With more and more people from the region applying for a second citizenship in hotspots like Portugal and the Caribbean countries (mainly Dominica and St. Kitts) – thanks to the tax breaks, wealth management and smooth travel to more than 130 countries – the global citizenship industry is booming and is poised to reach $100 billion within the next three years.

People apply for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) for various reasons. Most of these programs are established and strong that offer great convenience for travelling, according to AAA Associates Immigration Services.

The second passport allows travel to more than half of the world, including European and Far Eastern regions. People also use the Second Citizenship for tax planning.

According to AAA Associates, the total size of the residence and citizenship market currently stands at $21.4 billion. That’s a big number and increasing every year. If the current expansion rate remains steady, this niche market will reach $100 billion by 2025, it added.

Mobility biggest driver

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,” remarked its CEO Imran Farooq.

Portugal Golden Visa (which is a five-year residence permit), he stated, was 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 US and Canada. Secondly, the investment in it is reasonably low.

The requirements for this type of visa are very limited which include €280,000 ($293,788) 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, it added.

Dominican citizenship

On the Middle Eastern investors’ interest in Dominican citizenship, Farooq 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,” he added.

“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,” he added.

Future of CBI Industry

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.

Firstly, Farooq 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?

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.

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