The Advantages and Process of Second Citizenship by Investment
The practice of obtaining a second citizenship through investment has become increasingly popular among high net worth individuals. Numerous countries around the world offer citizenship by investment, and some even allow for dual citizenship, which can provide applicants with the added benefit of a second passport while retaining their original citizenship. It is also noteworthy that completing a second citizenship by investment program within a European Union country grants the applicant and their family members the right to freedom of movement throughout any of the European Union member states.
Given the increasing volatility and insecurity of the world, many individuals seek a second citizenship as a means of providing extra security in the event of unforeseen changes in their home country. Additionally, some seek a second citizenship for tax benefits, while others may seek a better quality of life that their home residence does not afford.
Most citizenship by investment programs are available to the applicant and their family members, with certain programs varying in terms of which family members are eligible. Some programs allow for direct dependents, such as children under a certain age or still in education, while others permit ascendants, such as the applicant's parents, to be included in the application.
High net worth individuals may also benefit from attractive taxation policies associated with some citizenship by investment programs. These benefits may come in the form of a lower flat rate of taxation or a remittance basis of taxation, meaning individuals are only taxed on income that is remitted to the country. Certain countries, such as Malta and Cyprus, offer favorable tax incentives for high net worth individuals and certain corporate structures.
Acquiring a second citizenship through investment may take several months to a year to complete, depending on the program. The application process typically requires extensive due diligence, and applicants should be prepared with all necessary paperwork. Most countries appoint licensed law firms or representatives to assist with the application process, which may incur professional fees.
Each citizenship by investment program has its own unique conditions. As the name suggests, significant investment is generally required, which may take the form of government bonds, equity investments, or real estate, among others. Most programs also require a physical presence condition, meaning applicants must physically move or be present in the country during the process. The length of time for this requirement varies depending on the program, and applicants and their families must meet certain health and travel document requirements.
As more and more countries seek to attract investment, it is expected that additional citizenship by investment programs will become available. These programs provide high net worth individuals with serious options to consider in their pursuit of additional security, tax benefits, or a better quality of life.