Money & Power

A Second Passport Is The Ultra Rich's New Currency

Acquiring dual citizenships used to be serendipitous, now it's an investment on both ends.
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As you go through life, you may meet people who hold passports of a country they've never lived in. Fortunately for them, their parents practiced citizenship planning, often traveling while pregnant and giving birth in a country of choice; cementing their child’s future with a stronger passport than their homeland’s.

A powerful passport not only guarantees a lot of visa-free travel but it also gives you a safety net. You can move from one country to another and stay on your own terms. Passport Index puts Germany and Singapore on the top of the list with 159 countries visa-free, Sweden and South Korea claim the second place with 158, and countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, most of Europe and Japan at 157.

In theory, holding two passports isn’t a foreign concept and crafty as they are, the rich have found ways to acquire their passport of choice. Or rather, countries are now offering packages for ‘residency’.

THE PRICE OF RESIDENCY

A country like Hong Kong doesn’t offer citizenship-by-investment. Instead it promotes residency-by-investment. The program's requirements? An investment of HKD 6.5 million (P44,160,579.63) in defined Hong Kong assets. According to Henley & Partners, “the Investment Visa basically requires the applicant to form and capitalize a Hong Kong private limited company, which involves an investment of approximately HKD 15,000 (P101,909.03) or register a branch of foreign corporation at an approximate cost of HKD 12,000 (P81,527.22).”

CITIZENSHIP AGENTS

Many companies have sprouted up after seeing the prospects in the business of second passports. Acting as citizenship agents, these companies offer assistance and guidance to the 1 percenters that are looking to own multiple passports. Some of these are APEX Capital Partners, Caputo & Partners, and Henley & Partners—offering passes from countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Cyprus, Granada, and Malta.

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AN INCLUSIVE FUTURE

Time will tell if second passports will truly become the new currency. Such accessibility will definitely change how we live and how we travel.

h/t: Insider

Prices are based on the conversion rate of HK$1 = P6.79.

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Paolo Chua
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