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The world’s super-wealthy are buying second passports for these countries

July 15, 2021 Lifestyle News No Comments

Research by Astons, the international experts on real estate, residency and citizenship through investment, reveals where in the world the most wealthy individuals are choosing to buy citizenship through the increasingly popular method of residency via investment.

In 2019, an estimated 3,135 applications for Turkish residency via investment were approved, each of which required a minimum investment of £195,875. In 2020, the number of estimated application approvals increased to 13,325 each with an estimated minimum investment cost of £194,950.

This means that, in 2019, applicants invested a total of £614,068,125 to gain a Turkish passport, an already phenomenal number that, in 2020, rose to just below £2 billion; an increase of 323%.

Vanuatu, the archipelago nation of approximately 83 islands in the South Pacific Ocean has become another popular residency via investment destination. In 2019, a total of £120,392,610 was spent by residency investors, a figure that increased by 25% in 2020, creating a total value of £150,945,886.

Thailand also saw good growth in the estimated total sum invested between 2019 and 2020, rising from £21,828,840 to £26,638,020; an annual increase of 22%.

The last country to see increased investment between 2019 and 2020 is the Caribbean nation of Dominica. In 2019, £144,947,500 was invested for residency, a number that increased to £147,850,080 in 2020; a rise of 2%.

While these nations have all seen increased residency investment, there are some programs where the estimated number of applicants, and therefore investment values, have dropped between 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, Greece received a total of £768,514,800 in residency investment. In 2020, this number fell to £89,637,275, a notable decline of -88%.

It’s a similar story for Australia and Spain where, between 2019 and 2020, residency investment for both fell by almost -40%. In the USA, the decline was -30%, while in Portugal, it was just less than -4%.

Managing Director of Astons, Arthur Sarkisian, commented:

“It’s clear that the pandemic has had a significant effect on the residency investment sector.  Nations like Greece, Spain, and Portugal are, traditionally, very popular schemes but all have experienced a decline in the year of COVID. Much of this is the result of these countries enduring higher-than-average COVID numbers and therefore being subject to harsher travel restrictions from other nations.

“Meanwhile, Turkey has seen an extraordinary annual rise of over 300 per cent. One reason is simple affordability – with a minimum investment demand of a property purchase to the tune of around £194,000, Turkey is one of the cheapest residency by investment programmes currently on offer.

“Turkey also provides a great base for foreign investors who want a convenient portal to the booming Eurasian market, and there is also potential for the country to soon gain access to the Schengen Zone, allowing visa-free access to the other 26 member nations.

“Similar rules apply to Vanuatu. Located close to Australia, the nation is part of the Commonwealth and, despite its physical distance from Europe, passport holders benefit from visa-free access to the 26 countries in the EU’s Schengen Zone, including the UK. Not to mention a very desirable pace of life.”


Table shows the estimated investment of total applicants into each program based on the number of main applicants multiplied by the minimum investment as shown in the table below.
Location Scheme Est total value main applicants 2019 Est total value main applicants 2020 Est total value change (£) Est total value change (%)
Turkey Turkey CIP £614,068,125 £2,597,708,750 £1,983,640,625 323.0%
Vanuatu Vanuatu DSP £120,392,610 £150,945,886 £30,553,276 25.4%
Thailand Thai Elite Visa Program £21,828,840 £26,638,020 £4,809,180 22.0%
Dominica Dominica CIP £144,947,500 £147,850,080 £2,902,580 2.0%
Portugal Portugal Golden Visa £305,826,780 £294,455,112 -£11,371,668 -3.7%
United States United States EB-5 £2,595,657,150 £1,808,590,140 -£787,067,010 -30.3%
Spain Spain Golden Visa £622,883,000 £375,898,250 -£246,984,750 -39.7%
Australia Australia BIIP £1,973,175,750 £1,188,317,000 -£784,858,750 -39.8%
Greece Greece Golden Visa £768,514,800 £89,637,275 -£678,877,525 -88.3%
Location Scheme Main applicant approvals 2019 est Est minimum investment 2019 £ Main applicant approvals 2020 est Est minimum investment 2020 £
Turkey Turkey CIP 3,135 £195,875 13,325 £194,950
Vanuatu Vanuatu DSP 1,182 £101,855 1,489 £101,374
Thailand Thai Elite Visa Program 1,438 £15,180 1,783 £14,940
Dominica Dominica CIP 1,850 £78,350 1,896 £77,980
Portugal Portugal Golden Visa 1,245 £245,644 1,182 £249,116
United States United States EB-5 3,681 £705,150 2,577 £701,820
Spain Spain Golden Visa 1,420 £438,650 845 £444,850
Australia Australia BIIP 2,898 £680,875 1,768 £672,125
Greece Greece Golden Visa 3,504 £219,325 403 £222,425

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