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Wealth Advisory Services And Citizenship For Sale

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On a recent foggy morning, I was surfing through the news channels when I came across a story on the BBC news channel about ‘citizenship for sale’ with several references to the United States EB-5 visa program which allows foreigners to invest in real-estate projects in exchange for a fast-tracked green card application.

 

The article pointed out that the demographics are moving towards individuals from the far and mid east, as well as locals like Brazil, all countries with a growing elite, rampant poverty and generally unstable futures, with citizenship becoming a hot commodity.

For people looking to protect their assets, as well as have a bug-out zone, multiple citizenships offer a way to hedge their bets while at the same time retaining their home base while achieving visa free status as they travel to different countries around the world.

For a cost of around €350,000. German citizenship will get you the most visa free travel to other countries around the globe, while a mere €35.000 will get you Latvian citizenship.

Despite that, there are only a limited number of countries which offer citizenship programs that provide a direct route to citizenship based on investment and which have met a minimal standard – Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Grenada, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis – or a clear route to citizenship following a reasonable period of residence, such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Portugal, Singapore, the United Kingdom or the United States.

Many countries impose restrictions on who can represent persons seeking citizenship through investment. Canada, for example, sets the following requirements.

Authorized paid representatives

Only some people can charge you a fee or receive any other type of payment. These people are called “authorized” representatives. They are lawyers, paralegals and notaries. The Canadian government will not deal with representatives who charge a fee but are not authorized. If an applicant uses an unauthorized representative, in Canada or abroad, they may return the application or refuse it.

However, it appears that in most countries, it is quite normal for wealth advisers to work with clients to help and advise them on the investment requirements of citizenship, without performing actual representation during the emigration process.

Andrew Henderson, an American entrepreneur and founder of the Nomad Capitalist, has four passports and is working on his fifth.

He says investing in programs in the African archipelago of Comoros and the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia give him more opportunities and lower taxes.

“For me it’s about how I could have better options, better tax treatment, better treatment as a person and get the same visa free travel.” he says, adding that he expects investment citizenship to rise.

investing in programs in the African archipelago of Comoros and the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia give him more… Click To Tweet

“I think the world is going more nomadic. People don’t want to be in one place. They want to have one or two or three bases for lifestyle reasons and pay reasonable taxes, and that’s what becoming more accessible.

Most of our clients do not go and live in the country they invest in. They see it as more of an insurance policy

While not everyone with multiple citizenships will reside in multiple nations, Williams says the industry can be viewed as a barometer of turmoil in the world. He says many of the investors he works with see these programs as a safety net.

People don’t want to be in once place. They want to have one or two or three bases for lifestyle reasons Click To Tweet

“Most of our clients do not go and live in the country they invest in,” he says. “They see it as more of an insurance policy. They know that they’ve got that second residency, so if they ever have to jump on a plane they’ve got that option.”


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