What is Citizenship?
WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP?
Citizenship is the relationship between an individual and a nation state whereby the state grants the citizen certain rights, such as the right to vote, work and own property, and in return the citizen accepts the responsibility of upholding the laws and customs of that state. Citizenship unites different people under a common identity.
Traditional means of acquiring citizenship and the corresponding passports have been birth, naturalization and marriage. Naturalization is the process by which a resident of a country can acquire citizenship usually by residing in that country for a certain number of years. Since 1984 investment in the host country has been another way of acquiring citizenship.
WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
Citizenship by investment is the process of obtaining a second citizenship and passport by investing in the economy of the host country. Citizenship by investment programs legally confer citizenship status faster than traditional immigration processes and do so without requiring investors to put their lives on hold.
Citizenship by investment is the process of obtaining a second citizenship and passport by investing in the economy of the host country. Citizenship by investment programs legally confer citizenship status faster than traditional immigration processes and do so without requiring investors to put their lives on hold.
The best citizenship-by-investment programs in Europe and the Caribbean. From $1,000,000.
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For any number of reasons, many people consider retiring to another country. A foreign country may offer a lower cost of living, which can be important to retired adults with limited retirement savings. Some countries may have particularly appealing climates, or people may simply have fallen in love with a country they once visited and vowed to themselves they would one day retire there.
For a person planning to settle down permanently in a foreign country, it is typically necessary to become a citizen of that country because it simplifies matters such as opening bank accounts and owning property. Some may choose dual citizenship, obtaining a second passport, while others may prefer to drop their U.S. citizenship altogether and become citizens of their new home country.
Retiring to another country typically requires obtaining citizenship in the chosen country so that the resident can own property and a bank account.
Dual citizenship is an option for U.S. citizens retiring to some countries.
Potential ex-pats should check whether their desired passport status allows visa-free travel, financial freedom, and how it would affect their taxes.
Some countries allow dual citizenship, and some do not. Many wealthy Americans, perturbed by what they consider oppressive U.S. taxation, have chosen to renounce their U.S. citizenship in favor of becoming citizens of nations such as Singapore or Chile.
Factors to consider in terms of new citizenship and a second passport are whether your new passport allows visa-free travel, taxes and other potential obligations, and financial freedom such as the ability to open a bank account or establish a business. There is also the question of whether a retirement destination is welcoming to ex-pats who wish to become citizens. It is relatively easy to obtain citizenship in the following five countries.
Retirees can obtain citizenship in a reasonably short period in the Dominican Republic. The basic requirement is that a retiree document a stable retirement income of at least $1,500 per month from a source outside the Dominican Republic, plus $250 per each dependent. Non-retirees have to show a minimum monthly income of $2,000 per month plus $250 per dependent. The term dependent refers to a spouse or children under the age of 18.
Provided this basic requirement is met, an individual can apply directly for permanent residency. After holding the permanent residency for two years, an individual can then apply for citizenship. The whole process takes about three years.
The citizenship process also requires an interview conducted in Spanish (questions and answers can be reviewed in advance) and a medical exam. Dual citizenship is permitted in the Dominican Republic.
A person can qualify to become a naturalized citizen of Ireland by living there for one year, plus four years cumulative residency over the eight years preceding the one year.
The Irish government may even be willing to waive part of the residency time requirement if you can sufficiently document Irish ancestry or other associations with Ireland. If you happen to have a provable Irish grandparent, you may be able to become an Irish national by virtue of your ancestry. Ireland does permit dual citizenship. Keep in mind that obtaining citizenship does not automatically shield you from obligations of citizenship in another country (for example, paying taxes in both homelands).
Getting a residence permit for Peru is not too difficult for individuals who are willing to attend school, start a business in Peru, or prove that they earn more than $1,000 per month in investment or pension income. Those who meet one of these criteria can have Peruvian citizenship in approximately two years. There is a language and history test in Spanish that passport applicants must take unless they marry a Peruvian.
It is advisable to go through an agent who can guide you through the process of applying for residency at a Peruvian embassy. Applicants may also need to change their name to the Spanish style of having surnames from both their mother and father. Unlike some countries that require you to renounce your previous citizenship to become a citizen, Peru allows dual citizenship.
Singapore offers a simple route to citizenship. Anyone who establishes a business in Singapore obtains employment there, or marries a citizen of Singapore can obtain permanent residency. After two years of residency, individuals can apply to become a naturalized citizen. Opening a business, however, can be a costly enterprise: check carefully for the latest financial requirements; it's not just simply depositing a certain sum in a Singapore bank.
Singapore requires National Service from its male citizens. If you are of retirement age, you are likely safely outside the age window that obligates you for national service. A male permanent resident can apply for citizenship after completing National Service.Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. Applicants must renounce their prior citizenship to become a citizen of Singapore.
Canada also offers a simple path to citizenship. Unless you have a job in Canada, you need proof of other income to obtain residency. To meet the residency requirement, you must be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (two years) in every five-year period, according to Settlement.org. An individual needs $12,960 (CAD), as proof of funds to immigrate as a skilled immigrant.
After becoming a permanent resident, you can apply for naturalization as a Canadian citizen after four years. There are interactive questionnaires you can take to deliberate if relocating to Canada is right for you.
The Canadian immigration authorities are very strict about enforcing the requirement that you physically reside in the country before applying to be a citizen. You must have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,095 days during the five years immediately before the date of your application, according to Aura You also must have filed your taxes for at least three years during the last five years, and any income tax you owe must be paid.
Other requirements include: If you're 14 to 65, you must send documents proving that you can speak and listen in English or French, and you will need to pass a citizenship test. If you wait until you are older, these requirements will not apply. Canada does permit dual citizenship.
WHY DO PEOPLE INVEST IN A SECOND CITIZENSHIP?
There are many reasons to invest in a second citizenship, from personal safety to increased global mobility. Applications can be approved in as little as three months, resulting in citizenship for life, a valid passport, visa-free travel and more. Economic citizenship opens up a world of possibilities to high net worth investors.
A second passport from a stable, peaceful country can be life-saving in the event of any kind of political unrest in one’s home country. This type of insurance is priceless for investors and their families.
Many passports are quite restrictive in their visa-free mobility, forcing citizens to obtain visas whenever they need to travel abroad. A second passport can offer individuals from these countries increased global mobility. For example, the passport of Pakistan allows visa-free entry into only 40 countries, whereas the passport of Cyprus allows visa-free entry to 164 countries. The difference in global mobility equals an incredible amount of time saved filing visa applications and is priceless to businesspeople the world over.
New business opportunities open up to participants in citizenship by investment programs as they can now do business in the host country as well as travel abroad more freely.
Dual citizenship may prove advantageous for tax optimization purposes. For example, some countries only tax income earned from that country and do not subject capital gains to taxes either. This allows investors to manage their wealth more efficiently and effectively.
Most citizenship by investment programs are available to the family members of the main applicant. This means that investors can secure a better future for their spouse and children. Second citizenships offer access to world-class health care, education and an improved lifestyle.
Education is the foundation of a successful life as a global citizen. Investing in a second citizenship can open up access to the best schools in the world for applicants and their children by qualifying them for domestic rather than international tuition fees.
WHAT DO COUNTRIES GAIN FROM CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMS?
Many countries offer citizenship by investment programs in order to attract much-needed foreign direct investment. Countries can then use these funds to invest in their own projects, such as real estate development, business development and job creation. CBI programs also attract global talent and know-how aimed at boosting the economy.
For example, St. Kitts & Nevis applicants can invest in the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, which aims to assist the government and country in transitioning to a more diversified economy. The foundation supports the government, but also undertakes new projects itself. To date, the foundation has invested more than US$55 million in the development of St. Kitts & Nevis.
WHICH COUNTRIES OFFER CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMS?
Many countries offer citizenship by investment programs. The number of these programs is constantly increasing as more and more countries realize the economic advantages of opening their doors to immigrant investors.
Section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that “the term ‘national of the United States’ means (A) a citizen of the United States, or (B) a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.” Therefore, U.S. citizens are also U.S. nationals. Non-citizen nationality status refers only individuals who were born either in American Samoa or on Swains Island to parents who are not citizens of the United States. The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a national of two countries at the same time.
Each country has its own nationality laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. national parents may be both a U.S. national and a national of the country of birth. Or, an individual having one nationality at birth may naturalize at a later date in another country and become a dual national.
U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one nationality or another. A U.S. citizen may naturalize in a foreign state without any risk to his or her U.S. citizenship. However, persons who acquire a foreign nationality after age 18 by applying for it may relinquish their U.S. nationality if they wish to do so. In order to relinquish U.S. nationality by virtue of naturalization as a citizen of a foreign state, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign nationality voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality. Intent may be shown by the person’s statements and conduct.
Dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries, and either country has the right to enforce its laws. It is important to note the problems attendant to dual nationality. Claims of other countries upon U.S. dual-nationals often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other. In addition, their dual nationality may hamper efforts of the U.S. Government to provide consular protection to them when they are abroad, especially when they are in the country of their second nationality.
U.S. nationals, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport to travel to or from a country other than the United States is not inconsistent with U.S. law.
You can find additional information on dual nationality and the potential challenges for travelling with dual passport.
Travelers with Dual Nationality
What is Dual Nationality?
Dual nationality means that a person is a national (or citizen) of two countries, having legal rights and obligations in connection with both countries.* While there may be advantages associated with holding dual nationality, such as ease of foreign residency and access to government programs, dual nationals should understand the legal considerations that can make life more complicated.
*A person may hold more than two nationalities, and the same guidance generally applies.
How Do You Acquire Dual Nationality?
You may be a national of another country knowingly or unknowingly even if you do not accept the nationality or hold a passport of that country. A person may acquire dual nationality in one of several ways, including:
Being born in the United States to one or two parents holding a nationality other than the United States, based on the other country’s citizenship laws;
Being born outside the United States to one or two U.S. citizen parents, based on the foreign country’s laws;
Naturalizing as a U.S. citizen while maintaining the nationality of another country; and
Retaining nationality in a country of origin after naturalizing as a U.S. citizen.
Potential Challenges to Holding Dual Nationality
Countries have different regulations for dual nationals; some countries may not permit dual nationality. U.S. citizens should check with the embassy of any country of which they hold a foreign nationality for relevant nationality laws before travel. Examples of regulations that may impact a dual national include the following:
Entry and Exit Requirements: When traveling to a country where you have a second nationality, you may be required to enter and depart on a passport from that country or present a valid identity document from that country. Some countries impose specific restrictions on departing nationals, such as the requirement for an exit visa in their passport.
Exit Bans: Countries may also impose exit bans on dual citizens as an alternative to criminal detention. In some instances, civil or familial disputes can result in an exit ban. Exit bans may be used coercively on individuals who are not themselves facing criminal charges, but as a means to compel an associate or relative under investigation to return abroad to stand trial. Dual nationals subject to an exit ban may not have a way to determine how long the restrictions or investigation may continue. Dual nationals who are subject to an exit ban or prolonged processing of civil documents, often face a significant financial burden. They may face unemployment and unexpected living expenses and fines.
Limited Assistance Abroad: Local authorities may not recognize your U.S. citizenship especially if you do not enter a country using your U.S. passport. The U.S. embassy or consulate’s ability to provide consular assistance may be limited.
Notification and Access to Detained Dual Nationals: Many countries, even those that do not prohibit dual citizenship, do not explicitly recognize dual citizenship under their laws. U.S. consular officials abroad may not be afforded access to U.S. citizens in detention if they are citizens of the country where they are detained. Some countries, particularly those that do not recognize dual nationality, will not contact the U.S. embassy when a dual national is arrested or detained. Dual nationals who are arrested or detained should request police or prison officials to notify the closest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate.
Military Service: U.S. citizens holding dual nationality may be subject to mandatory military service in a foreign country. This obligation may be imposed immediately upon arrival or when attempting to depart the country.
Double Taxation: Dual nationals may be subject to taxation in the United States and in any other country where they hold nationality.
Registration: Some countries may require you to register your other nationalities.
Other Restrictions: Some countries have laws that prohibit dual nationality and you may be forced to give up a foreign nationality. Other countries have laws that compel you to give up your nationality through a formal act of renunciation (and even then may not recognize the renunciation).
THEY ALLOW DUAL CITIZENSHIP
Albania , Dominica , Iraq , Mexico , Spain ,Armenia , Ecuador , Ireland , Moldova , Sri Lanka , Austria , Egypt , Israel , Montenegro ,St. Kitts and Nevis ,Australia , El Salvador , Italy , New Zealand , Sweden , Bangladesh , Fiji , Jordan , Pakistan , Switzerland , Belgium , Finland , Kenya , Peru , Syria , Brazil , France , Kosovo , Philippines , Thailand , Bulgaria , Germany , Latvia , Poland , Turkey , Canada , Georgia , Lebanon , Portugal , United Kingdom , Chile , Greece , Lithuania, Romania , United States of America , Colombia , Grenada , Luxembourg , Russia , Vietnam , Cyprus , Hungary , Macedonia , Serbia, Western Samoa , Denmark , Iceland , Malta , Slovenia
Countries That Don’t Recognize Dual CitizenshipDual citizenship is a situation in which individuals are allowed to be citizens of two or more countries, also known as second citizenship. Passport holders have legal obligations as well as rights in countries of which they are nationals.
There are many countries that do not recognize dual citizenship.These countries are not confined to certain continents but exist all over the world, such as: Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Botswana, Bhutan, Oman, Malaysia and China. However, some States may provide exemptions or exceptions For example, in Azerbaijan, the President may offer dual citizenship to persons of particular interest to the Presidential Office.
In Congo, Djibouti, Cuba, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Singapore, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, one automatically loses citizenship when acquiring citizenship from another country, and in order for an individual to understand his or her eligibility for dual citizenship in a particular country, It is necessary to request information from the Embassy.
In countries that do not allow dual citizenship, a person must relinquish the nationality of one country to acquire the nationality of another country, but once a State has updated laws allowing dual nationality, anyone who has lost citizenship after acquiring the nationality of another country is allowed to apply for first nationality.
Countries that do not recognize dual citizenship are:
1- Andorra 2- Azerbaijan 3- Bahamas 4- Bahrain 5- Belarus 6- Botswana 7- Bhutan 8- China 9- Cuba 10- Congo 11- Djibouti 12- Ethiopia 13- Haiti 14- India 15- Indonesia 16- Iran 17- Japan 18- Kazakhstan 19- Kuwait 20- Kyrgyzstan 21- Laos 22- Macau 23- Malaysia 24- Marshall Islands 25- Micronesia 26- Monaco 27- Mongolia 28- Mozambique 29- Myanmar 30- Nepal 31- North Korea 32- Oman 33- Papua New Guinea 34- Qatar 35- San Marino 36- Saudi Arabia 37- Singapore 38- Slovakia 39- Solomon Islands 40- Swaziland 41- Tajikistan 42- Thailand 43- Tonga 44- Turkmenistan 45- Ukraine 46- Uzbekistan 47- United Arab Emirates 48- Venezuela 49- Vietnam 50- Yemen 51- Zimbabwe.
Best Second Passport
Which second passport is “best” is a hard question to answer. The reality is that in today’s era of greedy governments gone wild, almost any “backup” citizenship can potentially save your life. When considering your passport options, consider:
The quality of the travel document. Of course, passports vary widely in their usability around the world. Get a Chinese passport and you may open plenty of doors for investment in Asia, but you’ll enjoy visa-free travel to very few countries. The best passports in terms of visa-free travel come from Europe. Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and most European Union countries enjoy visa-free travel to the United States and many other countries – and, of course, all of Europe. Coveted passports can be hard to obtain unless you are born in such a country or have ancestors from there.
Financial opportunities. While a United States passport allows you to travel to many countries without a visa, it is increasingly closing doors for investment overseas. Each month, more offshore banks decide to shut out Americans in order to avoid compliance with laws like FATCA. Additionally, American investors are precluded from many international investments because the US SEC has made it clear that they will pursue investment funds that allow US citizens to participate. Make sure your second passport offers you financial flexibility to spend and invest your money as you please.
· Civic obligations. Some countries, such as Singapore and Israel, require military service of their citizens.
· Tax obligations. Ideally, you should be able to be a citizen of a country but not live there and not have to pay taxes or even file a tax return there. The United States is essentially the only country that taxes it citizens based on their worldwide income. Even if you never lived in The Land of the Free, you may be required to pay taxes if you obtained American citizenship at birth. While no other major countries have established such citizenship-based taxation yet, it is possible that large yet bankrupt countries may seek to do the same in the future. On the other hand, Paraguay is unlikely to decide to impose such laws on its citizens, nor does it likely have the resources to do so.
Respect for the issuing country. While an American passport is good for a lot of things, it may not be your first choice to have if you are stranded in a situation where Americans are a target. The same goes for Israeli passport holders. Liechtenstein, on the other hand, is likely to raise anyone’s ire. The goal is to find the best blend of respect (or indifference) for the issuing country.
· Ability to hold multiple citizenships. A Singapore passport is an excellent travel document and its holders enjoy excellent tax laws. However, Singapore forbids dual citizenship and requires you to renounce any existing citizenship before becoming Singaporean. It also terminates Singaporean citizenship if you obtain another passport thereafter. This can cause problems when trying to achieve true internationalization because it once again limits you to once country. The ideal passport allows you to keep your existing nationality as well as obtain additional citizenships later.
Freedom with Dual Citizenship
Having dual citizenship can help protect your freedom, expand your investment horizons, and even save your life. In an era when governments are imposing more and more draconian regulations on their citizens, a second passport is “citizenship insurance”.
Having a second passport can dramatically increase your personal and economic freedom. Having dual citizenship – or even multiple citizenships – is an important step in internationalizing your life so that no one government owns you.
No one should be forced to be a slave to one government merely because of their birth in that country. Throughout history, governments have used citizenship as a tool of economic enslavement, rather than a cherished gift. Not only can a second passport help enhance your freedom, but it can help you leave a better life for your children and their children, by giving them citizenship in the best countries possible. Among other reasons, some Americans consider obtaining a second citizenship to prepare for future expatriation, as the United States is the only country on earth to impose worldwide taxation based not on residence, but on citizenship.
Today, Americans are being excluded from lucrative investments and even the ability to open foreign bank accounts just for carrying a US passport. Most people carry only one citizenship and one passport, leaving them vulnerable to capital controls or restrictions of their movements.
By acquiring a second passport, you can achieve the peace of mind that you always have another place to turn to. It gives you an escape hatch in times of economic or political chaos. Imagine: your country’s currency collapses thanks to bad decisions by your government. Inflation runs rampant. Looters and rioters take to the street, forcing an ongoing state of emergency to be declared. Soon, martial law prevails and the government lowers the boom. If your country is in a period of chaos, you may not be able to travel. Who will give you refuge?
With a second passport, you will have more options. While some might suggest that having more than one passport makes you a slave to more than one place, a second passport actually allows you to engage in what I call “government arbitrage” – pitting governments against each other to compete over you. One of the greatest examples of this is in Nazi Germany when Jews had their passports stamped with large “J”s to make them easily identifiable by officials. Game over. Some Jews were able to get second passports through offshore connections, but most were left with few options.
Recently, citizens of Arab Spring countries attempted to escape the chaos around them, but were turned away from most safe havens because of where they were coming from. When things heat up at home, many other countries won’t want to help you. As with anything else, it is better to be prepared than to seek preparation once it’s too late.
The history of passports – and why it’s getting harder to get one.
It used to be that a passport was a tool of convenience. Your ruler gave you a set of papers to show to another ruler in asking for your safe passage. Now, passports are just another form of government identification. If your government takes your away, you might as well just lock yourself in your house. So you might as well have at least two of them. The United States government is even making it harder to get their passport if you’re a citizen.
Owe a small balance to the IRS, for example, and they may put the kibosh on your passport – or not even issue one to you at all. The proposals that have floated around Capitol Hill to effectively limit freedom of movement among US citizens are mind-boggling. In fact, a US passport can even be a strike against you in a tough situation. Not only could having only one passport limit your travel options in an emergency, but citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, and select other countries are more likely to be a target in attack.
Even in times of peace, have fun getting into Iran with a US passport, and forget about doing business there. Countries around the world know this. Places like Switzerland and Singapore have made it harder to get a second passport from them because the worldwide demand for second passports is increasing. Wealthy Chinese, Russians, and Middle Easterners realize the value of diversifying beyond their own countries, and many Americans overseas are learning the hard lesson of just how much a government can limit your options. A Swiss businessman could literally outpace an American business just in being able to do business in more places around the world, and with fewer restrictions.
Getting a second passport is an asset that most people can only dream of. It brings freedom, stability, and immeasurable opportunities for those who have them. While some people are lucky enough to be born with the right to multiple passports, others obtain passports later, sometimes through marriage or naturalization. However, one of the best ways to get a second passport is through citizenship by investment. This guide details how to get a second passport legally and make the most of second citizenship.
The fastest (but certainly not the cheapest) way to acquire a second passport is through investing money in the country in exchange for a passport. It's called economic citizenship or Citizenship By Investment and is a legitimate way to buy a second passport and citizenship.
Before World War I, you didn’t need a passport for international travel.People simply went wherever they wanted. In many cases, they didn’t need any kind of permission from a government agency.
Obviously, that’s not how it works today.Today, governments use passports to document and control their citizens. In my view, the world would be better off without them.Of course, passports are not going away. You will continue to need one to travel. This is why you’re better having more than one.A second passport keeps the government from locking you in. Without it, the government in your home country can effectively place you under house arrest by taking back your passport.
Among other things, having a second passport allows you to invest, bank, travel, live, and do business in places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
Obtaining a second passport is a fundamental step toward freeing yourself from absolute dependence on any one country. Once you have that freedom, it’s much harder for any government to control your destiny.
No matter where you live, you can benefit from the political diversification that comes with a second passport.
Freedom of Movement
Why Should You Consider Second Citizenship?
It is now possible to acquire second citizenship from many countries.However, the question remains; why do people consider second citizenship?
Whilst some of the reasons are more self-explanatory, a few of the points that we will mention in this article will explain ones you might have missed.
To be in possession of dual citizenship and secondary residency is more than just a document. While the benefits gathered differ from one product to another, the below list summarizes the results of investing in citizenship & residency. The truth is that the country where you are born determines the way your life will unfold and later on that of your children.
So if you could choose where to have your citizenship, would you change it?
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
The fundamental reason a person opts for secondary citizenship is 'Freedom'.
Education for all your children;
Equal rights independent of gender or race;
Ability to travel; and
Freedom of speech and self-expression.
If you may live in a more developed country where you never questioned your freedom of expression, consider yourself lucky.
Whilst this may seem reasonable, we can guarantee that this is not the case for a large number of countries and their inhabitants.
Let us explain…
It is a fact that no one can choose as to where they want to be born.
You might not know it but where you are born determines a substantial part of your life. The country you take birth in, the parents you are born to, whether you have access to education and wealth or not. The list continues to whether you live in an oppressive regime and wish for equal rights or live too close to polluted environments.
Most of the people in the developed world take these freedom rights for granted.
Nevertheless, the reality is that even the neighbourhood surroundings as a child will be a determining factor if you will succeed in life. For the ones who beat the odds and come from environments that are not easy or at the very least are more difficult from others, they now have options.
You can ensure that your family enjoy those freedoms that the western world (European Union/United States/Canada/Australia) take for granted. As an established individual, you can acquire citizenship through investment and secure your family's future.
They say travel broadens the mind.
However, does this saying still stand if your passport does grant you to travel as you wish?
Taking a look at your passport, you can easily tell if you have the opportunity to visit countries of your choice freely.
The vast majority who do not have this luxury will have to apply for a visa each time they travel.
Applying for a visa:
You are stuck in your country and will be prohibited from travelling either for business or for leisure. Should you be granted a Visa, you should note that this is not permanent and you will need to re-apply.
This constant renewal of a visa turns out to be a long and tedious process.
On the other hand, this might be very different from your situation. If you come from one of the countries which have an excellent credit rating, the odds are that you would have a very powerful passport. Different countries have different strengths in their travel documents.
The top countries which rank in the high places, typically have entry rights to 180+ countries. These include many of the most developed European countries, Malta being one of them, for the most part, which also forms part of the Schengen area.
The Schengen area is unique. You have different EU countries which have one trading block. There no border checks so a national ID is enough.
Different countries operate under different economies.
Of those regimes, you have countries which are more stable, resulting in a predictable economy. Naturally, there are countries with an ever-fluctuating economy.
Business people always worry about the future of their companies. They want to have their master holding company in a jurisdiction which gives them protection. A jurisdiction with defined and clear rights along with adequate laws and transparency of the judicial process in case something goes wrong. Such transparency with definite laws is more common in developed countries.
If you decide that you want to have a holding company either for your business or for your assets, it does help if you are a resident or citizen of that country. Citizenship ensures that in the eyes of the law, you are recognized.
No country is immune to the nature of the economy; this is a fact of life.
There are a few countries in the world which have survived incredibly long periods without a recession. Still, the fact of the matter is that sooner or later, there tends to be a downturn. Though the severity of the downturn can differ from country to country.
For example, the only two EU countries that got hit the least during the 2008 financial crisis were Germany and Malta and were also the first ones to overcome the recession.
The economic stability doesn’t always guarantee that the country will not experience a slowdown or recession because, realistically, every country passes through it.
If you had to plot it on a chart - more moderate growth with the more moderate corrections, rather than fast growth and high-speed crashes.
Taking a country in the Mediterranean as an example, Malta offers a favourable jurisdiction for businesses when relocating to Malta.
It would be best if you pursued the countries which offer the most opportunities and the least barriers to entry.
Countries where you do not need to stress about:
Stable economy; and
Opportunity for business growth.
Take, for example, the EU or USA, the world’s largest economic zones. Effectively you gain the opportunity to reach a vast audience with the least possible barriers coupled with a high income per person.
The aim is to look to expand to people who have money and with the least hassles.
Acquiring residence or citizenship in another country must provide you with the best possibilities that your own country does not.
Choosing a country like Malta, which has enjoyed several successive years of highest economic growth in the EU, offers you endless possibilities with many booming industries such as iGaming and Blockchain.
So make sure to research a country's portfolio of industries before you make your decision. Take into account the countries economic predictability and evaluate if your business fits in the puzzle.
There are countries around the world where you need to live in gated compounds and where there are armed personnel at the gates.
Where if you stop at red lights you can end up with a gun against your head.
If you go down the wrong alley, you will be in trouble- this ends up as a very stressful living situation.
You might be living well, but you will always be concerned that you will be attacked or your children kidnapped or extorted. You’re in constant danger and uneasy.
One of the things people look out for when they have wealth is the possibility to relocate their family to a safe environment where they do not need to worry about what will happen to them when they get out of the house.
This is possible with second citizenship or permanent residency, which will grant you freedom of movement to safer countries.
The sixth reason to consider second citizenship is for your children and their education.
Every culture around the world tends to put a tremendous amount of emphasis on developing their children. This is consistent throughout cultures where they take great pride in promoting their children going forward.
It remains the fact that certain countries have far higher education quality than others. Parents often feel that they must have the best education to be able to compete with countries that are at the forefront.
Certain countries naturally give preference to their citizens, so, in this respect, people consider second citizenship. When a family with wealth has the opportunity to alternative citizenship for a better future for their children, it is worth considering.
Improving A Child’s Education means;
Same opportunities as leading countries;
Better career opportunities;
Higher quality of education;
Valuable social connections from a young age; and
Securing family wealth.
Some countries allow birthright to convert automatically to citizenship, such as the USA.
However, in the vast majority of the cases, being born in a particular country doesn’t denote you the right to inherit citizenship.
You will need to prove that there are far more genuine links, such as:
Parents connection to the country;
Family lineage; and/or
The motive for acquiring second citizenship.
By taking citizenship, you are guaranteeing that your future children and grandchildren will inherit citizenship by right.
This is a legacy plan that goes beyond setting up trusts and foundations or who controls the business. This is a guarantee that comes what may in your country of birth, you and your children can live and do business elsewhere. Linking with Plan B, you need to provide the right, freedom that your children and grandchildren can live in peace.
Most people tend to confuse citizenship, ordinary residency and tax residency as one. They are not.
You can become a tax resident in the country without being a permanent resident and vice-versa.
You can be a tax resident in a country without being a citizen, and you can also become a citizen without being a tax resident.
While each of these statuses has some relation to one another, it is important to note the differences when considering;
Permanent residency; or
Critically they should not be seen as some automated tax avoidance system because they are not.
Be wary of any consultant or article that claims otherwise as this is a recipe for trouble. However, the fact of the matter remains that if you decide to lose your tax residency from one country by moving into another country, then a different set of rules apply.
There are exceptions. If you are an American citizen, it makes little difference whether you reside in the country or not, because you are always going to be taxed by virtue of being a US citizen.
However, ignoring the US, which is an exception, tax residency is usually denoted by the number of days spent within a country. Some people decide to physically change their residency by ensuring that they are not spending enough days in any particular country.
There are solutions to those people who are known as tax nomads; i.e. not spending enough time to qualify under any of the tax resident rules.
Again people are mistaken in their belief that just because they are not spending 183 days in one place that they are now free from paying tax. This is not correct, and the reality is that it will give rise to the country that you have spent most of your time and most links to potentially claiming tax residency.
There are solutions which mitigate this, but if you decide to pick up residency or citizenship, then you pick it up in a country that has an advantageous tax regime.
Global workforce mobility is a critical issue for international businesses and a key risk area, given the legal and operational difficulties that can emerge. You need to be able to move your most important asset, your people, swifty and easily across borders. With borders closed, travel restricted and quarantines imposed, you need to understand the new challenges to business continuity and immigration compilance.
How we can help
Our full-service immigration team works with clients to understand their needs. We provide high-quality immigration support, driven and supported by our technology platform. We implement cutting-edge technology solutions to tackle complex immigration processes and work closely with colleagues in Employment Law, People & Organisation and Global Mobility Tax services to give clients innovative and integrated practical advice with a business focus. With strong links to governments, we drive the business immigration agenda globally. This ensures that your concerns are heard and taken into account at a policy-making level.
Our core services
We can solve your immigration challenges and needs, by providing:
Co-ordinated worldwide immigration support in over 175 locations
Business travel support using our marketing leading technology
Advice and support on business visitor and student/graduate visas
Strategic deployment planning and compliance advice
Work visas and temporary permit applications, including senior level support for VIP and executive cases
Citizenship and permanent residency applications
Advice on entry permission for inward investors
Discretionary applications and personalised immigration assistance
Our specialist immigration services
Brexit has created change for all business sectors, particularly in the allocation and movement of staff. We can help businesses and individuals prepare for and address the opportunities and risks by providing support, strategy and advice.
How we can help you
We help clients address the challenges they're facing in relation to immigration and freedom of movement as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. Our combination of legal expertise and business insight will help you with workforce composition, workforce planning, and mobility and visas, minimising any disruptions to business travel post Brexit.
Right to Work
With an increasingly flexible and mobile workforce, complying with Home Office mandatory checks presents many challenges. Due to COVID there has been a relaxed approach whereby checks can be undertaken remotely to remain compliant, however full checks will need to be completed within 8 weeks of restrictions being lifted – we expect this to be in the course of 2021. Your organisation will need to be ready to carry out potentially a large volume of checks in a short period of time. Find out more around how Aura can help you manage this process.
How we can help you
We use leading technology to help businesses meet these challenges and perform, capture and validate documentation in seconds. Our Right to Work app employs unique biometric technology and facial recognition capability to help you prevent identity fraud, perform employee on-boarding checks instantly, and upload data immediately to existing HR systems.
Immigration Pre-planning Services
With cross-border projects and global mobility on the rise, clients need to assess the feasibility of a move at the initial planning stage of a new hire, assignment or project.
How we can help you
Our innovative pre-planned immigration tool saves clients time and costs by providing advice on:
The most viable immigration route
Whether a candidate meets the requirements of the role
We help you understand the costs, timings, and feasibility of any move from the start, so you can plan more efficiently and make informed business decisions around your mobility strategy.
Posted Worker Directive
With recent legislation changes being rolled out across EU Member States, depending on the type, duration and location of activities being performed, new country registrations may be required in advance of travel. Non-compliance can result in fines and sanctions for employer and employee.
How we can help you
Our industry-leading pre-travel assessment tool, myTrips, automatically assesses whether registrations are required, based on the travel data and activities that the individuals will be performing to delivers an integrated, seamless journey for your business travellers, HR teams and project planners.
With cross border projects, global mobility and the demand for talent on the rise, it has never been more important to understand the impact of immigration on your mobility strategy. Changes to immigration rules and legislation are now more frequent, meaning that having the right information at your fingertips can be a challenge - and interpreting local legislation even more so.
How we can help
Aura’s myAtlas technology enables business to have an understanding of the costs, timings, feasibility the move, meaning that these are all considered at the outset, allowing business to plan more efficiently and make informed business decisions around their mobility strategy.
Addressing end to end immigration compliance for a large global retail bank
Our client’s global footprint and mobility requirements had evolved rapidly and they needed to focus on maintaining compliance in a highly regulated environment, especially in certain high-risk locations. They needed assistance with:
Global immigration support across 80 different location
Risk mitigation for exposure of the business to immigration, tax social security and PE breaches
Global business visa support
Global immigration and business travel policy
How did we help?
We worked closely with the bank to transition their existing global immigration population, re-set their global policy and governance. We implemented, delivered and managed a multi-disciplinary service provision that drove down costs and created enhanced compliance, reduced internal management time and delivered a market-leading business traveller and traveler mobility programme.
We delivered an efficient global mobility programme solution that greatly reduced the bank’s global exposure to immigration and tax compliance, whilst providing enhanced data analytics and placing their overall program significantly ahead of the market.
Helping a client plan moves and projects more strategically
We advised a professional services firm that wanted to be agile enough to deal with overseas moves and projects, but keep costs low and transparent. The firm wanted to be able to understand the feasibility, timelines and costs of projects when negotiating contracts with their clients and when looking to onboard new talent.
How did we help?
We implemented a self-service solution to allow them to assess the feasibility, costs, applicable and quick immigration routes, as well as any personal, cultural corporate red flags that the business needed to be aware of.
Our solution helped create a more agile business that was able to make informed decisions around project candidates. It also helped them plan costs and timelines in advance, and often at the point of client contract negotiations, giving greater control and insight into their margins and ability to organise client delivery dates.
Supporting a client in a large M&A deal
We advised a client that was on course to close a deal to exchange business units with another company. Each client’s respective deal-closing dates were different, which added an additional layer of complexity.
Both parties to the deal wanted to ensure the continuation of work, while also reassuring employees throughout the process of switching employer. To ensure this, we managed the project on behalf of both companies.
How did we help?
We worked closely with both companies and their legal counsel to ensure continued compliance with immigration requirements for transferring individuals. We scheduled regular calls between all relevant stakeholders and shared updates centrally on a daily basis in the lead up to the deal close date. We assisted with consultations on country requirements, including setting up sponsorship registrations and the resulting immigration applications. We also provided contingency plans for employees where a break in the continuation of work was unavoidable, and provided advice on payroll, travel restrictions and secondment options.
We enabled a smooth transfer of employees from one sponsoring company to another, with required immigration actions planned and completed efficiently. We minimised any gaps in continuation of work by putting contingency plans and alternative options in place after discussing with all relevant stakeholders the most appropriate solution.
In the UK, the impact of Brexit, COVID-19 and the resulting ‘great resignation’ movement on the labour market has been substantial. Indeed there have been significantly increased volumes of immigration applications, such as local new hire applications, given the current trend amongst sponsored skilled non UK nationals, who are increasingly exploring alternative career paths and new roles in the UK.
With cross-border travel resuming, the nature of the moves has also become more complex given the additional COVID-19 requirements.
The challenges for UK business
UK businesses are facing a number of challenges when managing their immigration programmes, including:
Increased immigration costs. The Home Office fee for the one year work visa is close to £2,000 for a non UK employee.
Increased pressure on internal immigration teams. Given the high volume of applications and queries from businesses and candidates, there has been increased pressure placed on immigration teams. This has been exacerbated by the increasing complexity of international moves and remote working requests.
Staying compliant in a constantly changing UK/European immigration landscape. There have been many changes to the UK immigration requirements this year - with further changes to be introduced next year. Whilst many of these are positive for UK businesses, it is becoming ever more challenging for sponsoring companies to stay abreast of immigration policy changes in order to ensure that policies and processes are promptly and appropriately flexed and adapted.
Industry insights: best practices
Companies that are successfully managing their immigration programmes have invested time in planning immigration strategies, which allows them to proactively navigate the new and evolving immigration landscape. Please click on the following sections below to discover more:
1. Clear and consistent immigration policies
It is important to ensure that the immigration programmes have documented policies that are consistent in terms of the level of support provided to the employees and their alignment with the companies’ employment policies. The policies would not only be required as part of the Home Office compliance audit but also ensure the company’s commitment to immigration compliance and treating all their employees fairly.
2. Use of technology
Increasingly companies utilise technology to bring cost efficiencies whilst maintaining compliance. Innovative technology solutions allow companies to employ their talent to best suit the needs of the candidate and business. Technology can assist with analysing immigration options for remote working and enhancing compliance within the business by raising awareness of the risks whilst providing alternative immigration routes to mitigate these.
3. Strong governance model
Whilst every organisation is different in terms of their immigration needs, global mobility professionals ought to ensure that they have a strong governance framework in place supported by senior business stakeholders. This will assist in driving the culture of compliance within the organisation protecting against reputational risk and penalties to both employees and the business.
4. Upskilling and regular communication
As immigration rules and requirements continuously evolve, having regular training sessions to upskill HR, talent acquisition teams, recruiters and relevant business stakeholders is central to ensuring that employee and business expectations are adequately managed from the outset and any interruptions are minimised. Regular communication (such as virtual webcasts or lunch and learn sessions) to the impacted population also fosters increased compliance and creates a better experience for employees.
5. Working together
Given the competing priorities companies are currently facing, such as the current ‘war for talent’, commitments to minimise CO2 emissions, the need for global mobility professionals to work together with other areas of the business has never been more important. For example, global mobility professionals should ensure close partnership with the internal talent acquisitions teams, company’s ESG leadership and HR business partners to create a coherent company strategy for deploying and welcoming talented candidates to the business.
With considerable demands on recruitment in the UK, global mobility professionals have a very important role to play in attracting and retaining the best talent within organisations. This month’s COP26 further highlights the need for the immigration policies to be fully aligned with the company’s ESG commitments whilst ensuring an enhanced experience and fair treatment for all employees.
Whilst there is no prescribed format for the company’s immigration policies, there are some key considerations such as the employer’s duties and financial support for dependents, to name a couple, that should be included in policy making.
Our dedicated UK immigration advisory team assists clients with developing tailored governance models, creating immigration policies and upskilling business stakeholders on all aspects of UK immigration. Please reach out to me if you would like to find out more.
How can businesses get ready for the new UK immigration system?
With free movement coming to an end, we look at the biggest change to the UK’s immigration system in over 40 years.
While COVID-19 has dominated the media landscape, government resources and the focus of many organisations this year, it’s no longer the single most pressing issue for many organisations. Attention is now turning back to Brexit, and in particular, the new immigration rules that come into effect on 1 January 2021.
Dealing with the economic and logistical fallout from the pandemic, organisations may have taken their eye off Brexit plans, rules and regulations. But with less than three months until these new immigration rules come into force, organisations must move from planning to action. For many, this is where the difficulty begins - where do they start?
Time is ticking: bring in a specialist
All organisations need to start making preparations for the new system. Even those that are more prepared may still have significant knowledge gaps within their global mobility or HR teams. There are also additional challenges alongside the new immigration system to be aware of: frontier workers, social security, the Posted Workers Directive and potentially complex rules around business travellers.
Certain organisations may even need an understanding of what trade deals are happening as these will include separate immigration categories for countries, such as Japan, US, Canada and Australia.
“Organisations need to check if they and their legal team are ready. For organisations that only have generalist legal support, Brexit-related challenges can quickly become more challenging. Those businesses may need to look to a global mobility or immigration specialist.”
A new system means new challenges, but also new opportunities
From 1 January 2021, any new EU arrivals will need permission to live, work or study in the UK.
Organisations must understand how the new immigration regulations will affect their workforce and any steps they should take now. At the same time, it’s worth undertaking cost projections to identify the impact across the business.
An overhaul of recruitment and retention strategies needed?
Once free movement ends, EU nationals will have the same status as those outside the EU. This leaves a complex set of considerations for organisations:
Do they try to continue with their current workforce?
Do they look to recruit from the resident workforce only?
Do they look at workers from territories not previously considered?
The answer could result in fundamental long-term changes to an organisation's people and recruitment strategies. For example, recruiting an EU national after the new rules are in force may lead to a significant cost for an organisation. But there will also be the same cost for any non-UK worker. While the most straightforward solution might appear to be to employ a UK national, ‘resident workers’ includes a whole range of individuals with the right to work in the UK, such as EU nationals here before 31 December 2020, dependants, and others. It is also unlawful to discriminate against an individual or group of individuals based on their nationality, including during the recruitment process.
While it might be possible to justify the discrimination in some instances, cost alone would not be a sufficient reason to reject a non-UK or non-resident worker. Because of this, it will be important to ensure any recruitment processes and procedures are not discriminatory.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on the individual characteristics of a given organisation, the industry it operates in and the makeup of its current workforce. But one thing is clear: those organisations that currently employ EU nationals would be best served sorting out their immigration status right now.”
Under the new rules, organisations that want to employ non-UK workers will need a Sponsor Licence. Currently, there are around 30,000 employers that hold these licences. Employers will need to assess how well they are meeting their current compliance requirements and with immigration authorities restarting compliance audits, now is a good time.
Organisations without a Sponsor Licence will need to think about whether they need to apply for one before the changes come into effect. Without one, they will not be able to support work permission going forward. A crucial part of the application process is ensuring that the relevant compliance structures are in place.
What about UK organisations operating in the EU?
There are also considerations for UK-based organisations that operate in the EU: in particular, how they move between the jurisdictions for work. UK nationals will need work permission for whichever EU country they will be working in, with each EU country having its own distinct rules.
Even short-term business visits for UK nationals (or EU nationals travelling to the UK) will require restricted activities to avoid compliance issues.
With travel much reduced at the moment, it’s an ideal time to review existing processes and systems, and work out future pre-travel assessments.
“In just a few months, UK nationals won’t be able to visit the EU without thinking ahead and planning the business purpose for travelling. And that will be the same for EU nationals visiting the UK. There’s a lot of potential here for significant financial and reputational risks that could be avoided by taking action now.”
Communication is key
Whatever the organisation’s approach or solution, communicating with impacted stakeholders is key to minimising any disruption. As a minimum, organisations need to communicate with employees, recruitment and resourcing, and the wider business. Yet in a recent Aura survey of over 100 companies, 50% of respondents confirmed that they haven’t communicated potential changes to their affected workforce.
Individual employees will be affected differently by the new scheme and the organisation's response, so they must be clear about what’s happening. For example, some may need to apply under the Settlement Scheme, while others will need to understand what the business visitor rules mean for them.
For recruitment, it’s important to understand any practical implications, such as processes, costs and timeframes, to ensure business continuity and allocate training as needed. Similarly, for the wider business, key decision-makers should be informed about how the changes will enable additional costs to be incorporated into planning and facilitate new compliance structures.
Time to get ready
The new immigration rules are a generational change for organisations and individuals. They shouldn’t be viewed as challenging, but they do need to be considered with urgency. While every organisation will be impacted differently by these changes, they need to understand what that means for them and how they respond to it.
Those organisations that evaluate their progress and identify any further measures they must take will be best positioned to navigate this challenge, prioritise their actions and find future workforce opportunities.
WHY CHOOSE THE USA?
Known the world over as the land of opportunity, the United States of America boasts a rich and diverse culture, one of the strongest currencies in the world, and one of the most sought-after passports on the planet. Through the USA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, investors can enjoy a host of exclusive benefits:
No language skills required.
No minimum education required.
No business or managerial experience required.
Investment capital can come from a gift, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activity.
No obligation to live in the area of investment.
The opportunity to live, work and study anywhere in the U.S. and benefit from lower tuition fees.
Inclusion of dependent children under the age of 21.
To qualify for the program applicants must fulfill one of the investment options below in addition to meeting the following criteria:
Be at least 21 years of age.
Show legal source of assets and funds.
Be 18 years or older.
Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the place of residence, for at least three months prior to the application.
Have continuous residence in the U.S. as a Green Card holder for at least five years immediately preceding the application.
Be physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the five years (60 months) immediately preceding the application.
Reside continuously within the U.S. from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization.
Be able to read, write and speak English, and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
Be of good moral character in keeping with the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.