During the pandemic, high-net-worth individuals have sought citizenship in other countries, hoping to diversify options in not only investment, but lifestyle
Source: Pandemic Fuels Demand by Ultra-Wealthy for Investment Migration, Alternative Citizenship | Barron’s
Most countries permit visitors to stay only 90 days maximum (with some exceptions). To stay longer requires a work or residency visa.
Additionally, travel restrictions closed travel – but those with multiple residencies or multiple citizenships could always travel “home”, and then back again, using their multiple passports.
There are typically only a few ways to get a residency permit:
Study abroad visas – mostly for young people. For some countries, after graduation you are eligible for a residency visa if you went to college there. If you attend grad school in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, or Finland – it’s tuition free and eligible for residency visa at graduation if you get a job.
Work visas –job in the country, or an intra-company transfer. Many countries have an easy to get 2-year work visa for those under age 30 or 35.
– Marriage (mostly young people, can get bureaucratically complicated).
– Right of descent, by virtue of an ancestor born in another country (some countries).
Investment Visa – make a cash bank deposit or business investment in the country and receive residency and passport. This can be cost free – you get your money back or make a profit when you exit in the future. These were sometimes called, in the past, “golden visas” and used by retirees.
Digital Nomad Visa – A new pandemic visa. If you prove your income comes from outside the country, you can get a 1 to 2-year “digital nomad visa” in maybe 20 countries.
Buy citizenship – St Kitts & Nevis Islands. $150,000 payment plus fees purchases citizenship or make an investment in local business instead and they grant citizenship. No residency required. Handful of countries do this. You can also “purchase” residency – for example, for 200,000 Swiss Francs you can buy residency in Switzerland. High net worth people have “elite” options.
Most get residency through study abroad and/or work visas or via marriage. These favor youth.
The only options for older persons are family/right-of-descent (if available to them), or investment visas/buy citizenship.
This favors the global elite, of course. They will always have options the rest of us do not have.
Image by Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay