• 372 days Will The ECB Continue To Hike Rates?
  • 373 days Forbes: Aramco Remains Largest Company In The Middle East
  • 375 days Caltech Scientists Succesfully Beam Back Solar Power From Space
  • 774 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 779 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 781 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 784 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 784 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 785 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 787 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 787 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 791 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 791 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 792 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 794 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 795 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 798 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 799 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 799 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 801 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
Big Money Pouring into Air Taxis

Big Money Pouring into Air Taxis

U.S.-based electric vertical takeoff and…

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Breaking News

Citizenship For Sale: The Business Of Patriotism

Globe

The wealthy are no longer just spending their money on private jets, luxury cars, mansions, they're also spending on second citizenship, and often in countries they’ve never even visited.

Buying citizenship and passports can cost anywhere from $100,000 in the island of Dominica to a minimum of $2.4 million in Cyprus, and while it’s not a new trend, it is a growing one as it makes it easier for the wealthy to conduct business, travel freely and sometimes evade authorities.  

Last year’s SC Global Partners study found that 89 percent of people would like to own a second passport, and over 34 percent said they had looked into investing in a second citizenship. Also, 80 percent said they would be willing to invest or donate 5 percent of their annual salary towards a second citizenship.

In its recent report, property group Knight Frank detailed the cost of buying second citizenship, with the most expensive citizenship gambits being the UK, Singapore and Austria, while the cheapest locations to buy citizenship are Caribbean nations, recently destroyed by hurricanes.

(Click to enlarge) 

Source: BusinessTech

In some cases, those prepared to pay $100,000 or more for citizenship don't even need to travel to the country in order to clear the citizenship hurdle. Some countries are currently offering up citizenship in exchange for either a one-off contribution to the nation or an investment in a designated sector. Related: Tesla Could Be The Biggest Loser In The Trade War

Citizenship by investment programs (CIPs) are a big business. Currently, the industry is worth an estimated $2 billion each year and it is estimated that roughly 5,000 people each year acquire citizenship abroad through the programs.

As expected, Chinese citizens are the biggest market for citizenship by investment programs. In the last decade, more than 100,000 Chinese have spent at least $24 billion on second citizenships.

However, there are groups that are concerned that the programs may be vulnerable to abuse and that cash for passports could be exploited by criminals, terrorists, tax evaders and sanctions busters.

For instance, it was recently discovered that Iranian-born individuals bought St. Kitts and Nevis citizenships to evade sanctions and invest in the United States, and that Russian billionaires are avoiding U.S. sanctions by purchasing EU citizenships.

Passport Index recently released a new report ranking the world's passports each year to identify which are the most powerful by the number of countries one can visit without obtaining a visa.

With access to 162 countries, either visa-free or by obtaining a visa upon arrival, Singapore residents can claim their titles as owners of the most powerful passport in the world.

Singapore is followed by South Korea, Japan and Germany.

What may seem surprising to many Americans is that their passport is only the fifth most powerful in the world.

Related: The Fastest Growing Countries In Emerging Europe

And that status is now in danger more than it’s ever been. The U.S. passport has continued to fall out of favor since President Donald Trump took office, with Turkey and the Central African Republic the most recent countries to revoke visa-free status for U.S. passport holders.

At the other end of the desired passport spectrum is Afghanistan, which sits at the bottom of the ranking list.

Citizens of the war-ravaged nation are offered visa-free access to just three countries: Haiti, Micronesia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Holders of Yemeni, Iraqi and Syrian passports also face a limited number of countries willing to let their citizens in without prior approval. 

By Josh Owens for Safehaven.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment