What are the five best countries for second citizenship? That is a question that involves an assessment of the cost, procedures for applying and the benefits of the countries involved. There are several articles that have been published on related themes. For example, one article identifies 12 countries where a person can buy a second passport. A second article, identifies the five cheapest countries to move to, if you want to leave the U.S. In still another, “paradise countries,” where you may want to live and work are featured. However, the main focus of these articles is on travel, particularly for women. Suppose instead, you are serious about leaving America, or at least obtaining a second passport, and you want more concrete information, narrowed down to those countries that truly are the best for obtaining a second citizenship by investment. In that case, take a look at the following five countries listed here.
St. Kitts and Nevis
The first country that deserves special attention is St. Kitts and Nevis. This country runs the oldest citizenship by investment program in the world. It offers its citizenship to investors within just 60 days from when the application is submitted. At the moment there are two categories for investment.
- A donation of $150,000 U.S. into a Sustainable Growth Fund for an individual or even for a family of up to four, or
- Buy a property for $200,000 U.S. for seven years, or buy a $400,000 U.S. property for five years, which will give an applicant and any family members full citizenship following the payment of processing fees.
The St. Kitts and Nevis passport is internationally well respected and gives its bearer visa free access to 156 countries around the world including the European Union, the U.K., Russia and practically all of South America. More details about the St. Kitts and Nevis program can be found here.
Grenada grants citizenship within just three months of filing. No personal visit is required. A key feature is that siblings, parents and grandparents of the main applicant or their spouse, can be included in the application. There are two options:
- The applicant is expected to donate a minimum of $150,000 U.S. to Grenada’s National Transformation Fund. For a family of four, the investment by way of a donation would be $200,000 U.S.
- A second attractive option is to invest $220,000 U.S. as a co-owner in a local real estate project for five years, which compares favorably to what other countries want in return for their citizenship.
A Grenada passport allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 143 destinations, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and the U.K., as well as Europe’s Schengen Area. Another exclusive benefit for a Grenadian passport holder is that it can be a bridge to an American E-2 investor work visa thereby accessing the U.S.A. More details on Grenada can be found here.
A third country that stands out from the rest is Malta. It is a predominantly English speaking country located in the south of Europe with excellent business prospects and a pleasant climate. Malta is one of the most innovative countries in Europe with a friendly tax environment. While it offers residence as well, the main attraction is its Citizenship by Investment program. Applicants for citizenship are required to reside physically in the country for at least 12 months. Malta maintains that its due diligence is the toughest in the world, involving a review of the investor’s entire portfolio. The result is a very exclusive clientele affording those who succeed the highest form of respectability worldwide.
For Citizenship by Investment, individual investors must: a) make a donation of 650,000 euros to a government national development fund, b) invest 150,000 euros in government approved stocks or bonds, and c) purchase real estate for a minimum of 350,000 euros for five years, or failing that, enter a five-year rental lease of property with rent of at least 16,000 euros per year. New Maltese nationals obtain complete freedom of movement within the whole European Union and Schengen Area and visa-free or on-arrival-access to 184 countries in the world.
While Portugal does not operate a citizenship by investment program, its golden visa residence program is still very popular and can lead to citizenship. Upon making an investment, an applicant and dependents are granted five-year residence permits allowing them to live, work and re-enter Portugal freely. Visa-free access to the Schengen Area is another benefit of such a residence permit.
Portugal is a country with a lot of history, culture and great cuisine. Residents enjoy a warm climate, a safe environment and friendly neighbors. The country has a well developed banking system and a welcoming approach to the technological sector.
To secure the golden visa, there are a variety of options. Any one of the following will secure the golden visa:
- Transfer capital of at least 1 million euros into an approved account.
- Create 10 new jobs.
- Make a real estate investment varying from a minimum of 280,000 euros for renovation to over 400,000 euros in low density areas.
- If opting for the capital investment route, choose between contributing 350,000 euros for research, 250,000 euros in art projects, or at least 350,000 euros in a specified investment venture capital fund.
- Invest 350,000 euros in a Portuguese company creating five permanent jobs for a minimum three years.
Portugal has been very lenient and approachable in doing financial due diligence with its golden visa applicants and that is another important reason to single out this country as the top choice for a second passport. The country allows dual citizenship so an applicant can apply for Portuguese nationality after 5 years of residence. A Portuguese passport gives access to 185 countries in the world, including the right of free movement within the whole European Union.
The last country in this review is New Zealand. Its program includes two categories of investment:
1. Minimum investment NZ$10 million for at least three years
2. Minimum investment NZ$3 million for at least four years
In each case, you get your money back at the end of the term and can keep the residence that leads to citizenship after five years.
New Zealand is a member of the Trans-Tasman agreement with Australia that provides freedom of movement within the borders of this union. In addition, New Zealand is in the process of negotiating a new free trade agreement with the United Kingdom which would include mutual freedom of movement for both Brits and New Zealanders. Both countries are also part of a new upcoming geopolitical union called CANZUK that would also include Australia and Canada. When signed, the bearers of a New Zealand passport would have the right to freely live and work without a visa in Canada, Australia and United Kingdom, which would be an amazing opportunity.
Five countries to choose from. Depending on your needs, one of these may suit you well.