This is Week Eleven of the 26 week series #MyEconomicCitizenship. Each week I give you a glimpse into my life as I share the ups and downs experienced in pursuit of a second passport through economic citizenship. Each feature includes my weekly journal walking you through the process of obtaining economic citizenship, followed by an in-depth look at some of the most important topics people considering economic citizenship should understand. The series is presented by Nomad Capitalist in partnership with Peter Macfarlane & Associates, whom I worked with to obtain my passport. To read the entire series, just click here.
Dateline: Warsaw, Poland
Last week I explained my frustrations about going through the Dominica economic citizenship process while traveling. This year I’ve been to somewhere between 29-30 countries. That means I’m on the go quite often and it’s been difficult to keep up with all the paperwork and other program requirements.
I mentioned in previous articles that if you’re going to pursue economic citizenship, it’s nice to be in one place and — if you can — in your home country. I can’t mention that enough. If you plan on leaving the United States, it’s best to obtain your second citizenship by investment before you leave.
For me, that wasn’t a viable option. As such, I had to sit down and really think about this whole process and whether or not it was worth it to me to continue.
My biggest challenge with Dominica is that they want a lot of documents — as do many other Caribbean programs. This is the case because these island countries have come under fire from countries like the US and Canada.
For example, St. Kitts and Nevis lost visa-free access to Canada in 2014 because they sold a passport to an Iranian. Before that, the problem with these programs was that they wanted you to list the place of birth. While annoying, we don’t have to get all up in arms over these things. For the most part, citizenship by investment is a good program for Americans, Europeans and others who want to get a new nationality so they can renounce their current one.
You have that right.
The downside is that many of these countries are still highly influenced by the very governments most people who do these programs are trying to get away from. The governments in the West, in the US especially, like to go down to these islands and let them know that they can’t give passports to Iranians or any other country they’re suspicious of without dire consequences.
In that sense, while the US government can’t shut these programs down, they certainly have some influence over them. So does Canada — the little brother of the United States with these kind of things. Because of that, getting citizenship in Dominica or anywhere in the Caribbean is kind of like opening up a bank account in Belize: they make it difficult, partially because they have big governments breathing down their necks and can’t avoid a misstep.
One of the reasons I appreciate my base region is that countries like Georgia are still relatively pleasant places to do business, bank, etc. They’re not on someone’s radar. You’re not seeing Armenian bankers flying all over the word, setting up accounts for people and telling them how easy it is. They’re low profile jurisdictions.
Jurisdictions like Dominica aren’t, and that means paperwork — and lots of it.
The Final Frustrations
As I mentioned last week, I was waiting for my FBI report and trying to work things out with the bank. Well, the report arrived sooner than I expected and right while I was making my decision to continue with Dominica or not. Generally, an early arrival should be a good thing, but since Dominica needs everything within a 90-day window, getting the FBI report ahead of schedule actually complicated things even more.
Now I needed the bank to be on top of things, but I was out of luck there. As I mentioned last week, one of my banks doesn’t want to send the reference letter to the wrong address. Another bank said no problem, but then they sent me some stock letter and they screwed it up. Asian banks are usually good with this, but I got the wrong person on the phone that day. I called them back and they fixed the letter, but the new letter is going to take two or three weeks to arrive. It could potentially arrive in time, but…
I also need a professional letter from a CPA that I’ve worked with for at least five years. To go that far back with a CPA, I needed the help of my CPA in the United States — the country that I’m escaping. While people seem to be pretty nice in the US, in the end, no one wants to get in trouble.
So, despite having a good relationship with my US-based CPA, the firm where he works wouldn’t allow him to do write me a reference letter. The latest wave of regulations seem to indicate that they could get in trouble for helping someone obtain another citizenship.
Ironically, regulations like this are what drive so many people to want to leave the US, and yet it’s what keeps a lot of them there. Unfortunately, if you want to get an economic citizenship and you’re from the US, you have to follow the laws of the land until you’re officially gone and have renounced. So the chance of getting a professional letter from my CPA is looking bleak.
At this point, I’m already collecting letters from friends and colleagues and several things are actually coming together. But I know I’m going to have to fight to get the CPA letter and I just don’t know how I’m going to solve that issue. And while not impossible, the bank letter is going to be a pain. I’m probably going to have to fly somewhere.
When it all comes down to it, I just feel that I’m bothering friends and dealing with unneeded stress.
Every year at Nomad Capitalist we focus on a specific theme. In 2016, the theme has been abundance: How to invest in yourself, feel good and realize that it’s worth it to hire the best lawyer or spend money on yourself and take a chance on things that will make your life more abundant. You have to invest invest in yourself abundantly. Move away from the scarcity mindset and realize that things are going to be alright. Have an abundance mindset.
As 2017 approaches and brings with it our new theme, I realize that you also have to be abundant in the right areas. The theme for 2017 is related to the transformation that I’ve made and how it’s not just about how to achieve results, but — like I said — to be abundant in the right areas. For me, one of the areas I’m working on is stress.
I’m a guy who’s overcome a lot of stress. And I still deal with a lot of it, but I’m learning to choose my battles. So, here I was with a stressful situation and I said to myself “What am I doing this for? I have other passports and residencies on the docket, why am I insisting on Dominica?” Once I realized that, I said to myself “Andrew, GO. WHERE. YOU’RE. TREATED. BEST.”
The older I get the more I realize that part of what “go where you’re treated best” means is to reduce stress and not kill yourself in the pursuit of something you don’t value as much as your own wellbeing.
Plus, on the business side of things, those five magic words also mean taking into account the opportunity cost of each decision. How much time am I going to spend? How much running around am I going to do? How much money am I going to waste? And how much is all that going to take away from my potential to do other great things?
In 2017 we’re launching twelve new start-ups in different, very unsexy areas. Most of them are online, some are in other countries. Each is a way for me to better understand the people who are coming to me and need my help. But I can’t be starting twelve startups and leading twelve COOs if I’m running around the world trying to organize all my documents for Dominica in a 90-day window.
So I’m turning down Dominica citizenship by investment.
This is not to say that Dominica isn’t a great program. It may be great for you. For my friend in the Middle East making a fortune who just wants a second passport so he can renounce and save $400,000 a year, Dominica is perfect. He’s got time, he’s staying in the same city every day, and he can get all the documents in a 90 day window without a problem. For me, being on the go, it’s frustrating and nearly impossible.
Decision made. I am not going to become an economic citizen of Dominica.
What is yet to be seen is which economic citizenship program I will choose. I want to go through an economic citizenship program. I want to be authentic. I want to be able to recommend economic citizenship to people. I want to have one for my own purposes and be able to use it. So don’t think for a second I’m giving up on economic citizenship programs altogether.
In fact, I’ve already found a new economic citizenship program. And, if truth be told, it might shock you just a little bit when you find out which one it is. However, you’ll have to wait until the new year to find out which one I’ve decided to get.
Get your economic citizenship & second passport
My goal in doing this series is to help as many people as possible become global citizens by obtaining second citizenship. I live this stuff, in part, so that I can better help individuals like you reduce taxes, obtain a second passport and experience more freedom.
If you’d like to work with me directly to create a wholistic global citizenship strategy, then click here. We’ll go through an entire deep dive process to determine exactly what you need — from passports to residency to where you’re going to live — all so we can get you to your end goals.
If you’re just interested in getting a passport and already know which passport is the right choice for you, then you can go directly to Peter MacFarlane & Associates’ website and contact them by clicking here.
If you’re still determining which approach you should take, feel free to keep reading this series to garner all the knowledge you need to form a vision and actionable plan for the future.