Dateline: Baku, Azerbaijan
Here at Nomad Capitalist we talk a lot about going where you’re treated best and a great way to do that is to get a second passport. Most of you will know about a guy named Peter Thiel who’s been making headlines recently.
For those that don’t know, Peter Thiel was the co-founder of Paypal. He sold out of that, made himself a lot of money and went on to become one of the original investors of Facebook. From this, he made a whole lot more money and was even featured in the movie, The Social Network.
These days, he’s a political activist for libertarian concepts like seasteading, he’s spoken at The RNC and, more controversially, helped to sue Gawker. He’s an interesting guy and he’s worth a couple of billion dollars.
Recently, it came out that Peter Thiel has a second passport. Not just one second passport, but two second passports. Born in Germany to German parents, Thiel is a German citizen by birth. When he came to join Silicon Valley, he became a naturalized citizen of The USA.
But, it recently came up that there’s a third passport that this Silicon Valley billionaire has: a New Zealand passport.
Escape to the South
Escaping to the Southern Hemisphere is becoming a huge trend among the world’s rich. And, New Zealand is one of the prime places in which people are choosing to create a bolthole — a place where they can escape to while the rest of the world is rioting, creating chaos and starting nuclear wars. It’s a kind of safe haven far away from everything else.
It turns out that a lot of the guys in Silicon Valley are seeing an increasing need to create a bolthole for themselves.
With the creation of Artificial Intelligence potentially killing off a lot of jobs, the Silicon Valley guys are getting increasingly worried about their safety. They want somewhere to escape to when the day comes that people start to hate them and hunt them down with pitchforks. Now, on that day, they have two tiny islands in the South Pacific to seek haven in.
Peter Thiel has his bolthole in New Zealand and it cost him around 10 million USD. The press there ended up doing a bit of research and it turned out that he’s living in a sensitive land area. People started questioning why he, a foreigner, was able to buy it.
It turned out that, actually, there’s a process for foreigners to apply to for buying sensitive land but Peter Thiel didn’t do that either.
However, by going through that information, what they did realize is that he was naturalized as a New Zealand Citizen in 2011.
So, the question that is now circulating is, how did that happen?
How did Peter Thiel get New Zealand citizenship?
To become a resident of New Zealand, there are two requirements.
First, you should invest a sum of money: about the equivalent of a million dollars. This, of course, should be no problem for a billionaire like Thiel.
What would pose a problem, however, is the requirement to spend five years there and live there for the majority of that time. Something that Peter Thiel, pretty obviously, hasn’t had to do.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the matter but it appears that Peter Thiel has been granted citizenship for exceptional services to the country. For whatever reason, he was made an instant New Zealand citizen and now has his bolthole passport to go with his bolthole property.
If you’ve watched my video, the 4 Ways to Get a Second Passport, you’ll know that exceptional citizenship is one of the most rarely talked about. This is because it seems to be very misunderstood and the cases are somewhat unusual.
Realistically, most of us simply don’t have the means to get exceptional citizenship in New Zealand. There are other countries, of course, where this would be much easier. Some countries, particularly in Eastern Europe and South America, are looking for investors to come create jobs and help kick start their economies.
But, I know that for a lot of you reading this, you aren’t interested in going to these places.
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Residence for regular investors and entrepreneurs
I get told by a lot of folks that I work with that they know about the countries I’m interested in. They know the benefits of investing in places like Georgia, Montenegro and Malaysia. But, for them, they want to skip the little guys and go straight to the big English speaking countries. New Zealand is consistently a popular choice.
Like I mentioned earlier, New Zealand requires that you make an investment or put up some money to become a resident. When you’ve lived as a resident for a number of years, typically four to five, you can apply for citizenship.
For the people who just want to go out and get jobs, the same thing doesn’t apply. You have a skill that’s in demand, you seek employment and you go. It’s not necessary for you to make any kind of investment.
However, if you’re an investor or an entrepreneur then you’re going to have to put up some money.
For investors under the age of 50, that’s 1.5 million NZ dollars. If you’re over that age than you’re going to need to pay more because they don’t want older people immigrating there. The amount rises then after and can go up to as high 10 million NZ dollars.
That means, if you’re relatively young then you just hand over your 1.5 million NZ dollars and you’re a resident. The rates tend to fluctuate but, at the moment, it’ll cost you just over 1 million USD. If you want to maintain that residency or obtain citizenship, then you have to go and live there.
The Pros and Cons of New Zealand Citizenship
The process to become a citizen in New Zealand takes five years which is pretty typical for developed countries. However, there is a catch. Unlike the countries that I usually recommend to people, New Zealand requires residents looking to become citizens to stay there for eight months a year.
What this means is that you need to spend 240 days in New Zealand and you can spend the other four months traveling the world. Obviously, New Zealand is a little bit more difficult to travel around the world from because it’s so far away from most places. So, if you’re the Nomad Capitalist and you’re in 30 countries a year, that arrangement isn’t going to work for you.
New Zealand, as a country, is pretty similar to Canada and the UK and you could even say that it’s similar to Ireland. However, New Zealand, along with Australia, is one of the hardest countries to get into, in my opinion.
But still, it’s a pretty attractive place to live.
It has an excellent passport, it’s in a cool location down in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s detached, it’s independent, it’s a great place to store gold, it’s not part of any big alliances like The EU and it’s a safe haven.
Though, if you want a New Zealand passport and you’re not a billionaire, there are some prices to pay. For starters, you’re going to have to live there for the majority of your time. And, much more significantly, you’re going to have to pay tax there. I think we can all agree that New Zealand isn’t exactly a low tax country!
If you’re coming from another high tax country like The United States, you’re kind of jumping from one frying pan to another.
This isn’t something I typically recommend people to do. Especially when there are other possibilities that allow you to get a second passport and greatly reduce your tax.
The reality is, though, that if you’re interested in obtaining a New Zealand passport, that’s what it’s going to involve.
If you don’t have a job offer and you want to be an entrepreneur, you now know what it’s going to cost you: a million dollars and the commitment to spend the vast majority of your time there for the next five years. So now, it’s up to you whether this South Pacific safe haven is worth the price tag or not.
Discover how to get a Second Residency and Passport
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