The past three years have been a tumultuous time, with the world rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the effects of climate change and a polarized political landscape. These pressures have led many of us to rethink our values and seek to solidify our security.
Some of the wealthiest Americans have responded to these forces by applying for “golden passports,” the controversial practice of investing in foreign countries in exchange for secondary citizenship or residency. Many of these mega-rich applicants view citizenship or residency in a foreign country as an “insurance policy” or Plan B—a pre-arranged option to escape to better/safer place when they see fit.
More than a dozen countries offer golden passports and visas, at a cost of up to $9.5 million each. (In recent years, the golden passport program in Cyprus was abolished, and Russian billionaires have been excluded from such programs.)
Latitude, a company which guides high- net-worth investors around the world through the application process, told Business Insider that US inquiries increased 300% between 2019 and 2021. Henley & Partners, one of the world’s largest citizenship brokers, said sales to American nationals increased by 327% between 2019 and 2020 and an additional 10% in 2021.
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