How to “Buy” a Second Passport

Europe is slipping back into recession…which means countries that previously restricted immigration are now in search of cash and investment.

The best evidence of this are new laws, adopted or now pending, that literally offer foreigners immediate residence and eventual citizenship—for a price.

During the decade since I first published my popular Passport Book, now in its 10th edition, rarely have I seen so many countries at one time willing to trade official access for foreign cash.

In the Republic of Ireland, a government program has been implemented that is designed to attract both money and wealthy individuals from outside the EU.

Prompted by enormous government debt and a collapse of the Irish housing market, this program offers special immediate residence visas to foreign individuals and their families willing to invest in Ireland. This eventually can lead to full citizenship, and Irish citizenship opens the door to full personal and commercial access to all 28 countries in the European Union.

Another country in Europe that has recently joined the residence/citizenship-for-sale list is Spain—where unemployment exceeds 20%. In an attempt to ease the debts crippling Spanish banks, the government will offer immediate residence rights to foreign property buyers who spend more than $212,968.

In what may be a related move, last week the Spanish government also announced that the estimated thousands of descendants of Jewish people who were exiled by Spain during the 15th Century Inquisition can now claim Spanish citizenship in an expedited process.

The program has been around for several years, but the new faster naturalization will enable those forced to convert to Christianity to reclaim the status of their Spanish citizenship without having to go through time-consuming legal proceedings.

It’s Not Just Europe For Sale…

The Republic of Panama has a well-established Panama residence visa based on property investment with a current minimum of $300,000. However, since May 2012, the new Panama “Immediate Permanent Resident” for foreign national work visa offers a much better deal. Foreigners can purchase property in their own name to qualify under the new visa, which means you might buy a $30,000 teak-growing property and gain immediate residence.

Don’t Forget Your Roots

A less expensive and far easier route to second citizenship is based on a blood ancestry basis. If your parent or grandparent was a citizen of Ireland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg or Greece, you’re likely to be entitled to a second passport. If you’re Jewish, your religion under the Law of Return permits citizenship in Israel.

But these are just a few of the ways you could get a second passport—quickly, safely and completely legally. In my Passport Book, I’ll introduce you to all your options for securing residence overseas—and tell you why holding dual citizenship could be so important for your personal wealth, reducing your tax bill and safeguarding your freedom.

Editor’s Note: Get more expat advice on second citizenship, banking privacy and offshore investing in our offshore section.


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