Across the world, the social and political landscape appears to be becoming increasingly turbulent. When conducting business on an international scale, there are already several challenges to contend with; ranging from unpredictable markets and currency exchange rates, to time zones and managing teams across continents â€“ but there is one aspect that you have the potential to take some control over â€“ your passport.
While the United Arab Emirates passport is by no means the weakest, the restrictions placed on its holder with regards to visa-free travel can prove to be an ever-present barrier and lead to limitations for exploring new business partnerships, investment opportunities, and tax efficiencies in countries that are further afield.
When the business world runs at a pace that requires split-second decisions, the need to regularly apply for visas can be burdensome, threatening your international prospects; itâ€™s a time-consuming and potentially complicated procedure. When you are required to travel to all corners of the globe, respond quickly to business meetings, or speak at conferences, the administration that is involved in obtaining a visa does not complement the demands of the modern business world.
If you can relate to the constraints that your current passport has placed on your personal and entrepreneurial aspirations, then there is the opportunity to embrace the notion of dual nationality. There is an increasing number of countries that have opened their arms to forward thinking and affluent individuals who wish to possess dual nationality. By investing in commercial and private real estate, or Government diversification initiatives that support local economies, a second citizenship is granted, bestowing the investor with a wealth of benefits.
As previously mentioned, by obtaining a second citizenship you increase the number of investment opportunities available to you. The Caribbean, for instance, is ripe for investment.
Across the world, political and economic relationships between countries limit foreign investment opportunities. This could mean that nationals of certain countries are prevented from embracing exchange or interest rates, or lucrative investment opportunities, such as the property initiatives in EU and other countries.
The Governments of Dominica, Grenada, and St Kitts and Nevis all look to attract entrepreneurs and businesspersons, and each has passed legislation to encourage investment on the islands. Their citizenship by investment programmes also afford the opportunity to invest in real estate such as shares of luxury hotels, resorts, and villas in the context of a flourishing tourism market.
As well as allowing you access to new business and investment opportunities, a second citizenship enables you to tap into a new audience for an existing business. By taking advantage of the trade relationships that your new citizenship gives you access to, you have expanded the potential to do business in other countries.
Visa-free travel also gives you a further opportunity to cement these relationships, by conducting face to face meetings â€“ something that still holds significant value in todayâ€™s digital world.
Family, Educational, and Generational Benefits
Of course, many of the countries that offer citizenship by investment schemes also boast peaceful, idyllic, and exotic lifestyles free from the worries caused by socio-political turbulence.
The benefits of a second citizenship also extend to family members; and many parents choose second citizenship because they can facilitate access to some of the most prestigious schools in the world including the finest historical institutions such as Oxford, the Sorbonne, and the University of Bologna. The Caribbean also offers highly-respected universities, such as Grenadaâ€™s St Georgeâ€™s University â€“ famed for its medical school.
When it comes to providing family security, these citizenship by investment programmes can provide further peace of mind. As political instability across the world increases, many families are factoring this into their decisions when it comes to second citizenship. Having the opportunity to relocate to a safer, more stable environment should it be needed is largely welcomed.
The increase of visa-free travel
One of the more convenient aspects of obtaining a second citizenship is freedom of travel.
Typically, the countries that offer citizenship by investment programmes have strong passports, increasing the opportunity for visa-free travel and releasing individuals from the burden of visa applications.
To put this benefit into perspective, the Santander Trade portal reports that the UAE has strong business relations with Japan; however, the two countries do not have a visa-free travel agreement in place. Cyprus is one country that offers a citizenship by investment scheme, and has a visa-free agreement with Japan, meaning that the ease of travelling to and doing business in Japan, just improved exponentially.
The tax benefits that can come with obtaining a second citizenship largely depend on your country of origin and the country that has granted you citizenship.
For instance, the Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean that pioneered the citizenship by investment schemes offer lower tax rates and, depending on your personal circumstances, may provide opportunities for tax efficiencies. Government incentives extend to personal taxation, as there is no foreign income, inheritance, or capital gains tax.
Ultimately, a second citizenship means freedom; freedom from economic risk, freedom from institutional threat, and freedom to choose excellent educational facilities. Importantly, it can mean the ability to cross national borders without having to endure months of bureaucratic red tape, all leading to greater business opportunities and success.
By Micha Rose Emmett
CEO of CS Global Partners, a leading, legal advisory service that specialises in residency and citizenship. Micha offers intelligent citizenship solutions to High-net-worth individual (HNWI) clients and investors seeking to diversify their business and lifestyle opportunities.