For years, many have strived to hold the American passport due to the privilege of hustle-free travel afforded its holders. However, the trend has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a recent study, Americans are buying the passport of Caribbean nations.
The study by CS Global Network, a legal advisory specializing in providing citizenship and residency solutions, notes that Americans are showing interest in the passport programs implemented by Caribbean nations.
The study notes that the move is largely influenced by COVID-19 which has prompted several Americans to reconsider their options, particularly about protecting their wealth and planning the future, according to the Caribbean Journal Invest.
“Since the pandemic, we are living in an uncertain world. As a result, people are wanting and needing a plan B,” says Micha Emmett, CEO of CS Global Partners. “With so many travel restrictions in place, having second citizenship opens doors for travel and provides you with options for your family.
The study further notes that the nature of U.S. politics and the rise of civil unrest have also contributed to more and more Americans seeking a foreign passport. “We have seen an increase in U.S. investors, but also from across the globe,” Emmett says. “There has been an increase in families investing in real estate and fund options.”
The study further says the pandemic resulted in the decline of the power of the American passport, thereby leaving investors without the ability to travel freely as they did before the pandemic. However, those with a second passport could travel across the world much freely as a result of loosened restrictions.
“In respect of citizenship by investment, the trend used to be for people to buy into real estate projects such as stand-alone villas, Emmett says. “However, investors often struggle to buy a completed property and so we have seen the shift to people buying into hotel shares as the preferred option. “This gives the investor more confidence as you can invest in a branded hotel product.”
Emmett lists Dominica as one of the best islands that offer citizenship for the investment program. The minimum investment in Dominica for investment is $100,000, which ensures visa-free travel to over 140 countries.
St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada are also named in the study as some of the Caribbean islands with solid citizenship for an investment program that is attracting Americans.
Besides tourism, Citizenship by Investment is one of the major revenue generators in some Caribbean countries. Affluent people in the United States, Asia, Europe as well as other developing countries usually opt for second passports from Caribbean nations that offer this “expensive luxury” due to their mobility in visa-free travel to several countries and tax planning.
According to IMF in a 2016 report: “Offering citizenship in return for investment has been a ‘win-win” for some small Caribbean states. The substantial inflows of funds from these programs have helped boost employment and growth. Inflows to the public sector alone in St. Kitts and Nevis had grown to nearly 25 percent of GDP as of 2013.”