You’re in a great job, living in a low tax- or tax-free jurisdiction or you benefit from considerable assets, but you’re concerned about security. Security can mean different things to different people and the passport you hold doesn’t help.

The strength of a passport tends to be ranked by how many VISA free countries that passport allows one to visit. The Henley & Partners Passport Index puts the top three passports as Japan with a VISA free score of 191, Singapore in second place with a VISA free score of 190, and in joint third place, Germany, and South Korea, with a VISA free score of 189.

Portugal, a member of the EU, providing access to 27 other EU countries is ranked 6th and the United Kingdom and United States are both ranked 7th.

Middle Eastern countries tend to offer VISA free access to 20-40 countries except for Saudi Arabia which offers VISA free access to 79 destinations, Qatar 95 and the United Arab Emirates having the strongest with 173 VISA free access destinations.

But of course, when deciding about which second passport is most suitable for you, you’d probably want to give more consideration than simply to a mobility score. But rather the relevancy of those destinations to you and your family.

Most people are motivated to obtain a second passport due to wanting better access to education and work for their children. Escaping geopolitical risk, having access to business and leisure destinations are also important. To a lesser extent it’s also about having access to better healthcare, a better retirement destination and a tax efficient jurisdiction.

Residency and citizenship by investment programs enable nations to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from qualified and highly vetted individuals who can make a significant economic contribution to the host nation. FDI is attractive for nations as it offers debt free liquidity that can be reinvested into the nation’s infrastructure and public services. Furthermore, by attracting highly qualified or wealthy individuals it’s also likely to better diversify the economy through entrepreneurship and thus job creation.

So which passport is right for you?

Before anything you need answers to at least the following:

  1. What’s your objective? And why?
  2. What level of residual funds do you have available to invest into a second jurisdiction for residency or citizenship?
  3. Are you willing reside permanently in your host country?
  4. How often do you intend to visit your host country?
  5. How quickly do you intend to achieve residency and citizenship?

Three popular destinations

  1. Vanuatu

For a donation of $180,000 a family of four can obtain citizenship in approximately 8 weeks. And you can include a dependent relative provided they’re over 55.  It offers access to 130 VISA free countries including the UK and the Schengen countries. You can obtain citizenship without ever visiting.

  •  Turkey

For an investment of $250,000, a married couple with minor children can obtain citizenship in approximately 4 months. It offers access to 111 VISA free countries, but it doesn’t include VISA free access to the UK or Schengen countries.

It does however benefit from the E2 business treaty with the USA and the Ankara Business Agreement with the UK. This allows Turkish citizens to open a business in either of those countries and in turn give them potential access to residency in those countries.

Turkey also offers free education for children. You’ll only need to make a single visit to obtain citizenship.

  • Portugal

For an investment of c$300,000, families with children upto the age of 21 can obtain residency in approximately 6 months. It offers access to 186 VISA free countries which include access to the UK and the Schengen countries.

After 5 years of residency, you can apply for citizenship. You would only have needed 5 weeks of physical stay in Portugal within a 5-year period to qualify for citizenship.

Portugal is quite easily the most popular destination being an EU member which offers passport holders the right to live, work and study across the 27 EU member countries. It also offers the most convenient route to citizenship as the physical stay requirement is manageable.

There are around 25 Golden VISA programmes internationally that offer a residency and/or citizenship by investment opportunities. It should go without saying several factors must tie up to ensure objectives are met, not least the security of your capital funds for investment.

All three options can be within the scope of most high earners with surplus income who may not have the immediate capital requirements but can do within a few years provided they also have a tailored wealth management plan that is regularly reviewed.

For further information to explore your personal circumstances please reach out via the contact form or book a slot via the Calendly widget (30 min initial enquiry option) below.

Mohammad Uz-Zaman MA Adv DipFA PETR is a chartered wealth manager who holds dual accreditations across wealth management and trust planning. He advises high-net worth (HNW) individuals how best to protect their family and structure their estate for the benefit of successive generations. Mohammad is also an associate member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).


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