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Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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Overseas Real Estate Investing & Economic Citizenship Paperwork

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This article discusses the paperwork associated with economic citizenship programs and the real estate investment routes of CBI programs.

Paperwork is just part of the second passport deal.

Now, the main economic citizenship programs most people look at, particularly in the Caribbean, require a good deal of paperwork. Yes, there are second passport programs like Malta in Europe that require less documentation, but they also come with a much bigger price tag.

Is it worth doing a little more paperwork to save $800,000? For many people, that’s a solid yes.If lengthy paperwork and dealing with foreign authorities are keeping you from getting a second passport, set up a call with us today. We will handle all such complexities associated with offshore strategies so you can sit back and relax – and enjoy your second passport.

Economic Citizenship Paperwork Guide 

It’s much easier for the average person to get residency in Europe, where such a residency can give them many more benefits. In countries like Panama, on the other hand, you have to order FBI reports and various different documents just to get residency. And it’s the same thing for economic citizenship. 

But the motives for getting residency versus citizenship can often be very different. This means all that paperwork is worth it if you get relatively affordable economic citizenship out of the deal.Do the calculation and figure out what your return on investment will be for your second passport. If it’s worth it to you to pay more for a second passport that requires less documentation, go for Malta. If not, here’s what you will need for most economic citizenship programs in the Caribbean.

1. A Police Report

No matter where you’re from, you are going to need a police report. If you’re a US citizen, that means getting an FBI background check. This can be a time-consuming process. Plan accordingly.

In fact, one of the biggest challenges to the whole paperwork process is timing. Most of the required documents need to be 90 days or less old when submitted. Oftentimes — when you’re trying to order an FBI report — you will get behind. You’ll get one document, but then 90 days will go by, and the first document will expire just as you’re getting your FBI report.

You need to be aware of this challenge. Create a strategy that will help you get your paperwork in order as it is needed. For example, work on the documents that will take the most time first (like your FBI report). So that you won’t be redoing other, shorter steps that have expired once the more time-consuming documents are finally ready.

Or hire a team that’s done it over 1,500 times before.

2. Bank Reference Letters

You’re going to need to contact your bank, and this is why it’s important to have an offshore bank account. Because, again, if you’re a US citizen, most US banks won’t provide the kind of reference letter these countries want.

Some private banks might give you a reference letter, but you have to have the right US bank account

Having an offshore bank is important because many offshore banks — especially Asian banks — are much more familiar with issuing reference letters. 

So, if you only have a US bank account, one thing to do before pursuing economic citizenship may be to step back and get an offshore bank account first. We can help you with that.

3. Personal and Professional Reference Letters

You will also need personal and professional reference letters from people who are your friends and colleagues. If you are applying with a spouse, you will usually need two personal reference letters per person from two different people.

The person who writes the letter must have known you for at least five years. The letter should contain information about the person writing it, as well as information concerning your character. You will also need one professional reference letter.

4. Family Documents

If you’re married, you’re going to need to provide proof of your marriage. This, of course, means producing your marriage license or certificate and, depending on the country, having it officially translated into the country’s official language.

If you have children who are participating in the process, you will need to show their connection to you as well. Usually, a birth certificate will suffice. (You will likely need to provide your birth certificate too.)

Many of the documents mentioned will need to be apostilled. An apostille is a certificate issued by a designated authority that essentially makes the document valid internationally. With an apostille, your marriage license, birth certificate, and other documents become foreign public documents.

Usually, you should obtain an apostille from the government entity that issued it — whether on the state or federal level. For instance, if you were born in Texas but currently live in New York, you will need to send your birth certificate to Texas so that the proper authorities can apostille the document.

Overseas Real Estate Investment

Before you think that the paperwork is done, consider whether you want to take the overseas real estate investment route for economic citizenship. For the longest time, Dominica — which is the second-longest-running economic citizenship program in the world — owned the donation option. They just wanted $100,000, plain and simple. However, there are options out there for overseas real estate investing, and Dominica eventually adopted a similar program.

A lot of people like the idea of getting something for their money. Particularly when they’re told that in a number of years (generally five), they can sell their estate and cash out. 

However, for many people buying overpriced properties in Caribbean countries isn’t worth it. Sure, you can pay an extra $120,000 – $150,000, and instead of just donating the money, you get a house. But if you’re counting on the idea that you can resell the property five years down the road, you’ll discover just a little too late that it was a terrible investment. There are and definitely will be more people doing programs like this, but the demand won’t be enough.

Not enough to outpace supply at least.

It completely depends on your investment portfolio, though. For some people, real estate investment will be the best way to get a second passport.

If you want to buy overseas real estate, we can help you. Our Real Estate Plan helps you buy foreign real estate like a local so that you get the best property for the best price.

Be Prepared to Stay Put

If you want the process to be easy, be prepared to stay in one place. Hopefully, that place is your home country. For most people, our home country is the country that we’re a citizen of, and in many cases, it’s the country that we’re living in. If that is the case, stay put until you have all the documentation in line.

If you’re trying to get US documents apostilled, it’s a lot easier to do so while in the US. If you’re trying to get an FBI report, it’s a lot easier to do so from a US location. Relevant people can come and take your fingerprints and expedite the entire process. It’s much harder when you’re overseas to get some of those documents — it’s slower and often requires more steps.

Get Your Plan B Now

Don’t let dealing with paperwork and foreign authorities keep you from getting the hottest commodity of this century – a second passport.

At Nomad Capitalist, we’ve helped many clients get citizenship in 28 countries and move to 31 tax-friendly jurisdictions.

We can help you do the same. All you need to do is reach out to us, and we’ll handle the rest.

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