Second passport schemes now popular with high net worth UAE nationals

Published:  6 Mar at 6 PM
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As obtaining residency in first-world countries is getting harder, second citizenship programmes are coming to the fore in the Arab States.

High-net worth UAE residents are increasingly turning to second passport applications as being granted long-stay visas in Western countries gets even tougher. Citizenship programmes are now being seen as the only way to enjoy visa-free travel in order to expand business opportunities as well as moving finances without investigation. As always, Chinese nationals are first in the queue, followed by Pakistanis, Indians and Arab citizen in general.

The UAE is now being used as a base for second citizen applications due to its fast processing and credibility. Another advantage of applying from a base in the UAE is that authentication of documents and income verification is guaranteed, thus proving the application is genuine. Refusals are unlikely as due diligence by recipient governments proves applicants aren’t hiding criminal records. Wealthy Syrians top the list of Arabs requiring second passports, with their numbers increasing by around 20 per cent. The process usually takes around six months to complete, and applicants don’t need to actually live in the country which provides the second passport.

Many high net worth individuals in the UAE have recently been refused permanent residence in the UK and USA as well as in Europe, leading to the increase in applications of this finance-based service. For those still attempting to get a US green card, waiting times for decisions have accelerated and the investment cost is likely to increase from half a million dollars to $925,000 later this month. Those wanting to apply are being urged to submit the relevant documents before the minimum investment increase.

Rumours the USA may cancel its Employment-based Investor Green Card programme are being regarded as fake news, according to professionals in the sector, as fewer US lawmakers object to the programme. In addition, the mandatory job creation which is part of the Green Card is useful as it creates opportunities for US citizens. As regards take-up numbers for second passport schemes, the Caribbean version is the most popular at present, due to its lowering of the initial investment amount because of hurricane damage.
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