- Apex Capital Partner’s Nuri Katz, a consultant who specializes in citizenship by investment, shared his best tips for Americans looking to get a second passport during the coronavirus pandemic with Business Insider.
- Most countries have barred American travelers as the United States has reported more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, and numbers are still rising.
- The cost of acquiring a new passport can vary from $300,000 to €2.2 million ($2.6 million) and be invested in a new business, spent on real estate, or donated directly to the government, depending on your country of choice.
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For Americans looking to relocate abroad ahead of the anticipated second wave of coronavirus infections, or just looking to take a long international vacation, options are very limited.
Most of the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, South Africa, and dozens of other countries have banned travelers from the US as stateside coronavirus infections spiral out of control, inspiring an unprecedented number of wealthy Americans to take advantage of citizenship by investment programs to get a secondary passport.
Getting one isn’t as simple as filling out an application and writing a check, however. Each country’s program has unique requirements and can stretch out over the course of a year, so many applicants hire special consultants to help them through the process, like Apex Capital Partner’s Nuri Katz.
In a conversation with Business Insider, Katz shared his best tips for acquiring a second passport, from where to apply to how much it costs.
1. Decide where to apply
One of the first things Katz does with new clients is help them decide where their new passport should be from. The decision isn’t as simple as choosing a new favorite vacation spot, however. Applicants need to consider both their budget and where they want to use their new passport to travel to before landing on a country, Katz told Business Insider.
Both the costs and benefits of each citizenship can vary widely. The Caribbean island nation of Dominica offers the cheapest passport available to Americans for an investment of only $100,000 per person and is popular because it grants holders visa-free travel to China, something Americans couldn’t do even before the pandemic, according to Katz.
On the high end, the minimum investment for citizenship in Cyprus is €2.2 million ($2.6 million), but it allows holders to live and work anywhere in the European Union.
2. Brace yourself for the process
There is no one program that Americans can apply to that’ll be an easier application process, according to Katz.
“The smaller countries do much more robust security and due diligence checks than the bigger countries, mostly because they’re scared that the bigger countries are gonna beat up on them, get them in trouble, or place them on blacklists and all that, so they’re incredibly careful,” Katz said.
The application process typically includes a background check by a third-party security service that can take between three months and a year. The intensity of this process is why many applicants engage someone like Katz to represent them to their potential new government throughout the process.
3. Prepare your investment
Once you’ve been cleared, making the payment is the last thing that has to be done. Oftentimes, it can be done in the form of a real estate purchase or an investment in a local business such as a hotel, according to Katz. Other countries require a donation directly to their treasury.
Some countries, like Montenegro, require both an investment and a donation. A consultant like Katz can help you figure out how to get the most bang for your buck.
No matter where your payment ends up, the real investment is in creating options for your future, whether that may be for a healthier country to quarantine in or the ability to work abroad during an American recession, Katz said.
“The high net worth people are understanding that a precedent has been set of borders closing to them, ” Katz told Business Insider, “and they understand that they now need to diversify their citizenship just as they diversify their [financial] holdings between different classes of assets from real estate to stocks, bonds, and savings plans and whatever.”