000 investment in research activities that are part of the national scientific and technological system, or;
- A €350,000 investment in artistic production or the national cultural heritage, or;
- A €350,000 in investment or venture capital funds committed to the capitalisation of companies incorporated under the Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years.
- A real estate purchase of at least €500,000, or;
- Real estate purchase of at least €350,000 for the refurbishment of properties older than 30 years, or in an area of urban regeneration.
- Creation of a minimum of 10 new jobs, or;
- A €350,000 for the incorporation or increase of share capital of a Portuguese company, creating or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs, for a period of three years.
11. Montenegro – citizenship from €350,000
There are two options for citizenship by investment in Montenegro, in Southeast Europe, Katz said. A programme limited to 2,000 applicants that launched last October includes:
- Invest €250,000 in a government-approved development project in the northern part of Montenegro (undeveloped area); or
- Invest €450,000 in a government-approved development project in the southern part of Montenegro (developed area).
There is an additional fee of €100,000 per application, which is also be paid to the government and will be invested in “a special fund for the development of less developed areas within Montenegro”.
10. United States – residency from US$500,000
The EB-5 visa leads to United States conditional resident status (known as a green card), which can then lead to a US passport.
Two years after conditional residence is granted, investors and their families become eligible for permanent residency.
- Investment of US$500,000 in a rural area, or area with high unemployment into a new commercial enterprise to create 10 new full-time jobs, or;
- Direct investment of US$1 million in an American commercial enterprise.
- Funds may stay invested until permanent resident status is granted (usually four years).
There is also the Regional Center Program, where applicants:
- Invest US$500,00 into a designated Regional Center project, becoming a limited partner of the enterprise
- The applicant is then free to live and work anywhere in the US.
- However, they must have a net worth of at least US$1 million.
9. Spain – ‘Golden Visa’ from €500,000
Spain has a “Golden Visa” programme, which can eventually lead to citizenship.
Here are the options for residency, according to Henley & Partners:
- A minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate, or;
- Minimum investment of €1 million in shares of Spanish companies, or;
- Minimum deposit of €1 million at a Spanish bank, or;
- Minimum investment of €2 million in government bonds.
- After five years, an applicant can request permanent residency.
- After 10 years, they can request citizenship.
8. Bulgaria – citizenship from 1 million lev (US$595,000)
There are two investment options in Bulgaria, in Southeast Europe.
Investment option one:
- A 1 million lev investment in a full-guaranteed government bond for five years. The investment will be returned to the investor after the term without interest.
The fast track option:
- Investment of 1 million lev in government-guaranteed bonds, and;
- Investment of an additional 1 million lev one year later.
- At least one year of permanent residency
- You must hold both investments for at least two years after the citizenship is granted.
7. Canada – citizenship from C$800,000 (US$615,000)
Created by the Canadian government to attract wealthy business people to the country, the Immigrant Investors Program means you can gain permanent residency if you meet the following four criteria, according to Henley & Partners:
- Demonstrate proper business experience – must have previously managed or operated a qualified business for at least two out of five years preceding your application, and;
- You (and your spouse) must have a personal net worth exceeding US$1.6 million, and;
- Your entire family must complete and pass Canada’s medical and security evaluations, and;
- You make an investment of at least US$800,000 for a period of five years under one of the two available programmes.
The Federal Immigrant Investor Program
- This program has been closed since its annual application cap was filled in 2011.
- However, it does not apply to Quebec.
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
- Investor must obtain a Certificate of Selection of Quebec before applying for health and security screening to be admitted to Canada.
- Once admitted, you do not have to live in Quebec, as all Canadian residents have freedom of movement and establishment across provinces and territories.
6. Turkey – citizenship from US$1 million
Launched in January 2017, Turkey's economic citizenship programme offers five options, three of which involve investment over three years, according to the CBI Index.
- A purchase a property valued at US$1 million, or;
- Deposit of US$3 million into a Turkish bank, or;
- Invest US$3 million in government bonds.
However, there are two other routes:
- Investment of US$2 million in fixed capital, or;
- The creation of 100 jobs in Turkey.
5. Malta – citizenship from €880,000
The current investment options in Malta are:
- A non-refundable contribution of at least €650,000 to National Development and Social Fund, and;
- Purchase of €150,000 in government stocks/ bonds, and;
- A property transaction, which can include a purchase (for a minimum of €350,000) or a rental (for a minimum of €16,000 per year), held for five years.
4. Australia – residency from A$1.5 million (US$1.1 million)
Australia boasts a residency programme that can lead to citizenship in the long term.
However, it is on the more expensive end.
You will need:
- A personal net worth of a least A$2.25 million which must apply for the two years previous to the individual’s application, and;
- An investment of A$1.5 million into an Australia project or enterprise, which will in turn benefit the Australian economy.
3. Cyprus – citizenship from €1.5 million
Until recently, Cyprus, in the Eastern Mediterranean, had the most expensive CIP programme, according to Arabian Business.
The current investment options include:
- Real estate investment of at least €2 million or;
- Investment of at least €2 million in businesses or companies based and operating in Cyprus, or;
- Investment of at least €2 million in purchase units from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF).
You can also hold residency. Here are the criteria:
- The purchase of new property worth at least €300,000, and;
- Deposit a minimum of €30,000 from abroad into an account which will be locked for three years, and;
- Have an annual income of at least €30,000 deriving from abroad.
2. New Zealand – residency from NZ$3 million (US$2 million)
In New Zealand, you can live, work and study under the Investor 1 and Investor 2 Resident Visa programmes.
There are two options for residency, according to Henley & Partners:
With Investor 1:
- An investment of NZ$10 million over three years.
- No maximum age limit, no language requirement, and no business experience requirement
With Investor 2:
- An investment of NZ$3 million over four years, and;
- Must be over 65, be English speaking, have at least three years of business experience, and a minimum of NZ$2.5 million in available funds or assets.
1. UK – visa from £2 million (US$2.57 million)
Luke Hexter, director of the global citizenship and residence planning company Knightsbridge Capital Partners, said the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is one of its most popular.
Here is how it works:
- Investment of £2 million into the UK economy (in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies, other than those principally engaged in property investment)
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
- The visa allows you to stay for three years and four months, which can be extended by a further two years.
- Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years in the UK.
- Applicants can apply for British citizenship after spending six years in the country.
Figures correct up to September 2018. This article originally appeared on Business Insider