10 Best Second Passports and Citizenship by Investment Programs For 2016

10 Best Second Passports and Citizenship by Investment Programs For 2016

15th March 2016

Here are the
10 best second passports for 2016. The citizenship by investment industry has
undergone a lot of changes in the last year, including a major change to the
St. Kitts passport offering. It’s has been kept quiet by those hyping this
passport, but I’ll give you the full story here.

everything you need to know to buy the best second passport in 2016.

How to Value
a Second Passport

First, let’s
talk about how to value a second passport. The best second passport is a) the
one you can afford b) that gives you visa-free travel to the most countries.
The smaller the number and the less desirable the countries, the less you
should pay.

For example,
a second passport from Austria is the 4th most valuable travel document in the
world and the most valuable second passport you can buy. This is because it
gives you visa-free access to 171 countries.

That is to
say, a second passport from Austria is a group 4 travel document. A group 1
passport gives you visa-free travel to 174 countries. Group 1 passports are
those issued by the US, UK and Germany. Group 2 offers travel to 173 nations
including Canada. Group 3 gets you access to 172 countries and is a passport
from Belgium and Netherlands.

Because an
Austrian passport gives you visa-free access to 171 countries, it’s a 4th tier
passport and the best second passport you can buy… if money is no object. By
comparison, Dominica gives you visa-free travel to 91 countries and is thus in
the 41st tier.

A second
passport from an EU country (Bulgaria, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus or Austria) also
gives you the right to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

Finally, the
number of visa-free travel countries gives you an indication of how your new
passport will be received by world banks. An EU passport will allow you to open
an account anywhere in the world. A passport from St. Kitts will have fewer
options, but generally accepted. I expect it to be nearly impossible to open an
account abroad with a passport from Comoros (last on my list of 10 best second

Don’t Fall
for a Second Passport Scam

There are a
lot of online charlatans promising cheap passports, diplomatic passports, or
banking passports. All of these are scams…. plain and simple, nothing to
debate, they are scams.  

There is no
easy or cheap way to get an authentic second passport.

Think of it
this way: governments around the world need to raise hundreds of millions of
dollars to fill up their coffers. And second passports are are a multi billion
dollar business. There is is not lack of customers… in fact, demand often
outstrips supply.

In such a
market, countries are not interested in diminishing their brand by selling you
a passport for $50,000. If anyone tells you different, or they claim to have a
guy who can “hook you up,” run the other way. 

A Word of
Advice to US Citizens on Second Passports

If you’re a
US citizen, note that owning a second passport doesn’t change your US tax
filing or paying obligations. So long as you’re an American citizen, you must
pay tax on your worldwide income. Also, offshore banks will continue to
report to the IRS under FATCA.

A second
passport  will allow you to travel and invest with more privacy. It is
also the first step in renouncing your US citizenship. You must have a new
passport in hand before you dump your blue travel document.

You might be
thinking to yourself, how will the bank know I’m an American? What if I have
all of my documents from, for example, St. Kitts? What will tie me back to the
US of A? What if I change my name to further frustrate the records search?

Uncle Sam and
the IRS are way ahead of you. All second passports now list your country of
birth. If you were born in the US, the bank will see this on your second passport
and list you as an American until you provide them proof you’ve renounced
your citizenship.

This was a
big issue back in 2014. Countries began blocking St. Kitts citizens from entry
on grounds that the passport could be used to facilitate terrorism. Of course,
this was at the behest of the United States who was looking to enforce it’s
FATCA system.

As a result,
St. Kitts was forced to recall all passports issued from January 2012 to July
of 2014… possibly as many as 16,000 documents. It reissued them with the
holder’s place of birth and any other names by which he or she had been known.

A second
passport has many benefits, but it doesn’t allow you to cut out Uncle Sam.

Best Second
Passports for Sale

Here’s my
list of the 10 best second passports for sale. I’ve compared the price to the
number of visa-free countries, as well as access to the EU and United States.
For this reason, my top 3 passports are all from the EU.

Russia, in
4th position, is a unique opportunity. Citizenship requires you to set up or invest
in to an active business in the country. Because of the weakness of the ruble
vs the dollar, Russia is currently a value proposition.


I rate
Bulgaria #1 as the best second passport available because it’s one of the two
programs where the investor is likely to see her investment again. This
offering allows you to invest €512,000 in government bonds in exchange for
residency. Then, after a year, invest another €512,000 to gain citizenship.
There are also business investment options.  That’s about $1.2 million.

The Bulgaria
program ties up your cash for 5 years interest free. That’s right, the
government bonds do not pay interest. It will take two years to get your
passport and requires you to visit Bulgaria twice. Residence is granted with
acceptance and processing of your clean background check.

Most of the
programs listed in this best second passport post charge you a fee for the
passport. Bulgaria and Cyprus (below) are the only ones where you can expect
your principal returned.

St. Kitts and other
offer real estate investment options, but those come at significant
additional cost and your prospects for selling for the purchase price are

A passport
from Bulgaria is rated 18th in the world and gives the holder visa-free travel
to 153 countries, including Switzerland the United Kingdom. It doesn’t get you
visa free in to the US… only Malta and Austria do that. It also allows you
to live and work anywhere in the EU.

A passport
from Bulgaria may allow you to work in the UK. There has been some political
maneuvering on this point and the results are not yet known.

As a partial
member of the Schengen region, Bulgaria gets you access to all of Western
Europe. Things are changing quickly in this regard as Bulgaria works to become
a full member. For more information, see: The Cost for a Second Passport from
Bulgaria will Double Next Year

St. Lucia –
Best value in 2016

The St. Lucia
second passport program is new for 2016 and modeled after the Bulgaria
citizenship program. With St. Lucia, you have the option of buying the passport
for $200,000 to $250,000 or investing $500,000 to $550,000 in government bonds
for five years.

Because this
is a new program, very few second passports have been granted. In my opinion,
this makes citizenship from St. Lucia a more private and “below the radar”
purchase or investment. I prefer these smaller programs to the big names
like St. Kitts which has received a lot of attention in the last few years.

St. Lucia
provides visa free travel to 121 countries as well as visa free travel to
Switzerland or 180-days in the Schengen area of the European Union. Click here are all the visa free countries. At
half the cost of Bulgaria, St. Lucia is the best value in 2016.

You could say
that the St. Lucia second passport program allows you to double your money in 5
years. Rather than paying $250,000, you invest $550,000, get a passport
immediately, and your capital is returned in 5 years.

When you
compare St. Lucia to its Caribbean neighbors, it costs a fraction because you
get your investment capital back. Total cost would be fees plus interest lost /
opportunity cost of the capital invested into government bonds.


Bulgaria, Maltese citizenship gives you the right to live and work anywhere in
the European Union. It also allows you to travel visa-free to the United
States. Malta and the US have a Visa Waiver program, which operates a bit differently from other

A Malta
passport also gives you access to Switzerland and visa-free travel to 166
countries. A passport from Malta is the 8th most valuable travel document.

The cost of a
Maltese passport is $1.57 million dollars plus fees. Expect it to cost around
$1.85 million “all in.”

This program
is capped at 1,800 passports and there’s a requirement to “reside” in Malta.
The number of days you are to be present on the island are not stated and it’s
understood you won’t be a full time resident (someone who spends more than 6
months in country). But you should plan to spend “a reasonable amount of time”
in Malta, whatever that means.


Cyprus is the
third smallest nation in the European Union and made it on to the world stage
by seizing wealthy foreigners cash to bail out their banks during their 2013
recession. Surprisingly, from this mess came their current citizenship

In order to
bring back international deposits, and ensure these investors wouldn’t face a
similar fate, Cyprus began offering passports and citizenship with investments
of €2.5 million. As a second passport holder you will receive the same rights
and protections of any Cyprus citizen.

Another use
of the citizenship program was to compensate the mostly Russian foreign
depositors whose cash they’d “borrowed” and converted into equity. Many of
these high net worth Russian investors were given special deals in appreciation
for their mandatory contribution.


Austria is
the gold standard of the second passport and citizenship by investment
programs. If money is no object, this is the passport to buy.

It’s the most
valuable passport available for purchase, the best EA passport, and offers
visa-free travel to 171 countries. A second passport from Austria is the 4th
most valuable passport in the world.

And it’s the
most expensive second passport. You can qualify by making a donation of €2 to
€4 million or by investing about €10 million in an approved business. Such a
business is expected to employ a significant number of people and generate
taxable income. The amount of investment and business type are negotiable.

Expect fees
and other charges to exceed $500,000 in this program.


Like the
Austrian business program, this citizenship by investment option was approved
and signed in to law in late 2014. It’s just getting started and no second
passports have been issued as of this writing.

requires you to invest in to a business or setup your own venture that will
employ a number of people and generate tax revenues to the country.

Because of
the value of the ruble to the US dollar, the Russian offer is one of the most cost
effective… and the only from a world power. You might qualify with an
investment $165,000.

In 2014,
Russian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 100 countries and
territories. This will change in 2015. For example, Ukraine will probably be
removed from the list. A Russian passport currently ranks 38th in the world.

Please see my
post Russian Second Passport Program for more information. Remember that
this opportunity is focused on bringing business and jobs into Russia rather
than cash from the sale of passports, so it functions differently from the
others described here.


Dominica is
the least expensive of the Caribbean passports. A second passport from Dominica
will cost a family of four (applicant, spouse and two children under
18-years-old) about $250,000, plus $25,000 for each additional child under age
25. With filing, registration and professional fees, applicants can anticipate
a total cost of $350,000.

To put it
another way, a family of four can obtain economic citizenship and second
passports from Dominica for less than the cost of a single passport from St.

The discount
is necessary based on how we value second passports. A travel document from
Dominica gets you visa-free travel to only 91 countries, making it the 41st
most valuable travel document.

Please see my Second Passports article for fees and other information
on Dominica (near the bottom of the page).

Antigua and

Like St.
Kitts (below), you can buy an Antiguan passport for a $275,000 donation or a
$500,000 investment in real estate, plus about $60,000 in fees. Also like St.
Kitts, the passport gives you visa-free travel to 132 countries and is ranked

The St. Kitts
and Antigua programs are mirror images of each other. If you’re going to buy
the passport by making a donation to the government, you might as well save
yourself $50,00 and go with Antigua. If you choose real estate, then St. Kitts
might be the better choice.

As of April
14, 2015, a second passport from Antigua gives you visa-free travel to Canada,
where a passport from St. Kitts does not.

St. Kitts and

St. Kitts has
become the #1 seller of second passports in the world. You can buy a passport
with a $295,000 “donation” to their sugar fund or by investing at least
$500,000 in real estate. You never need visit St. Kitts nor take a citizenship
test… simply pay the money or buy the property and you’re good to go.

Unless you
plan to live in St. Kitts, I recommend the “donation” option. Real estate in
St. Kitts is overvalued. When you add in taxes and maintenance costs, you’re
better off paying the fee. And you’ll be lucky to find a single family home for
around $500,000… more likely $800,000 to $1 million.

If you insist
on the real estate tract, consider a condo timeshare. But, be warned, the
island is filled with mostly empty timeshares and you’ll have a tough time
recouping your “investment.”

The St. Kitts
passport will get you visa-free travel to 132 countries, with Brazil being
recently added to the list. Unfortunately, in November of 2014, Canada
announced it would no longer allow St. Kitts citizens to enter without a visa.

The St. Kitts
passport is ranked 24th in the world in 2016. Expect it to drop a few notches
in 2015. Please see my Second Passports page for details.


reopened its citizenship by investment in 2014 (having closed it from 2001
through 2013). The current version requires an investment of $250,000 in an
approved real estate project.

A second
passport from Grenada lets you access 110 countries, including the United
Kingdom, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Panama, and most British
Commonwealth nations. It does not give you visa-free travel to Canada or the

As far as I
can determine, only one real estate development has been approved, the Mount
Cinnamon Resort and Beach Club. Had there been more investment options, I may
have ranked Grenada above St. Kitts. It’s a second passport which is not on
anyone’s radar and a transaction which can be completed in private.

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