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Wealthy Americans buy passports to circumvent COVID travel restrictions

  • An increasing number of ultrasound Americans are investing in foreign companies to acquire another passport ahead of a potential second wave of coronavirus infections in the United States.
  • After paying as much as 2.2 million euros ($ 2.6 million), Americans can purchase a passport through “Citizenship by Investment” programs, which allow them to circumvent COVID-19 travel restrictions.
  • Most of the EU, Canada, Australia, Japan and many other countries have excluded American travelers.
  • The United States has reported more cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world, and the number is still rising.
  • Visit the Business Insider website for more stories.

Early in the pandemic, wealthy New Yorkers fled Manhattan from the Hamptons and other vacation destinations in search of less populated areas to wait for the outbreak.

Six months later, as the threat of another wave of infections looms, some have decided that the Hamptons are not far enough and are looking to buy foreign passports that could allow them to circumvent COVID-1

9 travel restrictions and quarantine in one of dozens of countries that currently exclude U.S. travelers.

With an investment in a foreign company starting at $ 100,000 and the help of passport consultants, the number of ultra-healthy Americans never before takes advantage of Citizenship by Investment programs to acquire citizenship in smaller countries from St. Louis. Lucia to Malta.

One such passport broker, Nuri Katz of Apex Capital Partners, told Business Insider that he was only contacted by a US client on average one year before the pandemic. Now two or three contact him every week.

“[Citizenship] used to be a matter of your national pride and your love for the country and all that, but now in many ways citizenship is just one more class of assets that they can get, “said Katz, a native of Canada who also has a Kittian pass, Business Insider. “People with a high net worth understand that a precedent has been set for them to close, and they understand that they now need to spread their citizenship, just as they diversify their [financial] holdings between different classes of assets from real estate to stocks, bonds and savings plans and whatever. “

Ultrasound people buying into foreign citizenship are not a new phenomenon

Most countries starting with St. Kitts and Nevis in 1984 and later the United States, have used such programs to attract foreign direct investment. Katz told Business Insider that he joined the company shortly after Canada launched its program at the request of Montreal’s then mayor, who needed a consultant to help attract emigrants from Hong Kong.

Nuri Katz passport broker

Apex Capital Partners founder Nuri Katz.

Apex Capital Partners

According to Katz, the most sought-after passports are from Dominica, which offers the lowest cost at $ 100,000, offering visa-free travel to Europe, and Montenegro, whose EU membership allows citizens to settle anywhere in Europe.

“The U.S. passport is now a really bad passport to have because it does not allow you to travel anywhere,” Katz said. “As an American, you can not travel to Paris right now. But as a citizen of St. Kitts, you can. I can not believe what the world has become.”

Many of Katz’s clients are, he says, disappointed with the way the United States handled the initial attack on coronavirus cases in the spring and began looking for safer places to wait for a potential second wave during the summer flu season and pull Apex’s business from a pandemic-induced lull in its busiest season ever. However, due to the complexity of the process, these newer clients may still not be able to get out of the country in time ahead of a possible second wave.

Katz said the Citizenship by Investment process can take between three months and a year depending on the country. All require extensive documentation and background checks, which Apex Capital Partners helps its clients facilitate.

However, the pandemic is not the only thing that motivates Katz’s customers. He says several of them also cited fears of a special tax on the wealthy and social unrest following the assassination of George Floyd.

“IN USA [there] are things that have stuck under the surface for a long time, “Katz said. And you know, maybe COVID has brought it out, or maybe the current administration has brought it out, but whatever it is, it’s there. And when individuals with high net worth look at it at all, many of them start thinking, well, wait, I do not want to deal with this, and I have a choice I can invest in another bourgeoisie. “

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