The must-have luxury item for the world’s wealthy is a second passport that allows them off-the-peg residence to live and work another country.
Moving countries is becoming so popular, deVere Group, a leading international in dependent financial firm for expats, reports citizenship inquiries have rocketed by 45% in the past year.
And it’s not all about saving tax, according to the deVere CEO Nigel Green.
“There are many different reasons why clients are eyeing alternative citizenships and residencies for themselves and their families,” he said.
“Unlike designer jewellery, yachts, supercars, or original artwork, owning government-backed citizenship or residency in another country isn’t merely a status symbol, there are other, further-reaching advantages.
Who’s on the move?
“These include significantly greater scope for visa-free global travel, political stability, world-class education and healthcare, tax efficiency, and wider business growth opportunities.”
Most of the inquiries for dual citizenship or residency come from India, China, South Africa, the Middle East and Russia, where the well-off are seeking to move toEurope or the Caribbean.
James Minns, deVere Group’s head of global development, said: “Most clients will opt for residency in the first instance as it is cheaper and easier to complete the process – and is a recognised gateway to full citizenship. Some countries, like China and India, do not recognise dual citizenship, so residency is the only option for someone wanting to move.
Where are the rich heading for?
“The investment-for-residency schemes are typically based on real estate investments and start from around 250,000 euros in Greece.”
“Portugal’s program is proving to be the best option for many clients as it requires only two weeks a year residency obligation. It gives full residency benefits to live, work, open a business and study there with complete access to travel across Europe’s Schengen area. Plus, there is the option of obtaining full citizenship after six years if required.
“This option is a straight real estate purchase of 500,000 euros into a new build property. There are lower property options available, however, they are only for properties over 30 years old and most investors prefer the newer real estate as they typically provide better investment opportunities and are less hassle to maintain.”