COVID-19: Setting Plan B in Motion with a Second Citizenship

Surge in Dual Citizenship queries as the world goes on global lock-down

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | Published on 26 Mar 2020

Accolades For Malta Citizenship Due Diligence

As the world comes to grips with the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic, we have been receiving several requests from concerned individuals looking for a second passport or residency. Second passports or residency status are often seen as a Plan B, an insurance policy in case of turbulent situations. Unfortunately, this situation is happening all over the world and such unforeseen circumstances make a Plan B so important. If one’s residency or travel options are limited, this can cause a lot of uncertainty in unstable situations. One of the most common reasons why applicants opt for a second residency or citizenship is for having piece of mind that they can opt for a Plan B. A fast exit strategy could prove crucial should one needs to quickly leave their home country due to a similar situation we are currently facing.

Below we have listed a number of considerations, a second passport or residence can be of benefit during difficult times:

Ease of Free Travel

The ability to travel from one country to another most often depends on the travel documents an individual holds. A travel document is most often a passport however having a residency status from another country might also open the possibility to travel from your country of origin without the need to apply for and wait several weeks or months for the issue of a visa. Once a citizenship application has been approved and the investment has been made, the applicant and all family members are given a new passport. Having in hand a passport issued by an EU member state gives the holder the right to travel to and reside in all the 27 countries forming part of the European Union. A passport issued by a Caribbean country also affords the right to travel without a visa to all the EU countries including the UK and one can also reside in the Schengen Area for a period of 3 months within a 6 month period.

Ease of Travel is also given to those applicants applying for a residency status in another country. Various countries such as Malta, Greece and Portugal offer residency by investment programmes which give applicants a residence card and the benefit of being able to reside in the country of residence for life as well as to travel to the Schengen Area without the need of a visa.

Right of Residence

A travel document (passport or residence card) isn’t the only benefit which a second citizenship or residency provides. One of the most important rights an individual acquires through a second citizenship or residency is the right to settle and live in a particular country. Obtaining an EU passport gives the individual and family members the right to live in any EU country freely. If on the other one, one obtains an residency card issued by a particular country, then the individual and family members have the right to reside in their country of residence.

Healthcare

One of the most frequent questions which applicants ask before choosing which country they want to invest in, is usually in relation to the quality of healthcare offered. This is important as it gives applicants an additional safety in case where applicants and their family members would reside in the country of citizenship chosen.

As a general rule, all citizenship and residency programmes would require the applicant and all family members to be covered by a health insurance policy, however beneficiaries are allowed to make use of public healthcare facilities.

Repatriation Flights

As various countries close their borders and airports in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and airlines cancelling flights, many travellers have found themselves stranded in a foreign country. Having a second passport or residency of a country offering a second citizenship or residency can be a life-saver in such situations as various states have been organising charted repatriation flights for their citizens or residents stuck abroad, to travel back to their loved ones and to a place one can call home.

Is it still possible to acquire a second citizenship without travelling?

Most of the countries offering a citizenship by investment programme do not require applicants to travel to or reside in that country. It is thus possible to obtain a second passport without leaving the comfort of your home within just 3 months in these five Caribbean countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Kitts & Nevis and Grenada. Another country which grants citizenship by investment within a period of 2 months without the need to travel is the island of Vanuatu. Other countries offering a citizenship by investment programme such as Malta and Cyprus require applicants to have a genuine link with the country however our Residency & Citizenship team can still assist you to start preparing the documents and applications required to submit an application once travel restrictions are lifted.


Request More Information
Please send me legal and other updates