Residence and citizenship planning
Citizenship by Investment
Residence and citizenship planning have become topics of significant interest among the increasing number of internationally mobile entrepreneurs and investors.
We provide our clients with a seamless service both in the client’s current location as well as in their target country for residence or citizenship. Through our partnerships in key regions around the world we provide an unparalleled service to private clients and their advisors.
Citizenship by Investment Programs
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Dominica Citizenship by Investment
- Malta Residency
- Malta Citizenship by investment
- St Kitts & Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment
What is dual citizenship?
The term Dual Citizenship simply refers to individuals that have a passport from two different countries. It is now quite common for individuals to have a passport from more than one country, either through birth, marriage, or more recently through citizenship by investment. We have friends & clients that have multiple passports.
Is dual citizenship by investment 100% legal?
Some countries do not allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship. You should check the status of your own local laws before applying, unless you are intending to renounce your current citizenship.
However, the countries that offer citizenship by investment programs DO allow their new citizens to hold dual passports, and do not report any of their new citizens to any other country.
Why do I need a second passport?
• Visa Free Travel
• Family security
• Financial Flexibility
• Tax Advantages
What is the difference between residency and citizenship by investment?
With Citizenship comes all the benefits of being a citizen of a certain country. The right to an education, to medical facilities, the right to choose your government. Citizenship is for life. You have the right to live the rest of your life in your country, and travel as a Citizen of your country.
Residency is a temporary legal status, allowing you to live and or work in a certain country, for a certain time, under certain conditions. You have the benefits that are attributed to a resident, but not to a Citizen. You may also receive a temporary or permanent resident card, which will inform other countries that you are a resident of said country. This can also have visa free travel benefits.
If you are in a hurry for a second passport, note the following: – acquiring citizenship directly can take only 3-6 months, whereas acquiring citizenship through residency (naturalization) can take at least 5 to 6 years.
Once citizenship is granted , it cannot be revoked. Whereas the requirements one needs to meet to acquire citizenship through residency can change according to the Politics of the country in question.
Most citizenship by investment programs allow you to pass on the citizenship to your children. This benefit Residency Programs do not offer.
Passport via Donation OR Citizenship by Investment - which is best?
Many of the Commonwealth or Caribbean passport programs offer a choice of “direct government donation” or “real estate investment”, so which should you choose?
Well the quick answer here is – your budget. The direct donation option is always the cheapest, but the term donation is key. This is an amount that you are offering to donate to a foreign government, in return for becoming a citizen of their country. You need to determine if you are happy to donate the relevant amount, if not, and if your budget allows, then you should certainly consider the citizenship by investment option.
Each of the five Caribbean Islands that offer Citizenship by Investment programs, have government approved real estate options. Normally these options can be $100k higher than donation, but if your application contains a family of four or more, then it becomes a very competitive option. Most of the real estate options have a lock-in period of 5 years, at which point you are allowed to either sell your investment or you can decide to maintain it (on the assumption that it’s producing a good yield).
We have some incredible choices of real estate options, which includes investments in 5 star branded luxury hotel complexes, to independent villas on acres of tropical forests.
Do I need to emigrate or make regular visits to the country I am applying for?
Yes, if you are applying to UK, USA, Canada or Ireland. No, if you are applying for the Commonwealth countries, or indeed Portugal, Malta or Cyprus. Each country has its own legislation governing its immigration policies.
When governments decide to launch a Residency or Citizenship by Investment program, they are generally flexible about the visitation requirements.
Why would I not be successful with my application or are there any chances of rejection?
Applicants must bear in mind that citizenship is a privilege not a right. Foreign governments develop these citizenship by investment programs to bring in foreign direct investment, and to also to attract successful international business people. Should your application be rejected, here are a list of potential causes:
- If an applicant has a criminal history.
- If an applicant is involved in money laundering activities.
- If an applicant is linked to persons with criminal history.
- If an applicant’s source of funds & acquisition of wealth is unclear.
- If an applicant has a potential reputational risk to the country.
Do I gain full refund if I am not approved?
Yes, in the unlikely event that a foreign government refuses your application, you will receive a full government refund. You will however not receive the legal and due-diligence fees that were charged during the application process.
How long does the process take?
The process can be as quick as 45 days.
Can a country change the rule & revoke my citizenship at any point in the future?
Once a citizenship is granted, it cannot be revoked unless it is discovered that you provided false information in your application or if any very serious offences occur that will bring the country into disrepute.
Is this a confidential process? Is my home country given information on my new citizenship?
The process of attaining a second passport is absolutely confidential. Your country of birth, or your current country of residence is NOT informed about the new citizenship.
Can I apply for family members & does this cost extra?
Yes, you can include your immediate family in the same application with an additional cost which varies from program to program. Immediate family can include spouse, children and parents.
Can I cancel my citizenship/residency at any stage?
Yes if your circumstances change, you can cancel your citizenship or residency at any given stage.
Can I renew my new passport after expiry and how often do I need to renew?
Yes, of course, like any other country, every citizen is entitled to renew their passport. Renewal periods depend from to country to country but generally it’s a 10 year renewal period.
When can I sell my investment e.g. Property/Government Bonds/Asset? Who can I sell it to? How much can I sell for?
There is lock in period for all type of investments. After that lock in period you can sell your investment to a person looking for a second passport or any other person. For your convenience, we can also assist you in these matters.
Can I rent out my property?
Yes, you can put the property on the rental market at any time after purchasing it.
There are many countries that offer these "citizenship by investment" or "golden visa programs" - how do I know which program is best for me?
There are two main issues here; are you looking to merely acquire a passport for visa free travel, or are you looking for a country that you and your family could potentially immigrate to?
If you travel frequently to certain countries, consider looking more closely at the programs that offer visa free access or visa on arrival to different parts of the world, particularly if any country is important for regular work or personal travel needs. Some of the programs offer visa free travel to Russia and China, but many don’t.
You may consider a European program, if your intention is to find a second home, or relocate your family for educational purposes or simply a better standard of living.
Applicants with large families should bear in mind that certain countries offer more competitive investment packages for groups. Also, consideration should be given to investment options, rather than the direct donation (where applicable).
For single applicants & young couples, whether you are intending to start a family in future is a crucial consideration as the cost of acquiring citizenship for a new spouse or a new born child at a later stage differs significantly from program to program.
What's the process?
It is our job to prepare your citizenship application in the best possible format. We have represented hundreds of clients from all over the world, and have dealt successfully with many application problems, including something as straight forward as lost birth certificates or marriage documents, to dealing with clients that have had negative press or media coverage in various countries.
In many parts of the world, the citizenship by investment or donation process is the same, either:
- make a direct donation to the government in question
- or invest in a government approved real estate project.
The citizenship investment amount is normally higher than the donation amount, but the applicant has the opportunity to recoup the investment after 5 years, with a potential capital gain.
There is a stringent due-diligence process that goes along with this, which includes:
- medical checks,
police clearance checks,
academical checks etc.
In short, each government will want a full background search on each individual applicant, and it will then perform its own reviews via various international organizations (Interpol etc).
Some of the citizenship by investment programs can have a turnaround time of only 45 days, but generally the process is 6 months.