Imagine an asset that can unlock doors worldwide and provide its holder with unlimited opportunities. An asset that enables future generations to surpass their potential. An asset that makes the impossible quite probable. Now imagine if that asset is no more expensive than a luxury car. That asset is, of course, a second passport.
Citizenship by Investment Programs are rapidly becoming a trendy venture among the globe’s elite and it is apparent why. Not holding a second passport in the current geopolitical landscape of the world means a person remains bound to one nation, one government, one regime, and one channel of opportunity. A second citizenship remedies that and gives its holder enhanced freedom, and the good thing is, getting a second citizenship has never been easier.
How Citizenship by Investment Has Evolved
The modern framework for citizenship by investment has come a long way since it was reintroduced by St. Kitts & Nevis in 1984. The Caribbean nation launched its program just one year after the internet was invented, and it would be quite some time until the new technology influenced the process of gaining second citizenship.
Shortly after St. Kitts & Nevis launched its program, neighbouring nation Dominica followed suit. Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, and St. Lucia also launched their versions soon after, completing the Caribbean citizenship by investment coalition. Other nations such as Vanuatu and Turkey complete the list of citizenship by investment countries.
While the premise remains the same, the process of gaining citizenship by investment has greatly differed in the past couple of decades. The introduction of the internet and advanced technological solutions has played a part in the evolution of the practice, as well as the increasing global demand.
The financial requirements for investors were significantly higher back when it was just St. Kitts & Nevis offering citizenship by investment, almost twice as high as they are today. Then, as more Caribbean nations joined the fray, citizenship by investment programs began competing with each other to attract more investors to their shores. This competition, along with growing demand, meant that countries could request less amount but would make up the difference by getting a larger amount of investors.
However, processing files did prove to be a challenge. As there were a few main issues any application had to face before getting approval:
- Mailing documents – sending documents by mail could take days if not weeks
- The due diligence process – manually conducting due diligence on applicants was a slow and tedious process, especially without linked databases.
- Change of circumstance – If your circumstances change today you can inform a foreign government instantly through email, back then it took a long time and could harm your application if delayed
- Money transfer – transferring a quarter of a million dollars in the ‘90s from the MENA region, for example, to the US was not a simple task. Some nations were still developing their financial sectors and transferring that amount to a distant nation was precarious, to say the least.
- Verifying information – verifying any information provided to you by an immigration consultant is easy with the internet, but it was almost impossible without it.
Things have changed, and like everything else in the world, the internet and ever-expanding technological advancements helped citizenship by investment evolve both as a concept and a practice.
As communication became streamlined and email took centre stage, processing became much quicker and easier. Currently, it takes 2-6 months for the entire process to be completed; meaning you and your family members could all become citizens of another country. Due diligence became faster, transferring monies became simpler, and the entire documentation process became more optimized.
Another major difference is the definition of a dependent. As the Caribbean nations initially launched their citizenship by investment programs they had a concise definition for dependents, which proved inadequate once demand began to grow in different regions of the world. The scope of dependents was revisited, and now investors are able to add their spouse, dependent children, siblings, parents, and grandparents to the same application.
The availability of information at the tip of our fingers helped change the entire landscape of citizenship by investment. As more investors became aware and could verify information online, demand grew. This growth in applications led citizenship by investment nations to adapt to the needs of the investors, and the entire process was perfected for maximum benefit for all parties involved.
Getting A Second Citizenship Has Never Been Easier
While citizenship by investment as a process has steadily matured throughout the past couple of decades, it has drastically evolved during the past two years, thanks in part to the dire effects of the pandemic.
Shackled by travel restrictions and remote working conditions, citizenship by investment units of granting governments had to innovate ways to continue processing files for a program that was a major economic artery for the country.
St. Lucia stepped up, creating an online payment platform for those who could not reach banks or conduct transfers in a traditional sense. Antigua & Barbuda allowed applicants to take their oath remotely on a virtual communication platform. Turkey was in a pole position already, allowing the entire process to be completed through a power of attorney, but went ahead and found a great method to process files efficiently during the pandemic, approving record numbers of applicants.
The pandemic forced these governments to find innovative ways to become more efficient, and the good thing is, many of those innovative approaches have remained, making the process of getting a second citizenship simple, quick, and enjoyable.
To know more about the history of second citizenship, or about how you can get one right now, all you need to do is contact us today.
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