For the UHNWI seeking to obtain secondary citizenship, investing large amounts or providing a country with increased stimulus for economic growth such as job creation is not the only option available to them. There is also the possibility of obtaining citizenship through residency.
Investment vs Residency
So how does the UHNWI decide whether he would rather obtain a secondary citizenship via residency rather than investment? For the majority of UHNWIs, the investment route will be more attractive. For investment levels which are relatively low when considering the wealth of the UHNWI, secondary citizenship can be obtained with the minimum of hassle. A passport can be obtained for many countries offering citizenship by investment without having to reside there for any period of time – the investment itself is enough.
However, for some UHNWIs, perhaps the investment option is not a route they wish to take. For those who would rather save their money or are actually considering relocating to the country in which they obtain secondary citizenship, a prolonged stay in the country can allow them to become citizens of said country. This is citizenship by residency.
The drawbacks to this option for most UHNWI are time expenditure and inflexibility. Obtaining citizenship by residency in a country can take upwards of 10+ years which most UHNWI will not be willing to commit to. In addition, relocating to another country is no small task, particularly for the UHNWI who likely has more obligations in their own country which cannot be departed from for the extended period of time required, such as business and/or familial obligations.
Citizenship by residency may therefore appeal to UHNWIs who either don’t have a spouse or children, or have families who are willing and easily able to move abroad. It may also appeal to those who can receive and manage their net income whilst residing in any country, for example businessmen who are able to run their companies from any country and entrepreneurs who have acquired their net worth through online businesses.
So if you are one of the UHNWIs who feel citizenship via residency would fit your needs better, then please read on as we have compiled some of the most attractive options available for your consideration.
National Language: Spanish / Guaraní
Currency: Guaraní (PYG)
Paraguay is fixed in South America and is surrounded by neighbouring countries Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. Of the 7 million plus citizens who inhabit the country, approximately one third can be found living in the capital Asunción.
Paraguay offers both ends of the spectrum in terms of wealth – it is home to both the extremely poor and the ultra-wealthy. It is not uncommon for super cars to pass by horse pulled carriages on its dusty sun baked roads. Only income and capital gains earned in Paraguay are taxed, and only at a flat rate of 10%. There are portions of the country largely untouched by Western civilisation, with beautiful exotic natural reserves and to explore.
To obtain citizenship by residency, a stay of 3 years is required. Once you have been a permanent resident for 3 years, you can apply with no minimum income requirement, simply a deposit of 5,000 USD into a local bank account is sufficient. Once secondary citizenship is acquired, you have visa-free travel access to 123 countries and can leave Paraguay if you so desire and still keep your citizenship.
Capital: Buenos Aires
National Language: Spanish
Currency: Peso ($) (ARS)
Argentina is one of the more westernised countries to be found in South America. Like its neighbours, it also has stunning natural wonders to see, but what separates Argentina from other Westernised locations is that it combines the fast paced city life of its capital, Buenos Aires, with the fervent passion and culture of its South American brothers. Argentina is a fast developing nation who knows the value of both working hard and playing hard and is a perfect place for younger UHNWI looking to do both these things.
One great factor about citizenship via residency in Argentina is that the required period of residence is only 2 years. The only other thing you need is proof that you have sufficient funds and/or an employment contract in Argentina. If you are from any of the following countries: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Italy, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Spain, Sweden or the United States then you can apply for dual nationality in Argentina.
National Language: English / Malay / Mandarin / Tamil
Currency: Singapore dollar (SGD)
The culture of Singapore and its citizens is famous for revolving around two of its favourite past times: food and shopping. In 1963 a state known as Malaysia was formed, comprising of the Federations of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah). However, Singapore eventually separated and became its own independent nation. However, many slices of Singapore’s multi-cultural, colonial and wartime past are preserved in and around the city. You can visit monuments, museums and memorials, or for a real trip through time, take a walk along a heritage trail. If seeing these sights from the past, whilst enjoying the cuisine and consumerism of the present, sounds like your idea of a fun time, then Singapore is somewhere you will probably enjoy living.
To gain secondary citizenship via residency in Singapore, there is a 2 year minimum requirement in which you must reside in the country. After these 2 years, you can apply for your citizenship. If successful, please bear in mind that if you are male and over 18 years old you will be expected to participate in the countries National Service military training. This encompasses 2 years and then an additional 40 days a year until the age of 40 (or 50 if you are a high ranking member). Failure to comply with these requirements will severely impact your chances of gaining citizenship. If military training of this kind is not something you are willing to partake in, perhaps consider a different secondary citizenship option.
National Language: English
Currency: Australian dollar (AUD)
Australia is famous for its friendly citizens and plentiful wildlife. Australian citizens respect and value the country’s history which is founded on stories of battlers, bushrangers and brave soldiers, and they reflect this warrior mentality in their everyday lives. Hard work and fair play are two ideals which are rigorously upheld: they don’t have time for “sissies”. They are big sports fans, particularly of Rugby and Cricket, so if you share their passion as well as a love of the outdoors then Australia could be a perfect place to set up residency.
If you decide that Australia is for you, then you will need to have been a permanent resident in the country for 4 years to apply. Once you have done this, citizenship should be easily obtainable and you can proudly declare yourself a fellow Aussie citizen!
National Language: Spanish
Currency: Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Despite being South America’s smallest country, Uruguay is beginning to garner quite the reputation for itself. An intriguing blend of the typical South American flavour mixed with a European influence. With beautiful cities and a charming countenance, it is beginning to become a realistic choice for UHNWI looking for somewhere unique and opportunistic to reside. It offers the comforts of more Westernised and affluent European locales whilst still being situated bang in the heart of South America – possibly the best of both worlds?
If you agree and decide that Uruguay is for you, then you must reside in the country for 5 years if you are single. If you are married and you both apply together, then this can be reduced to 3 years. A Uruguay secondary passport includes visa-free travel access to the USA and it offers a very friendly tax regime for its citizens also. However, remember that with the higher standard of living in comparison to other countries in South America also comes with a higher cost of living as a result.
National Language: Dutch / French / German
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Belgium does a great job of appealing to all demographics: for the younger generation there are plenty of hip nightspots to visit and for the older generation there are plenty of castles and other monuments to sight see. The food is a large appeal of the Belgian way of life, with particular specialities being waffles, chocolate and piles of steaming mussels. The charming fairy-tale town of Bruges is worth exploring also.
The other upside of residing in Belgium is that it is the financial capital of Europe being investor friendly and offering appealing taxation schemes for businesses. In order to apply for Citizenship you must have been residing in Belgium for five years, but expect the actual process before you receive your passport to be about six years due to the lengthy processing period. Belgium also place no restrictions on dual citizenships – so becoming a dual Belgian citizen may be an attractive option for many UHNWIs.
National Language: Spanish
Currency: Peso (CLP)
Chile is unique for its varied landscape. Not many other countries can boast that they are home to desert, beaches, volcanoes, lakes, rivers and snow-capped mountains. If you’re looking for great places to trek and hike, look no further. For culture seekers, there are small towns which are still influenced by Aymara culture: if you want to broaden your perspectives and see other ways of life from the usual Western version, perhaps a life in Chile will provide this for you.
Numerous expats have used Chile as a haven as it is one of the cheapest, most accessible and easy to obtain residencies in the world. After five years of residency, the option to apply for citizenship in Chile becomes an option. Once a Chilean citizen, you can take advantage of the free-trade agreements Chile has with a number of other countries.
Capital: Panama City
National Language: Spanish
Currency: Balboa / United States dollar (PAB / USD)
One of the favourite destinations for people seeking citizenship by residency is Panama. Perhaps one of the most fast-developing destinations in the world, it combines a first world infrastructure with exotic wildlife/nature and all this while remaining affordable. It is a top choice for UHNWI who may be looking to retire and want a sunny and safe place with a great selection of activities in which to do so.
Another fantastic benefit of living and residing in Panama are its territorial tax systems. If you earn money from income derived from Panama then the government will tax you – however, if your earnings come from a source outside Panama e.g. online business then you won’t have to pay any tax on this income.