Since obtaining a second citizenship (dual citizenship) and a second passport is such a long (and often expensive) process, most high net worth individuals decide to hire a citizenship planning company like Interpass to help them navigate the process to waste as little time and money as possible.
This is a great idea, because the vast majority of the time, the advisors working within these companies have gone through the process themselves and are great people to advise you on what you need to do each step of the way.
It can be a problem, however, because this is something that most of us will only ever do one time. We don’t have a “go-to guy” for this kind of work, leaving us to search through the internet for a trustworthy company and hope for the best.
So while Interpass can help your emigrate to 11 different countries, we realize that your dream destination may not be on our list, and we do still want to help you find the right company to help you do so.
So we’ve compiled a list of things to look for—along with some red flags to avoid—to help you make the best decision possible.
3 Things You Need to Look For
Here we’ll talk about three different things that must be true about a citizenship planning company before you consider hiring them to help you through this process.
- They’re Clear About the Country Programs They Work With
Every single country has vastly different rules surrounding the immigration of high net worth individuals via government-approved investments.
And no government-approved investment-for-citizenship program is easy. Not a single one. Each one requires a certain level of expertise to navigate.
So make sure the citizenship planning company you go with is very clear about which countries they work with. This is a sign that they’re serious about what they do and that they won’t have to waste your time or money reinventing the wheel if the country you want to go to isn’t one they have experience with.
If a company promises to help guide you through moving to anywhere, this is a major red flag and you should drop them off your list.
Because even as someone who’s been helping people immigrate for 20 years, there’s still no way I’d feel comfortable helping people move anywhere. I stick to my area of expertise and that’s it. (And because of it, my clients get much better results.)
- It’s Easy to Figure Out the Process They Use
Ideally, they’ll talk about their process on their website on a page that’s easy to find—look for mentions of it on the homepage, on the about page, and in the FAQ.
By explaining their process before you ever work with them, they’re holding themselves accountable to meet certain standards that’ll ensure a certain quality of work.
The process itself doesn’t need to be complicated, but you do need to have an idea that they’re keeping everything 100% legal and guiding you through all the steps that need to be done before, during, and after the application process.
- They’re Also Immigrants.
It’s best to work through this long and difficult process with someone who’s been there and done it successfully.
Look for a company where you can verify that at least one person in the company you’ll be working with has successfully gained a second citizenship elsewhere.
It doesn’t have to be in the same country as you’re going to, but having someone on your side who truly understands the frustrations and need for information and won’t just blow you off, is incredibly comforting and helpful.
3 Red Flags to Avoid
Just like you want to make sure the company you choose has advisors who are also first-generation immigrants, can explain the process they use, and are clear about the countries they can help you get a second passport from, you’ll want to avoid these three things:
- They Encourage Avoiding Taxes or Illegally “Hiding” Your Money Overseas
Let’s be clear: you absolutely want to make sure you’re 100% in the clear legally when you make an investment in exchange for citizenship or a second passport abroad.
Not doing so could render serious legal, financial, and life-long problems for you and your family.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with gaining a second citizenship as a way to better manage your wealth and to plan out legal ways to minimize the impact unjust taxes have on your personal finances.
But no good dual citizenship company worth working with will encourage any kind of illegal or shady activity.
So in your initial call with any company you consider hiring—especially if tax planning is one of your main motives—ask them how they advise people who want a second citizenship for tax planning purposes.
If they seem a little unsure of their answer, if they say “ummm” or “ahhh” a lot and fumble over their own answers, take it as a red flag.
They should be totally confident in their answers, making it clear that they’ve got absolutely nothing to hide… from you or any government.
If they feel comfortable ripping governments off financially, they probably won’t think twice about doing the same to you.
- They Strongly Advise One Investment Type Over Another
Unfortunately, there are some citizenship planning companies out there who don’t care about the interests of their clients (i.e. you), and only care about what kind of kickbacks they can get under the table from high-level investment firms.
If you start working with a company and you feel like they’re pushing you towards one investment type without letting you fully consider another one, stop working with them, because what they’re doing may not be legal.
If they show a keen interest in pushing you towards investing in one particular business venture, for example, this is a red flag that they might be getting kickbacks from that business, which isn’t legal.
If you feel like a company is doing this to you, stop working with them.
You might lose some of the money you’ve paid to them, but believe me, it will be worth it.
Because if and when these companies get caught, you’ll get caught along with them. If the local government is forgiving, they might not send you to jail, but there will be some sort of financial, legal, and citizenship-based repercussions you’ll have to deal with.
- They Promise Inexpensive, Banking, or Diplomatic Passports
In fact, close the tab of their website instantly if you see any of these promises.
Unless you are a diplomat, you do not qualify for a diplomatic passport.
No second passport is ever inexpensive, and if you want to be fully legal and have full-fledged citizenship and access to a second passport, you need to be on a track to citizenship, not just some obscure kind of passport.
In fact, these “companies” are almost always scam artists who will trick you out of your money and never actually deliver anything. So please avoid them.
Take the Time Required to Find a Reputable Dual Citizenship Company
If you’re interested in immigrating to one of the eleven countries we help our clients get a second passport from (list below), we’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you all the information you need to make the best location and investment decisions for yourself and your family.
But if not, please make sure you check off all six of these items before you ever get in touch with a company you’re considering.
Again, I’d love to help you immigrate if we’re a good fit, but first and foremost, I’m a fellow immigrant who wants to make sure other immigrants don’t get scammed. So please be cautious when selecting a company to work with.
Here’s the countries we help our clients immigrate to:
Antigua & Barbuda
Kitts & Nevis
If one of these countries seems like the kind of place you’d like to move to, obtain dual citizenship to or have a second passport from, click the button below and we’ll be back in touch with you by the end of the next business day to talk about your choices and options.