(DUBAI), United Arab Emirates: People apply for Citizenship by Investment for various reasons. Most of these programs are established and strong offering great convenience for travelling. The second passport allows travel to more than 130 countries, which is more than half of the world, including European and Far Eastern regions.  People also use Second Citizenship for tax planning, tax breaks and wealth management.

The total size of the residence and citizenship market is USD 21.4 billion (Dh78.5 billion- 2018). That’s a big number and increasing every year. If the current expansion rate remains steady, this niche market will reach USD100 billion by 2025.

Imran Farooq, CEO of AAA Associates Immigration Services is of the opinion that mobility is the biggest motivating factor for those who avail of visa-free travel so that they can freely move around for holidays and for trade events without filling out lengthy visa documents and seeking appointments at visa offices.

Portugal Golden Visa which is a five-year residence permit, for instance, is a great winner in CBI and becoming a lead program. It has emerged as one of the strongest passports. While quoting Bloomberg’s recent report Imran Farooq said the Portuguese capital Lisbon has emerged amongst the world’s top prime residential markets by its appeal to tourists.

Portugal Golden Visa allows visa-free entry to most countries - including the USA and Canada. Secondly, the investment in it is reasonably low. One can invest as low as EUR 280,000 (USD293, 788) to get a Portugal golden visa. The requirements for this type of visa are very limited which include an investment of EUR 280,000 (USD293, 788) and a seven-day stay in the country.

Ultimately, holding a Portuguese property for five years entitles the golden resident visa holder to Portuguese citizenship.

Once you become a Portuguese citizen, you can live, work, stay, and retire anywhere in Europe because the EU is a united bloc of nations.

Key attractions of Portugal for foreigners include living in a developed country which is the sixth most visited place in Europe. For foreign companies, the country offers many opportunities. The quality of education in Portugal is very good. On the social side, Portugal boasts cultural diversity.

Its capital Lisbon offers the advantages of downtown living. The capital growth in Portugal is one of the best in Europe. Portugal has seen an upward growth trend for the last several years.

Middle East Investor Trend for Dominican citizenship

About the Middle Eastern investors’ interest in Dominican citizenship, Imran said: “for him, who runs a leading CBI advisory firm in the Middle East, would tend to be neutral and not recommending the passport of a particular country. For him, all Caribbean passports are good and hold specific benefits.” He said Caribbean passport processing is convenient and has strong due diligence processes. Once an applicant gets a passport from any of these countries, he has the massive freedom of visa-free travel to more than 130 countries. Caribbean passports include visa-free travel to most of Europe and the Far East. That’s travelling to more than half of the world.

The key competition among Caribbean countries is the services for their passport applicants. For example, ease of the application process without compromising the integrity of CBI programs. However, I see both Dominica and St. Kitts offer combatively better services among five Caribbean states.

Future of CBI Industry

Firstly, Imran said, we need answers to many ‘whys’ about the citizenship industry. Why does it matter? What is the good in it? Who are the stakeholders of the CBI industry? How does everyone win?

The changes in the world due to the old and new conflicts, the pandemic, shifting blocs, globalization, decentralization of state systems and rapid digitalization have put the Citizenship by Investment industry in the spotlight.

Governments need CBI revenue to support economies. Businessmen and industries need it to grow their business. Families need it to find a safe and secure place to live.

To conclude, looking at the socio-economic factors mentioned above indicate that the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) industry is heading to playing a key role in global mobility, and especially the economies of the countries that offer it and the lives of the people who hold second passports.


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Nasir Iqbal
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