If the option of having Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as your president next year is scaring you, here are 7 countries where you can buy citizenship and say goodbye to both of them.
Google searches for ways of obtaining a Canadian citizenship have skyrocketed in the last few months. Some say this coincides with the Republican National Convention and their election of Donald Trump for their presidential candidate, although there are quite a few people claiming that Democrats and their choice have something to do with it. In September last year, about 4% of 4.5 million tweets hash-tagging Trump mention immigrating to Canada if the Republican candidate wins the upcoming elections. Although a large portion of them is almost certainly joking, this illustrates the growing sentiment among the Americans about changing their country the only way they can: by leaving it.
Immigrating to Canada may be a hard and arduous process, unless you have money. Although it has many advantages over the US, like universal healthcare, excellent schools, and a functioning democracy, there may be other options for people interested in buying a citizenship. Preferably, some place where winter doesn’t last 6 months.
Selling residential visas via economic investments, AKA golden visa programs, have been around for quite some time. In fact, the United States is one of the pioneers of such programs, beginning back in 1990. If you invest half a million dollars, you are eligible for a permanent residency. After being a resident for 7 years, you can apply for citizenship. A similar Canadian program started in 1983, and has been suspended in 2014, although it’s still in effect in Quebec. Almost half of the EU members offer golden visa programs as well. Despite what various Internet sites claim, these programs, for the most part, do not guarantee a citizenship. A condition for granting a citizenship via golden visa is usually defined as an extraordinary contribution to the country in question, which is a very vague definition and makes it easy for the authorities to deny any applicant on murky grounds. If genuine EU citizenship is your goal, you might want to check our easiest countries to gain citizenship in EU.
The other option is citizenship-by-investment programs. They are a controversial subject in many countries, especially in the European Union. The Brussels administration is trying to force EU members to cancel them or at least limit them in scope, so if you’re planning to move to the Old Continent, you might want to hurry while these are still available. There aren’t many countries in the world that offer this kind of programs, but unlike the golden visa category, they guarantee a citizenship, provided you pass the government background checks and meet other conditions. For the most part, these refer to the origin of the money being invested and the applicants’ country of origin. If your country is under any form of international sanctions, you will most likely be rejected. These regulations were tightened after US Department of Treasury issued a warning about Iranian citizens using St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program to obtain entry to the US and make investments, despite the sanctions imposed against that country. Of course, if your money is lawfully earned and you’re just looking for a second passport, you have nothing to worry about. If your goal is to avoid US taxes, a word of warning, though. Just because you don’t live in the United States doesn’t mean that the IRS will let you out of their money-grubbing paws. As long as you are US citizen, you owe them money. The only way to be free of them is to renounce your citizenship and most people aren’t willing to go to such lengths just to avoid paying taxes. There are examples, though, like the Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who gave up his citizenship in 2012.
So, here are 7 countries where you can buy citizenship. Four of them are Caribbean countries and two are EU members. Interestingly enough, all 6 are rather small island nations. They also lack natural resources, which is one of the main reasons for the institution of citizenship-by-investment programs. We listed them according to each country’s passport power rank, found here.