- The number of wealthy Americans buying “golden passports” has skyrocketed over the past three years.
- The top programs grant citizenship to foreigners who invest millions of dollars in the country.
- US applicants are citing COVID, climate change, and political division, multiple firms told Insider.
The number of wealthy Americans applying for citizenship or residency in foreign countries has skyrocketed over the past three years as US billionaires, tech entrepreneurs, and celebrities look to create a “plan B” for their families, multiple investment migration firms told Insider.
More than a dozen countries offer so-called “golden passports” and visas that allow affluent foreigners to receive citizenship or residency in exchange for investing in the country. The most expensive programs range from $1.1 million in Malta to $9.5 million in Austria, according to Forbes.
“We see these programs as an insurance policy,” Ezzedeen Soleiman, a managing partner at Latitude Residency & Citizenship, said. “We’ve had some billionaires approach us and ask what’s the best place to live if there’s a climate catastrophe, or if there’s another storm, or another global pandemic.”
Latitude, a company which guides high-net-worth investors around the world through the application process, said US inquiries have increased 300% between 2019 and 2021. Henley & Partners, one of the world’s largest citizenship brokers, said sales to American nationals increased by 327% between 2019 and 2020 and an additional 10% in 2021.
According to Dominic Volek, head of private clients at Henley & Partners, there are “four C’s” currently driving the investor citizenship industry: COVID-19, climate change, cryptocurrency, and conflict.