From freedom of movement and family legacy to tax efficiency and investment opportunities, the CBI Guide highlights the top nine benefits of obtaining second citizenship.
- Family legacy One of the most valuable inheritances, a second passport lasts for generations and those with second citizenships can pass them on to their children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren, guaranteeing second passports for generations to come.
- Insurance policy In times of turbulence, be that economic, political or social, having a plan B, aka an insurance policy, is a smart move, providing you and your family with a get-out option if things go pear-shaped in your own country. For those living in unstable countries, in particular, or countries where natural disasters are frequent, citizenship by investment guarantees an escape route and safe haven, providing you and your family with future prospects along with economic, political and financial stability. Ultimately, in turbulent and chaotic times, as we are in now, second citizenship is about spreading your eggs out, not keeping them all in one basket. Spread the risk.
- Freedom of movement Freedom to travel is the ultimate luxury, but it can be complicated or even restricted for many nationalities requiring travellers to apply for visas, which take time and can be expensive. A second passport can therefore secure easier and increased access to countries, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival options, allowing you easy travel, study, work and living opportunities depending upon the second passport. So while securing a second passport to one of the five Caribbean islands can give you access to between 139 and 152 countries, gaining citizenship of a European country like Cyprus or Malta gives you the ultimate freedom with access to up to 184 countries (for Malta) along with the ability to work, study or live in all 28 EU member states. For example, as a US citizen, you need a visa to travel to South America, and as a Emirati, you need a visa to travel to China; but a second passport for Saint Lucia or Grenada will give you visa-free access to South America and China, respectively.
- Right to residency With citizenship comes residency, and this means you and your family can live in the country and enjoy the fruits of your second passport, which includes everything from the lifestyle to the climate, healthcare to education to pensions. The CBI programmes all offer a good standard of living and a good lifestyle, which is especially important when you have children and also for when you retire. All five of the Caribbean islands offering CIPs deliver hot and tropical climates and boast sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyles; while the two European CBIs, Malta and Cyprus, offer Mediterranean climates with hot summers and mild winters, a rich heritage and culture and beautiful beaches.
- Tax efficiency Depending upon the country you are from and on your second citizenship, you may well be able to gain tax benefits. If you have two citizenships, you only pay tax for one (except if you have a US or Eritrean passport) with your tax residency worked out by the number of days spent within a country. If you can save money by structuring your taxes in another country legally, then why wouldn’t you take that opportunity? For example, the Caribbean countries offer much lower tax rates than many developed nations giving second citizens high tax efficiency. As a citizen of Grenada or Saint Kitts, for example, you would not need to pay any foreign income, wealth, gift, inheritance or capital gains tax and there is no restriction on the repatriation of profits and imported capital. Look for an advantageous tax regime. For example, Vanuatu is a tax haven with no taxes imposed on income, inheritance or gains tax; while Malta has cut its taxes for its citizens for five years running.
- Economic security In a severe economic downturn, keeping your business and assets in an unstable country could be dangerous. Therefore, holding a passport to a country with economic stability is a benefit, allowing you to relocate your assets to a more stable nation should things go wrong in your own country. Therefore, look for stable and predictable economies without constant recessions or ups and downs. Moderate growth is good, so for example, Malta offers a favourable jurisdiction for businesses. Not only has Malta had three successive years of the highest economic growth in the EU, but it boasts booming industries including igaming.
- Educational opportunities Having access to high standards of education, especially if free, is one of the most valuable assets of second citizenship and particularly for families. Certain countries have far higher educational standards and quality than others and becoming a citizen of such a country can guarantee educational opportunities and standards for your own children, and even their children. For example, not only do the five Caribbean islands that offer CIPs boast very high levels of literacy, they deliver compulsory and free education for children aged 5-16, and are home to some of the world’s leading medical universities.
- Business opportunities From company expansion to property investment, entrepreneurs and businesspeople need frequent travel. Securing a second passport gives you access to more pro-business countries and therefore more potential customers for your business, allowing you trade with more people and businesses beyond your original country. Many of the countries offering CBI programmes offer lucrative investment opportunities, many in resort developments and real estate, for a range of projects, many of which are exclusive, and can make substantial profits.
- Healthcare access Taking advantage of a good national healthcare system is important, to your family, and to yourselves especially as you age and particularly if you plan to retire there. Second citizenship of a country with a decent national healthcare system can deliver this giving you the backup you need as you age. Take the Caribbean island of Antigua & Barbuda, which in 1998 adopted a national mandate to become the pre-eminent healthcare destination in the Caribbean and has subsequently built a state-of-the-art and tech-advanced hospital, Mt. St. John Medical Centre.