Passports are the New Status Symbol Among the Rich
In today’s global market, the uber-wealthy are concentrating on acquiring more passports to obtain citizenship.
A program called Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), encourages people to become global citizens. The program started in 1984 when the Caribbean islands of Nevis and St Kitts came up with the idea to entice wealthy individuals to pump money into their economy in exchange for passports, which gives holders visa-free access to 132 countries worldwide.
Obviously, for the very rich that have economic restrictions or political problems in other countries, the ability to buy a passport that offers visa-free access to many countries is truly priceless. Now, at least a dozen countries are launching their own programs to appeal to the elite who like traveling and staying in other parts of the world. This is especially a trend, given the number of multi-millionaires is on the rise. Some of the countries who are offering citizenship programs include: Montenegro, Malta, Cyprus, and Portugal.
Here’s what access can get you through Cyprus – visa-free travel to more than 150 countries in exchange for a €2m (£1.8m) investment in either real estate or government bonds whereas in Saint Lucia, the individual receives visa-free access to more than 120 countries by either donating a $100,000 to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund, a $300,000 investment in an approved real estate development, or a $3.5m investment in an approved enterprise project.
Accordingly, between 3,000 and 5,000 passports each year globally are acquired through these programs. Some HNW see this acquisition as a status symbol – the more passports the better. China is one of the biggest buyers given there their passport only allows visa-free access to 50 countries.