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7 Best Second Passports and Citizenships Made Possible by Investment Programs Backup citizenship is now for sale in several countries through investment as a precondition. The whole process can take just about two to six months

By Gurinder Bhatti

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Ever wondered how the Indian businessmen manage to get citizenship of other countries? These well-heeled Indians are actually escaping India and taking the passport of other countries to enjoy an easier tax regime and jurisdiction promising friendlier business climate. But, if you thought they are spending a fortune on it, then let's get your facts clear.

Most people in India and across the globe carry only one citizenship and one passport, which leaves them vulnerable to economic enslavement and even limits their movement. In fact, Indian citizens are required to get a visa to just about anywhere they wish to travel because their passports don't offer access to many countries. Indian Passport ranks 87th in terms of travel freedom. Having a second passport not only enhances the liberty to travel, but also allows you and your children to lead a better life. More importantly, it also gives an escape route during the times of economic or political disarray. Afterall, an inflation can come knocking anytime.

Backup citizenship is now for sale in several countries through investment as a precondition. Moreover, the whole process can take just about two to six months. Here's a list of such low-cost harbours that are enabling dual citizenship, hassle-free travel to other countries and lenient residency requirements:

  1. Cyprus

The birthplace of Aphrodite-Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty, Cyprus is an attractive place to reside due to its high standard of living and lowest crime rate. This third smallest nation in the European Union has a healthy and robust economy and has managed to sustain this stability despite the economic crisis and world recession during 2013. To gain citizenship in Cyprus, applicants are required to invest at least €300,000 along with VAT in Cyprus properties. The contract of sale must be submitted to the Cyprus Department of Land and Surveys. The applicant must be at least 18-years-old with a certificate of no criminal history and must provide supporting evidence of a secured annual income of at least €30,000 that is derived from outside of Cyprus. This income increases by €5,000 for each additional dependent, and €8,000 for each dependent parent. The applicant is required to deposit a minimum of €30,000 from abroad into a Cyprus bank account, which will freeze for three years. The application procedure can be fast-tracked within 2-3 months. The Residence Permits are granted to the main applicant's whole family, including their spouse, any financially dependent children under 25 years of age, and the parents of the applicant and spouse.

  1. Greece

The birthplace of European civilization boasts a beautiful 13,676-kilometer-long coastline and approximately 6,000 islands and islets scattered throughout the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Obtaining residence permits requires the lowest possible investment amount among the Schengen Zone. Citizens of Non-EU countries need to invest a minimum value of €250,000 in Greek properties to get a five-year residence permit. Applications would require no education, language level, business backgrounds or proof of funds and would take 2-3 months' time before approval. The residency permit once received, can be renewed for another five-year period provided that the applicant still owns the property. The residence permit issued by the Greek government will provide valid visa-free access for an entire family to the whole European Union and Schengen Area and also the ability to rent their property freely. Investors in Greece can apply for naturalization after 7 years of legal residence, which means the privilege to join the Greek nationality, free access to high-quality education and public healthcare.

  1. Ireland

One of the fastest-growing economies in Europe and one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Ireland is an attractive option not only for those seeking higher quality life but also to those who are interested in its welcoming business environment and excellent investment opportunities. Ireland's geographical location, low tax rate and membership to the EU and Eurozone has attracted thousands of the world's largest technology and innovation companies in establishing their European headquarters in Ireland, including Apple, Google, Huawei, Intel, Microsoft, Dell. To acquire a secure residency status in Ireland, applicants and their families are required a minimum investment of €1,000,000, in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over several enterprises, held for a minimum of 3 years under the Immigrant Investor Programme. They must also provide supporting documents as evidence of net worth €2 million or equivalent). They must not be convicted of criminal offences under any jurisdiction. It takes approximately 6 months for the application to get processed.

Soon after acquiring the citizenship, applicants and their family members can enjoy free compulsory education (in English), free public university education and opportunity to work, and do business in Ireland. The best part is, one is required to visit Ireland at least once per calendar year, which means, he/she is not required to give up on the existing business or job in the country of origin.

  1. Malta

Possessing the membership to the European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area, the British Commonwealth, Malta enjoys the benefits of international cooperation. Its close ties with British and American colleges and universities, allows the students studying in Malta, easy access to the elite universities. It takes as low as €250,000 to get the right of residence in Malta and €270,000 for Gozo or the South of Malta. However, these investments must be held for a minimum period of 5 years. It takes only 3-6 months for the application to get processed. With one main applicant, immigration permits are granted to the whole family, up to four generations. Once the citizenship is acquired, the residential property can be leased with a minimum annual rental value of €10,000 if situated in Gozo or the South of Malta or €12,000 if situated elsewhere in Malta. There are no compulsory residency requirements. Citizens can enter only once during the application.

  1. Portugal

To gain a family-related permanent residency in Portugal, candidates must invest € 3, 50,000 (INR 2.8 Cr) or a minimum of € 5, 00,000 (INR 4 Cr) in Real Estate. They are not required to provide any proof of education or language skills, and proof of income or net worth and assets. Once the residencE permit has been received, people can enter or leave the country anytime or any place they want without the requirement of a residential visa. They can travel anywhere in Europe and can live and work in Portugal. The Portugal Golden Residency permit program grants immigration license to the entire family for up to 3 generations.

  1. Spain

Located in the westernmost part of Europe, Spain today is a cornerstone in the foundation of Western society. As per the new immigration law issued by the Spanish government, non-EU investors can now have the residence permits in the country by investing in real estate property with a minimum value of €500,000. There are no restrictions on the type (agricultural, industrial, residential or commercial) or quantity of properties. The investment can be composed of one or more sets of real estate, as long as the investment meets the minimum requirement with a total value of at least €500,000. The immigration permits will grant three generations within a family to apply for residence together, provided they have a qualifying health insurance plan and no criminal records. Soon after acquiring the citizenship, applicants and their family members can invest freely and rent their properties easily in the country. They can also travel visa-free within 26 Schengen states.

  1. Saint Kitts And Nevis

Located in the Caribbean Sea with great tropical climates and beaches, St. Kitts and Nevis are a great tourist destination and also provides business opportunities all across the nation. They are probably operating the longest-running second citizenship program in the world since 1984. To get a St Kitts passport, candidates are required to invest US $ 20, 20,000 (INR 1.5 Crore) and even more in real estate to get a family PR. However, there is no such requirement of showing the Net worth / Assets / Income or provide any particular documentation like the source of funds or even education and language skills proofs. Once the citizenship is acquired, four generations can migrate, however, there is of compulsion of residing. While businesses can enjoy tax-free trade with Canada, citizens can enjoy visa-free travel to 25 countries.

Gurinder Bhatti

Co-Founder, Opulence Career Options

Gurinder Bhatti is the co-founder of Opulence Career Options, a leading consultancy firm that provides immigration services including permanent residency and business investment visas, to anyone who is aspiring to work and settle abroad.  He is responsible for handling the entire organization, with a major focus on financial planning as well as handling the sales & marketing for the entire group.

Gurinder is a certified OISC (Office of Immigration Services Commissioner) as well and has undertaken training for being an education agent at some of the most premier institutes in the world. With Opulence Career Options, Gurinder has managed to create a platform for professionals who are keen to settle abroad for economic prosperity, helping them out with services like permanent residency and business investment visas through a legal, transparent, personalized, cost-effective, and hassle-free approach.


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