The top benefits of investing in a second passport through a citizenship-by-investment programme are visa-free travel and access to major countries like the UK, the US, EU, and China. This gives high-net-worth-individuals (HNWI) and families the unrestricted global access, without the worry of visa applications and border interviews.
There is also the added benefit of having a permanent Plan-B insurance policy for the investors and their family, if they ever need to suddenly relocate due to war or even a global health scare. Some countries face travel bans and holding another passport can avoid that restriction.
For clients seeking greater visa-free access, the top citizenship programmes include the Caribbean-based options, like St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis and Grenada, due to their lower costs and there is no need to spend time in the country to qualify for citizenship. They also provide the option to include children and/or parents in the application.
Grenada is different from other Caribbean options as it’s also an E2 treaty country, offering its citizens the chance to apply for a US non-immigrant visa by starting a business in the US.
We have also seen demand for the Vanuatu citizenship programme due to its efficient processing of applications.
We have also seen demand for the Vanuatu citizenship programme due to its efficient processing of applications. The newest citizenship programme is being offered by Montenegro. While not yet a member of the EU, it is expected to join in 2025, which would certainly increase the value of the passport. It is priced less than half the cost of traditional EU citizenship programmes.
The world’s number one citizenship option is the Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) and while it is more costly than most other programmes, the standards are high and the passport is very valuable. Once you become a citizen of Malta, clients have the right to live and work anywhere in the EU and the passport affords visa-free travel to over 180 countries including Canada and the US.
Choose your options right
There is no one size fits all as each client is unique. The best way to choose a programme is to find an advisory that is credible and knowledgeable and will explain all the options available in detail.
When we first meet with a client, we listen to their needs, goals, and motivations to better understand their individual profile and then proceed to advise them on a list of the best residency or citizenship options based on their personal preferences, requirements and limitations.
— The writer is COO of RIF Trust