Citizenship for sale: how the rich shop for new passports
Citizenship-by-investment programmes offer the super-rich an opportunity to acquire a new nationality
It’s the must-have accessory for every self-respecting 21st-century oligarch, and a good many mere multimillionaires: a second – and sometimes a third or even a fourth – passport.
Israel, which helped Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich out of a spot of bother last week by granting him citizenship after delays in renewing his expired UK visa, offers free nationality to any Jewish person wishing to move there.
But there are as many as two dozen other countries, including several in the EU, where someone with the financial resources of the Chelsea football club owner could acquire a new nationality for a price: the global market in citizenship-by-investment programmes – or CIPs as they are commonly known – is booming.
The schemes’ specifics – and costs, ranging from as little as US$100,000 to as much as US$2.5 million – may vary, but not the principle: in essence, wealthy people invest money in property or businesses, buy government bonds or simply donate cash directly, in exchange for citizenship and a passport.