Dominic Volek is Group Head of Private Clients and a member of the Executive Committee of Henley & Partners.
In an age of mounting uncertainty, building a portfolio of complementary residence permits and citizenships that provide personal access rights to all jurisdictions worldwide is the only way for centi-millionaires to truly safeguard and future-proof their wealth. Besides the obvious benefits of seamless visa-free travel, acquiring a strategic and diversified combination of citizenships and residences around the world can help mitigate the many different risks that may threaten your wealth, lifestyle, and legacy, and create new opportunities for you and your family by providing you with the optionality to live, study, conduct your business, and even retire almost anywhere you like in the world.
The desire to transcend the constraints imposed by one’s country of origin and diversify your domicile options to ensure your physical and financial longevity intensified acutely during the pandemic when even the super-rich felt the limitations of a single citizenship. At the same time, there has been a growing acceptance of dual citizenship worldwide. Although a few Asian states — notably India, China, and Japan — continue to oppose it to varying degrees, over 80% of European and American countries now recognize and allow dual citizenship. Only six of Africa’s 54 countries still do not permit dual nationality.
Although dual citizenship has long been used as a political hedge by those living in regions prone to instability, Prof. Peter J. Spiro, Charles Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University Law School, points out that, “Until recently that would hardly have been understood as a motivation for acquiring alternative citizenships among those in stable democracies. Yet today, those democracies hardly seem invulnerable. Political and social polarization pose a real risk of societal disruptions even in longstanding democratic countries. Multiple citizenship has insurance value against that kind of risk too.”
A growing number of countries across the globe host residence and citizenship by investment programs that offer a suite of attractive options, from government donations to real estate acquisition, to capital transfers, to enterprise start-ups — each providing a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship in exchange for a significant financial investment.
Alternative citizenships and residence rights have become an invaluable asset class in the centi-millionaire investor’s portfolio, providing a gateway to financial opportunity and a buffer against economic and geopolitical uncertainty. Supplementary passports not only provide improved travel mobility, but at the same time, they can also unlock access to a larger proportion of the world’s economy. Far more than just a travel document that defines our freedom of movement, a strong passport also provides significant financial freedoms in terms of international investment, tax, and business opportunities.
The Henley Ultimate Portfolio was designed specifically to assist affluent investors find the most ideal combination of investment migration programs that could help them unlock maximum access to the world. This interactive tool is based on 33 indicators that are grouped under seven overarching key country benefit parameters, namely, business opportunity, climate resilience, economic mobility, premium education, quality of life, private healthcare, and safety and security. The interface allows you to compare the country benefits of up to two existing citizenships or passports with those of up to four additional residence and citizenship by investment programs, as well as identify what the minimum investment threshold is and ascertain the maximum number of destinations you can reach visa-free based on the portfolio you select.
Each bespoke Henley Ultimate Portfolio is uniquely tailored to the needs of the individual client and their family. Below are three popular combinations that have helped several of our centi-millionaire clients unlock the world and achieve optimal domicile diversification.
Improving your economic mobility and access to a higher share of global GDP provides greater financial freedoms to facilitate international business, banking, and investment, as well as enhanced entrepreneurial opportunities. Greater visa-free access to more stable, stronger economies can also help mitigate country- or jurisdiction-specific risk. Enhanced access to the world’s economic output expands the range of what is available to individuals, and while this is also possible through international trade, the options on offer due to physical access are far greater, extending to the use of location-specific services such as better-quality education and healthcare.
Finally, greater global reach enables investors to build strong transnational networks and relationships with key figures in stable, high-income economies, which in turn increases international trade and investment with their own countries, contributing to the growth of their businesses and the GDP of their own countries. It’s the classic win–win for both sovereign states and centi-millionaires alike.