Savory & Partners: Mitigating risk, how a second citizenship protects citizens of unstable regions

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Dubai, UAE: The world is a turbulent place. It has been so since the dawn of time, and it is not set to change anytime soon; this is its nature. We cannot exterminate the risks to our wellbeing as humans, but we can mitigate them, and there is no better way to combat instability and risk than residency and citizenship by investment. 

Recent affairs in Lebanon and Afghanistan highlighted our fragility, they served as a reminder that things can go wrong, and they may do so very quickly. 

This uncertainty is why many invest in contingency planning. Having a solid backup plan is the best way to combat political and economic ambiguity and safeguard the wellbeing of your family as well as your wealth. And there is no better backup than citizenship by investment. 

Obtaining a residency or citizenship through investment not only provides you with a second home and the support of another nation if things go wrong in your home country but allows you to move quickly and decisively, as well as providing you with a route to protect your wealth.

Citizenship by investment aligns perfectly with the current turbulence in Lebanon, offering an optimal solution at the 11th hour. Those facing the current challenges in the Middle Eastern country know they may get a lot worse before they get better, and the nation’s elite should consider the lessons neighbouring countries learned. 

As Iraq & Syria faced conflict, external and internal respectively, their citizens found themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory in the place they once called home. When calamity struck, those who had invested in citizenship by investment could move quickly and ensure they were not grounded in a warzone devoid of any monetary relief. Those who did not have options had to face the challenges head-on, and had to navigate a labyrinth of political and economic turmoil. 

Iraqi and Syrian high net worth individuals responded reactively to the crisis that struck their home nations, and they are now both considered majority nationalities in terms of citizenship by investment applications.

In Turkey, for example, Iraqis make up 7% of all applications, while they are the number one foreign nationality purchasing real estate within Turkish borders, a venture which can lead to obtaining Turkish citizenship. 

The Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda shares the applicant nationality distribution for its citizenship by investment program, and unsurprisingly Iraqis (5.3%) and Syrians (5.8%) make up approximately 11% of all applicants. 

However, it seems like the Lebanese elite are acting proactively, as they make up 5.8% of all applicants to the Antigua & Barbuda citizenship program, getting their contingency plans in order early. 

Afghanistan’s government was overthrown in a matter of days; Syria’s civil war took months before it started in earnest. One can never know when and how uncertainty will strike, but one must always be prepared if it does.  

A major issue to factor in is the ease in which investors can now obtain citizenship by investment. At the time of the invasion of Iraq or the start of the Syrian war, St. Kitts & Nevis required a contribution of 250,000 USD for a single person, it is now 150,000 for a single applicant. What is even more interesting is that the limited time offer from the Caribbean country, which runs until the end of a year, allows a family of four to get St. Kittitian citizenship for 150,000 USD.

Even during the height of the Syrian civil war, Antigua & Barbuda’s financial requirement for citizenship by investment applications was a 200,000 USD donation for a single person or a 400,000 USD real estate investment. Currently, prices stand at half of those amounts for both options.  

Gaining citizenship by investment has become a quick process, one that takes a few months but can transform one’s entire life. It has also become extremely cost-effective, with some programs offering options no more expensive than a luxury car, so it makes perfect sense for someone to invest in it as a plan B sooner rather than later.

Having a second passport gives its holder the ability to travel visa-free to a plethora of destinations, while also being able to set up bank accounts in their second nation to ensure that their wealth is preserved should the banking system in their home country falter, which usually happens when political turmoil strikes. 

It is not just a second passport that can help, but a residency in another country. Portugal’s Golden Visa comes to mind here, a residency by investment program which provides its holders with an EU residency card in exchange for an investment in real estate. The golden visa is set to change come 2022with properties in Lisbon and Porto, the two biggest cities in the nation, becoming ineligible for the golden visa. That change, however, will not be of concern to Lebanese investors, as the time to invest in a Plan B is now, not in one year’s time.

Lebanon is in considerably better shape than both Syria and Iraq, but it doesn’t provide the wealthy with the life they envisioned for themselves and their families. One hopes that things will get better, and if they do, then citizenship by investment programs would be a venture that enhances a good lifestyle. If they don’t, well, citizenship by investment will be the best contingency asset anyone can have. It is the optimal solution for the 11th hour, and the best addition for smooth sailing.

Savory & Partners is an accredited agent for multiple governments where citizenship by investment is offered. Founded in 1797, the agency has evolved from pharmaceuticals to family assets and legacy protection through second citizenship and residency. The company’s professional, multinational staff is made up of expert advisors who have guided thousands of clients, including many North African investors, on their journey to find the most suitable CBI program for them. The Savory & Partners team will be happy to answer your enquiries in English, Arabic and French.