The demand for second passports and foreign residency is strong from China. The vast majority of US EB-5 foreign residency visas are issued to Chinese nationals and Chinese are very active in other countries as well.
For example, the first billionaire in the Caribbean was Wu Xu of China. He’s worth $1.9 billion and obtained his foreign residency and a second passport from St. Kitts in 2016. Mr. Xu is now the second wealthiest Caribbean citizen because Jacky Xu, a 32-year-old Singaporean-born business man, with a net worth of $3 billion, became a citizen of St. Kitts in early 2017.
A passport from St. Kitts will cost a person from China about $300,000. However, I do not recommend this program for anyone in 2017 (even billionaires). For the reasons why, see: St. Kitts Passport Program Crashes and Burns.
A better option is St. Lucia with an investment of $500,000 in government bonds or Dominica with a purchase price of around $140,000 (including fees) for Chinese nationals. In my opinion, Dominica is the best value in the Caribbean.
The US program that’s most popular with Chinese investors is the EB-5 Investor’s Visa. If you invest $500,000 to $1 million, you get a green card immediately and are guaranteed a US passport after 5 years of residency.
The State Department says Chinese investors poured in $3.8 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30–approximately 85 percent of the EB-5 investment total, Bloomberg reported.
The EB-5 program is being evaluated by the Trump administration. Most expect the investment amount to increase from $1 million to $1.8 million and the targeted employment area minimum from $500,000 to $1.35 million. For more, see: Wealthy Chinese Moving Money To US Before Congress Hikes Visa Minimum.
If you’re not a Chinese billionaire, what are your choices? Here is the only low cost foreign residency open to Chinese nationals.
Chinese citizens can get foreign residency in Nicaragua with an investment of $35,000 plus legal and other fees. Then, like the US EB-5 program, you can file for citizenship and a second passport after 5 years.
If you have $500,000 to $1.8 million, you can get a US passport after 5 years of residency. With $35,000, you can achieve the same in Nicaragua.
And a passport from Nicaragua is a solid travel document. Nicaraguans had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 112 countries and territories in 2017.
For comparison, holders of a Chinese passport have visa free access to 51 countries and territories, ranking the Chinese passport 85th in the world (tied with the Bhutanese, Chadian, Malian and Rwandan passports).
Nicaragua is the best deal for Chinese nationals because their passport provides access to the Schengen Region of the European Union. Passports with visa free access to the EU sell for $130,000 or more… and that’s the purchase price and not an investment. To get a passport of this quality with a $35,000 investment is an amazing opportunity.
- For more on how to value a passport, see: How to Value a Second Passport.
Keep in mind that I’m talking about how to get residency in Nicaragua from China. Residency allows you to live and run a business from Nica. Then, after 5 years, you can apply for citizenship. This is quite different from the passports for purchase programs described above (Dominica, St. Kitts, etc). If you have the cash, you can buy a passport and have it in your hands in about 90 days.
If you don’t have $130,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can earn a second passport by moving to Nicaragua and becoming part of the community. You will need to spend at least 180 days a year in the country during your 5 years of residency. Once you have your passport, you can spend as much or as little time in Nica as you wish.
Remember, you can buy a passport with cash or earn it by living in the country. The government hopes you’ll become part of the community, spend money, maybe start a business and hire employees, etc.
For more information on how to become a resident of Nicaragua as a Chinese citizen, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (619) 550-2743. We’ll be happy to assist you to become a productive member of the community.