Want to escape America? 12 countries where you can buy citizenship (and a second passport)
After the 2016 presidential election, so many people dreamed of leaving the United States that Immigration to Canada website crashed. Today, the idea of becoming an expatriate resurfaces. According to a recent YouGov survey, 31% of Americans say they are interested in bolting if their candidate is not elected in the next election in November. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson recently made headlines when they became honorary Greek citizens and received a second passport. And with the coronavirus pandemic restricting travel for U.S. citizens and power of the US passport on the decline, it’s not surprising that many Americans are investigating how they can buy a second passport, whether it is to seek refuge in another country or simply to be able to travel more freely.
Some countries like Barbados and Estonia attract remote workers with the promise of extended residency programs, which allow you to live and work there for a fixed period of time. But when it comes to getting a real passport, it’s usually more complicated than you might expect. It can often take up to five years of life in one place to become a resident. (If Hanks and Wilson had taken the normal route to Greek nationality, they should have invested several hundred thousand dollars in real estate and lived in the country for seven years.) Many countries also require that you give up your US citizenship.
Here’s the good news: There are also countries around the world that welcome Americans – for a price – with citizenship-by-investment programs that grant residency and a second passport. And thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, a handful of Caribbean islands are making it easier (and cheaper) than ever to get a second passport.
“The demand for these programs is accelerating, just as the supply has grown globally,” says Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, a company that helps people gain citizenship in other countries. country. “Increasingly, wealthy nations and individuals view investment migration as more than a competitive advantage. Today it is considered an absolute requirement in a volatile world. “
If the idea of moving abroad really appeals to you, here are some of the best places you can get citizenship and some of the top details on what it will take to get that coveted second passport.
Places to obtain Caribbean citizenship
Saint Kitts and Nevis
This lush pair of islands has one of the strongest passports in the Caribbean, allowing visa-free travel to over 100 countries, including Italy and the United Kingdom. Now Saint Kitts and Nevis offers a 23% discount on citizenship until the end of 2020. With a contribution of $ 150,000 to the country “Sustainable Growth FundAnd a minimum real estate investment of $ 200,000, a family of four can get passports. The contribution is usually $ 195,000.
The island of Saint Lucia started offering residency to foreigners in 2015, and according to Nestor Alfred, CEO of the Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Program, around 700 people have obtained passports since then. In May, the price for obtaining citizenship was cut in half thanks to new “Covid-19 Relief” bonds: until the end of 2020, it will cost $ 250,000 for an individual and $ 300,000 for a family of four people. With a Saint Lucia passport, you can gain visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 146 global destinations.
Antigua and Barbuda
Another twin island nation, Antigua and Barbuda welcomes foreigners who want to live the Caribbean dream and makes it cheaper to get a passport here. A $ 100,000 donation to the country’s development fund, plus a real estate investment, will secure passports for a family of four, and the government recently made it cheaper to add children. A passport here will give you visa-free access to 151 destinations.
The small Caribbean island of Dominica also welcomes foreigners to its beautiful shores and is considered one of the best countries for citizenship by investment, since citizenship is extended to your spouse, dependent children and dependent parents or grandparents and can also be passed on to future generations. Applicants must either contribute to the Economic Diversification Fund or invest in luxury and sustainable hotels and resorts.
With a passport of Grenade, you can access many countries without a visa, including China. There are two different ways of obtaining citizenship, including a contribution of $ 150,000 to the country’s National Transformation Fund via the Grenadian Citizenship-by-Investment program or by buy approved real estate with a minimum value of $ 350,000
Places to obtain citizenship in Europe
Portugal has become a hot spot for people looking to quit their jobs and move abroad. To obtain a Portuguese passport, you must participate in the Golden Visa Program, which can qualify in a number of ways, including donating to Portuguese art and culture, investing in a business, starting a business or buying real estate. Anecdote: to become a citizen, you will have to take a Portuguese history test.
MaltaThe Individual Investor Program is one of the most popular citizenship programs. To obtain Maltese citizenship, it will cost you around $ 1.1 million through a combination of donations and real estate. In return, you have the right to live and work in Malta or across the EU. You’ll also get visa-free access to 183 locations around the world.
The Cyprus The investment program doesn’t come cheap: you’ll have to spend around $ 2.5 million between donations and real estate investments, but in return you’ll be able to travel visa-free to 174 destinations around the world.
Austria has one of the strongest passports in the world, giving its holders visa-free access to 187 destinations around the world, as well as the right to live in all EU member countries. But it’s not cheap: you’ll need to make a minimum investment of around $ 3.5 million.
Places to obtain citizenship in the world
If that was good enough for Lord of the Rings, it’s good enough for you. New Zealand grabbed the headlines with wealthy expats like Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel buying their way to citizenship. But it is not cheap. There are two different ways to obtain citizenship by New Zealand by investment, starting with an investment of at least $ 2 million over four years.
With a real estate investment of $ 250,000, you can buy your entry into Turkish Citizenship by Investment Program, which guarantees a Turkish passport that will give you citizenship in this beautiful country as well as visa-free or visa-free access on arrival to 111 destinations around the world.
Who wouldn’t want to live in the South Pacific? The archipelago of Vanuatu– about 1,000 miles east of Australia – has a development support program that requires a $ 180,000 non-repayable donation to the islands for a family of four. In return, you’ll get a passport that guarantees visa-free travel to 116 countries, along with the ability to call this island paradise your new home.
Editor’s Note 7/29/20: News regarding Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson receiving Greek passports was added to this story after publication. Details on Turkish citizenship have also been updated.