Passport Strength - A Measure of Freedom?

How to choose the citizenship by investment program that's right for you.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, February 6, 2018 / -- There are a number of factors that go into accessing the quality of a passport. As the citizenship by investment industry is increasingly popular amongst investors, each program is increasingly scrutinized and held up against other programs. While each investor is unique, and one citizenship by investment program may present aspects that are more attractive to one investor than they are to another-there are a number of common indicators that are referenced in the assessment of each particular passport.

Seven of the most reliable indicators when it comes to analyzing the best programs and accompanying passports are: visa-free travel access, ability to retain citizenship, residency requirement, processing time, financial requirements, reputation, and quality of life.

Visa-free access refers to the number of countries a particular passport entitles one to visit without the need to apply for a travel visa. In the case of Malta, one can obtain a passport that allows visa-free travel to 152 countries. Similarly, the Cyprus passport allows one to visit 147 countries visa-free. In comparison, a passport from St. Kitts and Nevis entitles one to visit 128 countries visa-free.

Many investors want the ability to retain their current citizenship. This is not a problem as a number of programs allow one to maintain dual citizenship. There are many advantages that accompany having dual citizenship; the ability to own land in both places, the ability to take advantage of the services offered in two locations, the ability to protect one's assets, and the option of having one's children attend schools without having to apply as international students.

Another factor that one should take into consideration when accessing citizenship by investment programs and their accompanying passports is the residency requirement. Not all investors are keen on taking the time to visit the countries granting them the second passports. Again, this need not be of concern if one selects a country with a program that has no physical residency requirement. Grenada, for example, does not have a residency requirement.

Processing time can also be a factor for one debating between programs as the speed with which one can obtain a passport can also play a factor in terms of the selection process. While many consider the Malta Individual Investor Program to be one of the best on offer, it takes on average a year to obtain the Malta passport after the application process has been completed, while one can obtain a passport to Cyprus in as little as 4-6 months.

Perhaps one of the most obvious considerations is the financial investment required. As Caribbean Programs find themselves in competition with one another, many have been lowering their investment amounts in a move to entice investors. For example, following Hurricane season, Antigua and Barbuda significantly reduced their donation option.

Rounding out the list of considerations are reputation, and quality of life. There is a lot riding on the reputation of a particular passport in terms of the advantages it affords one. Lastly, if one does plan on relocating, the quality of life one will experience in the new country is of utmost importance.

Chuck Mora - Director of Marketing & Program Development
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