Tag Archive for: residency programs

Residency in Mexico

The easy path to residency in Mexico

If you wish to live and work in a country in Latin America, Mexico might be your best option. It’s proximity to the United States and its high ranking schools make it one of the most competitive economic countries in Latin America. Mexico also has one of the most relaxed immigration systems compared to the rest of the world. In some cases you don’t even need to leave home to become a Mexican resident.  

All you need to start the process to become a temporary Mexican resident is an active visa and a job offer from a business in Mexico. You or your attorney will file your residency application with the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM), which is a unit of the government of Mexico under the Secretariat of the Interior that controls and supervises migration in the country.

Here’s a list follow a list of requirements to become a residency of Mexico.

Requirements for a Work Visa and Residency in Mexico

  1. Copies of your identification and passport. Proof that you are not in the process of obtaining a temporary work visa or a permanent residency – meaning that you can’t have two applications going on at the same time.
  2. An original copy of the job offer with the company letterhead featuring a description of the functions that you will be performing within the company, the legal address of the business hiring you, and your salary.
  3. Copy of the registration document you submitted to the Institute.

The temporary work visa or temporary Mexican residency is only given if you have a job offer in which your education and skills match the description given by the employer. This needs to be in accordance with the stipulations and rules governed by the Sistema Nacional de Clasificación de Ocupaciones.

This process usually takes 30 days to complete, after which authorities will send you a notification confirming that you have 15 days to come to the Mexican Consulate in your country to receive your visa. The issuing of the visa usually takes two business days.

After this you’re legally allowed to work and live in Mexico. The Mexican government prohibits anyone being a Mexican temporary resident to vote or to influence local, state, or federal elections. The visa lasts 4 years since the day of issuance and after your period of temporary residency you qualify to become a Permanent Mexican Resident.

Temporary Residency through Investment

In order to obtain a temporary residency through investment you need to accredit your investment done in Mexico through a series of documents.

  1. You need the original document and a copy of the Mexican company’s structure detailing your involvement in the company and how your investment is being used.
  2. Original and copy of the document proving the ownership of personal property or fixed assets in favor of the foreign legal entity.
  3. Original and copy of the documentation that accredits the development of economic or business activities in the national territory, which may be accredited, but not limited to, contracts, service orders, invoices, receipts, business plans, licenses or permits, and a certificate issued by the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) proving that the foreign legal entity is the employer of at least three workers.

The amount of investment varies by consulate. This visa is valid for 4 years and can be converted into a permanent visa after four years.  

From Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident of Mexico

There are many ways in which you can apply for Permanent Residency in Mexico after being given the work visa.

  1. Work continuously in Mexico for 4 years.
  2. Get married to a Mexican citizen and have maintained your temporary resident visa for at least 2 years.
  3. Have a child born in Mexico during your temporary residency.
  4. Retirees or pensioners, who receive from abroad sufficient resources that allow them to live in Mexican national territory
  5. By decision of the INM, according to the established points system (basically, a deal negotiated with the INM).

Being a permanent resident has many benefits. You can leave and enter the country as you please, you never have to renew your visa again, you can change jobs without any additional government procedures.

From Permanent Resident of Mexico to Second Passport

If you’ve hold temporary residency or permanent residency status in Mexico for 5 years prior to the solicitation date you can apply for a naturalization letter. To obtain the naturalization letter you must prove that you can speak Spanish, that you know the country’s history, and that you are integrated to the national culture. This process takes an estimate of one year to complete and costs approximately $6,954 pesos or US $370. When your naturalization letter is given to you, you must legally renounce to your rights as a Panamanian citizen in Mexico. At this time you also give back your Temporary or Permanent resident visa. When you receive the naturalization letter you obtain the same rights that a Mexican born citizen has.

I hope you’ve found this article on Mexican Residency to be helpful. For more information, or for assistance in moving to Mexico, please contact us at info@premieroffshore.com or call us at (619) 483-1708. We’ll be happy to assist you with your international tax plan and support  you through the coming changes.

residency in Nicaragua

How to get residency in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the second most popular residency program in Latin America. Residency in Nicaragua is for those who don’t want the high pressure life of Panama City, Panama and for those who aren’t from a top 50 country. Here’s how to get residency in Nicaragua no matter what country you’re from.

The top two Latin residency programs are Panama and Nicaragua. Panama is for citizens of the US, EU, UK, and any of the top 50 countries. Those who qualify can get residency in Panama with an investment of $20,000 in this country’s friendly nations reforestation visa program.

Those who want a more laidback lifestyle or a lower cost of living often prefer Nicaragua. For those who are not from a top 50 country, Nicaragua is the best second residency program available.

Here’s how to get residency in Nicaragua:

If you’re over 45 and have a guaranteed monthly income of $600, you can qualify as a retiree in Nicaragua. This program is aimed at retirees and most qualify using their fixed pension payments. However, it’s possible to set up a bank annuity that will qualify.

You’ll need guaranteed income of $600 a month for you plus $100 per month for each dependent. Your spouse is a dependent, as is each child 18 years and under.

The more popular of the Nicaragua programs is their reforestation visa. Invest $35,000 in one of the government approved reforestation programs and get permanent residency. Additional legal and government fees apply.

  • Fees for those from restricted countries are about $10,000 per person. Fees for those from the US, EU, Canada, etc. are much lower.

If you’re on the fence between residency in Nicaragua and Panama, I think you’ll find that Nicaragua is a better investment opportunity. Yes, Panama is lower, but you get a lot more teak or hardwoods in Nica per dollar. Your ROI in Nicaragua will be higher than Panama.

Before I go any further, let me point out the big difference between Panama and Nicaragua. With Panama, you need only spend a few days a year in the country to maintain your residency. That is to say, Panama doesn’t have a physical presence requirement to keep your visa.

Nicaragua requires you spend at last 180 days a year in country. Nica is looking for real residents – people who are willing to commit to the country. They want residents who bring with them money and a desire to become a part of the community, not just pay an annual fee to hold a residency permit.

Second Passport from Nicaragua

Both Nicaragua and Panama allow you to apply for citizenship and a second passport after 5 years. The application process for Nicaragua is easier in Panama, so long as you can prove your 180 days a year over your residency period.

We value second passports by the number of countries they give us visa free access too. Nicaraguan citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 112 countries and territories, ranking it 46th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Marshallese passport).

By comparison, a passport from Panama gets you visa free access to 127 countries. If you want the best of the best, a second passport from Portugal gets you visa free access to 171 countries, including the United States.

US citizens are usually looking at a second passport as a backup travel document or as a way to give up their US citizenship and escape the IRS. The number of US expatriations have been doubling each year under both Obama and Trump.

Citizens of China, India, and other countries with lesser travel documents are looking at a second passport as a way to increase their travel freedom. Nicaragua’s 112 countries is better than India at 49 and China at 51 visa free countries. Also, it’s easier to get a US visa with a passport from Nicaragua than it is from China or India.

The big difference in quality between Nicaragua, China and India is that Nicaragua gets you into the European Union without a visa.  A second passport from Nicaragua gives you visa free access to the Schengen region of the European Union. You can spend up to 90 days a year in the EU without a visa with a passport from Nicaragua.

In order to apply for residency in Nicaragua, you’ll need the following:

  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your passport
  • A certificate or letter from your doctor stating that you’re in good physical health, are free from communicable diseases, and are mentally sound
  • A certificate or letter from your local police department stating that you’ve not been convicted of any crime or an FBI background check
  • A certificate of income from your bank or pension plan affirming that you’ll have enough money to meet the minimum requirement of US$600 a month
  • A list of the household goods you will be importing.

A residency visa from Nicaragua also allows you to import certain household goods from the US tax free. For example, a car worth $25,000 and household goods worth $20,000. In most cases, visa holders are bringing used items from their US home.

As an added bonus, you can import a car tax free worth $25,000 every 5 years. This tax break is a big deal in Nicaragua where import taxes are quite high. I hope you’ve found this article on how to get residency in Nicaragua to be helpful. For more information on this program, you can reach me at info@premieroffshore.com or (619) 483-1708. 

best EU residency visa

The best EU residency visa in 2018

The best EU residency visa in 2018 is Portugal. Portugal is the most efficient and lowest cost residency program in the EU. Portugal is also the best second passport option by investment in the European Union. Here’s why you want a residency visa from Portugal in 2018 and how to get one.

Let me preface this article by saying that Portugal is the best EU residency visa in 2018. Portugal is not the cheapest residency and second passport program, it’s the best! Most investors put up € 1 million to start a business or buy real estate for at least € 500,000. Legal and government fees are additional.

If you’re on a budget, then you’re not going to get an EU residency visa or an EU second passport. You should consider Panama with an investment of $20,000 or Nicaragua with an investment of $35,000 + fees of about $10,000 per applicant. To qualify for Panama, you must be from a top 50 country. Nicaragua will accept anyone from any country.

Portugal is the best EU residency visa in 2018 because it allows you to live and work in the European Union. It also guarantees you citizenship and a top tier passport in 6 years. This makes Portugal the best, not the cheapest option.

A passport from Portugal is top tier second passport because it gets you visa free access to more countries than lesser passports. Portuguese citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 171 countries and territories, ranking the Portuguese passport 6th in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Canadian, Greek and Swiss passports).

By comparison, holders of a United States passport can travel to 174 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival, and the United States passport was ranked 3rd (tied with the Danish, Finnish, Italian and Spanish passports) in terms of travel freedom. Also, a second passport from Portugal gives you visa free access to the United States and Canada.

There are 7 ways to qualify for residency in Portugal. You can:

  1. Transfer € 1 million into a bank in Portugal.
  2. Invest € 500,000 into a qualifying small business.
  3. Donate or invest € 350,000 into “research activities.”
  4. Donate or invest € 250,000 into “arts and culture.”
  5. Invest € 500,000 into real estate.
  6. Invest € 350,000 into “urban” or distressed real estate.
  7. Start a business that will employ 10 persons full time.

The majority of applications for residency in Portugal are from those investing € 500,000 or more into real estate. Most of these are buying a home to live in, or as a second home. A fair number are buying commercial or residential rental properties.

Because Portugal doesn’t have physical presence requirement like Malta does, you can basically invest in any property you wish. Rental, commercial, industrial or residential properties all qualify for the golden visa program.

To keep up your residency, all you need to do is spend a couple of weeks a year in Portugal. You can spend the rest of your time in the European Union or abroad. Remember that, as a full member state, residency in Portugal allows you to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

You can also gain residency in Portugal by investing € 350,000 into “urban” or distressed real estate. A lot of our clients consider this, but few go this route. Approved buildings are usually 100 year old historic buildings (the law says at least 30 years old, but most are much older). As a result, the maintenance costs are significant. Also, because of their historic designation and locations, it’s difficult to find a profitable use for an approved building.

The second most common method for obtaining residency and a second passport from Portugal is starting a business. There is no minimum investment required, but you must employ 10 people full time.

And you must keep the business going for a minimum of 6+ years. That is to say, the business must continue, and support a minimum of 10 employees, throughout your residency period. You can close the business after you receive your passport.

Here’s how I get to 6 years minimum: You must maintain your permanent residency for 5 years (renewable twice during that time) before you get permanent residency. Then you must maintain your permanent residency for 1 year before you can apply for citizenship. Citizenship should take a few months (thus the + after 6).

Because Portugal doesn’t have a physical presence requirement, you might not need to pay taxes in Portugal on your worldwide income. If you spend less than 183 days a year in Portugal, you won’t pay income tax on income earned outside of Portugal. If you spend 183 days or more a year in Portugal, you will pay tax on your worldwide income.

If you buy a rental property in Portugal to qualify for residency, your net profits will be taxed at 28%. The capital gains rate in Portugal is also 28%.

I hope you’ve found this article on the best EU residency program in 2018 to be helpful. For more information, and to be connected with our European Union expert, please contact me at info@premieroffshore.com or call us at (619) 483-1708. We’ll be happy to review your residency options and recommend the program that best fits your needs and your budget.

second passport from the dominican republic

The Lowest Cost Second Passport is from the Dominican Republic

The lowest cost second passport is from the Dominican Republic… period. The program from the Dominican Republic is a fraction of the cost of competitors like St. Kitts, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Malta.

If you’re looking for a low cost citizenship option, take a look at the Dominican Republic. If you want to maximize the value of the U.S. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, or improve your asset protection and banking options, a second passport from the Dominican Republic might be the way to go.

Note that this article describes a second passport from the Dominican Republic and not Dominica. Dominica has a strong passport which is available for purchase for about $140,000. For more, see: A Second Passport from Dominica is the Best Value in the Caribbean

I should point out that Dominica and Dominican Republic are not direct competitors. The uses and benefits of a DR passport are very different from those of Dominica or the European Union passports we offer (such as Malta which requires an investment of $1.2 million).

Who the Dominican Republic second passport program is for…

Here’s how to get a low cost second passport from the Dominican Republic in about 8 months from the date your residency is approved.

A second passport from the Dominican Republic is for those looking to diversify their current citizenship. It’s for citizens of top tier countries, such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Those who already have a strong passport and want a supporting travel and citizenship document.

If you’re concerned with the state of affairs in your home country, and want a hedge against country risk, consider a second passport from the Dominican Republic.

If you want to have a second passport in hand in the event that you decide to expatriate from the United States, think about the Dominican Republic.

If you want a smooth transition or landing spot should you pull the ripcord on your exit strategy, having a second passport is key.

If you’d like to invest and transact in private, a second passport from the Dominican Republic will help.

If you’re a U.S. citizen and concerned with the IRS or another government agency confiscating your passport, you must have a second passport in hand before trouble comes. Keep in mind that a U.S. passport is not a right, it’s a privilege bestowed upon us by our government. Your U.S. passport can be revoked for any reason at any time.

For more on how and why the U.S. can revoke your passport, see;

The bottom line is this: if you’re a citizen of a top tier country, and want the privacy, and security of a second passport, the lowest cost option is the Dominican Republic.

Who the Dominican Republic second passport program is NOT for…

The second passport program of the Dominican Republic is not for those who need to upgrade their passport. If you’re looking for a passport with more visa free travel options, the DR is not for you.

A passport from the Dominican Republic gets  you visa free or visa on arrival access to only 54 countries and territories, ranking it 83rd in the world. Here is a list of visa free countries.

By comparison, a passport from China gives you access to 50 countries and a passport from India gets you access to 52 countries. There is little benefit to persons of these countries in buying a second passport from the Dominican Republic

Citizens of China and India are the most likely to want to upgrade their passports rather than diversify as Americans and Europeans do. For more on upgrading your passport, see: 10 Best Second Passports and Citizenship by Investment Programs For 2016

The lowest cost passport upgrade is Dominica at about $170,000 for a person from China and India (compared to about $140,000 for a U.S. citizen). You’ll receive your passport from Dominica in about 90 days.

The lowest cost residency program for Chinese and Indian nationals is Panama, which requires an investment of $80,000. You can apply for citizenship and a passport after 5 years of residency. This passport gets you visa free travel to 127 countries, including all of the European Union and the Schengen Region.

Citizens of China, India, and other restricted nationalities can apply for a passport from the Dominican Republic. I’m not suggesting you are ineligible… my point is that a DR passport won’t be a major upgrade to your current passport.

Process to obtain a second passport from the Dominican Republic

There are two second passport programs available from the Dominican Republic. The fast track investor program and the fast track retiree / foreign passive income option. Both will get you a passport within 8 months of your becoming a permanent resident.  

Fast Track Investment Option: Start a business in the Dominican Republic with an investment of $200,000 or deposit $200,000 into a bank in the Dominican Republic (typically a CD which will provide a nice rate of return).

For the business option, all you need to do is form a corporation and deposit the capital into a local bank. There is no requirement to hire employees, operate the business, or pay taxes in the DR.

Your $200,000 must remain in the corporate account, or in your CD, for a minimum of 3 years. Some local banks offer accounts in US Dollars, Euros, the Dominican Peso (which is the local currency)

If you change your mind, you may withdraw your money from the Dominican Republic at any time. In that case, your residency and citizenship application will be cancelled.

  • Early withdrawal penalties may apply to CDs or other long term investments. If you perceive risk in the DR banking system, and want immediate access to your capital throughout the application process, hold it in a corporate checking account.

Most applications for citizenship under this fast track program are completed within 8 months of your residency being approved. The timeline of the corporate option is as follows:

  1. We form a Limited Liability Company for you in the Dominican Republic. Typically completed in one week.
  2. You travel to the Dominican Republic to open the bank account with our assistance. We suggest you stay a minimum of 3 nights on the island.
  3. You deposit the $200,000.00 into your corporate bank account and receive a confirmation letter. Note that you are the only signer on this account and the funds are always under your control. Typical processing time is 5 business days.
    Reporting the investment and filing various documents with the government. This takes 30 to 40 days.
  4. You provide us the certified and apostilled documents listed below and return to the Dominican Republic for a medical exam. This can be completed in one day.
  5. We prepare and file your permanent residency application, which requires about 30 days. In most cases, your permanent residency will be approved in 2 to 4 months.
  6. You travel to the Dominican Republic to receive your permanent residency documents and photo ID.
  7. Once you have your residency card in hand, you must wait for 6 months before you can apply for Citizenship. Typical processing time of these citizenship and passport applications is 60 to 90 days. You will need to travel to the Dominican Republic to receive your passport.

If you’re able to travel as soon as each step is completed, and you provide the required documents in a timely manner, we can complete your citizenship application in 8 to 10 months after you receive your residency card, depending on your availability.

The only timeline that’s fixed by statute is the 6 month wait between receipt of your permanent residency card and filing for citizenship.

Retiree / Foreign Passive Income Option:  Retirees are those with passive income from retirement accounts. Passive income applicants are those with rental properties, dividends, foreign bank deposits (from banks outside of the Dominican Republic), investment returns from foreign companies, and other forms of passive income which has been earned over 5 consecutive years.

Retirees must show income from a pension or retirement plan of $1,500 per month plus $250 for each dependent. There is no minimum age requirement to be considered a “retiree.” So long as you have a pension plan sending you regular payments, you will qualify.

Passive income applicants must show a minimum fixed monthly income of $2,000 plus $250 for each dependent.

Dependents include your spouse and any children under 18 years of age. College students who can prove they are dependent upon you for support may also be included in your application.

The typical processing time for a retiree / passive investor application is 8 months after you have your permanent residency card in hand.

Documents to Become a Resident of the Dominican Republic

We will need the following documents from each applicant to complete your residency and second passport package for the Dominican Republic.

  1. One questionnaire per family unit, a notarized copy of each applicant’s passport, and a notarized copy of a utility bill showing the primary applicant’s name and home address.
    1. A family unit is the primary applicant, your spouse, and your dependent children under 18 years of age. Full time college students who are dependent on you for support may also be included.
  2. A complete copy of each applicant’s passport (every page, including blank pages). Each passport should have 4 months of validity remaining. If less, you should renew before applying to the Dominican Republic.
  3. A government issued birth certificate notarized and apostilled in your country, or at the nearest Dominican Consulate. This document must be translated to Spanish and the translation also must be certified.
  4. Government issued marriage and divorce as applicable. These are to be translated into Spanish, certified and apostilled.
  5. Resume or biography for the primary applicant. A resume or bio from your spouse will also be helpful. There is no specific format, just something that gives the reader an idea of your education, work history, and some interesting facts about you.
  6. If applying as a retiree, proof of your monthly pension translated to Spanish and certified by the Dominican Consulate and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic.
  7. If applying as a passive investor, proof of such income over the last 5 years translated to Spanish and certified by the Dominican Consulate and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic.
    1. For example, a copy of the fixed income contract/certificate of deposit will be accepted.
  8. If applying as a corporation, various corporate documents to be certified by a local notary and authenticated at the Attorney General’s Office. A
  9. Police clearance report or FBI background report showing no criminal record. This should come from your home country. If you have lived abroad for 5 years or more, this should come from your country of residence.
    1. U.S. citizens, click here for information on obtaining an FBI clearance report.
  10. If you have lived in the Dominican Republic for 30 days or more (for example, during the residency period but before applying for citizenship), each applicant 16 years of age and older should provide a Certificate of Good Conduct by the Dominican authorities.
  11. Each applicant over 16 years of age is required to provide 9 passport photos (6 front pictures and 3 right profile). For children under 16, 5 passport photos are required (3 front and 2 right profile). Pictures should be 2”x2”, against a white background, and accessories such as earrings or sunglasses are not permitted

From time to time, the government might ask for additional or supporting documents. You should begin collecting these documents after you submit the questionnaire. The police report or FBI report can take months to complete. If you plan to use the fast track or expedited fast track program, start on these ASAP.

Costs of Residency and a Second Passport in the Dominican Republic

The cost for a single applicant from the US, EU, UK, Canada, or a similar country is $35,000. The cost for a husband and wife is $45,000. Each dependent will add about $3,300, but fees will vary based on age and history.

Fees for those from restricted countries, such as China, India, Pakistan, African nations, etc. will vary from case to case. The average has been an additional processing and due diligence fee of $10.000 per adult applicant. So, a single applicant would be $55,000 and a husband and wife would be $65,000 on average.

The fees listed above include both your residency and citizenship. That is to say, they the include filing and management of your application throughout the program until you have your second passport from the Dominican Republic in hand. They also include all government and other costs.

The government of the Dominican Republic is planning to add one or two investment options to it’s second passport program in the coming months. While we don’t have any details yet, I expect they’ll be based around government bonds and green reforestation programs.

For example, it might be possible to invest $150,000 in teak and receive residency and a second passport in exchange. Alternatively, you might be allowed in invest $250,000 in government bonds for 5 years and become a citizen after 6 months.

No matter what changes come down, the lowest cost options will be those described above. If you have a pension or passive income, you can buy a passport from the Dominican Republic for $35,000. If you don’t have a consistent cash flow, you can deposit $200,000 and qualify for a second passport.

Second Passport Scams from the Dominican Republic

A number of countries have been the targets of passport scam artists. I’ve seen scams from Panama, Mexico, Antigua, Paraguay, Comoros, and the Dominican Republic.  

The program we are offering was signed into law in 2014 and became active in 2015. Any website promoting a DR passport before this date is a scam. Only a formal program, founded in the law, will guarantee you a second passport.

Likewise, any website promoting an “instant passport” from the Dominican Republic is a scam. All legal programs require you become a resident for at least 6 months before you apply for citizenship. There is no way to expedite or pay a fee to circumvent this requirement.

Before publishing on this low cost second passport offering from the Dominican Republic, I did a great deal of research. I made multiple trips to the island, met with lawyers, promoters, and government officers and cabinet members at all levels.

Still not satisfied, I reviewed the files of 42 completed applications and spoke with many of the investors over the phone. In this way, I was able to confirm that each and every applicant has been approved and had received their passport after the statutory waiting period.

This is to say, I’ve been aware of the DR program for many months now. I did not write it up until I did my of research and had followed over 40 cases from start to finish. Only then did I feel comfortable bringing this to my readers.

I’m now 100% confident in the second passport program offered by the Dominican Republic.

Contact Us

Please contact me for more information on the Dominican Republic second passport program. We will be happy to work with you to gain residency and a second passport from the DR. All consultations are confidential. You can reach me directly at info@premieroffshore.com or at (619) 483-1708.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

US E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Tax Strategy

Moving to the US on with the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa comes with a very big hidden cost. You are by definition a US tax resident and required to pay US tax on your worldwide income AND report your foreign assets to the US government each year. Here’s how to reduce or eliminate that tax cost for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

First, a few words on the E-2 treaty investor visa. This US residency program allows you to live in the United States so long as you are operating a business that employs a few American citizens. If the business shuts down, you will be asked to leave.

The E-2 treaty investor visa requires two things: 1) you must be from a treaty country, and 2) you must make an investment in the US by starting a business here. For a list of treaty countries, see the US Department of State website. I think you will be surprised with who’s in and who’s out.

The E-2 treaty investor visa is not a path to a green card nor US citizenship. It’s a residency visa that allows you and your family to live in the US while you are working here and employing a few people. Most investors start a business with about $200,000 and hire around 5 employees including the owner (you, the E-2 treaty investor).

The E-2 treaty investor visa doesn’t have a minimum investment amount nor a minimum number of employees. In my experience, businesses that are well funded through break-even with $200,000, and which will add 4 jobs to the economy (5 including the owner) are likely to be approved.

A person in the US on an E-2 treaty investor visa is expected to be running the business on a day to day basis. This is not a program for passive investors. It’s for those who want to start a small business in the US and work in that business each and every day.

  • Passive investors should go with the EB-5 Investor Visa. Here’s a tax strategy article for that program: Coming to America Tax Free with the EB-5 Visa and Puerto Rico. The EB-5 visa gives you a green card and US citizenship within 5 years but requires 10 employees and an investment of $500,000 to $1 million.

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a “temporary” residency visa that needs to be renewed every few years. Basically your case officer will check to see that the business is operating and the you are employing the agreed number of persons.

Because of its temporary status, you should have a plan to return to your home country once the business has run its course. As a practical matter, these companies can operate for decades. So, as long as the business is profitable, or you can keep it going by adding more cash, you can reside in the US. But, during the application process, we need to show a plan to return home.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Tax Issues

Because you are operating the business from the United States to qualify for the E-2 visa, all income earned in that corporation is US source income taxed at about 35% Federal plus your State (0% to 12%). This is to be expected when operating from the US.

What’s often not expected is US tax on your worldwide income.

Here’s an example of the E-2 visa tax trap: Let’s say you bought a house in Colombia in 1995 for $100,000. You move to the US in January of 2016 on the E-2 treaty investor visa and sell the home for $1 million in March of 2016 (yes, Colombia has an E-2 visa treaty).

You pay 10% in capital gains tax to Colombia on the sale, which is that country’s standard tax rate. In addition, you report the entire sale on your US tax return for 2016. The US capital gains rate is about 23.5% and you get a tax credit for the 10% paid to Colombia using the Foreign Tax Credit.

As a result, you owe the US Federal government 13.5% x $900,000 gain or $121,500 on the sale of your home in Colombia. If you’re living in a high tax State like New York or California, you’ll pay an additional 10.5% in capital gains. A very expensive tactical error which could have been avoided by selling the home before becoming a US tax resident.

Note: Had the capital gains tax rate in Colombia been 24% rather than 10%, you would owe nothing to the US Federal government and only paid State tax on the gain. That is to say, if the taxes paid in your home country are higher than the US rate, the Foreign Tax Credit will step in and prevent double taxation. ‘

The same tax expense will apply as long as you are in the US on the E-2 treaty investor visa program. All capital gains, interest income, income from businesses operated outside of the US, and income from any source, will be taxed in the US less any foreign taxes paid.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Tax Strategy

Careful tax planning is required before the E-2 visa applicant moves to the United States. Once you’re a tax resident, many planning opportunities are closed. For a high net worth individual, the tax costs of moving to the US can far outweigh the costs of starting the business and complying with the requirements of the E-2 visa.

For example, our Colombian could have sold his home before moving to the US and saved a lot of money and reporting hastle. Other possibilities are that he could have gifted his home to a family member or his heirs, sold it to an offshore trust, or otherwise disposed of it before coming to America.

And the same goes for brokerage accounts and other passive investments. There are a variety of offshore trusts, life insurance structures, and tax strategies that will allow you to manage assets for the benefit of your heirs and avoid US capital gains on any sales.

Also, special consideration should be paid to the US death tax. In certain circumstances, an E-2 visa holder is a US resident for income tax purposes but not for estate tax purposes. If someone was to die in that situation, they would be taxed in the US on all of their US assets and allowed only a $60,000 exclusion. US citizens get a $5.2 million estate tax exclusion.

US trusts and other planning tools should be considered to ensure the E-2 visa holder gets the full $5.2 million exclusion. None of us like to talk about death, but it’s an important conversation to have prior to moving into the United States.

As for an active businesses, different rules apply depending on whether the company is controlled by the US resident or whether it’s a joint venture with a nonresident partner. “Control” means ownership or control of more than 50% of the business.

If you, the E-2 visa applicant, sell or transfer half of their foreign business (not the E-2 business) to a family member who will operate it while you are in the US, you may realize significant tax savings in the US. Note that I am referring to an active partner and not a nominee director.

There is one way to enter the US on an E-2 treaty investor visa and pay zero tax to the US government. If you setup your business in the US territory of Puerto Rico, you will pay only 4% in corporate tax on the profits earned from that endeavor.

Next, if you are a resident of Puerto Rico, and spend 183 days a year on the island, you will pay zero capital gains taxes and zero tax on dividends from your Puerto Rico company.

Combine these two tax strategies together and you get a 4% tax rate on business profits and zero tax on passive income, dividends and capital gains. Compared to the 45% rate some Americans in high tax states pay, this is an amazing offer.

And, as a US territory, an E-2 visa from Puerto Rico is identical to an E-2 visa from New York or California (except for the tax rate of course). You’ll have full access to the United States and the right to come and go as you please. Travel between Puerto Rico and the United States is a domestic flight and there’s no immigration checkpoint.

The tax holiday in Puerto Rico for businesses is Act 20. The holiday for personal income and capital gains is Act 22. For more on this, see: How to Maximize the Tax Benefits of Puerto Rico

Note that my articles on Act 20 and 22 are focused on US citizens moving their businesses to Puerto Rico. We can also combine Act 20, 22, and the E-2 treaty investor visa to get you residency in the US without the tax bill.

I hope you have found this article on US E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Tax Strategy helpful. Please contact me at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708 for more information. I will be happy to assist you to build a business in the US or Puerto Rico and qualify for residency.

residency and second passport

What’s the Difference Between Residency and a Second Passport?

I’m asked just about every day to compare Panama residency with a second passport program from somewhere in the world.  The caller usually has $200,000 to $500,000 to spend or invest and wants to know whether they should go for residency or a second passport. Here’s what you need to know about residency and second passport.

As for residency, I suggest Panama is the best available. If you’re from a “friendly nation,” then you can get residency for about $8,750, or even for free. If you’re not blessed with a good passport, then you need to deposit $300,000 into a Panama bank account and pay about $30,000 in fees.

Residency allows you to live in that country. It usually permits you to operate a business there but not be employed by someone else. There are many different visas available in Panama, in addition to the Friendly Nations visa, and some do include a work permit.

Once you’ve had residency in Panama for 5 years, you may apply for citizenship. This doesn’t mean you will get a second passport, it means only that you may apply for one. The decision to grant citizenship lies solely with the president – whomever that may be 5 years from now.

Some presidents, such as Martinelli, gave out Panama passports to anyone who made sizable donation to his campaign. On the other hand, the current president, Juan Carlos Varela, is all about fighting corruption. I don’t think he’s granted even one Panama passport in his 3 years in office.

My point here is that residency means you can live in a particular country. It does not give you a travel document nor any of the benefits of citizenship. If you want to live in Panama and/or maximize the benefits of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, then you need residency in Panama. If you want a low cost exit plan, consider residency from Panama.

If you want a passport, then you can wait and hope that a “friendly” president comes to power… and with a “donation” amount you can afford… or you can buy a second passport from a country that offers economic citizenship.

A second passport is a whole different level of global access above residency… and at a completely different price point.

Someone from the US can get residency in Panama for $8,750. Someone from India can get residency for $30,000 + a deposit of $300,000 in a bank in Panama. This $300,000 is not a cost. The money belongs to you and can be taken out any time.

On the other hand, the minimum price for a second passport is $150,000, and can go as high as $8 million. Most second passports are sold for $240,000 or can be acquired with an investment of $550,000 + fees of $40,000.

Economic citizenship gives you all of the rights and privileges of a citizen from whichever country you buy in to. This means the right to live, work, vote, etc. It also gives you a passport from that country.

Second passports are valued based on 1) the number of visa free travel options they include and 2) where they allow you to live and work.

For example, a second passport from St. Lucia gives you visa free travel to 125 countries, which is very good. The cost is about $240,000 for St. Lucia.

For comparison, a second passport from Malta gives you visa free travel to 168 countries, including Canada and the United States, the two countries most difficult to access. A passport from Malta will cost about $1.2 million plus legal and other fees.

A passport from Matla also allows you to live and work anywhere in the Schengen Region of the European Union. Schengen encompases 26 countries including Austria, Germany, France, etc. For a complete list, click here.

So, St. Lucia is a valuable passport because it gives you access to 125 countries, plus an exit plan, the ability to give up your US citizenship and escape the IRS, etc.

A passport from Malta is valuable for all of these reason, plus several more visa free countries and the ability to live anywhere in the European Union.

Fore more, see Top 10 Second Passports, which includes a variety of economic citizenship options at different price points.

Here’s the bottom line on residency and second passports:

If you want to live in a country like Panama, then you need residency there. If you’re an American operating a business abroad, then you need residency to maximize the value of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. If you want a low cost exit plan, then you can start with foreign residency.

If you want a second passport, then you need to buy a second passport. This is the only guaranteed route to acquiring economic citizenship and a quality travel document.

I hope you have found this article helpful. Please contact me at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708 with any questions on second passports or residency programs. If you are from a friendly nation, can even help you get Panama residency for free.

panama residency

Best Panama Residency by Investment Program

If you want to plant a major flag offshore, think about residency in Panama. For those who qualify, the best residency in Panama is the Friendly Nations Visa . Of the 8 or 9 visa programs Panama is running at any given time, the best Panama residency program is the Friendly Nations Visa.

Here’s why you want residency in Panama and how to get it.

Why You Want a Foreign Residency

If you’re an American, you have many reasons to want a second residency. Getting that residency in a tax friendly jurisdiction such as Panama is a no brainer.

First, Panama residency will allow you to maximize the benefits of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. If you’re living AND working abroad, you can exclude up to $101,300 of salary from your US taxes. A husband and wife operating a business from Panama could earn $200,000+ per year tax free.

I won’t bore you with a dissertation on the FEIE, as I’ve been known to do. Suffice it to say that, if you qualify for the Exclusion using the Residency Test, you can spend 4 months a year in the US. If you don’t have residency, then you must use the Physical Presence test and be out of the US for 330 out of 365 days.

Second, Panama allows you to plant a major flag offshore. Once you have your international bank account and your offshore structure, the next flag to plant is residency. Residency in Panama demonstrates that you are an international citizen – someone who is experienced at living, working and investing abroad.

Third, Panama residency gets you access to all of the international banks in Panama. About 90% of Panamanian banks prohibit US persons unless you have a residency permit. Big banks, such as Banco General, CrediCorp, Global Bank and Scotia Bank (the Canadian Bank with offices in Panama) all restrict access to US persons with residency in Panama.

Fourth, Panama residency gives you a place to “land” should you decide to leave the United States. Maybe you’re retired and don’t care about the tax benefits (the FEIE doesn’t apply to passive income or capital gains). If you’re planning an exit strategy, foreign residency is a must.

If you are concerned with the direction of our country, finding a safe haven, then residency is one of the most important flags to plant. First is an offshore structure, then offshore bank account, and finally residency for the trifecta.

Why Panama has the Best Residency Program

Panama has the best residency program because:

  1. If you are from a friendly nation, a residency visa is very easy to get.
  2. Panama is a place you can live and work tax free (if you have a portable / internet business).
  3. Panama is a place many people would like to live. It’s one of the top business and retirement options for those seeking a higher quality and lower cost quality of life.

Considering Panama is where you want to be for lifestyle as well as business reasons, and because their residency permit is easy to get, Panama is my number one recommendation.

Let me be clear, I’m not here to analyze a bunch of jurisdictions and hedge my bets. I’m here to tell you what I think. Yes, I’m a big fan of Panama… a cheerleader if you will. Bullshite like the Panama Papers have reinvigorated that feeling.

Premier is incorporated in Panama, it’s the home base of this business, it’s where I have lived for years at a time, it’s where I travel to often these days, and Panama City one of the best places in the world to live and work. Likewise, Boquete is one of the best places to retire on a budget.

Updated List of 50 Friendly Nations for the Panama Residency Program

In order to qualify for the Friendly Nation visa, you must hold a passport from an approved country. One that is “friendly” with Panama.

Here is the current list of friendly nations for the Panama residency by investment program. This list has been updated through May 24, 2016.

If your country is listed here, you may apply for residency in Panama under the friendly nations Panama residency program.

If your country is not listed, then you may apply for residency in Panama under one of their other programs. In most cases, you will need to enter under the Person of Means visa by making a substantial investment or a deposit of $200,000+ into a local bank.

For example, if you hold a passport from India, then you do not qualify for the Friendly Nations Panama Residency visa. The only way to get a visa from a non-friendly nation is to make an investment or deposit in a local bank.

For more information on countries NOT listed below, please see: Residency in Panama from Restricted Countries

Andorra Czech Republic Israel Netherlands South Korea
Argentina Denmark Japan New Zealand Sweden
Australia Estonia Latvia Norway Switzerland
Austria Finland Liechtenstein Poland Taiwan
Belgium France Lithuania Portugal USA
Brazil Germany Luxembourg Serbia Uruguay
Canada Greece Malta Singapore United Kingdom
Chile Hong Kong Monaco Slovakia Costa Rica *
Croatia Hungry Marino Spain Mexico *
Cyprus Ireland Montenegro South Africa Paraguay *

* Most recent friendly nations visa additions.

Italy: You might notice that Italy is the only Western European country not on the list. There are other EU countries missing (such as my favorite second passport option, Bulgaria), but Italy is the only major nation not on the list. This is because Italy and Panama have an unique immigration agreement that allows Italians to move to Panama without the Friendly Nations visa.

How to Get Panama Residency for Free

The typical cost for Panama residency under the Friendly Nations Visa is $8,750 for the first applicant. As I’ve said, it’s one of the easiest and least expensive foreign residency visas to get. It’s also one of the best because it’s Panama is a great place to live, work, and do business.

Now, here’s how to get residency in Panama for free…

Option 1: You can pay a fee, form a corporation and get Panama residency for $8,750 as I said above.

Option 2: You can make an investment in an approved project in Panama and get residency. Most projects are condos or other real estate costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s not what I’m talking about.

There is one and only one investment you can make with a guaranteed return. One that costs only $20,000, including residency in Panama. One that doesn’t come with any carrying costs or tax obligations.

That’s an investment in teak wood….

Teak has always been a prized material. The tree that teak comes from, Tectona grandis, is native to the tropics. Since around the 7th century, it has been used to outfit and adorn the residences of the wealthy and powerful In addition to the most beautiful furniture, Teak is used in shipbuilding. It makes for an excellent ship wood due to its ability to ward off dry rot

Since the best wood furniture made from teak comes from mature trees, it can take around 25 years before a teak tree planted today is harvested for wood.

Here’s why I recommend only one teak program and why that investment is guaranteed.

The teak wood plantation I recommend has been established for years. The trees have been in the ground for 17 year already. The trees and the quality of the teak are  verifiable and proven.

This is not one of those mango or coffee “opportunities” you read about on the web. Some deal that you invest in now and hope your crop gets planted. This is teak that’s been in the ground for many years. Teak that is verifiable and guaranteed. Teak that comes with Panama residency.

As I said above, I’m a big supporter of Panama. I believe it’s where you want to have a second residency. Where you want to plan your exit strategy. Where you want to have your home base.

Combine this with the fact that you can get your Panama residency for free through an investment in teak, and I’m all in. This is truly a unique opportunity.  

I will close by telling you that I am writing about teak in this post on residency solely because I believe in it. No one has paid me to do this and I don’t make any money if you buy teak.

In fact, the opposite is true. If you hire me to negotiate your residency in Panama for $8,750, I make money. If you buy teak and get residency for free, I make nada. That should tell you how much I believe in this program. I am writing on this residency and teak program because I believe in it. Because I want to support the Panama I love and to let my readers know what’s available.

I hope you have found this post helpful. If you would like to learn more about the Panama residency program, or how to invest in teak to get your residency visa for free, please contact me at info@premieroffshore.com. I will connect you with experts on the ground who can help.

second passport

Top 16 Second Passport and Residency Programs

Summary of Second Passport and Residency Programs of 16 Countries

Below is a summary of the costs and procedures for obtaining residency in the 16 most commonly requested countries. As you know from reading my post on the 10 Best Second Passports, I believe that St. Lucia is the best value for a second passport.

I rank Bulgaria as the best combination of value and quality and Austria is far and away the best passport available at any price.

This article covers the following countries:

  1. St. Lucia
  2. Dominica
  3. St. Kitts
  4. Panama
  5. Austria
  6. Jersey
  7. Monaco
  8. Grenada
  9. Slovakia
  10. Hungary
  11. Bulgaria
  12. Cyprus
  13. Portugal
  14. Malta
  15. Uruguay
  16. Antigua

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St Lucia

St. Lucia – Summary of process to Citizenship

You can purchase a passport or make an investment in government bonds to gain citizenship in St. Lucia. Most applications are completed within 90 days from submission. As you read the St. Lucia statute, you will find there is a real estate investment option in addition to the purchase and government bond program. There are no approved real estate projects at this time, so I will not discuss that here.

I like St. Lucia because of the option to invest in non-interest bearing government bonds for 5 years. The investment amount is $500,000 to $550,000. Alternatively, you can buy a passport without an investment for $200,000 to $250,000.

When you compare St. Lucia to its neighbors, it costs a fraction because you get your investment capital back in 5 years. No interest is paid. Total cost would be fees plus interest lost / opportunity cost of the capital invested into government bonds.

Investment Options: Cash Purchase / Government Bonds

The cost for one applicant for the purchase option is:

Legal / Background Check / Filing fees: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Processing: $2,000 single

Donation to Economic Fund: $200,000 single person +$25,000 per dependent

Government bond option is:

Legal / Background Check / Filing fees: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Processing: $2,000 single

Investment Required: $500,000 to $550,000 **

* Due diligence fees are fixed by statute. But, in my experience, the statute was written for US, UK, Canada, etc. passport holders. There might be some minor additional costs in your case. We do not mark-up the due diligence fees, so they will be billed by the government. See the attached document for more information.

** Your investment in government bonds is returned at the end of 5 years.

Residency Period: None, it’s a cash for passport program.

[sta_anchor id=”Dominica Second Passport”]Dominica

Dominica – Summary of process to Citizenship

You can purchase a passport or make an investment in real estate to gain citizenship in Dominica. Most applications are completed within 90 days from submission. We recommend the purchase program over the investment program.

Investment Options: Cash Purchase / Real Estate

Cash Option:

Purchase Price: $100,000 for a single applicant, $175,000 for an applicant with spouse, $175,000 for an applicant and up to two children below 18 years, $200,000 for an applicant, spouse and two children under 18

Additional $50,000 for each dependent (children over 18 and parents of the applicant over 65 years of age)

Real Estate Investment Option:

Purchase Price: $100,000 per adult  applicant and $50,000 per dependent 21 years and under. Two or more applicants may apply for Citizenship by Investment together by purchasing one piece of real estate,

Government Fees:

Main Applicant $50,000

Spouse of main applicant $25,000

Children $20,000 for each child of the main applicant under 18 years

Dependents $50,000 for each dependent over 18 years of age

Other Costs:

Typical Legal / Due Diligence / Processing / Registration: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call  (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: None, it’s a cash for passport program.

You will be able to travel on your Dominica passport without a visa to more than 90 countries, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland and many others.

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St Kitts

St. Kitts – Summary of process to acquire Citizenship

The St. Kitts and Nevis passport is the most common second passport available. It offers:

  • Visa free travel to European Schengen area including UK, and Ireland along with other 80 countries
  • No prior residence requirements
  • No income or wealth tax.
  • Citizenship for family members (spouse and children)
  • Lifetime citizenship and no restrictions on Dual citizenship

To qualify for citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis under its Citizenship-by-Investment Program, the Government requires either:-

Purchase Price: A non refundable charity donation of minimum US$ 250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) for single person + payment of processing fees.  For accompanying family members (see below).


Investment option: Designated recoverable Real Estate Investment with a value of at least US$ 400,000 plus payment of various registration and other fees. For any accompanying family members, additional costs apply (see below).

Typical Legal Fees: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Fees and Costs: Minimum investment: $250,000 (SIDF) or $400,000 (Real Estate) Government Fee: $50,000 per person

Due diligence fee: $7500 per person

Passport fee: $350 per person

The total cost around $292,000 per person. Additional costs apply for dependents and family members.

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Panama – Summary of process to earn citizenship through residency

Panama is the lowest cost and most efficient residency program program for those from a favored nation. The favored nations program is our most popular residency opti0on.

If you do not hold a passport from a partner country, the POM visa below is for you. See also Restricted Country Visas.

Keep in mind that the options above allow you to get a second passport through investment or by making a “donation.” Panama offers a residency program that might turn into a passport 4 years in the future. So, we are not comparing equivalents here.

Purchase price: None

Investment Option: $0 Favored Nations and $250,000 Restricted Countries

Typical Cost: $8,750 Favored Nations and $50,000+ Restricted Countries / Person of Means

Residency period: 4 years

If you’re not from a ‘favored nation’ and you’re not planning to be employed or start a business in Panama, the Person of Means (POM) visa is your best option. In order to qualify, you must make an investment in real estate or deposit USD 250,000 into a Panama Bank.

You have three options available to obtain your POM visa:

  • Purchase real estate property in Panama in your own personal name, for a minimum value of USD 300,000 and you must submit proof of economic solvency to cover your daily living expenses in Panama;
  • Establish a fixed-term deposit in a Panamanian local bank, for a period of at least two years and for a minimum amount of USD 250,000;
  • You can combine the two previous options, provided the total adds up to at least USD 300,000. For example, if you buy real estate in your own name which costs USD 260,000, you may place the remaining USD 40,000 in a fixed two-year deposit to qualify for this permit.

A provisional POM visa is granted for one year and permanent residence is granted from the second year onwards (together with the right to obtain an official Panamanian identification card). Five years after obtaining the permanent visa, holders will also have the option to apply for Panamanian citizenship (read Panamanian nationality).

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Austria – Summary of Process to acquire Citizenship

Purchase Price: EUR 3 million

Investment Option: EUR 10 million

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: None

A passport from Austria is by far the most valuable available. The price is commensurate with the value.

Austria offers business investors citizenship and an EU passport immediately without a residency requirement on the basis of an investment in the country. This requires:

A minimum of at least EUR 3 million in Austria economy (donation to a charity)


A direct minimum investment of EUR 10 million+ in economy of Austria

makes one eligible for Austrian citizenship. An investment is usually done by starting or moving a sizeable business to Austria.
Austria Charitable Donation Route

This requires donating at least EUR 3 million to a public project or private project of public interest, recognized as providing extraordinary benefits. This might be in the form of an endowment for a scientific research, a contribution to an important museum, university, or similar. The can be spread out over several years.

Austria Direct Investment Route

Under the direct investment route, (§10/6 of the Austrian Citizenship Act), an applicant is required to provide extraordinary benefits to the Austrian State. This is usually in the form of direct investments in local business creating jobs or generating new export sales, etc. For example, manufacturing factories, science and research technology project, normally qualify under direct investment. A minimum equity investment of at least EUR 10 million is expected. the exact amount is negotiated with the government before the investment is made.

Investments in government bonds, real estate, etc. do not qualify under citizenship program.

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Jersey – Summary of process to acquire Residency

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: £125,000 tax payable per year

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: None

Note that this is a residency program only. it does not lead to citizenship. It is set up for EU citizens to minimize tax. It’s not efficient for US citizens looking to maximize the benefits of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

To achieve High Value Residency status and be eligible to purchase property in Jersey the prospective applicant must make a contribution to the Island’s tax revenues; at the present rates of tax, the annual tax contribution would be in the region of £125,000, calculated on a sliding scale based on 20% of the first £625,000 of worldwide income and 1% on all income thereafter. Applicants are required to provide financial and other information in support of their application to take up residence in Jersey, evidencing sufficient capital wealth in order to produce in excess of £125,000 in tax revenues for the Island.

Once High Value Residency status has been granted, the applicant may apply for consent to purchase a property and will be granted the same status as other residentially qualified Islanders. They can be employed and employ and set up their own business in the Island and will be expected to purchase a single residential property worth in excess of £1m.

[sta_anchor id=”Monaco Second Passport”]


Monaco – Summary of process to acquire Citizenship

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: EUR 1 million

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 10 years / present in the country at least 6 months of each year

To become a Monaco permanent resident (and ultimately a citizen), a foreign national must meet several requirements. First, you must invest a minimum of 1,000,000 euros – 500,000 euros of which must be deposited and kept in a Monaco bank. The other 500,000 euros to be invested in real estate. Additionally, you should prove to the Monaco government that you have sufficient bank funds to support yourself in the country.

As a resident, you can open a business in Monaco.

Once approved, you and your family are given permanent resident status. As permanent residents, you are eligible to live, work, and travel in Monaco. After ten years, you  may apply for citizenship as long as the family spent at least 6 months of every year in Monaco.

While the investment amount is relatively low, this program has one of the longest residency periods.

[sta_anchor id=”Grenada Second Passport”]


Grenada – Summary of process to acquire citizenship

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: $500,000

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency period: 2 years

Program Details:

Option One: US $350,000 to $500,000 investment required per applicant.

The most common investment in Grenada is to purchase a condominium and shares in a real estate project, such as a hotel. Investments are approved on a case by case basis.

Option Two- Non refundable Donation

A non-refundable donation to the Island Transformation Find of about $220,000 per person. This process involves first obtaining Grenada Permanent Residency and then applying for naturaliza

[sta_anchor id=”Slovakia Second Passport”]Slovakia

Slovakia – Summary of process to acquire Citizenship

Purchase price: None

Investment Option: 3,000,000 EUR

Typical Costs: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 8 Years

Citizenship of the Slovak Republic may be granted to an applicant who is not a citizen of the Slovak Republic and:

  • has a continuous permanent residence in the Slovakia for at least 8 years immediately preceding the application for citizenship,
  • has no criminal record,
  • has a criminal record but:

wasn’t a sentence of expulsion by a court,

is not conducted by the prosecution,

against him/her there is not conducted extradition proceeding or proceedings to execute the European arrest warrant,

is not held on the deportation proceedings,

Citizenship by Investments: Procedure involves acquiring temporary residence, permanent residency, and then applying for citizenship. Citizenship will require an investment of at least 3,000,000 EUR. The more you invest, the better your chances of being approved. The result (Slovak citizenship and passport) can be obtained in 12-18 months. Your investment must create new jobs for Slovak citizens and/or or bring new technology. Decisions on citizenship applications are taken on case-by-case basis subject to approval of the relevant ministry and then by the Ministry of Interior. This option of citizenship without residence requirement is available not only for investors but also for people of art, science, etc., who contribute significantly to the interests of Slovakia.

[sta_anchor id=”Hungary Second Passport”]


Hungary – Summary of process to acquire Permanent Residency (not citizenship)

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: EUR 300,000

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: Renewal every 5 years

You can receive a permanent residency permit in Hungary by purchasing a specially issued bond with a value of EUR 300,000 with a maturity of minimum 5 years. The applicant may purchase the above bond as an individual or via his/her majority-owned company. No language and physical residency requirement are in the program.

The bond is issued by a finance company which received a permission from the Economics Committee of the Hungarian Parliament. This finance company is legally required to immediately buy a specially-issued government bond from the investment proceeds. Thus, the bonds issued by the finance company are fully backed by the Hungarian Government Bonds. The finance company is also required to file a monthly list of participants in the Residency Bond System to the Immigration and Citizenship Authority.

After investing at least EUR 300,000 under the Investor Residency Bond Program, a residency permit valid for 6 months will be issued to you and your family (wife and kids under 18 years old). Afterwards, this permit can be converted to a permanent residency (card is valid for 5 years and renewed automatically).

Hungarian residency permit enables the applicant to live in Hungary, and visit (to a maximum of 90 days from any 180 days) any Schengen country. At the same time it should be noted that at present the program has no path to citizenship.

[sta_anchor id=”Bulgaria Second Passport”]


Bulgaria – Summary of process to acquire citizenship

Purchase Price: 305,000 EUR (approximate based on currency fluctuation)

Investment Option: 512,000 to 1,024,000 Euro

Typical Costs: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 2 to 5 Years

Permanent residence is granted upon investment of 512,000 EUR (BGN 1,000,000). This is a conservative investment which is made into government bonds. After 5 years money will be returned without interest. The investment / bond is guaranteed by the government.

You will be eligible for citizenship after 5 years with this program.

Fast track citizenship is available to those that make a second investment of 512,000 EUR into a qualified Bulgarian business or government bonds. This second investment should be made 1 year after you obtain permanent residency and held for at least 2 years.

The Bulgaria program is identical to the St. Lucia program – just double the cost or investment for a more valuable passport.

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Cyprus – Summary of process to acquire Citizenship

Residency by Investment: 300,000 EUR

Citizenship by Investment: 2,500,000 – 5,000,000 EUR

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 3 Years

Permanent Residency by Investment of 300,000 EUR

Citizenship by Investment 2.5 Million Euros

Permanent residency is granted to those who buy a property valued 300,000 EUR in Cyprus. Only new properties may be purchased under this program. Applications are normally processed in a couple of months (quite fast). In addition, the applicant must have a three years deposit 30,000 EUR with a Cypriot bank and must demonstrate annual income of 30,000 EUR.

Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

The average time-frame for the obtaining of a Cyprus passport is 90 days after the submission of the completed application.

To be granted the Cyprus (European Union) passport, investors and entrepreneurs apply personally or through a corporation.  You should invest €2.5 million to qualify for citizenship.

The investment can be made in:

(a) government bonds;

(b) financial assets of Cypriot companies or organisations;

(c) real estate, development and infrastructure projects; or

(d) purchase, incorporation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies.

You are  also required to have a residence in Cyprus of at least €500,000 unless you chooses to invest the amount of €2.5 million in the purchase of residential property/properties. The most frequent option is the investment in real estate (residential property).

That is to say, you must invest at least €500,000 in a residential property or properties. You might invest €2 million in government bonds and €500,000 into a residential property.

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Portugal – Summary of Process to acquire Citizenship

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: 500,000 EUR

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 6 years

This is a residency program with a path to citizenship. You will become eligible to apply for citizenship and a passport after 6 years from the date initial residency permit is issued.

Investment amount is 200,000 – 500,000 EUR irrespective of number of applicants in the family (amount depends upon the type of investment and region). In addition to the investment you will be expected to pay taxes in the amount of 8,8 % from the property price: 1) Transfer tax of up to 8%, and 2) Stamp duty of 0.8%. Government processing fee (application and renewal) – 514 EUR (plus 80 EUR per family member). Also, the Government charges 5,148 EUR for every visa. For a family of four, visa fees are over 20,000 EUR.

In order to apply for citizenship in Portugal you will need to show 6 years of legal residence + good command of the Portuguese language. You must live in Portugal full time for these 6 years.

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Malta – Summary of Process to acquire Citizenship

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: EUR 350,000 + residence or rental + EUR 150,000 bonds

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: No specific years

Maltese Citizenship by Investment:

Contribution to the National Development & Social Fund. To qualify for Maltese citizenship the main applicant is required to contribute at least EUR 650,000. Spouses and children are required to contribute EUR 25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents older than 55 years old must contribute EUR 50,000 each. This contribution is to be made after the approval of the applicant’s citizenship application.

You must commit to retain a residence in Malta for a period of at least 5 years, either through the purchase of a property, for which the minimum value must exceed EUR 50,000, or through leasing of a property, for which the minimum annual rent must exceed EUR 16,000.

In addition, an investment of EUR 150,000 in Government approved financial instruments, which must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years is required.

When you acquire citizenship under the Malta Individual Investor Programme, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed onto future generations by descent.

Due Diligence Fees

Due diligence fees are as follows: EUR 7,500 for main applicant; EUR 5,000 for spouses, adult children and parents; EUR 3,000 for each child between 13 and 18 years old. Due diligence fees are non-refundable even in the case when citizenship application is not approved.

[sta_anchor id=”Uruguay Second Passport”]Urugua

Uruguay – Summary of process to acquire citizenship

Purchase Price: None

Investment Option: USD 100,000 per applicant

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 3 to 5 Years

Requirements: USD 100,000 investment per applicant for 10 years plus proof of pension earning $1,500 USD per month.

Citizenship: You may apply for citizenship after 3 or 5 years of residency. 3 years for married applicants and 5 years for single applicants. Due to high demand, processing time can reach 24 months.

The Process:  File for residency at the National Migration Office.  Get your first temporary identity card (cédula). Open a bank account, do the health check and Interpol (if applicable). Within 60 days we will file the rest of the documents on your behalf.

Once residency is granted you will be required to live in Uruguay 8 to 10 months in your first year and then at least six months after that. This is not an absentee residency program, it is for those who wish to move to Uruguay and make that country their home.

This is a great passport, but you must be committed to Uruguay to make this work. And citizenship is not guaranteed.

Uruguay passport is an excellent travel document, allowing the visa-free access to all of South America, MERCOSUR, and Europe’s Schengen Area. While a visa is required to visit the United States, approval rates are higher than other South American countries, so Uruguay is seen as a road to America.

Now for the bad news: About 50% of citizenship applications that meet the requirements are refused by judges for a myriad of reasons. If you want to turn your residency card into a passport, you must be committed to Uruguay, be well connected, and make the right donations and contributions to local elections.

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Antigua – Summary of process to acquire citizenship

Purchase Price:

Investment Option: $292,000

Typical Cost: Contact us for a quote at info@premieroffshore.com or call (619) 483-1708

Residency Period: 5 years

Antigua and Barbuda has a new economic citizenship by investment program for investors who can directly acquire citizenship and passport by donation to a charity or buying a real estate.   Antigua & Barbuda is one of the most beautiful island nation in Caribbean with excellent beaches and posh climate to enjoy your winter vacation.

Antigua Barbuda passport is a great second passport for investors who want visa free travel.

Under the Citizenship program, there are following investment options (limited time offer) :

  • USD 200,000 donation to National Development fund (NDF)  (or)
  • USD 400,000 investment in real estate (or)
  • USD 1.5 million business investment (or)

Additional costs for family and children apply.

For example: The cost for single person is about $310,000 plus legal and processing.

The passport is granted for 5 year validity period after it is renewed.

Benefits of the passport include visa free travel to EU countries, Canada and UK.

Residency in Panama from Restricted Countries

Residency in Panama from Restricted Countries

If you are a US or EU citizen, it’s very easy to get residency in Panama. I write about this all the time while singing the praises of Panama’s various visa programs.

For example, the Friendly Nations Visa will allow you to live and operate a business in Panama for about $8,500. Forget investing in overpriced real estate… just pay the fee and you’re golden.

This applies to people holding passports from the following 50 friendly nations:

  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Republic of Korea
  • Austria
  • Brazil
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • USA
  • France
  • Finland
  • Netherlands
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Norway
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • Uruguay
  • Chile
  • Sweden
  • Poland
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Portugal
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Cyprus
  • Malta
  • Serbia
  • Montenegro
  • Israel
  • Denmark
  • South Africa
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Luxembourg
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Andorra
  • San Marino
  • Taiwan
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico
  • Paraguay

If you’re holding a passport from one of these countries, you’re golden. Pay your fee and move to Panama.

But what about the rest of the world? What if you are not on the friendly nations list? Then get ready to pay to play.  

Panama Restricted Countries:

If you are holding a passport from one of the following “restricted” countries, must prove your net worth and jump through all kinds of hoops to get into Panama.  And you must find a way in to Panama before you can apply for residency (as a tourist or with a special invitation from an attorney or large corporation).

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Alto Volto, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Cote d’ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, People’s Republic of China, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

As I said above, you must be in Panama as a tourist or be invited in by a lawyer or business. If you can get a tourist visa, then you can file to amend your status once you are in the country. If you can’t get a visa, then expect to pay for an invitation letter. The going rate is $5,500 per person per letter. So, a family of 4 will need 4 letters (yes, your kids will need an invitation letter).

Fyi… if you have a valid visa for Australia, any European Union country, Canada or the USA, you can usually enter Panama so long as you have a return ticket. Speak with your travel agent before traveling to Panama on a non-Panamanian visa.

  • When traveling to Panama from a restricted country, you should have a valid visa, passport, minimum of $500, bank statement, travelers check or credit card and a valid onward or return ticket.

So, if you can get into Panama as a tourist you will save some cash on the invitation letter.

Once you’re in, here’s how to gain residency in Panama from a restricted country:

  1. Form a Panama corporation, preferably owned by a Panama Foundation with you as the founder. The corporation will operate a business and the Foundation will serve as your “persona” in the country.
  2. Deposit $200,000 or more in to a personal account held as an 18 month CD. The intent here is to prove you can afford to support yourself while in the country and that you intend to “contribute to the economy of Panama.”
  3. Apply for a change in status and residency. Minimum legal and application fees: $15,250. Processing time 2 to 6 months.

If you are holding a restricted passport and would like to become a resident of Panama, please contact me for more information. Send an email to info@premieroffshore.com or call me directly at (619) 483-1708.