If you have funds to invest, it is possible to purchase citizenship in a second country than the one where you are currently a citizen. Having a second passport, and dual citizenship, can have significant advantages but you need to choose the country wisely where you wish to get your new legal status. The Global Citizenship Program Index (GCPI) provides information on how valuable and beneficial it is to become a citizen of countries throughout the world. The Global Residence Program Index (GRPI) also provides information on what countries it can benefit you to become a resident of.
An experienced immigration lawyer can provide details on how to obtain residence or a second passport and can help you throughout the entire process of choosing a country and pursuing your new status. It is best to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process so you can make the most informed choices about whether you will be eligible and whether residence or citizenship in a particular country will be beneficial to you.
Best Countries to Buy a Second Passport
The GCPI index ranks the value of becoming a citizen of a particular country, with a higher score meaning that citizenship will get you more benefits. This year in 2015, Malta was at the top of the list and its Individual Investor Program earned a score of 76. By comparison, Cyprus earned a score of 63, Austria earned a score of 61, Antigua and Barbados both earned a score of 60, and St. Kitts and Nevis both earned a score of 59. Other popular destinations for second citizenship, Grenada and Dominica, earned a score of 48 and 45 respectively.
To determine the rankings, GCPI looked at a broad range of factors including the investment requirements for buying a second passport; quality of life in each location; tax implications of dual citizenship; time to citizenship; citizenship requirements; total costs of becoming a citizen; and visa-free access.
Malta’s investment program requires the contribution of 650,000 euros, or around $721,000 U.S. dollars. An additional 25,000 euro contribution is required for a spouse and for minor children. Malta’s investment program has become increasingly popular since it launched in 2014 and more than 400 people have applied to become citizens. This has brought $530 million in foreign investment to the country.
While Malta earned the top score, other countries excelled in other areas. For example, Austria had high investment requirements, but ranked first when measuring quality of life, reputation, and visa-free access. Cyprus, on the other hand, beat out both Malta and Australia in terms of the flexibility of relocation.
For residence programs, rather than citizenship programs, Portugal was ranked most highly, followed by Australia and Belgium. Portugal had the best rating in terms of total costs since it is significantly less expensive to become a resident of Portugal compared to the investment requirements in other locations. In order to become a resident, you need to purchase a property worth just 350,000 Euros. This not only allows you the right to stay in Portugal, but it also gets you the ability to travel with no visa to other European Countries. After six years of living in Portugal, you may apply to become a citizen.
While the GCPI and GRPI indexes provide helpful information in determining where you may wish to get a second passport or residence status, there is no substitute for quality legal advice when making immigration decisions. Speak with an immigration lawyer about your options today if you are considering making an investment to buy a second passport.