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How to Get a Second Passport

How to Get a Second Passport

Having a second passport is the ultimate insurance policy for you and your family as it ensures the holders always have more options in life to travel, study, or conduct business globally.  As they say, two is always better than one. 


Second passports mitigate risk by providing you and your family with a Plan B in case things go wrong in your home country. Having a second passport also provides you with a better lifestyle and greater healthcare options; allowing you to live your life to the fullest. They also provide their holders with enhanced global mobility, allowing them to travel visa-free to various destinations.


Some pursue second passports to open the door for better global investment opportunities, as they simplify international business by breaking down barriers. While others may look to find tax relief by becoming citizens of tax-friendly nations.


Second passports can even help future generations by providing better education and employment opportunities that help children and young adults achieve their potential. 


However, many assume that obtaining a new passport is a difficult and complex process while in reality, it can be fairly simple. 


The routes to gaining a second passport

There are various routes to obtaining a second passport, as different countries have different laws for naturalising a foreigner to become a citizen. The most common of these routes are:

  • Citizens by Descent: In a few countries, such as Ireland, if a person has an Irish lineage - which they can prove through valid documentation - they can apply for Citizenship by Ancestry. This option is fairly exclusive, does not apply to everyone, and typically only goes back one or sometimes two generations.
  • Citizenship by Birth: Various countries, such as the US, Canada, and others, grant citizenship to anyone born within their borders. 
  • Citizenship Through Marriage: Countries such as Australia and Canada, among others, have a pathway for a foreign spouse of a citizen to obtain residency and eventually citizenship although these processes are becoming more onerous. 
  • Naturalisation: The most common route to citizenship for expats, naturalization, can occur once a foreigner living in another country has spent a minimum amount of time living there and has met other criteria as set by the nation. Some countries, such as KSA and Qatar, do not have this option, and foreigners on temporary visas must eventually leave. The amount of time one must spend in the country before qualifying for citizenship generally ranges from five to 20 years.
  • Citizenship by Investment (CBI): The most inclusive of all the options is Citizenship by Investment. CBI provides a route towards naturalization offered by a handful of nations around the globe. This allows investors and their qualifying family members to obtain citizenship by investing in the host nation's economy.


Since the first three options are very exclusive and naturalisation is a long-term, complex route, this article will focus on discussing Citizenship by Investment and how anyone who meets the criteria can obtain a second passport in a relatively short time frame and in a straightforward process.


What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by Investment was first recorded thousands of years ago during the reign of the Roman Republic. Since then, it has drastically evolved, but the core value remains the same; those who invest in a nation's economy can obtain its citizenship.


The past four decades saw various countries establish their own version of Citizenship through Investment Programmes. St Kitts and Nevis, considered by many as the grandfather of modern Citizenship by Investment, launched its programme in 1984, and many other countries have since followed.


Investing in a country's economy to gain citizenship can take on many forms; an applicant can donate to a government development fund, purchase government-approved real estate, purchase government bonds, or any other venture a country deems suitable.


The minimum investment threshold varies depending on the country and the investment type, but applicants can now obtain a second passport for investments starting at an affordable USD 100,000.


Those pursuing Citizenship by Investment can even add their family members, with most programmes allowing the addition of their spouse, dependent children, parents, grandparents, and occasionally even siblings to the same application under one investment. 


What countries offer Citizenship by Investment Programmes?

Currently, eight different countries operate a government-run Citizenship by Investment Programme. These countries are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Malta
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • Turkey
  • Vanuatu

Montenegro also has a Citizenship by Investment Programme, but it has announced that it will officially close on the 31st of December, 2021.

How does it work?

Gaining Citizenship by Investment is a fairly simple process. It differs from one country to the next, but every main applicant must:

  • Have a clean criminal background
  • Submit a full application
  • Pass Government due diligence checks
  • Make a qualifying investment


Except in the case of Malta, which requires one year of residence within the EU nation before granting citizenship, all other Citizenship by Investment programmes do not require applicants to live or even travel to the country, as the entire application is completed remotely and passports can be delivered to the applicants by mail.


How long does it take?

The time required to obtain Citizenship by Investment varies from one country to another. The Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia all have an average processing time of 3-6 months. 


Vanuatu has the shortest time period.  Processing a Citizenship by Investment application takes only 2-4 months. Turkey has an average timeframe of 6 months, while Malta requires 8 months of processing, and requires applicants to reside one year in the country before obtaining citizenship.


How much does it cost?

Each country has different frameworks and investment thresholds. The amounts may differ depending on the investment option and the family composition. Here are the minimum amounts for each of the countries and their investment options:

  • Antigua Barbuda
    • A non-refundable donation starting at USD 100,000 (or USD 150,000 for a family of six), or
    • Purchasing real estate for no less than USD 200,000
  • Dominica
    • A non-refundable donation starting at USD 100,000, or
    • Purchasing real estate for no less than USD 200,000 
  • Grenada
    • A non-refundable donation starting at USD 150,000, or
    • Purchasing real estate for no less than USD 220,000 
  • Malta
    • A contribution to the government for EUR 750,000, and
    • Renting a property for no less than EUR 16,000 per year, and
    • Donating EUR 10,000 to an approved NGO
  • St Kitts and Nevis
    • A non-refundable donation starting at USD 150,000, or
    • Purchasing real estate for no less than USD 200,000
  • St Lucia
    • A non-refundable donation starting at USD 100,000, or
    • Purchasing real estate for no less than USD 300,000, or
    • Purchasing government bonds for USD 250,000 (limited time offer)
  • Turkey
    • Purchasing property for no less than USD 250,000 
    • Investing a minimum of USD 500,000 in fixed capital 
    • Deposit USD 500,000 into a Turkish bank account and hold them for three years
    • Purchase government bonds for at least USD 500,000 
    • Commit at least USD 500,000 into real estate investment fund share or venture capital investment fund share
    • Creation of at least 50 jobs for Turkish nationals or permanent residents through enterprise establishment
  • Vanuatu
    • A non-refundable donation starting at USD 130,000


Why invest in a second passport?

A second passport gives greater global mobility. All of these countries have visa-free waivers with more than 110 countries worldwide. St. Kitts and Nevis exceed the 150 visa-free countries, while a Maltese passport can grant visa-free access to 185 countries, including popular locations such as the US and Canada.


All of the countries, with the exception of Turkey, provide visa-free access to highly attractive locations such as the UK, the EU, Hong Kong, and many others.


But investing in a second passport is much more than global mobility; it is the best modern insurance policy to offset the risk of instability or political turmoil in one's home nation. 


How to start the process

To begin your journey to obtaining a second passport, contact us today to book a free, comprehensive consultation with one of our Citizenship by Investment experts.