Many geo-political and economic regions like the European Union (EU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have eliminated the need for a visa for their members. The citizens of member countries belonging to economic regions have more freedom to travel, work and do business within those regions.
However, global restrictions on travel and business transactions still exist. Countries still limit certain rights and privileges to non-citizens, such as property ownership. To an extent, these restrictions can be considered a hindrance to progress.
Some countries still practice some level of protectionism and others are regressing to mercantilist types of protectionism. Such policies have proven time and again to be detrimental to the global and local economies in the long run.
Taking a global perspective
If you are an entrepreneur or an investor and you want to take advantage of global opportunities, you should consider packing up and moving internationally to a business-friendly country. You should note that some countries offer second citizenship to foreign investors.
In a globalized economy, nation-states, sovereignty and borders are becoming less relevant. Many of the legal barriers that bar foreigners from enjoying some of the basic rights of citizens in a country are circumvented by providing certain criteria for citizenship, like the granting of a second citizenship by investment.
Here are some of the major reasons why you should consider applying for a second citizenship.
1. Additional opportunities
Many work and business opportunities that are not available in your native country may be found in another part of the world. If you want to study, work, invest or form a business enterprise in a foreign country, you will often have a better chance of achieving your goals if you have a second citizenship in that country.
For instance, if you are a nanotech scientist from a poor country, job opportunities for your specialization may be limited, or even absent. If you work in a foreign country where opportunities in your field can be found, a second citizenship eliminates the hassle of renewing your visa, getting alien worker permits and paying high taxes.
2. Better economic leverage
Getting a second citizenship can be easier for the wealthy and for the intellectually gifted or high achievers.
In the United States, for instance, the EB-1 visa is nicknamed the “Einstein Visa” because it is intended for people with great intellect, like scientists and for those who have distinguished themselves in a particular field, such as an acclaimed Pulitzer winner or Nobel Prize laureate. The “Einstein Visa” is one of the fastest paths towards U.S. citizenship.
For highly specialized professionals like scientists, a second citizenship in the U.S. would mean better economic leverage in terms of salary and standard of living. Conversely, American investors and entrepreneurs who have second citizenships in other countries may be able to enjoy tax incentives and lower property costs, plus relatively low wages for the workers in their business establishment.
The purchasing power of the money from a powerful and wealthy country is greater in developing countries. For instance, the average pension of an average American retiree may well be able to afford a retiree an upper middle-class standard of living elsewhere.
3. Ease of travel
If you are a businessman who needs to travel around the world for regular business trips, you might find it burdensome to renew your visas. Delays in processing visas are sometimes unavoidable and you may end up missing the opportunity to close a deal.
Having a second citizenship from a country where you frequently travel will allow you the ease of travel not only to that country, but also to other countries that grant no-visa status for ordinary passport holders.
For example, if you are from a Southeast Asian country and you have a US second citizenship, you will be able to freely travel not only to the US but also to countries that are a member of the European Union without the need for visas.
4. Tax haven for corporate dividends
If you are an investor and you want to minimize the taxes on the dividends from your portfolio, you may choose a country that offers tax incentives. Some countries like those in the Caribbean (Bahamas, Antigua, Grenada, etc.) offer tax incentives for investments and also grant second citizenship for investors.
Having a second citizenship will give you greater freedom not only to travel, but also to do business. Consider how it can benefit both your personal and professional lives and get in touch with the right professionals who can offer proper assistance.
Kal Kennard is the co-founder of 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.