Why are Americans Increasingly Looking for a Second Passport?
No country is safe from political or economic instability, and the U.S. is no exception. According to this survey conducted by Upwork, the go-to platform for freelance workers, nearly 20 million Americans are planning to change their place of residence.
At first, it was driven by the pandemic and remote work and from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans wanted to travel. Still, bans against U.S. citizens prevented them from enjoying the benefits of their passport (which is one of the most powerful in the world). Today’s situation shows that high taxes and deteriorating political polarization in the US drive the main factors for relocation.
“Very wealthy people, they’re very, very risk-averse. They’re kind of paranoid. They have a lot of money, and they’ll do a lot to keep it safe — a second citizenship, a third citizenship, a backup Plan B, a backup Plan C, a backup Plan D… You’re getting more and more ‘Armageddon Americans,’” Kristin Surak, an associate professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science said.
Why have a second passport?
Each year, the Citizenship-by-Investment global industry gets about 20,000 applications. Until recently, few of them belonged to the citizens of the U.S. Now we see that Americans are ready to pay six figures for citizenship, even in a country they’ve never visited.
Why does this happen? There is no one answer to this question. From year to year, the U.S. is considered a more hostile environment, whether this comes to the Supreme Court’s recent decision on abortion rights or simply spending less money on essential daily needs to gun violence. Americans feel disillusioned by the political system; if nothing is done, the situation will only worsen.
Another survey published by the Wall Street Journal and NORC, a nonpartisan research organization at the University of Chicago, shows that 86 % of respondents feel greatly divided on fundamental values. More than 50% think that the USA will face even more significant difficulties in the following five years.
Where to relocate?
Different countries have different rules and requirements for citizenship, but the ones which attract the most attention of the USA nationals are:
- Portugal (whose program may close to new applicants in the near future)
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
As you can see, many of them are Caribbean. Caribbean countries are among the most economical for those who want to invest in a second citizenship. The process is simple and quite fast, and the starting investment amount is $100,000. Another reason to become a Caribbean citizen is due to tax benefits. Unlike most European countries, Caribbean countries have favorable tax rates and provide wealth security. For instance, Antigua & Barbuda scrapped personal income tax entirely in 2016 for its residents and corporate taxes are a reasonable 20%.