Whether you want to leave the United States, move from the United States to another country, or simply have the option of moving abroad one day, many Americans are suddenly looking to obtain a second passport or citizenship that will allow them to live in another country. The reasons range from the recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights, to safety concerns, to politics, to simply wanting to live somewhere less expensive.
“The Great American Dream was real in the 20th century, but in recent years more and more North Americans have become disillusioned about the Great American Dream,” says Eric Major, CEO of Latitude, a company that helps individuals and families find the right options for obtaining an additional passport in over 80 countries around the world. From 2019 to 2022, Latitude has seen a 2,000% increase in the number of Americans seeking a second residence or citizenship by investment. And the numbers have exploded in recent months. Since June 24, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Get Golden Visa website recorded a threefold increase in visits from the United States.
Indeed, Americans are more unhappy than ever, according to Nuri Katz, founder of Apex Capital Partners, a financial advisory firm specializing in advising international people on second citizenship — and that’s on both sides of the aisle. Politics. “Wealthy people think the situation is so bad in America right now that it actually looks worse than it is in Russia,” says Katz, who has worked with Russians looking for a second citizenship in the past.
Get Golden Visa recently published a white paper titled “The Great American Exodus” and conducted a survey to find out why people are motivated to seek a second residence outside the United States. The society has found that more and more Americans are choosing to leave the country for social and political reasons, and for some, having a plan B for their lives is the primary motivation. “We see political decision-making creating tectonic shifts in the movement, where the desire to find a better life, to move away from political restrictions or onerous tax regimes is creating a new tribe of nomads around the world,” says Murat Coskun, Founder and Managing Partner of Get Golden Visa.
The good news is that many countries around the world welcome Americans — for a price — with citizenship-by-investment programs and golden visa programs that grant residency and a second passport. Consider the case of a Latitude client, a multi-millionaire private equity manager in upstate New York. “He originally contacted us in January 2022 considering Dominican Citizenship by Investment or Portugal Golden Visa Residency by Investment as he wishes to relocate due to increasing security concerns in the United States,” said Eric Major. , CEO of Latitude. “Given the recent Roe v. Wade decision, he decided to move forward with citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda by investment as it gave him a real estate investment option to relocate to the Caribbean. “
But according to Katz, getting a second passport isn’t as easy as one might think. “From the first moment you think about it until you actually do it, it’s usually a long process,” says Katz. And when it comes to getting citizenship quickly, there aren’t many options. “Most countries have immigration programs, and if you spend enough time, you can get citizenship,” Katz says. “Only a few have immediate citizenship programs.”
It is especially difficult if you want to move to Canada. “Most Americans think Canada is the 51st State—and what can you say is wrong with Canada? It’s the kindest, sweetest nation,” Katz says. “But Canada has a backlog of two million applications. If you apply today, it will take you years.
According to experts, the best countries for citizen investment are Malta, Montenegro (which has a program that ends in December 2022) and five Caribbean countries: Saint Kitts, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia.
Get Golden Visa indicates that the three most popular golden visa destinations in July 2022 are Greece, Portugal and Turkey, while Latitude indicates that the residency by investment program in Spain is also popular. “Greece and Portugal have many spacious properties in a natural setting with beautiful coastlines and hills. We are seeing a tidal wave of people wanting to reconnect with nature and have space around them to live and work,” says Coskun.
But there are things to consider if you want to move overseas, especially cost (the process isn’t cheap) and taxes. “Americans are at a huge disadvantage when they live abroad,” says Katz, who points out that the United States is the only country, other than Eritrea, that taxes its citizens living abroad, even if they pay taxes in another country. “In order to avoid taxes, you have to give up your US citizenship, which has huge tax consequences.” But to denounce your citizenship, you will have to pay the government 20% of your net worth, says Katz.
Still interested? Here’s what you need to know about some of the best countries to get a second passport and live the new American dream.
Leaving the United States: The Best Countries for a Golden Visa
A Golden Visa is an immigration program that allows people to obtain citizenship in another country by purchasing real estate or making a large investment or gift. Here are some of the best.
According to the Get Golden Visa company, Portugal’s Golden Visa program allows applicants to apply for citizenship upon completion of living there for five years and only requires you to stay there for an average of seven days per year. “Most countries require Golden Visa holders to reside full-time in the host country to qualify for citizenship, but Portugal does not,” Coskun says. “It’s a huge incentive for people who can’t commit to a foreign country because of business, educational, or family commitments.”
“Greece is another popular location as its real estate market shows a lot of potential, especially in Athens,” says Coskun. The Golden Visa investment requirement is €250,000, which is very low compared to its European counterparts (for example, it is €500,000 for Spain). “Greece itself is a very attractive country thanks to its climate, relaxed lifestyle and strategic location.”
“Turkey’s Golden Visa is getting a lot of attention because it offers a direct and fast path to citizenship,” says Coskun. “Turkey’s popularity comes from the fact that the cost of living is very low compared to EU countries and the United States. Candidates make a qualifying investment and can obtain their Turkish nationality in three to six months. The most popular investment route for Turkish citizenship is acquiring real estate of $400,000 or more.
Leave the United States: Best Caribbean Countries for Citizens by Investment
Antigua and Barbuda
There are several ways to obtain a second citizenship in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, including a contribution of $100,000 to the National Development Fund, a real estate investment from $200,000, a business investment of 1 $.5 million and an option that entitles a family member to a one-year scholarship to the University of the West Indies.
The tiny Caribbean island of Dominica is one of the best countries for citizenship by investment, since citizenship is extended to your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents or grandparents. It can also be passed on to future generations. Applicants must either make a contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund or invest in luxury and sustainable hotels and resorts.
With a passport from the small Caribbean island of Grenada, you can gain visa-free access to many countries. There are two different ways to obtain citizenship, including contributing more than $150,000 to the National Country Transformation Fund through Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment program or by purchasing approved real estate of a minimum value of $350,000.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis, a pair of lush Caribbean islands, has one of the strongest passports in the Caribbean, allowing visa-free travel to over 100 countries. With a contribution of $150,000 to the country’s “Sustainable Growth Fund” and a minimum real estate investment of $200,000, a family of four can obtain passports.
Foreigners can obtain residency in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia through the citizenship-by-investment program. Once an application for citizenship through real estate investment has been approved, the minimum investment is $300,000, which must be deposited in an irrevocable escrow account managed by the developer and the investment unit of citizenship. With a Saint Lucia passport, you can gain visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 146 global destinations.
Leave the USA: Best European Countries for Citizens by Investment
Malta’s Individual Investor Program is one of the most popular citizenship programs, although it is not cheap. It will cost you around $1.1 million through a combination of donations and real estate. In return, you will gain Maltese citizenship and the right to live and work in Malta or throughout the EU. You will also enjoy visa-free access to many countries around the world.
Get here fast: Montenegro’s Citizenship Investment Program, which grants immediate citizenship to applicants and their families, ends in December. According to Apex Capital, the process of obtaining a Montenegro passport usually takes about six months.
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