Being an entrepreneur, business owner or a global manager comes with a range of unique challenges in 2019 and beyond. The world is a much smaller, more interconnected place, with hurdles ranging from worldwide competition, to currency fluctuations, regulatory shifts, and economic and political shifts among other troubles.
Increased security and tightened border restrictions have added to the list of challenges that global businessmen and women often face, with travel to various countries, as well as within individual continents, becoming increasingly difficult without the right credentials.
That’s the unfortunate news. The good news is that you don’t have to feel “boxed in” unable to travel freely. In fact, there are quite a few countries around the globe that welcome citizens from certain nations to hold “dual nationality” with them. This is commonly granted in return for investments in the country, usually in the form of real estate investments or non-refundable contributions to the government. For example, citizens of Malta are able to travel “visa-free”, or obtain a visa on arrival, to 181 countries worldwide. Similarly, those individuals who hold Cypriot passports are free to travel to around 157 countries without a visa.
For those who are financially in a position to take advantage of this opportunity, the world can quickly become more open and accessible than ever before. This is especially beneficial for those residents of the Middle East, who might face some difficulty to obtain visas to certain countries, or might even face travel sanctions or restrictions.
This guide will help you better understand the benefits of having a second passport for business, as well as the steps necessary to obtain one that is best suited to your needs.
Benefits of Having a Second Passport for Business
- Ability to Travel Freely on Short Notice
Business people often need to travel on a short notice, scrambling around the world for important meetings, proposals, project oversight, and more.
Imagine the businessman who needs to take a meeting on short notice in another country, only to realize he is unable to travel freely. In such circumstances, there isn’t usually adequate time to go through the red tape of a lengthy visa application process.
- Visa-Free Travel
Speaking of visas, those making deals as they travel across the globe know that being able to move hassle-free from one location to the next, without delay, is paramount. Unfortunately, the reality is usually anything but simple when it comes to international travel.
The type of passport you hold makes a world of difference with regards to where you can go, and with whom you can do business with. Without the proper credentials, you may find yourself quite limited when it comes to business partnerships, tax efficiency, and international investments.
Those who have had to apply for a visa previously know exactly how long and arduous the process can be. Yet with political unrest and the ever-evolving climate of instability around the world, the situation can often go from bad to worse overnight, making your single passport virtually useless. However, strategically acquiring dual nationality or a dual passport can, and often is, a very viable solution.
- Investment and Banking Opportunities
Second citizenship or a second passport can open up a literal wealth of opportunities regarding business and investments. Actively participating in businesses and investing within a country’s borders is often prohibited for foreigners. Because of this, foreign nationals are not always able to jump on opportunities as they arise, leaving many out in the cold unable to participate in business ventures, lucrative property markets, or impressive interest or exchange rates.
- Unique Tax Benefits
Many countries around the world offer unique tax incentives and lower rates than that of industrialized countries. For example, those in the Caribbean are known as “tax havens” for their low tax rates. As such, obtaining dual citizenship with these countries can allow the savvy businessman or entrepreneur to legally leverage such incentives to their advantage, improving tax efficiency and potentially lowering their overall tax liability.
- Enhanced and Expanded Reach for Business
A second passport for business provides direct access to new markets and millions of potential customers around the world. Similar to investment and banking, many countries only allow citizens to do business in that particular country. As such, taking the next step of obtaining dual-citizenship may open up a whole new world of trade for you.
- Avoid Economic Instability and/or Political Unrest
With the world being what it is today, political unrest and economic downturns can happen unexpectedly. Those with the ability to quickly relocate their life and their business operations stand a better chance at avoiding social, financial, and political upheaval in their home country.
Having the proper second passport can allow for a faster “escape”, be it from travel sanctions imposed on your home country, civil unrest or other conflicts. Although this is a worst-case scenario, for those living in what are considered to be higher risk areas of the world, such as the Middle East, having the option to relocate or travel unencumbered is worth its weight in gold.
How to Get a Second Passport for Business
There are generally three common ways to obtain a second passport.
- Economic Citizenship
This type of second passport is also known as “citizenship by investment”. Known for its promptness and relatively straightforward process, this method of obtaining a second passport is often one of the most favored by entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
In most cases, residency within the country is not a requirement, and in some cases, you won’t even need to visit. Today, several countries have introduced such programs in order to attract foreign investment in the form of real estate investments, government contribution, or bonds.
A Few Examples Include:
- Saint Kitts and Nevis: Introduced its citizenship by investment program in 1984 making it the first and most trusted program in the industry. Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship ranks among the most cost-effective options offering two investment paths: $150,000 donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund or a $200,000 or $400,000 investment in a real estate property.
- Dominica: Offers another popular citizenship by investment program with a single non-married applicant costing around an estimated $130,000. Do note that this investment option is a “donation” which means that your “investment” will not be recouped. However, you also have the option of investing a $220,000 in real estate.
- Antigua and Bermuda: Offers three options. The first is a $100,000 donation for a single applicant or a family of 4, plus $25,000 for each additional dependent. The second involves the purchase of government-approved real estate valued at $400,000 or more and to hold that property for a period of five or more years. The third option involves investing a minimum of $1.5 million into a local business.
- Saint Lucia: Introduced its citizenship by investment program recently in 2015, and provides you with the option to make a non-refundable $100,000 contribution in the National Economic fund, or the option to invest 300,000 in a government approved real-estate property.
- Grenada: Provides economic citizenship program that requires a $150,000 investment in National Transformation Fund or a $350,000 investment in a government-approved real estate property.
The path to naturalization is usually a long one. This process requires you to legal enter the country you wish to get a second passport for, reside there legally, and when the time comes, apply for its citizenship.
Each country has its own rules and regulations regarding the timeline and procedure for becoming naturalized, with some wealthy nations requiring up to 20 years of residency. However, there are other nations which have a more expedited process. Paraguay, for example, allows individuals to apply for naturalization after three years of maintaining a permanent residency status.
A few of the Fastest Countries You Can Apply for Naturalization for Include:
- Uruguay: Singles may apply after five years. Married couples in as little as three.
- Panama: Establish residency with a $5000 minimum bank deposit and any other eligible “economic tie” to the country. Then wait five short years to apply.
- Brazil: As little as four years if you meet the investment and business qualifications.
- Canada: Once you’re a legal permanent resident you can apply in four years.
- Paraguay: Apply in as little as three years with as little as a $5000 bank deposit.
- Citizenship by Descent
In some cases, individuals may be eligible for citizenship without even realizing that they are. Some countries offer what is known as “ancestral citizenship” in cases where an individual can prove family ties to the country in question.
A few countries with such programs include:
Closing Thoughts on Obtaining a Second Passport
The possibilities and doors that can open up to those with a second passport are virtually endless, with benefits ranging from enjoying freedom to travel, to accessing world-class healthcare and education, emerging markets, tax havens, investment opportunities and more.
If you have begun exploring the possibility of obtaining a second passport, consider reaching out to Bluemina Citizenship and Residency for assistance and guidance. As a market leader in “citizenship by investment”, residency by investment and second passport services, they provide investors, entrepreneurs, individuals and families with expedited programs tailored to meet their unique needs and circumstances.