Traveling can be constant for people in business. In such a case, having to apply for a visa for every work trip can quickly become an ongoing hassle. A second citizenship and passport that allows visa-free travel to countries with opportunities for business growth is a practical choice.
There are many ways to get a second citizenship. The fastest and most convenient way for those in business, however, is through citizenship by investment. The idea of exchanging monetary funds for citizenship started in 1984 in the Caribbean on St. Kitts & Nevis islands, and also in Canada in the 1980s.
Since St. Kitts & Nevis is one of the original creators of citizenship-by-investment, it’s probably one of the best countries in which to apply for another passport. Read on for more information on the subject.
Business Benefits for a Caribbean Citizen
1. Tax Management
Compared to many countries, many jurisdictions in the Caribbean offer lower tax rates. A second citizenship in one of its islands could make it easier to manage taxes should the new citizen subsequently decide to become tax resident.
Take note that the amount of tax you will have to pay might depend on your country of origin and there are minimum residency requirements for tax residents in the Caribbean of up to 180 days per year. However, in general, a second citizenship can make managing your business finances smoother.
2. Business Growth
One of the top reasons to apply for a second citizenship is to grow your business internationally. Another passport can open new avenues for business partnerships and extend your reach to a wider customer base.
In addition, you will travel much more efficiently not needing to apply for so many international visas if you are a business globe trotter.
3. Banking and Investment
Business-savvy people know that investing often leads to more business ventures that could add to your wealth. Citizenship by investment programs are no different.
1. Wealth Preservation
Becoming a Caribbean citizen is often a wealth preservation strategy for those with the means. It helps people protect their personal assets and investments.
As mentioned earlier, the purchasing power of money can differ in countries. A dollar in the US may not buy much, but in the Caribbean, it could go further. As with the lives of local employees, investing in a second citizenship could also help your family.
Taking advantage of the purchasing power of money often means being able to provide a better lifestyle for yourself and family. The quality of your loved ones’ lives could greatly improve with a second citizenship since they would get another passport as well. As such, they are eligible to move to another country to live with full rights. This is a sensible mobility and personal security hedge for your children and their children after them.
3. Visa-free Travel
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, not having to apply for visas is always a plus. Caribbean passport holders can go to more than 130 countries visa-free, including the United Kingdom, most Commonwealth countries and other European countries in the Schengen Zones.
How to Get a Citizenship Through Investment
1. Government Donations
This form of investment requires the person applying for a second citizenship to donate funds to the government. The donations are non-refundable, but taking this route is also the least expensive upfront of the three paths to citizenship in the Caribbean.
2. Business Investments
Otherwise known as AB9 investments and only offered under the Antigua & Barbuda citizenship by investment program, these investments often offer the highest return and are usually first-in financing structures, ideally secured by land.
3. Real Estate Investment
Investors may purchase real estate in Approved Projects to gain citizenship. The reason for this from the government’s perspective is to stimulate the creation of new tourism infrastructure so the properties are often off-plan in existing or new resorts.
Where to Invest
There are several places in the Caribbean that have investment programs, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Dominica, and Grenada. St. Kitts and Nevis is the origin of investment programs for citizenship, but prices for investing have increased since its conception.
For those on a budget, Dominica is on the lower end of investment programs. Grenada’s citizenship program, on the other hand, is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, and Antigua currently offers the best value and an efficient processing time. .
Obtaining a second passport in Grenada will cost a premium. However, it does give business owners part-time access to the US via an E-2 visa program. Grenada passport holders also have visa-free access to China and Russia.
If the information discussed above is of some interest to you, then maybe it’s time to do some research on investment programs in the Caribbean. Having a second passport has many advantages, but there are many considerations and professional advice is a must. Reading up on some of the requirements is the best place to start.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.