The best second residency program in 2017 is Nicaragua. They’ve taken the top spot away from Panama by speeding up the process and eliminating the provisional / temporary visas, going directly to permanent residency. Here’s why Nicaragua has the best second residency program in 2017.
Low Cost: You can get permanent residency in Nicaragua with an investment in their reforestation program of $35,000 or in real estate for $60,000. It’s impossible to find a property worth buying for $60,000… most are around $150,000.
For this reason, 95% of our clients go with the reforestation visa. Permanent residency with an investment of only $35,000 is a great deal. It’s one of the lowest cost second residency programs out there.
Open to All: Permanent residency in Nicaragua is open to all. So long as you can pass the background check, and have no criminal history, you’ll be approved. It doesn’t matter what passport you hold, Nicaragua wants you!
By comparison, Panama is only open to citizens of top 50 countries. Both spouses need to be from a “friendly nation” to be approved in Panama.
We get a lot of calls where one spouse is from the US, UK, EU, etc. and one from India, China, or Pakistan. In these cases, only one spouse can become a resident of Panama where both will be accepted in Nicaragua.
Immediate Permanent Residency: Once approved, you immediately become a permanent resident in Nicaragua. This means that, if you have trouble in your home country, your residency can’t be taken away from you.
This compares to Panama where you must be a temporary resident for about 3 years before applying for permanent status.
Gaining permanent residency immediately is a big deal for some people. For example, if you are creating an escape hatch should you have a problem in your home country, you need permanent residency as soon as possible.
Also, if you owe money to the IRS, and are at risk of having your US passport revoked, you must have permanent residency before that happens. For more, see: Trump’s next travel ban will affect up to 16 million American citizens.
Shortest Time to a Second Passport: Nicaragua has the shortest wait time to become a citizen. You’re eligible to apply for citizenship and a second passport after being a resident for only two years.
This compares to 5 years in Panama and most other countries. For example, the US EB-5 program has a 5 year wait time to apply for citizenship.
The only programs without any wait time are the passport for purchase options. If you can afford $130,000 to $1.2 million, you can buy a second citizenship and have your passport in about 90 days. But, these aren’t second residency programs, they’re second citizenship programs. For more on the difference, see: What’s the Difference Between Residency and a Second Passport?
If you have more money than time, I suggest St. Lucia is the best second passport program in 2017. You can buy a passport for about $130,000, or you can invest $500,000 and pay $50,000 in fees, and have a passport in less than 90 days.
I suggest a passport from St. Lucia is similar in quality to one from Nicaragua. St. Lucia gets you into 125 countries and territories while Nicaragua gets you into 110 countries and territories.
Both give you visa free access to the European Union and the Schengen region. Neither get you visa free into the United States and Canada. The vast majority of the inquiries we receive ask about these three countries / regions.
If you want the best passport money can buy, take a look at Malta. This is the only passport for purchase that gets you into the United States and Canada visa free. In fact, a second passport from Malta gives you visa free access to to 168 countries and territories, ranking it 9th in the world.
Physical Presence Requirement: In order to qualify for citizenship, you must spend 183 days a year during your two years of residency in Nicaragua. Once you have your citizenship, you can spend as much or as little time in the country as you like.
This means you need to spend 12 of 24 months in Nicaragua to earn your citizenship. For this reason I say you can spend your money to buy a passport from St. Lucia or spend your time to earn a passport from Nicaragua.
If all you want is residency, and not a passport, and you don’t want to live in the country, then consider Panama. Panama doesn’t require you spend any fixed amount of time in the country to maintain your residency… though, I recommend one visit per year to keep up appearances.
I note that you will need to live in Panama if you wish to qualify for citizenship. For more on Panama, see: Best Panama Residency by Investment Program.
I hope you’ve found this article on the best second residency program in 2017 being Nicaragua to be helpful. For more information on this program, as well as Panama, St. Lucia, and Malta, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (619) 550-2743. All consultations are free and confidential.