Just the other day on a YouTube channel, people talked about what it means to be a foreign investor and how it is different from being a digital investor or an expatriate. For example, the typical investor will create an investment portfolio with a wide range of asset classes, from stocks to government and corporate bonds, treasury bonds; real estate investment funds (REIF), mutual funds and investment certificates. Deposits and physical assets such as real estate to hard assets such as gold.
A foreign investor will adopt a slightly different approach, perhaps choosing to avoid some of the less profitable investments popular among investors in their home country in favor of international investment opportunities that allow them to go beyond the simple diversification of assets to obtain diversification geographic and higher yields.
I have shared my personal asset allocation strategy for foreign investment before, highlighting the important differences between a foreign investor and the regular investment strategies. One thing we have not discussed, however, is the importance of creating a passport portfolio.
There are a number of reasons to build a passport portfolio. My reasons may differ from yours in some way, but there is always a good reason for a foreign investor to build a strong and diversified portfolio of passports.
For me, this is something I get angry about. I always try new programs to be able to speak from experience when advising the people who come to me in search of help to obtain second residences and citizenships. I know what works and what does not, and I have found several countries that offer the whole package: efficient government processes combined with a location that can easily become your home.
But building a passport portfolio serves more purposes than satisfying my internal passport geek. If structured correctly, your passport portfolio can free you from heavy tax burdens, give you greater travel opportunities, allow more privacy and investment opportunities, and even allow you to transfer the benefits of your portfolio to your future (or even current) children.
As with any passport portfolio, the key is diversification. An intelligent strategy is to diversify into a wide range of different factors in the country to ensure that your portfolio contains all the necessary components for a full and free international life.
These are some of the most important factors to consider when considering what passports to add to your portfolio.
Filling Travel Gaps
A man came to see me recently that he was buying two Caribbean passports to invest. In fact, I see this a bit when men with money decide to go out and buy multiple Caribbean citizenships thinking that two extra passports will obviously be better than one. The problem with this particular strategy is that it is not well diversified.
On the one hand, with two passports from the same area of the world, you will not receive many additional trips without a visa. In the case of the guy who came to ask for my help, his second Caribbean passport allowed him to travel without a visa to only two other countries. Does the visa-free trip to two additional countries (one of which has an easy visa application process) be worth the $ 200,000 you will pay for that second citizenship? Probably not.
On a more strategic level, for someone who was born in the United States and who considers the pros and cons of giving up citizenship, having a passport portfolio can eliminate many of the problems that may arise when resigning. For example, if your goal is to travel without a visa, it is difficult to pass a US passport. However, I have discovered that I can obtain an almost American passport (and even better in some cases) by creating a passport portfolio.
Even if you are going to keep your US citizenship, having a second passport can fill the travel gaps of a US passport. A few months ago, I had another partner who came to see me and told me that he was tired of obtaining visas to go to Russia to visit his wife’s family. Then, we sat down and examined the list of citizenships that could take him to Russia, without a visa. In addition to becoming a citizen of Russia itself, Armenia, Serbia, Vanuatu and others can offer visa-free travel to Russia.
However, if you plan to give up your US citizenship, you may have to complete some of the travel gaps in your second passport. For example, many people ask me why I obtained a Comorian passport. On the one hand, I became a geek in this and it was fun. Then why not? But the most important reason behind my decision was to fill in some of the travel gaps of my other level B passports.
The Comoros passport is not a powerful travel document, but it gives me visa-free access to the places I want to visit in Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, to which I do not have access with my other passports. In that sense, Comores offers access (or backup access) to some of these places. It is a passport that fills the gaps.
In most cases, the proximity game is one of the most effective ways to cover all possible travel gaps. A country like Armenia may not have a great trip without a visa, but the Armenian passport can grant visa-free access to all its neighbors, from Georgia to Iran to all the “stan” countries and other countries difficult to enter the region. (Look for Armenia without a visa, but I think you can go to the countries of Ukraine and Stan).
There are some exceptions (such as the USA, Australia or occasionally countries with crazy neighbors), but in general, having passports in different parts of the world can give you access to places that you would not otherwise have access to. They can even create a more welcoming experience for you, since they will visit you as a neighbor and not as a stranger from half the world.
Another problem that my client had that wanted to buy two passports in the Caribbean was that his passport portfolio did not have a geopolitical equilibrium. The two countries I was considering were small islands in the sphere of the United States that do not have many ways to defend themselves.
And, although these countries have been running their passport programs for years without much trouble and have generally been left alone, their passports do not give them the benefits of diversification. There is little difference between the two Caribbean countries in terms of travel benefits, geopolitics, geography, the size of countries or the power of governments in control.
On a larger scale, you may encounter similar problems when filling your wallet with passports from countries that are very similar. The six large English-speaking developed countries are, in general terms, geopolitically speaking, and in case of catastrophe, all will be treated in the same way.
I imagine that most Western citizens of countries friendly to the war would receive the same reception in Iran, for example … or even more liberal countries in the Arab world. Having a geopolitical equilibrium can be an important part of a second passport portfolio.
For example, take two countries in which I am spending the summer: Serbia and Montenegro. Until recently, the two were the most similar in the Balkans, with Montenegro as the only country that supported Serbia in the war (name like that) and the last state to declare independence from the former Yugoslavia.
However, Montenegro recently joined NATO and invoked the wrath of its friends only once in Russia, which declared that the small Montenegro was in a “hostile course”. Suddenly, the Montenegrins were seen as the enemy by many Russians, and my real estate friends have told me that many Russians have stopped buying property in Montenegro as a result.
While Montenegrins still enjoy traveling visa-free to Russia, Montenegro is now definitely a “Western” country in line with the United States and other Western countries. That may also mean that the United States will exercise more influence over Montenegro.
Serbia, however, has always been very friendly with Russia. Stop by the Serbian Parliament in Belgrade and you will see huge banners proclaiming the anger against NATO and the “Albanian terrorists” thanks to the support of the USA. UU to Kosovo during the war. As a result, Serbia can be European but can not be considered “Western” in a geopolitical sense.
Besides having the passport with the improvement of the world, Serbian citizens can visit Russia without a visa and I do not expect that to change. The ties of Serbia with Russia are so strong that a popular video made by Donald Trump suggested, ironically, “America first, Russia also first and Serbia second”.
If you are a Western citizen of the United States or elsewhere, a Serbian passport would provide some geopolitical balance for both the West and the Old East. Becoming a Serbian citizen takes five to ten years and requires a certain level of investment, making it less ideal for many readers, but it is understood.
I like to diversify. I like to have a passport from a pro-Russian country, a country contrary to Russia and a neutral country. You want to be welcome in as many places as possible.
For example, I have friends from Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia who feel uncomfortable going to Israel. While your passport will always indicate where you were born, having a passport from another place with a slightly lower profile can improve your situation when you enter Israel.
Whatever your situation, playing the geopolitical game is important when it comes to ensuring that you are welcome in more places.
Another important factor to keep in mind is the stability and diversity of the different governments of each country that you include in your passport portfolio. It should work to include a variety of types and sizes of countries and governments.
Many years ago, when I was still operating in the United States. And I was just beginning to venture into the offshore world; I called a great company to discuss some commercial details with the manager, who is now one of my good friends. When we reviewed our business, we went deeper into extraterritorial matters, since my friend wanted to choose my brain.
When I jokingly said that I was going to become a Dominican and renounced American citizenship, my friend asked me why I would give up one of the best passports in the world to become a citizen of a banana republic. I told him that I really liked some banana republics, especially when it came to including them in my passport portfolio.
What happens with a banana republic? I would like you to leave it alone, and becoming a citizen of one of these banana republics gives you diversity and governmental privacy. If you are a US citizen, becoming a Russian citizen does not really help you. If you have a passport from a large country, you want your second passport to be from a small country. If you have a small country passport, choose a large country.
Personally, however, I like small countries because they are more agile. Many times, they are easier to enter and you can also do more without the government cutting your breath. Smaller countries are more interested in having good immigration programs than in reading their emails.
And I like the feeling of small countries.
However, if I were from a small country, I would like to diversify and get a passport from a larger place. In Georgia, everyone wants to go to the United States. They want something big and developed. I want a good combination of different places in the world, some that are developed, others that are not developed, others that are great, others are small and others are intermediate.
Obviously, you should consider the stability of the government as well. He does not want the possibility that an unpredictable government can cancel his passport or that a savage man enters and tells him that someone who was not born there will have his passport canceled. The good news is that I do not know many places where that happened.
A note on privacy
While privacy has a lot to do with the size and type of government in which you decide to become a citizen, citizenship is not always the problem when seeking greater privacy. If you can become a resident of a country that does not participate in the exchange of information, you can obtain greater privacy without having to become a citizen of another country.
This rule does not apply to Americans because they are subject to the exchange of information, no matter where they are located and must comply with the requirements of FATCA, FBAR and other reports. However, if you are from anywhere except the USA. UU And you do not want to be part of the new CRS information exchange, get a residency (and, in some cases, a citizenship) and you can prevent your information from being shared.
Privacy can also play a role in your passport portfolio. Some countries are simply more private than others. That is one of the things that Vanuatu markets for its citizens through an investment program. I’m not in love with your program, but I offer higher levels of privacy to its citizens and residents.
Another thing that I see when I build my portfolio of passports are natural resources. What will be one of the most valuable products in the coming years? Water. Countries that have large freshwater supplies are particularly important to consider. Europe has large amounts of fresh water. Another place where people go, for this reason, is New Zealand.
Oil is another valuable resource, although if a country is not already exploiting its oil, it may need to ask why. I also like to look for countries with large numbers of livestock and good grazing lands. As the world population expands and the quality of life increases, more people will demand resources such as water and oil, but they will also look for good quality meat and other luxuries that have a higher standard of living.
If the right fundamentals are in place, I would like to be a citizen of the countries that have these resources. However, you will want to avoid the types of countries that will allow millions of people to flood your small population and overflow the available resources.
New Zealand is a popular place for many people to obtain second citizenship for more reasons than the country’s natural resources. They have clean water, but they also have other resources, it is very far from everything else, the government is stable and, although taxes are high, people feel that in a crisis it is so far away that they are not. You will compete with the hordes of migrants who try to enter the country.
You will also not have diseases and everything will be under control because it is a small and orderly country where you could basically survive on your own if the world’s conditions demanded it. I am not an apocalyptic boy, but it is good to know what to do and where to go for security in case of natural disasters.
In this sense, many people say that being in the southern hemisphere is important, so you may want to consider having a Southern Hemisphere citizenship somewhere like New Zealand. The countries of Australia, Brazil and Indonesia make up the majority of the population of the southern hemisphere. Approximately 88% of the world’s population lives in the northern hemisphere, so by heading south of the equator, you can avoid most of the confused masses in the case of large-scale natural disasters, and perhaps even the worst of the nuclear catastrophes.
The question that must be asked is: where would be safe from diseases, criminals and hordes of uncontrollable people who would flow if there was a disaster? Having a passport from a place that will be safe from geological and political unrest is an intelligent diversification when it comes to building your passport portfolio. Of course, you can try to go to New Zealand with a tourist visa and stay longer waiting for you to never be discovered or denounced, but you can also obtain citizenship there and know that you have a guaranteed place.
More than passports
Not many people think much about the importance of getting a second passport, not even approaching the process in an effort to build a diversified portfolio of passports. This is just one of the many reasons why foreign investors are in a league of their own.
But creating a diversified portfolio of passports and living the lives of nomads is not only about spreading the risk in different countries, but also finding the places where you really feel at home.
One of my greatest achievements of all the time I have spent advising people seeking to create their own Nomad Strategy has been to present them to countries that thought they were only means to obtain second passports that ended up really loving. They fell in love with the place and wanted to spend time there. They fell in love with culture and people and ended up making friends. In one case, a client met his girlfriend in the country that he originally chose just to give him more diversification.
That is one of the most rewarding parts of the work I do. Being a foreign investor is much more than having several travel documents hidden in your bag. It’s a lifestyle that gives you more freedom in every possible way you can imagine.