Citizenship by Investment – the Insurance Policy of the 21st Century

Written by Micha Emmett, CEO CS Global Partners

More than any other period in our history, the 21st century has seen – and will continue to see – the meeting of cultures and the merging of economies, marked by ever more free trade and the free movement of people and services. However, with unprecedented global economic and political instability, immigration is a rising concern to many and firmly in the political spotlight, especially in the United States. For the modern businessperson and high net worth individual who often does business internationally and travels regularly, this growing uncertainty delivers its own unique challenges and concerns.

Dual citizenship is one of the most effective means by which these challenges can be overcome and is often either an accident of birth or the result of long periods of continued residence in a host country. Even marriage does not result in dual nationality, unless it is accompanied by extended stays in the spouse’s country. Citizenship by investment, on the other hand, affords individuals the option to obtain a second citizenship without having to subject themselves to lengthy residence requirements.

For the global citizen and modern businessperson, citizenship by investment programs are the ‘insurance policy of the 21st century’ and address the key concerns around flexibility, mobility, and safety. What truly drives the desire for a second citizenship by many high wealth individuals in today’s political climate is the need to have a contingency plan – an insurance policy for themselves and their families – and increased opportunity to truly live as a global citizen.

Today’s most popular citizenship by investment programs find their roots in the tranquil island nations of the Caribbean. St Kitts and Nevis was the first to establish its programme, which was entrenched into the nation’s laws in 1984. Dominica emulated its neighbour in 1993, and Grenada re-launched its program in 2013. Under each of these programmes, a qualified individual, as well as his or her family, may obtain citizenship in as little as 90 days without ever traveling to the Caribbean.

As the earliest program of its kind, the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program has built a reputation for integrity and quality. The program allows individuals who pass strict due diligence tests to obtain citizenship in exchange for either a donation to the charitable Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, or an investment in pre-approved real estate. In the first case, the minimum contribution is of USD 200,000, while in the second case the minimum investment is of USD 400,000. Costs vary according to the number of family members applying with the main applicant, and due diligence and Government fees may apply.

Caribbean citizenship is the ultimate gateway to lucrative business opportunities. Not only are St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Grenada all members of the Commonwealth of Nations, they are also members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), meaning that their citizens can live in any other CARICOM member state. These three nations are also highly ranked in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Rankings, with Dominica ranked 101 out of 190 countries.

For the mindful businessperson seeking to protect his or her assets, citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Grenada can also provide an effortless means of preserving wealth. None of these nations tax foreign income, personal wealth, inheritance, or capital gains. Moreover, each of these countries respects individual privacy, and is strongly adherent to the rule of law.

Whereas many businesspersons pre-crisis years may well have been comfortable operating in their country or region, today’s economy no longer allows successful businessmen to operate in limited environments. Second citizenship is key to gaining access to new countries, regions, and markets.
Moreover, second citizenship is a practical and worthwhile alternative for individuals wishing to complement their existing wealth protection and investment growth strategies, improve their personal security, and increase confidentiality in their personal affairs.
Micha Emmett is the CEO of leading citizenship by investment global firm CS Global Partners, and a South African and English lawyer with degrees in business and law. Her expertise includes international private client advice, commercial law, property investment, and citizenship planning. Micha has many years of experience in citizenship, residence, immigration, and foreign investment law and has held several senior legal advisory roles across a range of industries. She specializes in providing citizenship planning services to high net worth individuals. Micha has also travelled extensively, providing consultancy services to governments and private firms. The jurisdictions she has worked in include the UK, the UAE, and several Caribbean island nations, as well as countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. In advising governments, Micha has led professional teams and coordinated the development, delivery, and ongoing management of citizenship programs and projects.

 

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