A Guide to Citizenship and Residency by Investment for Citizens in the Middle East

Dec 15th, 2020

As a person of wealth, a second passport is becoming a necessity, particularly if you live in the developing nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Asia, Russia, North Africa or China, among others such as those in the Middle East. Since the process of obtaining second citizenship has become more streamlined and more available in recent years, there is no reason not to take advantage of this golden opportunity.

Benefits of Citizenship by Investment

Dual citizenship carries numerous benefits, particularly for investors, which are less available to citizens of a single nation. Depending on where you live, your home nation’s passport may not be accepted in many countries or even entire regions of the world. Additionally, other nations may offer advantages to citizens that you don’t enjoy in your homeland. Let’s check out some of the benefits of participating in a citizenship by investment program.

  1. Freedom of Movement – With a second passport, you are free to travel for an education, a holiday, or for work opportunities in many more countries than you would have with your original passport. European passports from the countries such as Malta and Cyprus or Caribbean passports from places like Saint Kitts & Nevis and Dominica provide visa-free travel to more than 140 countries as compared to just 50 for an Egyptian passport.
  2. Grow Your Business – A second passport provides better business networks unfettered by political or geographical considerations. Moreover, as an investor, you are granted many incentives, including tax benefits and preferential business treatment.
  3. Financial Options – Obtaining second citizenship means you can open an offshore bank account, grow your international portfolio, and invest in a range of financial assets beyond the limitations of your home nation. In many cases, this also means that you won’t pay taxes to your homeland on business conducted overseas giving you greater financial flexibility and protection.
  4. Better Healthcare – Investment in either Caribbean Commonwealth passports or European second citizenships will open access to better healthcare options in European countries.
  5. Secure Your Family’s Future – A second passport passes all social and economic  privileges and rights to your children as well as future generations in your family. This can grant your children a better future for themselves as they can live, work, and pursue educational opportunities abroad.
  6. Better Life for Your Family – With greater mobility comes greater safety and a better life for you and your family that can include exposure to other cultures, a better quality of life, and a stronger education to prepare them for an increasingly globalized marketplace.

Second Citizenship by Investment?

Most countries offer one of two common options for obtaining citizenship by investment. In a majority of cases, you’ll have the option to contribute to your new home country by donating to a government-approved fund or by investing in an approved real estate property. In exchange for your commitment and contribution, you’ll be rewarded with your new citizenship.

Some of the countries that offer citizenship by investment programs include:

  • Saint Kitts and Nevis – Obtaining a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport requires an investor to make a one-time donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund or purchase a government-approved real estate property.
  • Dominica – The applicant for Dominica passport will have to donate to the government’s Economic Diversification Fund.
  • Saint Lucia – To obtain citizenship in Saint Lucia, one needs to make a donation to the National Economic Fund, purchase government bonds, or purchase government-approved real estate.
  • Antigua & Barbuda – Investors can either invest in real estate or make a contribution to the National Development Fund.
  • Grenada – To become eligible for a Grenadian passport, applicants need to invest in government-approved Grenadian real estate or make a one-time contribution to the National Transformation Fund.
  • Vanuatu – For Vanuatuan citizenship, one has to make a one-time contribution to the Vanuatu Development Support Program.
  • Malta – In order to obtain Maltese citizenship, you can invest in Maltese government bonds, rent or purchase a property, and donate a fixed sum to Malta’s government.
  • Turkey – You can acquire Turkish citizenship by investment through the purchase of real estate or by making a capital investment in government financial instruments. You also have the unique option of simply maintaining a high-dollar deposit account in an approved Turkish bank.
  • Montenegro – To acquire citizenship, one needs to invest in Montenegrin real estate and make a one-time donation to the government.
  • North Macedonia – One would have to invest in a project that provides at least seven local jobs. Starting in 2021, applicants will also have to donate to a government-approved fund.

What is Residency by Investment?

Residency by investment refers to a residency granted to an investor who purchases real estate or government bonds. Just like citizenship by investment programs, you also have the option to donate to the government or purchase a government-approved real estate property in exchange for citizenship or a second passport.

Some of the most popular countries to obtain residency by investment include:

  • Malta– One has to purchase government-approved real estate, make a one-time donation to the government, and invest in government bonds or stocks.
  • Cyprus– One will need to meet minimum annual income requirements and purchase a real estate property.
  • Portugal – To qualify for the Portuguese Golden Visa program, an applicant will have to purchase government-approved real estate and hold it for no less than five years.
  • Greece– The Greek Golden Visa program offers investors the opportunity to purchase real estate for their residency. You’ll need to maintain this property for as long as you intend to keep your residency status.
  • United States – Under the USA EB-5 program, applicants are eligible for an investor’s visa if they make an investment in a government-approved project in a high-unemployment or rural area that creates at least ten jobs for American citizens.

Difference between Citizenship and Residency

As a citizen, you get all the rights and privileges, including the right to live, own a property, and reside in a country just like a native-born citizen. With residency, you get the right to reside in a country either temporarily or permanently, which can also be a path towards citizenship upon the fulfillment of certain criteria.

In many nations, citizenship offers all of the benefits and opportunities afforded to the native people of that country. Residency, on the other hand, simply means you may reside in that nation. This key difference means that as a foreign resident, you may not carry all of the rights that fully-naturalized citizens enjoy. For example, if you obtain residency in the United States, you’re free to own a property and live inside the nation’s borders, but you may not cast a vote in US elections without becoming an American citizen. You also may face significant restrictions on employment opportunities as a resident without permanent citizenship.

Ultimately, you have great flexibility in your choice as an investor regarding where you’d like to live and work in the international community. Obtaining dual citizenship and a second passport grant you expansive opportunities that enable you to broaden your horizons both personally and financially. An investment in foreign residency or citizenship is an investment in your family’s future, offering benefits that extend throughout your lifetime and beyond.

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