The Growing Popularity of Citizenship by Investment in the GCC

Feb 14th, 2021

Freedom is a valuable commodity, especially for a high net worth individual. Nothing can replace the ability to travel freely or take advantage of opportunities in another jurisdiction without impediment or restriction. In this regard, diversification has never been as critical as in the modern day when a myriad of complications call for one to have options. Even though most people believe diversification is all about financial flexibility such as having several properties, offshore accounts, and investments, it may also apply to the freedom to move whenever and wherever you want.

One of the most effective ways of ensuring personal freedom is by getting a second passport or dual citizenship. While less than half a century ago, most countries would have revoked the citizenship of a person who took another citizenship, things have changed a lot. As it stands, 75% or more of countries around the globe permit one to obtain a second citizenship.

With anti-wealth rhetoric ratcheting up in many parts of the world, the super-wealthy are no longer fixated on the bonafide symbols of wealth such as flashy timepieces and lavish superyachts. Instead, the more intangible aspects of health, wellness, and cultural capital that can be had through a second passport are becoming more popular. By getting a second passport, the rich can take advantage of the strengths of a variety of countries and insure themselves from social, economic, or political uncertainty.

The Popularity of Citizenship By Investment Programs

Since the end of the 19th century, the concept of second citizenship has only grown in popularity. There are more than twenty-five countries, including Malta, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, and North Macedonia that offer citizenship by investment programs. Most of these countries see citizenship by investment programs as a way to drive foreign direct investment and raise debt-free capital.

The rugged and mountainous country of St Kitts and Nevis was the pioneer in 1984. The United States was also an early adopter, and the USA EB 5 program was launched in 1990 offering opportunities for permanent residency which can eventually lead to citizenship. Since then, more than 80,000 persons have been accepted into the EB 5 immigrant investor program.

However, the American program has a relatively long approval process. This has driven interest in residency and citizenship by investment programs from the Commonwealth Caribbean Countries such as Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, and EU countries such as Malta. These nations have far more advantageous tax benefits and grant dual citizenship much faster than the United States, making them much more reasonable options for many investors.

Where Can One Acquire a Second Citizenship and Passport

While there are second citizenship opportunities all across the globe, the most popular programs are the Commonwealth Caribbean country citizenship by investment programs, as well as European permanent residency and Golden Visa programs. What an applicant will have to invest to acquire a second passport varies depending on the country.

Most countries will provide citizenship by investment to high net-worth persons upon fulfilling certain criteria and meeting certain thresholds. These criteria may include purchasing government-approved real estate, a donation to a development fund, the creation of jobs, or investment in government or local corporations.

Another great source of information on high-quality passports is the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which provides data on travel information. Some of the most powerful passports are the Commonwealth Caribbean passports such as those from Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Grenada, which allow one to travel visa-free to the UK and all the twenty-six countries of the Schengen Zone as well as many other countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.

European citizenship programs from countries such as Malta are even more powerful since the Maltese passport can grant its holders visa-free access to more than 180 countries around the world.

Some of the best citizenship by investment programs available in the Caribbean include:

  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Saint Lucia

Not only do these nations feature stunning natural scenery and appealing beachfront properties, but they offer significant tax advantages for investors. These countries also offer close proximity to North & South America giving you a strategic geographical advantage to perform business all over the west as well as other parts of the globe. In most cases, you can even bring your family and pass on your new citizenship to future generations, helping to secure success and happiness throughout your own lifetime and beyond.

Why Is Now the Best Time to Acquire a Second Citizenship?

St. Kitts pioneered the industry in 1984, but the citizenship by investment industry has become a $21 billion industry by some conservative estimates since then. Wealthy people have found second citizenships to be a convenient way to plan for emergencies, escape from political risk, and circumvent travel restrictions placed on their original passports.

Many countries that were hard hit by the economic crisis such as Portugal and Greece have experienced a cash crunch. To mitigate damage to their national finances, these countries, as well as several Caribbean nations, are enhancing their citizenship and residency by investment programs to be even more attractive to wealthy foreign investors.

With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on their economies, countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis are offering deep discounts up to the end of 2020. For a family of four, an investor gets to pay $150,000 as opposed to the usual $195,000, which represents a drop of 23%. Saint Lucia passport is also heavily discounted, starting at just $100,000. Other nations, too, are offering new incentives and enticing programs for foreign investors such as Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda.

Working with a Reputable Firm to Start Your Application

There’s never been a better time to apply for foreign citizenship by investment abroad. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many programs are reducing their investment requirements and offering discounted prices to help stimulate their economic growth by attracting foreign investors. However, these changes won’t last forever, so you’ll want to act as quickly as possible to contact an authorized agent to start your application and get approved. There are new opportunities abroad; start your journey today!