Client Alexander V., the citizen of Ukraine, turned to us in February 2018 requesting for help in getting second citizenship. The client had concerns about the protracted crisis in Ukraine and pressure on his business and him personally from public authorities. Visa-free travels were of less importance for the client as Ukraine’s passport allows one to travel without visa to the Schengen countries. However, the Caribbean passport also provides one with the opportunity to travel visa-free to the United Kingdom.
The main goal for the client was to ensure safe haven and redistribute foreign assets in the future. He heard about the Caribbean programs and was interested in the least expensive option of obtaining citizenship.
- 1 Why citizenship and not residence?
- 2 The programs that were considered
- 3 Comparing the Caribbean programs
- 4 The issue of dual citizenship in Ukraine
- 5 Map of visa-free travels for Dominica citizens
- 6 Processing
- 7 Bullet points
- 8 How much time did the process of obtaining a Dominica citizenship take?
- 9 Expert opinion
- 10 Conclusion
Why citizenship and not residence?
Residence is linked to the foreign passport. In case of its expiration, one should first renew the passport and then obtain residence. The term of card validity depends on the term of Ukraine’s passport validity. Moreover, in case of aggressive behaviour by the authorities, like initiation of criminal proceedings and others, it will be impossible to renew the card in the future, since one will have to provide the certificate of criminal record. There are enough situations of entrepreneurs prosecution in Ukraine, especially it concerns the past 5-7 years associated with repeated change of power. Having considered all the risks, the client decided to obtain citizenship and not residence.
Note: Emigration levels from Ukraine in the past 3 years beat all the records. According to the OECD, starting from 2015 more than 300,000 people leave the country every year, which number is 25% higher than the one recorded in the nineties. Eurostat reports that only in 2015 over 500,000 Ukrainians obtained EU residence. The most popular country for emigration is Poland, followed by Spain, Italy and Germany. Read more about the countries selected by immigrants in the analytical material.
The programs that were considered
Alexander was looking for the most affordable option of getting second citizenship. As long as he applied alone, we offered him the program of Dominica and provided cost comparison in terms of all the programs.
Comparing the Caribbean programs
The issue of dual citizenship in Ukraine
The client was also worried about the issue of dual citizenship. Politicians often claim in media that dual citizenship is forbidden in Ukraine, however, it is not true.
The constitutional myth about the impossibility of having dual citizenship is quite widespread. The situation of exposing second citizenship among top country officials has become a classic method of scandals escalation on the Ukrainian political scene. The passport of foreign countries is something that is often found during searches, which only enhances social discontent.
Get familiar with the expert opinion of the law professor on the issue of dual citizenship in Ukraine.
Map of visa-free travels for Dominica citizens
The process of documents preparation, translation and notarization took about 20 days, after which the case was directed to Dominica’s citizenship agency that sent the according confirmation of the case receipt.
In Dominica, one must submit biometric data (fingerprints). We recommended several certified agencies to the client, and this process also did not take much time. Two months later the second citizenship application was approved and the instructions in terms of making a donation in the Government fund were provided.
The Government did not request for any additional documents at the checking stage.
The client selected Dominica’s program for the following reasons:
- The most affordable variant for one applicant in terms of price;
- After having studied the information about Ukraine not forbidding dual citizenship at the legislative level, he made a choice in favour of second citizenship and not residence;
- Second passport is a more reliable document in comparison with residence if the main goal is to have a backup plan. Passport is not linked to the first citizenship and serves as an autonomous document that can be later used for obtaining residence in the Schengen area without involving Ukraine’s passport.
- No need to visit the island either during or after getting citizenship. No requirements related to living in the country, thus no additional expenses associated with it.
How much time did the process of obtaining a Dominica citizenship take?
The term from the moment of agreement signing to the moment of passport receipt corresponded 3 months, which is the exception rather than the rule. Normally, only the documents consideration on the island lasts from 3 to 5 months.
Khrystyna Ruzhilo: “As long as the main criterion for Alexander was the second passport price and since he applied alone, the citizenship of Dominica turned out to be the best solution for the client at the moment of his turning to the company. The citizenship of Saint Lucia goes at approximately the same price, but the program operates less effectively, which information we communicated to the client. He did not want to risk, so he selected the safe option.”
- While choosing the citizenship by investment program, the client should pay attention not only to the family composition, but also to the program effectiveness;
- It is important to receive credible information about additional legal peculiarities (for example, dual citizenship prohibition). In our case the client was provided with legal advice BEFORE the process launch.
- When choosing between residence and citizenship programs, one should first clearly indicate the aim of getting the status. Find more information about the differences in the scope of rights and other issues in the article Residence or Second Citizenship: What is the Difference?
- In addition to the cost, requirements and processing time, the following factors should be taken into consideration:
- Simplicity and cost of passport renewal or replacement;
- Complexity of the procedure of receiving the status and the guarantees (rejection rates, requirements to provide the documents related to funds source, etc.)
- Possibility of adding children and other family members in the future and the costs associated with this;
- Possibility of getting additional documents (driver’s license, registration address, local phone number, etc.), what it requires from the applicant, the correspondent prices and the necessity of the applicant to carry out personal visits;
- Possibility of getting the status if one has criminal record, bankruptcy experience and visa denials.
Important note! Apart from the points mentioned above, one should know how effective the program is at this particular moment. For example, the cases filed to Saint Kitts and Nevis from October to March 2018 (end of special offer term) were considered for more than 8 months because over 1,200 applications were filed during that period, so the citizenship agency did not manage to process all the applications in time. Grenada’s program had high rejections rate in 2016: out of 175 applications, 19 were rejected, which is 11% of the total number. In Saint Lucia the procedures were not perfected enough within the first year and a half of the program operation.
You can find more details about programs real facts and pitfalls, so as about the way of choosing the most effective program in this article.
Only cooperation with the experts having extensive experience in dealing with various programs allows one to find the best option.