The number of applications for a second passport from the UAE went up by 30% as wealthy expats are willing to spend considerable sums for the privilege to travel the world freely, according to Citizenship Invest.
The figures from the Dubai-based show that last year, most of the requests made in the UAE towards obtaining an alternative citizenship came from Asian and Middle Eastern nationals living in the UAE. Syrians top the list and account for 14% of total demand, followed by Pakistani nationals (12%), Indian residents (10%) and Egyptians (9%).
Citizenship by Investment said it has been witnessing some major changes and one of them is the introduction of the new Turkish citizenship program which was published on the Official Gazette and entered into force in September 2018. The new law requires a minimum Real Estate investment of $250,000 and the citizenship could be obtained in approximately 6 months.
"With over 4 million Arabs residing in Turkey, the country is certainly one of the most desirable destinations for Middle Eastern people. Historically Arabs feel at home in Turkey, love Istanbul and the demand for the newly launched citizenship program shows so. Turkey has the 17th largest economy in the world and its on its way to hit the $1bn mark in GDP in 2020," the company said.
"There is a high number of expats from countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Egypt to name a few, who currently reside in the GCC, facing difficulties to obtain visas due to their current passports and looking for options. Turkey poses a good investment choice for them as it allows the option of owning property as well as a strong passport simultaneously and the possibility of moving to Turkey if they wish," it added.
Cyprus has tightened procedures for applicants to its citizenship-by-investment scheme in a bid to make it more trustworthy.