It is perfectly possible to become a dual citizen after obtaining a second passport of an EU or a Caribbean Basin country, as there are enough official, government-launched programs with transparent and legal conditions. Nevertheless, many foreigners are looking closely at, and opting for, camouflaged or outright dirty second citizenship acquisition schemes in hopes to cut the cost.
In this write-up, we’ll tell you about the consequences of participating in such questionable undertakings.
A shady passport: Is it a gamble worth taking?
Intricate security systems, online databases, holograms still don’t make it completely impossible to counterfeit a passport. Dozens of journalistic experiments constantly illustrate this, and perhaps the most colourful example of this is when a BBC reported obtained 20 fake passports and was able to enter many EU countries with them, including the UK.
Mostly, forged documents are being produced in Eastern European countries, as fraudsters have the most options there. Lithuanian, Hungarian, Romanian,and Bulgarian documents are in constant demand and especially popular among fugitives and those looking for a “better life” in Europe.
One widely known way to for a biometric passport is through identity switch: the person “selling” their identity fills in all the forms, while the client only submits their photos and fingerprints. Another way is to use the legal system of a country to one’s advantage. Hungarian nationals who resided in Transcarpathia (Subcarpathia) during the Hungarian rule have the opportunity of repatriation back to Hungary.
Romania may grant citizenship in case one provides documentation of one, or one’s ancestors up to the third generation, being born on the country’s territory between 1918-1940. How does the scheme work? One’s grandmother’s birth certificate “is found” in some archive that is forged and one obtains a passport.
The cost of a forged passport varies between €7k and €10k. Obviously, there are absolutely no guarantees of success and/or recompensation. Forged documents may be in the state-of-art condition, but sooner or later, the fraud may be discovered. In the European Union, one may end up with a lawsuit, a 5-year jail sentence, deportation, and/or an entry ban.
Legal ways to obtain citizenship
Why risk your own reputation and even your freedom by resorting to highly dubious and illicit methods… if there are legal and transparent ways to get a second passport or a status of a resident? By participating in a government-approved citizenship program, you will end up in possession of a European or a Caribbean passport, and a 100% guarantee of validity of the process. Additionally, your whole family may obtain the status as well. A second citizenship means
- Confidence in your own future – having a plan B in case of unforeseen and unfavourable political and economic upheavals;
- Possibility to freely travel to multiple countries;
- Business development possibilities on an international level.
Which passport costs less and is easier to obtain?
The most appealing second citizenship options are offered by Caribbean countries. The whole family may obtain their second passports in exchange for $100k to $400k investment in government-established funds, real estate, or business.
Dominica (starting at $100k), Antigua and Barbuda (starting at $100k), and Saint Kitts and Nevis (starting at $150k) are really popular passport programs with investors. More details on fund donations and fees in the table below.
The only official, government-approved European citizenship programs are offered by Cyprus or Malta. The cost of a Cypriot passport starts at €2 million, and the processing takes between 3 and 6 months. Malta’s citizenship costs at least €816k, and application reviewing takes around 14-16 months.
In the table below, we compare Caribbean and European passports.
Are there any European alternatives?
It is possible to become a citizen of a European country within 6-10 years after obtaining a residence, or permanent residence status. This is suitable for those who would like to simplify travel to EU countries, save funds on investment, and are considering getting a passport in the future.
The optimal option is to apply for a Portuguese, Greek, or Spanish Golden Visa program.
A foreign national may apply for a Portuguese residency if they are willing to invest at least €350k in Portuguese real estate, or at least €1 million in paper assets, or creation of at least 10 jobs for Portuguese nationals.
In exchange, you will get:
- The opportunity to apply for a permanent residence permit in 5 years, and a year later after that, for a Portuguese citizenship;
- Flexible business management terms; as of 2017, Portugal is ranked 25th in the Ease of Doing Business index;
- The opportunity to acquire any type of property above €500k.
The Greek residency, in its turn, requires for at least €250k investment, and allows:
- Including financially dependent children up to 23 years of age, as well as a spouse, and parents;
- A shortened processing timeline, just 2-3 months, and it’s only necessary to come to the country to submit biometrics and get the permits;
- Lack of residence requirements, as well as free movement within the Schengen Area.
The investor may choose one of the following 4 options when applying for a Spanish citizenship permit: at least €500k in real estate, at least €2 million in government bonds, or at least €1 million in enterprise establishment, or banking activities. As a result, the investor gets to:
- Include the whole family in the application – financially dependent children under 26 years of age, the spouse, and parents;
- Enjoy the possibility to recover the invested amount in 5 years’ time;
- Not to have to reside in Spain on a permanent basis to retain the resident status (residence is required to obtain the status of a permanent resident, and then, a citizen).
Other residency programs that are particularly popular with foreign investors are those of Malta and Cyprus. One of their key advantages is a quick process of applications reviewing, just 2-3 months.
Malta asks for investing in government bonds and real estate, as well as an administration fee, all starting from €300k. What would be the possibilities opening up before you?
- It is possible to secure the resident status for your whole family; starting from July 2017, children above the age of 27 may be included in the application as well, on the condition that they are fully financially dependent on the principal applicant;
- There are not residence requirements;
- You will be able to move freely within the Schengen Zone;
- Flexible business management and tax planning opportunities.
It is possible to become a resident of Cyprus within 2 months after investing at least €300k in real estate and making a deposit of €30k at a local bank (for a minimum term of 3 years). Key traits of Cypriot residency:
- It is a lifetime status and may be inherited;
- An exclusive opportunity to integrate into a highly-developed European society;
- There are no strict residence requirements, it is only necessary to come to Malta once every 2 years.
A legitimate second passport obtained through official channels is an extra guarantee and a safety net for your future. Not only is it a trustworthy contingency plan, but also a gateway into EU privileges, their law, healthcare and educational systems. All you need to do is choose a country that will become your second home!
Interested in more detailed information about citizenship or residency by investment programs? Contact us!
- We offer free consultations, understanding how important it is for the client to make the only correct decision.
- We work only in the field of investment immigration, integrating gained experience into the investor’s goal.
- We work only with official programs of the European Union and Caribbean countries.
- Before signing the contract, we inform our clients about all additional fees and expenses.
- We conduct a screening to assess the investor’s chances of obtaining the desired citizenship.
- We oversee the process at each stage and work exclusively towards the result.
- We are in touch 24/7.