Investor Visas & Citizenship – The Perfect Solution

Citizenship by investment visas

Citizenship and Golden Visas

Discover the Benefits of Investor Visas ...

Is no longer the preserve of the few. Second Citizenship programmes are now the fastest growing area of immigration law globally as people come to realise a second Citizenship is not just desirable, but a vital part of any effective global freedom, privacy and security strategy.

At Haskew Law, our team are recognised as leading advocates in securing second citizenship's and residency safely, quickly and confidentially across the world. Our clients are globally minded, high achievers who now require professional, tailored assistance to invest, retire and live overseas or simply wish to acquire a second citizenship without leaving home.

Citizenship and Investor Visas

A person of talent and means need not limit his or her life and business to only one country. Making an active decision with regard to your residence and applying for a second citizenship gives you more personal freedom, privacy and security. Haskew Law has the expertise and experience necessary to advise and assist clients with regard to this decision.

As a client of Haskew Law, you receive integrated solutions rather than isolated advice. By working closely together as a team, our specialists pool their knowledge and experience so that the specific details of each client's case are considered from all relevant perspectives. But you not only have a large number of experts at your disposal, but you are also assigned a citizenship manager who coordinates the various specialists and ensures continuity of strategy and service.

To establish yourself or your business in a new country requires securing relationships with key partners such as lawyers, tax experts, bankers, and real estate professionals. As a client of our firm, you can rely on us to give you the right advice, and we also help you build a network of contacts, take advantage of your new environment and achieve your goals.

Second Citizenship and Investment Visas for Wealth Managers

Every day, individual private clients and families, together with their trusted advisers worldwide, rely on us for our specialist knowledge in international second citizenship and residence solutions.

The specialised services of Haskew Law are a resource and complement to other firms advising international private clients. We regularly help law firms, private banks, family offices and other wealth management professionals by providing unique and specific details required by the relocation and immigration process and related planning for their clients.

We analyse each client's situation carefully, present the available options, develop a plan of action and make it happen. We deal with government procedures quickly and efficiently on your behalf. 

Secure Your Second Citizenship by Investment

select from any of our quick links to the most popular Second Citizenship and residency options available currently to discover more about their citizenship programmes for investment. 

A Guide to Second Citizenship Planning

Second Citizenship Planning by Investment

Citizenship is the relationship between an individual and a sovereign state, defined by the laws of that state and with corresponding duties and rights. It implies the status of freedom with accompanying responsibilities. Citizenship is the most privileged form of nationality, a broader term which is used in international law to denote all persons whom a state is entitled to protect. Nationality also serves to denote the relationship between a state and entities other than individuals; corporations, ships and aircraft, example, possess a nationality. Modern concepts of citizenship crystallized in the 18th century during the American and French revolutions when the term citizen came to suggest the possession of certain liberties in the face of the coercive powers of absolute monarchs.

Passports and Citizenship

A passport is a personal identification and travel document for international use issued by a sovereign State or a United Nations (UN) organization. Generally, only passports which are issued on the basis of a person's citizenship are of any interest and use.

Only through the acquisition of full citizenship can you legally acquire the right to a passport. Non-citizen passports and other passports issued to non-citizens are generally of limited use, with certain exceptions such as the non-citizens passport issued to persons holding a retiree residence permit in Panama, which is legal but also of limited use. Other exceptions include diplomatic passports issued to non-citizens, UN and refugee passports and certain travel documents issued by international organizations or individual States.

Diplomatic Passports

Diplomatic passports are only legal and useful if issued by the competent authorities within the issuing State or international organization and if the holder is properly accredited in the host State. Normally, diplomatic passports are only issued to persons who are citizens of the issuing State.

Dual Citizenship

Dual (or multiple) citizenship is the result of the interaction of the laws of two or more countries. People can become dual citizens automatically by birth within a certain territory (e.g. the United States), by descent from a citizen parent or marriage, or after successfully applying for the citizenship of another country.

You can become a citizen of another country without losing your current citizenship only if the laws of the country of your current citizenship allow dual/multiple citizenship.

While many countries have no restrictions on dual citizenship, and while there is an international tendency to move away from strict single-citizenship policies, there are still important exceptions. Singapore, for example, is a strictly single-citizenship country and will require proof of relinquishment of all other citizenships the applicant holds. Singaporean citizenship is consequently of limited interest to most international clients.

How to Acquire Alternative Citizenship

Principal grounds for acquiring citizenship are birth within a certain territory, descent from a citizen parent, to a citizen, and naturalization. The conditions under which the privilege of grant of citizenship or naturalization is given vary from state to state, but family relationships or lengthy periods of residence are usually essential, character and other requirements such as knowledge of the national language.

Citizenship-by-Investment

While residence permits are granted to investors and wealthy individuals in most countries, are now only very few countries which have clear provisions in their laws for granting citizenship for economic considerations and without residence requirements.

Australia, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Monaco, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore and Switzerland are examples of countries which offer residence permits to wealthy individuals and investors. Other countries offer Citizenship-by-Investment Programs, also referred to as Economic Citizenship Programs (which is incorrect, as there exists no separate or “economic” citizenship: these programs allow an individual to become a full citizen, but by investment instead of by marriage, birth etc). There are currently only six countries which offer citizenship programs that provide a direct route to citizenship based on investment and which have passed Haskew Laws' country due diligence – Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Grenada, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis. The Citizenship-by-Investment programs of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Malta.

Citizenship-by-Investment Programs offer you the opportunity to legally acquire a new citizenship quickly and simply, without any disruptions to your life.

Other Important Points

Other important points to consider when intending to become a citizen of choice include the geographic location of the chosen country, its official language, political and economic stability, its legal system, the banking and business environment, visa-free travel availability for passport holders of that country, the reputation of the country and the passport and of course initial and future overall costs.

Beware of illegal "Programs" and unqualified Agents

The most important criterion for evaluating the usefulness of an alternative citizenship is that it be acquired in accordance with the constitution and laws of the issuing country, i.e. that it be legal. Citizenship documents and passports obtained by illegal means such as bribery are unfortunately not uncommon. In many countries it is possible to make illegal direct payments to corrupt government officials in return for passports and citizenship documents. Holders of such documents run a serious risk of exposure, arrest and deportation. Even in those countries where there are actual provisions in the law which give the Prime Minister or other government ministers relatively wide discretion regarding the granting of citizenship, if any payment is involved it is bribery, a crime in practically every country. This may and frequently does result in the revocation of previously granted citizenship and passports, for example after a change of government. Persons who have acquired documents this way are also frequently blackmailed and forced to pay further "fees" later on. It is therefore crucial that citizenship is obtained on the basis of specific provisions in the law and clear, official procedures.

Even in those countries which offer legal programs, one needs to be aware that in recent years these have attracted all sorts of companies and agents, real estate developers and others who have been attracted by the success of some of the programs, notably the one in St. Kitts and Nevis, which has brought more than a billion USD to the country since the program was redesigned and internationally positioned in 2006/2007. Very unfortunately, not all of these companies apply best business practices and today extreme care must be exercised when selecting a lawyer, company or choosing to buy real estate under one of the Citizenship-by-Investment programs.

Residency by Investment Planning

Residence Planning

The first step in optimizing your planning situation is to identify all those countries to which you are linked in some way. This involves two key factors: the location and nature of your property and business assets - and your place of residence.

A change of residence to a suitable country is an increasingly important aspect of international planning for private clients.

For some individuals and families a change of residence is a very sensible proposition. This is particularly the case for clients who live in countries with limited options for tax and estate planning for those seeking more lifestyle choices and for those who live in countries with an unstable political or economic situation where an alternative residence is also a means to increase personal security and achieve a better quality of life as well as offering the potential to acquire a second citizenship.

Domicile and Residence

Whereas residence simply means living in a particular place domicile means living there with the intent to make it a fixed and permanent home. Legal domicile is an important concept because it often controls jurisdiction with respect to taxation mainly with regard to inheritance taxes. Even after a client has become resident in another country for income-tax purposes, he may still be considered domiciled in the previous country of residence for inheritance and gift-tax purposes. This is particularly the case in countries such as the United Kingdom, which have a particular understanding of residence and domicile and rely on this concept to impose an inheritance tax on their citizens even if they are no longer resident in the country.

Income Tax based on Residence

Most countries use residence as the key criterion for personal income taxation. Normally, various tests are applied to determine a person's tax residence, for example, physical presence, available accommodation or centre of vital interests. If an individual leaves a country and establishes bona fide residence in another country, the former is generally no longer able to tax the emigrant's worldwide income.

Income Tax based on Citizenship of US Citizens

There is one important exception to the rule of taxation based on residence. Citizens of the United States of America pay taxes to the United States federal government regardless of their place of residence. Therefore, if US citizens move their residence abroad this does not terminate their US tax liability. The only way for US citizens to terminate their US tax liability is to relinquish their citizenship.

Inheritance and Estate Planning

A change of residence usually also has a major impact on the situation regarding applicable inheritance laws and inheritance taxes. However, proper planning and advice is particularly important with regard to inheritance taxes, as the distinction between residence and domicile, and in some cases extended inheritance tax legislation, needs to be kept in mind. A client may well be tax resident in a jurisdiction which levies no inheritance tax, but upon his death another country may claim that he was in fact still domiciled in that country and consequently subject his worldwide estate to inheritance taxes.

Emigration / Exit Taxes

A growing number of countries have introduced specific measures to discourage the emigration of individuals through various forms of taxation. Such emigration taxes may have considerable implications for the tax aspects of a client's relocation plans.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a small but important element in residence planning that is often overlooked by both clients and their advisers. If someone moves abroad their current health insurance policy will in most cases not be continued. So they are usually left with a choice of finding another local insurer in the new country of residence or of turning to an international health insurer. It is highly advisable to take out an appropriate health plan at a younger age and before the first signs of ill health manifest. Indeed, one of the first steps in a planned change of residence is to obtain worldwide health cover which ensures the necessary international flexibility.

Business and Family Situation

It is essential that a client's international residence planning follows his business and personal situation. Also, it cannot be stressed enough that a client should never be advised to relocate mainly for tax reasons. Not only will clients be unhappy in their new environment, but experience shows that they will very often act in a way that will sooner or later jeopardize the tax situation which made them change their residence in the first place. Nevertheless, there are many situations where a change of residence fits in well with a client's business and family situation, and in these cases, a change of residence can also become an element of his legitimate tax and estate planning.

The Advantages of a Second Citizenship

Why You Need Alternative Citizenship

Visa Restrictions

The date of an important business trip is approaching and you find out that you need a visa. You have to fill out a long form (possibly listing every country you have visited over the past five or even 10 years). You may need to travel to a consulate or embassy for an interview. The visa may cost as much as your airline ticket and you may have to send your passport to the consulate or embassy and not receive it back for two or three weeks. You begin to question whether you really need to go on this trip and you forget about bringing your family along as you would not want them to go through the same procedure as well.

Due to political circumstances, citizens of many countries find it difficult to travel abroad and are confronted with strict visa restrictions each time they want to enter a foreign country. On the other hand, nationals whose passports usually allow them easy access to most countries may still need to obtain a visa to travel to some countries or can find it impossible to obtain visas due to temporary travel restrictions during trade sanctions and other geopolitical disturbances. They may also be significantly exposed to terrorist threats or other forms of hostility due to their nationality. Moreover, although you may well be granted the required visa, this is always a very tiresome procedure, during which the passport on which the visa is stamped is not available and this can be a significant factor in delaying your travels.

Freedom

If for some reason you cannot get or renew a passport in your home country (e.g. political instability, civil war, etc.), the right to another passport can be very useful, even critical. Even if you simply lose your passport, it may take some time until you can get a replacement and having another passport may be crucial. Or as in the example above if you require a visa and have to send your passport to a foreign embassy or consulate for processing, you cannot travel overseas during that processing time – unless you have a second passport.

Tax Aspects of Alternative Citizenship

It is important to point out that the acquisition of alternative citizenship does not alter one’s tax situation. In every case you should consult with a specialised tax advisor regarding your individual situation.

Personal Security

Most importantly perhaps, citizenship and a passport, particularly from a small, peaceful country can even save your life when travelling and in times of political unrest, civil war, terrorism or other delicate situations. For good reasons, many international business people from major countries and important persons who are active worldwide consider an alternative passport as the best life insurance money can buy.

Investment in the Future

In an unsettled, ever-changing world, acquiring a second citizenship is a wise decision and an investment for the future. Your citizenship of choice is for life, your spouse and children can be included and there is often no need to give up your present nationality while you enjoy the benefits of a legal second passport. You should, however, check the laws of your current country of citizenship to ensure that you are in a position to legally acquire a second nationality.

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