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15 Easy Second Residency Programs Anyone Can Get

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Of everything that we publish here at Nomad Capitalist, and we create lots of content given the scope of our international reach, the most popular articles are those that deal with getting an easy second residency.

Whether it’s citizenship-by-investment programs or places where you can get tax residence and pay low taxes, people love the idea of being able to plant flags in new countries that offer better opportunities. 

A second residency can help you invest in new markets, legally reduce your tax bill, have a Plan B if circumstances change and enhance your passport portfolio. So, getting an easy second residency can be the ideal first step to living the Nomad Capitalist lifestyle.

In many countries, however, getting a residence permit can take a lot of effort on your behalf. 

If you want to immigrate to a country like Canada or Australia, you’ll likely need a job or make a significant investment in the country to qualify. Even then, you’ll be mired in paperwork for months, if not years, before you get your residence permit, let alone a passport.

Fortunately, not all countries have such tiresome immigration requirements.

What Makes a Second Residency Easier?

What Makes a Second Residency Easier
It can be easy to get a residence permit depending upon your needs and desires.

Before we explore the countries where you can get an easy second residency, you should keep in mind that easy doesn’t mean effortless.

An easy second residency won’t take years to activate, nor will it bury you in paperwork. However, you’ll need to put in some effort to show that you want to become a resident of that country.

To establish residence in any country, you’ll have to do some legwork. You’ll likely have to travel there, complete often lengthy paperwork and, in some cases, make an investment. You’ll also have to consider whether the easier option will get you what you actually want.

You can find more information about Panama’s second residency program later in this article, but essentially, it’s relatively easy to establish residence in Panama through the country’s Friendly Nations Visa program. To maintain that residence, you only need to spend a handful of days in Panama per year.

A client recently wanted to use his second residency to get a passport in five years. While that might have been possible if they were prepared to use a new residence permit to actually move to Panama, they instead wanted to do the bare minimum to maintain the residency, thinking they’d get a passport out of it.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in Panama. We’ve heard of people who tried the same approach as our client but were left waiting between 10 and 15 years for their Panamanian passports.

The lesson here is that, even if a program seems easy, you shouldn’t pursue it solely because it’s convenient. You need to consider the results that you want first.

Some people might be looking for an easy procedure. They usually have a hassle-free process in mind: fill out one or two forms, pay a fee, and have their residence permit in hand as quickly as possible.

For others, easy means cheap. After all, if you’re still building your business, you may not have US$100,000 or more to invest in a country or want to put all of your wealth into a single investment.

In that case, you should probably look at countries that don’t require a minimum investment for potential residents, like Guatemala, or countries with low investment requirements, like Ecuador.

Finally, easy might also mean low maintenance.

If you’re already living the Nomad Capitalist lifestyle, you may be too busy to spend half a year in one place. In that case, an easy second residency for you might be one with a minimal physical presence requirement.

The fact is, everyone’s version of easy is different.

Getting a second residence through property investment may seem easy, but for some aspiring Nomad Capitalists, moving somewhere with a low cost of entry would be a more favourable option.

Therefore, you need to ask yourself what your needs are and what you want to accomplish before you start to apply for a residence permit. Nomad Capitalist can help you build a holistic plan designed to meet your specific needs – apply here to get started. 

Where Can You Get Easy Second Residence?

Where Can You Get Easy Second Residence
Making the choice to gain residence in a foreign country can be a difficult decision.

Once you’ve considered what you want to achieve with a second residence, you can start exploring your options. 

The following countries are some of the most popular places to get an easy second residency. While this list is not exhaustive, it aims to provide an idea of available options that could suit you.

Armenia

Armenia Easy Second Residency
Armenia has a growing economy that’s ideal for all, including digital nomads.

Armenia is a rapidly developing Eastern European country committed to modernisation and reform, with a growing economy. It’s an increasingly attractive option where you can easily establish a residence.

Investing in Armenian real estate or an Armenian business can give you temporary residence relatively quickly, which puts you on the path toward permanent residence. In fact, there are a number of different investment routes that start from US$15,0000, plus fees.

While you will need to invest a sizeable amount of money to qualify, it’s still substantially less costly than other residence-by-investment options.

The Bahamas

Bahamas Easy Second Residency
The Bahamas is an ideal low tax country to have tax residency.

If you could live tax-free on an island in the Caribbean for just US$1,000 per year, would you do it?

You know you would.

The Bahamas is one of just 16 tax-free countries in the world, and it’s surprisingly easy to get a residence permit there. To get a temporary permit, all you need to do is fill out a few forms and write a check for US$1,000.

Seems too good to be true, right?

It is, to an extent. The Bahamian government is cracking down on foreigners using temporary residence permits for years on end and changing the longterm landscape for residence permit holders.

Effectively the changes boil down to the fact that, while you might be able to get a temporary permit for a year or two, you’ll need to make a larger investment to the tune of US$750,000 or more in real estate or a local business if you want permanent residence in the Bahamas.

All of which means, getting a second residency in the Bahamas is relatively straightforward in the short term, but you’ll need quite a bit of money to settle there permanently.

Cambodia

Easy second residency Cambodia
Cambodia is a stunning place to obtain a residence permit.

A while back, we covered how Cambodia has one of the world’s most accessible and cheapest second residency programs. Fortunately, that’s still true today and, in fact, the process of becoming a Cambodian resident has only two steps.

First, you arrive at the border and get a business visa for US$35 upon arrival. Then, once you’ve entered the country, you can pay around US$300 for a 12-month, multiple-entry residence permit, which you can easily renew each year.

Still, while getting a residence permit for less than US$400 per year is a pretty sweet deal, you should keep in mind that getting a second residence in Cambodia isn’t the right choice for everyone. Cambodia remains a great country for easy residence, but its citizenship-by-investment program is lacking, and the price is not competitive compared to other programs such as those in the Caribbean. 

However, if you aren’t looking for a second passport and don’t mind the occasional Tuk Tuk ride, a second residence in Cambodia gives you access to an excellent frontier market as you build your Nomad Capitalist lifestyle.

The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands Easy Second Residency
The Cayman Island’s residence program offers all the benefits of living in a tropical paradise.

Like the Bahamas, getting a residence permit for the Cayman Islands can be easy, but it’s far more expensive, costing over US$1 million.

To become a permanent resident of the Caymans as someone of independent means, you’ll need to have an annual income of US$150,000 and invest US$1.2 million in real estate. There is also the company formation route, which is perhaps the most cost-effective but involves legal and maintenance fees, albeit without the initial outlay. 

However, establishing a second residence in the Cayman Islands is relatively easy if you have the cash. Like much of the Caribbean, you won’t need to do much to get or maintain residency on the Cayman Islands or even spend much time there.

Cyprus

Cyprus Easy Second Residency
Cyprus is a beautiful island nation which is perfect for those seeking residence visas.

If you want a second residence on a sunny Mediterranean island, head to Cyprus.

Thanks to Cypriot government efficiency, it’s possible to fast-track your residence application by investing a minimum of €300,000 in residential or commercial property or sharing ownership of a local company that has at least five employees. The process takes up to four months. 

Or, if you’re not in a hurry and are prepared to wait between 12 and 18 months, you can purchase or rent a property (for at least 12 months) and show an annual income of more than €10,000. You are then deemed a permanent resident of Cyprus for as long as you hold the property and can apply for citizenship after seven years.

The main takeaway here is that, while getting a second residency in Cyprus can be quick and straightforward, it’s not cheap.

Ecuador

Ecuador Easy Second Residency
Ecuador is a great place to pursue permanent residency and potential set up a home overseas.

If the price tag for a residence permit in the Caribbean or Europe is a bit too steep for your taste, then you may want to consider getting an easy second residency in Ecuador.

To obtain residence by investment in Ecuador, you can invest a minimum of US$45,000 in real estate, make an Ecuadorian bank deposit or start a business there. You also have the option of investing US$27,580 in specific types of existing companies to meet the requirement. While that’s not exactly cheap, it’s a bargain compared to other investor residence programs.

You can also easily retire in Ecuador. To qualify for a pensioner residence permit, you only need to prove that you have a monthly income of at least US$1,350. Plus, after maintaining your permanent residence in Ecuador for three years, you’re eligible to apply for citizenship.

Although getting permanent residence in Ecuador isn’t as cheap as in other Latin American countries, it’s less expensive than other residence-by-investment programs.

Georgia

Georgia Easy Second Residency
Georgia’s capital of Tblisi is a gorgeous location that’s ideal to set up a home overseas.

We are big fans of Georgia for many reasons.

Between its free markets and opportunities for real estate investment, Georgia is an underrated but highly attractive option for obtaining an easy second residency.

Nearly all foreigners can get a year-long tourist visa to Georgia. If you decide to live there, you can start a company that hires local workers and invest US$100,000 in real estate for temporary residence or US$300,000 for permanent residence.

From there, the process to get residence is simple and efficient and you can apply for a passport after six years.

With a low minimum investment, getting a second residence in Georgia can be an excellent option if you’re just starting to build your Nomad Capitalist lifestyle.

Guatemala

Easy Second Residency Guatemala
Guatemala is a lovely spot for bourgeoning world nomads looking to obtain residency in Latin America.

Do you make at least US$1,000 per month?

If you’re reading this, then chances are the answer is yes and you can qualify for a residence permit in Guatemala. With low minimum income requirements and a quick application process, Guatemala certainly qualifies as an easy second residency.

It’s also one of just four Latin American countries that offer territorial taxation, which may benefit your global tax strategy.

Unfortunately, there’s a catch – to maintain your Guatemalan residence and be eligible for citizenship, you cannot be absent from the country within that period for more than six consecutive months per year. You can apply for citizenship after holding a Guatemalan residence for five years. You will be required to pass a Spanish language and civic instruction exam, but the level of Spanish is not as high as in other Latin American countries.

Guatemala is definitely a good option to consider if you want a base in a tax-friendly, low-cost and safe country which offers a passport with visa-free access to 79 countries, including Hong Kong, Russia and the UK.

Latvia

Latvia Easy Second Residency
Latvia is the perfect place to set up residence if you hope to obtain citizenship in a European country.

With Portugal’s Golden Visa Program becoming more inefficient by the minute, many investors looking for EU residency have turned to Latvia.

If you want to become a resident of Latvia, you can invest €250,000 in property or government bonds, pay roughly €12,500 in processing fees and fill out a couple of forms to get your two-year residence permit. After two years, it can be renewed for up to a total of five years. 

Even though getting a Latvian Golden Visa isn’t the cheapest, it’s a relatively simple process with several significant benefits.

First, there’s no physical presence requirement to maintain your Latvian residency. In fact, you only need to spend one day in the country per year to keep your residence permit.

Latvia is also a part of the European Union and the Schengen Area so, as a Latvian resident, you have all of the rights of an EU resident. You’ll also be eligible to apply for Latvian citizenship after ten years.

If you do plan on getting Latvian citizenship, however, you should plan to live there for at least six months out of the year in the five years prior to your citizenship application.

If you’re able to afford it, Latvia’s Golden Visa Program is a good option for people who want an easy second residency in the EU with a path to citizenship.

Malaysia

Malaysia Easy Second Residency
Malaysia is a favourite spot to relocate for foreign nationals.

If you’re looking for efficiency when getting an easy second residency, then Malaysia may be the right choice for you. Malaysia’s MM2H visa program allows foreigners to obtain a 10-year residence permit if they meet certain health and income requirements and make a deposit in a Malaysian bank.

Nomad Capitalist’s founder, Andrew Henderson, actually has an MM2H visa, and as someone who’s gone through the application process, he can personally attest to its efficiency.

To apply, you only need to visit the country and fill out several forms. Then, after waiting for approval, you return to Malaysia, pay a fee, deposit your money and you have your visa.

However, this level of efficiency comes at a price. If you’re under 50 years old, you’ll need to have at least US$320,000 or thereabouts in your bank account when you apply, and you’ll need a monthly income of around US$8,500. An additional investment of around US$10,500 is required for each dependant you bring, although this doesn’t apply if you’re over 50 years old. 

Be warned though that Malaysia is another of many places where a second residence will not lead to citizenship. If citizenship is your ultimate goal, the MM2H program will not aid you on that path.

To secure your residency permit then, you need to make a deposit of about US$210,000 in a Malaysian bank, but you can withdraw half of that once you prove you’ve settled there. 

Getting an MM2H visa does require a decent amount of money. But it’s still more affordable than one of Europe’s Golden Visa Programs and it comes with some unique benefits, such as the ability to import your car duty-free.

Montenegro

Montenegro Easy Second Residency
Montenegro is a great option for anyone looking to purchase real estate in Europe.

If you want to get an easy second residency in Europe through a cheap real estate investment, head to Montenegro.

The Nomad Capitalist founder, Andrew Henderson, can confirm that the process of getting a residence permit is pretty straightforward here: all you need to do is buy just about any habitable property and apply for a one-year residency.

While you’ll need to renew your permit, the process is simple, and the Montenegrin government is quite friendly to foreign investors. There’s also no investment minimum for real estate purchases and a decent apartment near the sea can cost as little as US$30,000.

Getting residency through a cheap real estate investment in Montenegro is thus surprisingly easy.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua Easy Second Residency
Nicaragua, with its affordable residence permits, is the perfect place to start your Nomad Capitalist journey.

If you’re an aspiring Nomad Capitalist, then getting an easy second residency in Nicaragua can be an excellent way to help you build wealth.

Living in Nicaragua is incredibly cheap. In fact, you can live quite luxuriously for under US$2,000 per month and with the money you save, you can invest in cheap property or the country’s growing tourism sector. Nicaragua also uses a territorial tax system, which can help boost your global tax strategy.

Obtaining a residence permit in Nicaragua is also remarkably easy. With the cheapest option, all you need to do is prove that you have an investment income of more than US$750 per month.

While you’ll need to deal with some paperwork, Nicaraguan bureaucrats are surprisingly helpful. If you have issues with certain documents, they’re usually happy to provide above-board assistance for a nominal fee.

However, to maintain your Nicaraguan residence, you’ll need to be willing to live there for six months out of the year. Thus, Nicaraguan residence may not be the best option if you’re a frequent traveller, but if you’re willing to commit to living there, it could be a great option for starting a business.

Panama

Panama Easy Second Residency
Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa allows citizens of most Western countries to get a second residence permit.

With its strong offshore banking sector and low cost of living, Panama is one of the best places for easy second residence.

Panama’s Friendly Nations Visa program offers near-instantaneous second residences for citizens of most Western countries willing to deposit US$5,000 in a Panamanian bank and establish a Panamanian company.

You can also become eligible for citizenship in just five years, but you’ll need to spend most of your time in Panama if you’re interested in a Panamanian passport. However, if you’re not seeking citizenship, you only need to spend a day or two there per year to keep your residence permit. That’s a substantial improvement over similar programs in Latin America, which often require you to stay in the country for most of the year.

Panama offers the best of both worlds with minimal investment and physical presence requirements.

Paraguay

How to Acquire Temporary Residency in Paraguay
Paraguay allows applicants to have access to affordable and easily obtained residence permits.

Like Panama, Paraguay will allow you to instantly obtain permanent residence with a simple bank deposit – US$4,500 in the case of Paraguay.

For the most part, getting an easy second residence in Paraguay comes with many of the benefits of other Latin American countries, such as a low cost of living and a territorial tax system.

What sets Paraguay apart is that the country allows you to apply for citizenship after just three years of residence. However, just because you’re eligible to apply doesn’t mean you will get a Paraguayan passport in three years.

Although Paraguay’s permanent residency program is quite efficient, its naturalisation process is a classic example of South American bureaucracy, slow and painful. You’ll need to find a good lawyer to help you but, of course, finding a good lawyer willing to help is near impossible.

Paraguay may be a great place to get an easy second residency, but we wouldn’t count on getting a second passport there.

Vanuatu

Easy Second Residency Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s residence program can open the doors for several tax benefits.

Just a few years ago, getting residency in Vanuatu was a convoluted mess. However, the country has revamped its residency and citizenship-by-investment programs, and today, they’re among the most efficient in the world.

Foreigners can obtain a renewable three-year residence permit in exchange for a worldwide investment of approximately US$400,000. There’s no need to renew this permit annually and, as a resident, you can purchase local land.

Vanuatu’s citizenship-by-investment program is even more straightforward. For a one-time minimum fee of US$130,000, you can have a passport in as little as two months. Admittedly, this isn’t one of the cheapest citizenship-by-investment programs but it is one of the most efficient and, with visa-free access to around 100 countries, a Vanuatu passport is an attractive one to hold.

So, if you’re looking for a tax-free, second residency outside of the Caribbean, Vanuatu is an option worth considering. 

What to Consider When Getting an Easy Second Residence

What to Consider When Getting an Easy Second Residence
We can help you obtain a residence permit or citizenship which suits your needs and desires.

As you think about getting an easy second residency, you should always keep your overall strategy in mind.

Issues like taxes, potential for citizenship, quality of life, minimum investments and physical presence requirements are all factors to consider when you decide to establish residence anywhere – regardless of how easy the process is.

There’s an additional, critical factor to consider when weighing up the various easy second residency programs – permanence. The problem with many cheap and easy residence programs is that you simply don’t know what the local government is going to do in a few years. While you may be able to get away with meeting minimum residency requirements right now, the rules may change as these programs become more popular.

For example, Uruguay’s residency program used to be quite liberal, allowing you to maintain a paper residence with minimal investment and a yearly visit to renew your permit. In recent years, however, Uruguay has tightened its residence and citizenship requirements. Now, in order to maintain Uruguayan residence and be eligible for citizenship, you have to actually invest a substantial amount of money in the country or spend the majority of your time there.

So, if you choose a low-commitment, low-investment option, you should be aware that if the government changes its policies, you may not be able to get a passport or even maintain your residency.

This uncertainty is why we usually recommend obtaining residence by investment. Unless you plan to move to a particular country, residence by investment offers more stability than other easy second residencies while still allowing you to fulfil the bare minimum physical presence requirements.

While getting a second residency with minimal effort can certainly seem appealing at first, it may not always be in your long-term best interest. Whatever you decide to do, there are plenty of options out there and we can help you with bespoke planning that offers the perfect solution.

At Nomad Capitalist, we work with you to create the ideal plan to meet all your needs. From getting a second residence to protecting your assets, legally lowering your tax bill and growing your wealth, we focus on helping you go where you’re treated best. This strategy has worked for over 1,500 high-net-worth investors and entrepreneurs, and it can work for you. Get in touch today to find out more.

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