If you are a high-net-worth individual in the Middle East, getting a second citizenship or passport is a perfectly sensible idea. A second passport significantly increases your economic and personal freedom because no single government owns you, which means you can truly become a global citizen.
A second passport provides improved travel potential and access to better healthcare and educational opportunities for your family, as well as stability in both personal and economic spheres spread over several countries, counterbalanced by an acceptable level of risk.
While second passports were once seen as unpatriotic, that is no longer the case. A second passport or citizenship opens numerous doors of opportunity, safeguards your privacy, allows you to do business in many jurisdictions, provides you with a backup plan in case of Domestic unrest, and helps you protect your finances.
Here is a rundown of some of the benefits of a second passport:
1. Safety for Your Family – A second passport grants you the right to work and live abroad and also provides a lot of flexibility. The family of the applicant will also get to benefit from exposure to a different culture and language, preferential education fees, and a better lifestyle. All these benefits make a second citizenship an investment in the future.
2. Investment – With a second passport you have more financial options because it allows you to open offshore bank accounts. You will also have access to a wider pool of financial assets to invest in and can diversify your assets in ways that may not have been possible with the original passport. Because holders of a second passport are not required to live in the second country year-round, investment properties are an asset that can provide an ongoing return in the form of rental income.
3. Freedom of Movement – With a second passport, you can travel to more than 150 countries visa-free, as compared to the 30 afforded to Iraqi citizens or 50 to holders of an Egyptian passport. Both European and Caribbean passports provide more freedom to travel for education, leisure, and work, which will make you a truly global citizen.
4. Health Care – Thanks to the expanded international travel freedoms afforded by a second passport, both Caribbean Commonwealth and European passports provide access to top-quality health care programs.
5. Business Growth – For persons engaged in business, dual citizenship often provides stronger and better business relationships. With a second passport, you can meet business prospects face-to-face, which can result in more fruitful cooperation. This freedom of movement also means improved access to business networks unfettered by political and logistical restrictions. You also get to enjoy business-friendly regulations and tax-free benefits most governments typically provide to investors.
6. Beneficial Tax Regime – Many Caribbean Commonwealth countries such as Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts & Nevis do not impose a tax on offshore income.
7. Dual Citizenship – A second passport allows you to obtain citizenship in the UK or an EU country without renouncing your current citizenship. In most instances, you will not be required to maintain physical residency to retain citizenship and its privileges.
8. Lifetime Security – A second passport offers you and your family an opportunity to work, live, and study overseas. Moreover, the benefits can be passed down to your children, who will now have access to all the services, privileges, and rights of your new nation of citizenship.
Sometimes referred to as “economic citizenship,” this is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get your second passport. You will typically be conferred citizenship in exchange for purchasing real estate, investing in a country’s national development efforts, or making one-time donations to the government or a fund established for those development purposes.
Most programs will not require residency and will grant you citizenship sometimes in as few as 90 days. Some of the countries with customized and “off the rack” programs include the following:
Saint Kitts and Nevis – You will have to make a contribution of at least $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund set up by the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis. You may also have to pay $10,000 for each additional dependent, excluding your spouse, who is covered by the initial $150,000.
Dominica – An applicant will have to make a one-time contribution of $100,000 for a single person or $150,000 for a family of two (main applicant and spouse), plus $25,000 per additional dependent.
Saint Lucia – Saint Lucia citizenship requires a one-time contribution of $100,000 for a single person and $140,000 for a main applicant and spouse, plus $15,000 per additional dependent.
Antigua & Barbuda – You will have to donate to the National Development Fund at a minimum of $100,000 for either a single applicant or a married couple, plus $15,000 per additional dependent.
Grenada – A one-time contribution for a family of four for a minimum of $200,000 is required, plus an additional $25,000 for each dependent.
Vanuatu – You must donate a minimum of $180,000 to the government for a family of four and $25,000 for each additional dependent.
Malta – To get a Maltese citizenship, you must (a) make a contribution of €600,000 to the National Development and Social Fund, (b) lease a property worth at least €18,000, or (c) purchase real estate worth €700,000, which must be maintained for five years. You will also have to donate €10,000 to a charitable organization in Malta.
Turkey – Turkish citizenship by investment requires an applicant to purchase real estate worth a minimum of $250,000 and hold it for no less than three years.
Montenegro – To obtain citizenship in Montenegro, you must (a) invest in an approved real estate project or (b) make a one-time donation of €100,000 in real estate, plus either €250,000 or €450,000 to the Montenegrin government.
North Macedonia– A one-time contribution in an escrow fund of €200,000 is required for either a family or a single applicant to obtain North Macedonian citizenship.