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Rich Americans who want a backup plan are getting second passports. These are the countries they’re choosing.

In World
April 11, 2024
  • The mega-rich in America are worried about social and political instability.

  • As a backup plan, they’ve begun acquiring second passports.

  • They’re choosing nations like Portugal, Malta, Greece, Italy, and New Zealand.

The United States is experiencing a touch of sociopolitical instability — perhaps karma for the nation’s history of interference in other countriespolitics? — that is putting its people on edge.

Not everyone has the means to prepare an exit plan, but the wealthy Americans who do, are. They’ve started acquiring second passports to other countries through so-called golden visa programs, which allow wannabe residents to establish residency through investment.

Here are some of the top countries they’re eyeing if they need to make a break for it.


A man enjoys the view in Lisbon, Portugal.

A man enjoys the view in Lisbon.Alexander Spatari/Getty

Portugal is one of the top destinations for Americans seeking a second passport, executives from the citizenship brokerage firm Henley & Partners previously told Business Insider.

Americans can become residents after five years through Portugal’s golden visa program, according to Henley & Partners.

However, Portuguese authorities know their passports are in high demand. The government recently added restrictions to its Golden Visa Program, removing an allowance that buying property in Portugal could offer a path to citizenship, Reuters reported. Hopeful future residents can still leverage the program by investing in the country in other ways.


A view of Valletta, the capital of Malta.

A view of Valletta, the capital of Malta.Getty Images.

Malta is another top choice for wealthy Americans. They can acquire residency through a mixed capital investment (meaning it could be a financial or property investment).

Malta’s residency program offers the ability to live in Malta indefinitely, as well as monthslong access to most of Europe without a visa, according to Henley & Partners.

While few of Henley & Partners’s clients actually move abroad, they said they find comfort in having the option available to them, the firm’s Dominic Volek previously told BI.


View from the hillside on Corfu Island in Greece.

The view from the hillside on Corfu Island in Greece.David C Tomlinson/Getty

Greece is another top destination for wealthy Americans — as well as another nation that is increasing the price tag on its golden visa.

In February, government officials announced they would raise the investment price to 800,000 euros (about $859,308) for its most popular islands, Reuters reported.

The change came after the nation already raised the property investment requirement from 250,000 euros to 500,000 euros in 2023 for tourist-heavy cities and islands like Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini, Reuters reported.


The town of Assisi in Italy.

The town of Assisi in Italy.bluejayphoto/Getty

Some Americans seeking an additional passport have landed on Italy’s residency program. The program requires a “significant contribution to the country’s economy,” according to Henley & Partners.

To obtain the right to live and work in Italy, investors must be ready to pay anywhere from 250,000 to 2 million euros (or up to $2,148,560).

New Zealand

View over Queenstown, New Zealand.

View over Queenstown, New Zealand.Matteo Colombo/Getty

Some of the mega-rich have set their sights on New Zealand, such as tech mogul Peter Thiel, CNBC reported.

While Henley & Partners ranks New Zealand as one of the top 10 most desirable countries for a second passport, that document comes with a steep price tag.

Would-be residents should be prepared to shell out between $5 million and $15 million New Zealand dollars — or between $2,987,275 and $8,961,825.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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