After the Tories’ landslide victory in the General Election, many desperate citizens up and down the country may well be worrying about the future of the UK and their place in it. For those who think a change of scene might help, it’s actually possible to buy citizenship for a number of other countries (caveat: it doesn’t come cheap).
Forget needing to be born there or having to dig out your maternal grandmother’s birth certificate; individuals can purchase a second passport via Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIPs), offered in a number of destinations.
Under these schemes, individuals can obtain a second citizenship “extremely quickly” in exchange for a donation or investment, often in real estate, according to Nomad Capitalist, a company which helps clients become “global citizens”.
Nuri Katz, President of Apex Capital Partners, an international advisory firm that specialises in CIPs, told Business Insider: “For a lot of wealthy people having a second or third passport is important for the ability to travel. For some it’s also a status symbol, like buying a fancy car to show your friends.”
However, he added: “Second citizenship is becoming more than just getting a passport. There are certain advantages towards using second citizenship to create residence in countries where tax burdens would be lower than where you are at the current time.”
Some 89 per cent of Britons claimed they would like to own a second passport (that number may well have increased by now) and more than 34 per cent said they had looked into investing in a scheme that would let them obtain one, according to a 2017 survey published by CS Global Partners.
Meanwhile, 80 per cent of the 500 respondents said they’d be willing to invest or donate 5 per cent of their annual salary to gain a second citizenship.
In Nomad Capitalist’s annual assessment, the firm lists 10 of the best destinations to obtain a second passport in 2019 through CIPs, guaranteeing second citizenship within four to 12 months for those prepared to part with enough hard cash.
Obtaining Cyprus citizenship only takes 56 days and requires an investment of €2m in real estate, government bonds, a bank deposit in a Cyprus bank or investment in a new company. Candidates must also own a €500,000 home in Cyprus forever.
Maltese citizenship requires a government donation of €650,000; an investment of €150,000 in Maltese government bonds for five years; and the purchase of a home on the main island costing at least €350,000 or the five-year lease of a property for at least €16,000pa.
Becoming a Moldovan citizen under a new programme requires a donation of €100,000 and a government fee or an investment of €250,000 in approved real estate.
Turkey launched a similar scheme to Moldova in 2017 – investing the Turkish lira equivalent of £195,000 into real estate and keeping it for three years can bag you a Turkish passport in a matter of months.
Outside Europe, the list recommends St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and Vanuatu.
But unless you have a few hundred thousand pounds to burn, it’s probably best to stick to digging out your grandmother’s birth certificate after all…