Top 10 things to consider when opting for a second citizenship
Second citizenship can open up business opportunites – but what programme to choose?
Increased freedom, better business options, insuring against instability – whatever your motives, second citizenship can tick all the boxes.
With upwards of 20 investment programmes though, the question is – how do you choose?
Given all these programmes offer something slightly different, choosing where to invest can seem overwhelming. It needn’t be.
Here are the major considerations to keep in mind when choosing second citizenship.
1. Is the citizenship-by-investment programme well-established and secure?
You’ll of course have to ensure to pick a good one. Many programmes for example offer extra peace of mind with a lifetime guarantee. This protects you against changes in policy, ensuring your citizenship can never be revoked.
2. How long does it take to secure citizenship?
There are many reasons you might want to move quickly with your second citizenship application, from a worsening political situation or growing environmental concerns to simple impatience. If you’re in a hurry, there are programmes that cater to that.
3. Do citizens benefit from any international memberships?
Global agreements and international memberships ensure citizens of participating countries aren’t isolated, and can expect greater respect, security and freedom globally. Such agreements often provide preferable trade conditions too, opening up profitable routes of business to citizens.
4. What are the implications for global mobility?
Global mobility is one of the biggest drivers for many investors when it comes to second citizenship. It’s unfortunately the case that some passports are ‘stronger’ than others, due to political circumstances beyond any one individual’s control. Some people can travel to fewer than 30 countries on their home passport without incurring major obstacles and paperwork. Whether for business or pleasure, second citizenship can transform you into a truly global citizen.
5. What business benefits are available?
The personal benefits of citizenship are what attract many investors but some programmes offer considerable business benefits too, not least in terms of tax.
Tax aside, some countries offer such impressive prospects of return on investment that they’re popular for their own sake.
6. What stability can the country offer?
Many investors view second citizenship as an insurance policy, offering a secure base should the worst happen politically, economically or environmentally. Unfortunately that often proves a wise policy to have.
7. What are the requirements to secure citizenship?
When you’re deciding which second citizenship to invest in, the qualifying requirements are likely to be front of mind. Must you reside in the country for any length of time to become a citizen? Must you travel to the country regularly to maintain citizenship? Is there any requirement to speak the language, or prove knowledge of culture? The minimum requirement for these programmes is that you’re of outstanding character, holding a clean criminal record. For many, that’s the only requirement.
8. What investment options are available?
Investment in these programmes can take many different forms, from cost-effective but non-refundable to higher outlay, higher return.
9. What options are available if second citizenship isn’t feasible for me?
Second citizenship isn’t an option for every investor, depending on the home nation’s stance towards dual nationality. While most of the top citizenship programmes recognise dual citizenship – allowing you to progress without impacting your home citizenship at all – your home country might not. China, for example, doesn’t recognise dual nationality. If investors from such nations do not wish to cut personal or business ties by renouncing home citizenship, there are alternatives available that are very attractive.
10. Can my family get citizenship too?
If you’ve got family to consider, most of the top programmes can easily accommodate you. There’s generally an additional fee to add family members onto your application, which tends only to be a fraction of the original investment.
As you can see, a huge variety of factors may influence your decision on where to invest, depending on your needs and aims. Whatever your motivations, there’s a second citizenship programme that fits your needs.
Neil Petch is the chairman of second-citizenship company NGE