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Which passport offers the best perks?

Which passport offers the best perks?

Want to buy yourself a more desirable nationality? There are bargains to be had

Want to buy yourself a more desirable nationality? There are bargains to be had

Matthew Valencia | October/November 2017

In the October & November issue of 1843, Matthew Valencia explores how globalisation has turned citizenship into a commodity. Here, he weighs up the pros and cons of different passports.

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
Option 1: Invest $400,000 in real estate, which must be held for five years.
Option 2: Pay $250,000 into the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation.
Fees: $57,500 for main applicant, $25,000 for each dependant.
Benefit: Citizenship; visa-free access to 132 countries; no residency requirement.
Disadvantage: Seen as shady by some countries; bad publicity led Canada to withdraw visa-free access.

DOMINICA
Option 1: Invest $100,000 in Economic Diversification Fund, plus additional $75,000 for spouse, $25,000 for up to two children.
Option 2: Invest $200,000 in real estate. Property can be sold after three years if the intended buyer is a citizenship-by-investment applicant. Applicant must turn up for interview. Fees: $50,000 for main applicant, $25,000 for spouse.
Benefits: Citizenship; visa-free access to 91 countries; quick processing (3-6 months); no residency requirement; no mandatory interview; no physical residence requirement.
Disadvantages: Poor reputation, though it claims to have tightened up vetting process; applicant must swear oath of allegiance.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Option 1: $400,000 invested in an approved real-estate project.
Option 2: $250,000 in National Development Fund.
Option 3: $1.5m invested in a business.
Fees: $50,000 each for main applicant, spouse and any dependant over 18; $25,000 for dependants under 18.
Benefit: Citizenship; visa-free access to 132 countries.
Disadvantage: Weather risks for property buyers.

SAINT LUCIA
Option 1: Invest $200,000 in the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund.
Option 2: $500,000 in government bonds. Investment must be held for at least five years.
Option 3: $300,000 in an approved real estate. Must be held for at least five years.
Option 4: $3.5m in a new business that creates at least three jobs. Applicants must have a net worth of $300,000.
Benefit: Citizenship; visa-free access to more than 100 countries
Disadvantage: As above.

UNITED STATES
EB-5 Visa: $1m investment in a business, or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area. Company must create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs.
Benefits: Residency; access to US citizenship after five years.
Disadvantages: Residency in the US required, especially during first two years; citizenship brings tax headaches, risk of being targeted by terrorists.

Quebec
Option 1: C$2m in a risky investment for 15 years. Applicants must be worth C$10m.
Option 2: C$800,000 in a passive investment for five years. Applicants must be worth C$1.6m.  
Benefit: Access to citizenship after four years.
Disadvantage: Must speak English or French.

AUSTRALIA
Option 1: Invest A$1.5m in a designated investment.
Option 2: For retirees aged 55-plus with A$750,000 of assets, an income of A$65,000 a year and no dependants (other than a partner). Must make a designated investment of A$750,000.
Benefit: Access to citizenship after four years
Disadvantage: Other Australians will expect you to understand the rules of cricket.

MALTA 
Citizenship: Invest €350,000 in property, €150,000 in government-approved financial instruments and donate €650,000 to the National Development and Social Fund.
Residence Option 1: Invest €320,000 in property and €250,000 in government bonds. Fee of €30,000.
Residence Option 2: Invest €275,000 in property and pay €15,000 annually. Annual income of €100,000 or possession of capital of €500,000 required.
Benefit: Citizenship; visa-free access to 168 countries.
Disadvantage: Successful applicants must show maintain a “genuine connection” to the country (though policing of this is not stringent).

CYPRUS
Citizenship: Investment of €2m during the three years preceding the date of the application; must retain the said investments for at least three years from date of the naturalisation.
Residence: Purchase property of at least €300,000 with evidence of a secured annual income of at least €30,000 deriving from abroad.
Benefits: Citizenship; visa-free access to 159 countries; dual citizenship allowed.
Disadvantages: Must visit Cyprus at least once every two years.

Britain
Option 1: Invest £2m to live in Britain for a maximum of three years. £5m gets you citizenship after three years, £10m after two years.
Benefits: Access to citizenship
Disadvantages: Must spend at least 50% of their time in the country.

PORTUGAL
OPTION 1: Invest €500,000 in property, or €350,000 in research, or €250,000 in the arts, or €500,000 in venture capital, or create a minimum of ten jobs.
Benefits: Residency with a stay of only seven days in the first year; access to citizenship after five years; the right to free entry to the 26 Schengen countries; includes immediate family members
Disadvantages: The cuisine

RUSSIA
Option 1: Start a business in Russia and once profits exceed 10m roubles.
Option 2: Invest 10m roubles in a business worth 100m roubles, and pay taxes of at least 6m roubles a year for three years.
Benefits: Citizenship
Disadvantages: Two-to-four-week stay in Russia during processing required.

Sources: Investment Migration Council, The Economist

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