31 January, 2020
Luxury Lifestyles: The New Status Symbol
From cars to yachts, from diamonds to watches, from homes to holidays – the preferred symbols of status and wealth may change with every generation, but they will always be there.
What is interesting and is being increasingly discussed in online and offline columns, is the trend towards more abstract expressions of privilege. What began in the wellness industry – health, beauty and spa treatments – has now gone way beyond physical wellbeing to cover a whole lifestyle of freedom to move and live in luxury according to taste. In most cases, it is a lifestyle that includes the ability to travel at a moment’s notice. And that involves having a passport that is ‘powerful’, that is, one that allows you to travel without the tedious process of securing a visa in advance. The more countries you can visit either visa-free or with a visa issued on arrival, the more powerful your passport.
So it is not surprising, that holding such a passport is one of today’s most prestigious and valuable privileges, and that the interest in obtaining dual citizenship – to extend the visa-free travel options – is continually growing.
Henley & Partners, the global leaders in residence and citizenship planning, regularly publish the Henley Passport Index (HPI), which is updated on a quarterly basis. The HPI ranks the passports of 199 countries in order of the number of countries that these passports grant their holders access to, either visa-free or with a visa that is issued on arrival. Currently, Japan and Singapore top the list, offering holders easy access to 190 destinations.
Cross the HPI with a list of countries that offer citizenship-by-investment programmes and accept dual nationalities, and the result is an international set of countries that hope to attract foreign direct investment by offering investors a more ‘powerful’ passport than their original one. While the principle of citizenship in return for a substantial investment applies to several countries, the required value of the investment and other conditions vary and are often periodically reviewed and re-adjusted. In most cases the required investments are channeled towards development projects or real estate acquisition to boost the local economy for a broader benefit.
Anyone researching the citizenship-by-investment options will come across nine key countries, each with its own minimum required investment, different citizenship processing timeframe, and of course different passport ranking. Some countries offer multiple avenues for securing citizenship, with different minimum requirements depending on the nature of the investment. Other variables include the number of dependent family members that the investor’s application can cover.
For a quick overview, below are these nine countries, listed in order of the minimum investment for a family of four (note currency):
- Antigua and Barbuda, from $160.000
- Dominica, from $190.000
- St Lucia, from $207.500
- Moldova, from €195.000
- Grenada, from $222.000
- St Kitts and Nevis, from $214.500
- Turkey, from $250.000
- Malta, €1,3 million
- Cyprus, €2,15 million
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