As an immigration law firm that has been operating assisting high net worth individual‘s in Mayfair London, Westkin associates has been aware of many of the controversial issues that flow from citizenship investment schemes.
Westkin associates cash for passports scandal – which countries offer a programme?
There are various countries that offer citizenship by investment, investor Visa programmes or other types of golden Visas. These are often Known as cash for passport programs by those who feel that it is an inappropriate use of a government’s ability to offer passports and visas to people around the world.
Currently there are broadly two types of country that offer Citizenship by investment programs. The first or the traditional offerings from Caribbean countries including Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Saint Lucia and Grenada.
These programs usually allow for an investment in the region of half $1 million to obtain a passport immediately after due diligence steps are completed, this normally takes a few months. These programs tend not to require the individual to reside in the country before a passport is granted.
Westkin – Golden Visas or Scandal Passports?
The Caribbean passport for cash programs tend to be used by those who wish to be able to visit European countries without prior entry clearance or a Visa, especially when their original passport of the country of birth does not allow them to visit these countries freely. So for example a national of Bangladesh might seek to obtain a Saint Kitts passport so that when he seeks to travel around Europe he does not need to apply for visas to visit European countries and United Kingdom.
The second broad category of countries that offer citizenship by investment are those European countries that in offering passport for cash options, are in effect allowing an individual to buy the ability to reside freely in the whole of Europe, as well as work to business and study in all of the member nations, simply through the purchase of one citizenship of Europe.
The countries that do this are currently Cyprus and Malta, the Cyprus program being more popular because the passport can be obtained within a few months whereas the Malta program requires at least a year of holding a residence permit before the passport is obtained.
Westkin associates – golden visa scandals or legitimate programmes?
In addition to these passports schemes there are golden Visa schemes, which allow you to invest for a Visa. The countries that offer this are too numerous to mention but some of the more attractive options include the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada.
The major characteristic of these schemes are that a passport is not immediately obtained. An investment is made in return for a Visa to reside and usually work in the country, once a certain period of time has been achieved (for example in the United Kingdom it is five years) then the individual can then apply for permanent residency, and then nationality including the passport.
Westkin Associates – scandals and perception of programmes
Which ever option you take , Applicants should be aware that although these schemes do seem to offer distinct opportunities to those who are wealthy, they are often seen and subject to scandals from time to time where national media can often seek to betray the treatment of wealthy individuals compare to those who are poorer as indicating unfairness in the system.
There is also the widespread perception that those people who have undertaken golden Visa programs as applicants are fleeing some form of scandal in their home country, particularly those who are concerned with some form of the passport scandal in the past.
Contact our lawyers for more information.
5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546