A second passport or permanent overseas residency is now the ultimate luxury item for high-net-worth individuals, according to figures from UAE-headquartered deVere Group.
The comments from Nigel Green, the firm's CEO, come as his company reports a 45% year-on-year jump in enquiries from individuals across the globe who are seeking citizenship and/or residency outside their country of origin.
Green observed: "Wealthy individuals around the world are now increasingly considering investing in a second citizenship or overseas residency.
Typically, they are considering opportunities for citizenship or residency in Europe or the Caribbean.”
"A second passport or elite residency in a host country are now widely perceived by high-net-worth individuals as the ultimate luxury item.
The deVere CEO continued: "It's our experience that the majority of high-net-worth individuals and their families wishing to obtain dual citizenship or residency are coming from India, China, South Africa, the Middle East and Russia. Typically, they are considering opportunities for citizenship or residency in Europe or the Caribbean."
"There are many different reasons why clients are eyeing alternative citizenships include significantly greater scope for visa-free global travel, political stability, world-class education and healthcare, tax efficiency, and wider business growth opportunities."
Each host nation country has different criteria that need to be met, such as how many days need to be spent in the host country. Some requirements are common to all such programs including having a clean criminal record and being able to prove the legal source of funds.
There is a clear distinction between citizenship and residency, with both offering different benefits to the applicant. The main difference is that citizenship, which gives you a passport, is for life.
James Minns, deVere's head of global development, added: "Most clients will opt for residency in the first instance as it is typically less costly and an easier process to complete - and is a recognised gateway to full citizenship. Plus, some countries like China and India do not recognise dual citizenship, so residency is the only option.
"The investment-for-residency schemes are typically based on real estate investments and start from around €250,000 in Greece."
He continued: "Portugal's program is proving to be the best option for many clients as it requires only two weeks a year residency obligation. It gives full residency benefits to live, work, open a business and study there with complete access to travel across Europe's Schengen area. Plus, there is the option of obtaining full citizenship after six years if required."