Acquiring a second passport (or even third or forth) is a trend gaining popularity in ultra high net worth (UHNW) households.
Seen as an insurance policy against protectionism and providing future education options to children - more and more wealthy families are investing in Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs.
“We want to know there is a safe place, with good medical services, that the whole family can go to at short notice if we need to,” the millionaire told Robb Report. “Only citizenship can guarantee that.”
Why obtain a second passport?
Freedom of Movement - visa-free travel to 130+ countries, useful if you’re not already holding a high quality passport with access to most of the world visa-free.
Healthcare - a second citizenship often entitles you access to public healthcare, pension systems and other social support mechanisms.
Educate your children overseas - European citizenship enables you and your family to live, work and study anywhere in Europe.
Do Business Globally - FATCA, Dodd Frank and other regulations have made it increasingly difficult for foreigners to deal with US citizens and for US citizens to deal with foreign banks, brokers and institutions. Second citizenship offers some relief to these cumbersome regulations.
Plan B Insurance Policy - Ensure the safety and security of your family by offering you the opportunity to migrate to another country, almost immediately if needed.
Generational Benefits - many secondary citizenship programs offer citizenship through descent, providing geographic and political diversification to your children and grandchildren.
Tax Benefits - Usually dependent on tax residency as well, citizenship can play a role in international tax planning, often providing access to zero capital gains, inheritance or gift taxes.
Practical Examples I’ve Seen Recently:
While idea of holding multiple passports and becoming an international man or woman of mystery is interesting and exciting, the supporting industry also attracts some unsavoury characters.
CBI Programs, tax planning and offshore investing are all entirely legitimate endeavours but like any major investment, vet your sources, do your research and don’t be pressured into quick-fix schemes.