Dateline: Istanbul, Turkey
The purpose of this blog is to dispel myths and to clear up why it’s important to note that a great solution for one person may not be such a great fit for another. One mistake I see people make often is for residents from emerging markets to request second passports that are better suited to residents from other countries.
While I think countries like Paraguay are an excellent option for anyone who qualifies (current residents of the United States, Canada and much of Western Europe), a second residency in Paraguay is not a very good (or even possible) option for residents of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
While many people from these parts of the world may be interested in Paraguay, due to its low costs and relative ease of attaining citizenship, it’s really not an option they should consider because the chances of them qualifying for citizenship are slim to none.
Another option people commonly express interest in is a second passport in a more advanced Asian country, say Malaysia. While Malaysia is a free and open country in many ways, when it comes to second passports, like most of Asia, it’s an extremely arduous process for anyone to get one.
Before selecting the country you want your second passport in, it’s important to clarify why you want a second passport in the first place. Is it for tax reasons? Ability to travel more places visa-free? Or are you seeking a place to live with better opportunities for your children and with greater political stability than your home?
While there are many benefits for Westerners to get second passports in emerging markets, actual residents from emerging markets could stand to gain something from a citizenship in a more developed country (or at least one that provides better access to them, as many Eastern European have as members of the EU).
With these considerations in mind, I’m going to recommend the following countries for a second residency or citizenship for non-Western individuals based upon the most common requests I get.
A passport from Malta gives you visa-free access to the Schengen area as well as the UK and United States. Not only that, the country is an excellent option for tax purposes as it only taxes income and capital gains originating from Malta.
The passport is not cheap, however, with investment programs starting at above €1 Million.
Latvia is one of the easiest European countries to attain a second residency in and, as an EU state, it will give you access to the entire Schengen area. Almost all applicants to Latvia’s investor visa program are Russian, Kazakh, or Chinese.
You can get a second residency in Latvia by depositing money in a Latvian bank account, buying Latvian real estate or starting a Latvian company. You don’t even need to live there to be a part of the program.
While this option will be extremely expensive (in the seven-figure range), it’s possible for immigrants to attain British citizenship by investment and thus have one of the best passports in the world.
Foreign property owners who invest over €500,000 in real estate are eligible for citizenship in Portugal. Hundreds of Chinese have already taken advantage of this as well as many Middle Easterners, Africans and Russians.
This “Golden Visa” program only requires you to spend seven days in Portugal in the first year of the investment and fourteen days every subsequent year. After six years of residency, you can apply for citizenship.
Bulgaria offers excellent healthcare and education and a second residency there provides access to the EU. While it may not be as attractive of an option as some of the Baltic countries or Mediterranean islands, it’s also an excellent and relatively inexpensive way to get access to Europe.
Dominica has one of, if not the cheapest, citizenship by investment programs in the world. For a low investment starting at $100,000 (plus fees), it’s possible to obtain Dominican citizenship in less than one year. As a commonwealth nation, Dominican citizenship will allow you to travel to the UK and 70 other countries.
Mauritius has long been a haven for Africans and Asians and — as one of the best places in Africa for investment — is an excellent option for offshore bank accounts, web hosting, and companies. A Mauritius passport, while not as strong as others on the list, does offer visa-free travel to the Schengen area.
Foreigners are allowed to own and develop property on the island and automatically qualify for permanent residency if they invest more than $500,000.
Are you among the residents from emerging markets looking for a second passport? If you have enough to invest in one of these countries to get that second residency, apply for a consultation and we can determine your best option.