Did you know that some passports offer more benefits than others? Every passport comes with a list of countries that the passport-holder can travel to visa-free. Passports of countries that belong to what is known as the Schengen region are some of the most attractive passports available to high net worth investors as they open up financial and personal opportunities. In this article, we will look into the Schengen region’s history, why investors are seeking citizenship to this region, and how you can get your Schengen passport easily.
On July 14, 1985, a treaty, the Schengen Agreement, was signed between most of the European countries. The goal of this agreement was to work towards a border-free Europe called the Schengen Area. The concept of a Europe that promotes easy travel between each country is not new. There have been talks of an agreement as far back as the middle ages and was even brought up while recovering from World War II. Action was not taken to move forward with the plan until the 1980s when Europe experienced a widespread debate regarding whether or not there should be internal border checks amongst the countries. France and Germany led the movement in favor of free movement and were the ones to bring the agreement to life. Five countries signed the initial agreement; France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. It was signed in a small village in Luxemburg called Schengen. Since then, the agreement has grown to 26 member states. Four of these countries are not a part of the European Union. European Union members who are not part of this agreement are the UK, Ireland, and Cyprus. Further, EU members that only some of the Schengen provisions are Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia.
The complete list of Schengen member states in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Now that you know the history of the Schengen region, why would a high net worth investor be seeking a Schengen passport? On the one hand, there are economic reasons to get a second passport or citizenship. Savvy investors may prefer the banking systems of a different country, something that can be easier to access when they are a citizen. Some countries, like Switzerland, offer highly advanced banking systems that are secure, discrete, and offer more investment opportunities. Speaking of investments, investors often take advantage of investment markets, business opportunities, and thriving economics to expand their portfolio and protect them from the domestic markets their portfolio is subject to.
On the other hand, investors are often interested in the personal benefits that come from holding a Schengen passport. Visa-free travel makes it easier to plan those family vacations, choosing a region to have a second home, or just have an easier time when you are on those investment and business trips. This can make it relatively easy to retire in a different country but keep it simple to visit family.
There are many different ways to earn a passport in the Schengen Region. Each of the 26 countries offers options. Some, like the examples below, have residency by investment options that grant individuals permanent residence after making a qualified investment, and they can then take steps to become a citizen and passport-holder. Other options include naturalization through other visas and citizenship by ancestry in countries like Ireland and Italy. Let’s take a look at a few of the options global investors have to earn a new passport.
Latvia is emerging as a second passport destination since it is easy to get residency, and it offers other great perks such as a low cost of living and a pro-business attitude. The Latvian government introduced a program in 2010 that allows investors to invest in a property valued at €250,000 and receive a five-year residency permit. After ten years of residency, the applicant can apply for full citizenship.
Portugal remains one of the most attractive residence by investment options leading investors from all over the world to take advantage of the thriving real estate market and the country’s natural beauty. It is easy to earn permanent residence visas through the Golden Visa Program. With an investment in real estate of 500,000 euros or more, investors can receive the visa. There are other options for investments, such as a capital investment in a choice of projects or an investment that leads to job creation. After six years of the visa, you can receive a Portuguese passport. Portugal is known to be one of the first Golden Visa, but many countries have similar programs, and many have modeled their program after Portugal’s, such as Spain, Greece, and Ireland. The best part about this country is you don’t even have to live in the country to hold a residence visa.
There are some many benefits to holding a second passport in the Schengen Region. Some think their portfolio is already strong enough, and they don’t want to travel the world but having the option to travel and make new investment opportunities is great to have in your back pocket. With the guidance of Alpen Partners, you can open up your world. We have partnerships with world-class residency and relocation lawyers, and we can help you every step of the way. We will examine your current financial and personal situation and help you determine which European destination is right for you. Beyond relocation, our team is prepared to guide you through all the personal and financial planning you need. If you are feeling trapped by your local investment options and want to spread your wings a bit, consider obtaining a European passport with Alpen Partners.
No matter the problem, Alpen Partners will handcraft a solution for you. We know that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to financial success. Our approach involves working with our clients to make a unique plan to meet their needs. Rest assured that we will work hard to guide you through the process of meeting your financial and personal goals.
Contact us to enhance your financial plan today.