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Why a second passport is a great mobility perk

Want a second passport? Try buying a house in Portugal under the “golden visa” program and be on your way to eventually attain a permanent residence status.

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permanent residence - why a second passport is a great mobility perk

Entrepreneurs and business professionals in Kenya often have difficulty when traveling abroad due because of a weak passport, and in a globalized world, that can be a hindrance. While more and more Kenyans are looking to get a second citizenship, permanent residence status is also a viable option.

There are benefits through the possibility of a permanent residency visa that gives the benefits of a second citizenship without the costs or commitment, while leaving the option for future citizenship.

Shifts in immigration policies can come quickly and without notice, as seen with the 2019 American instigation of posing a USD10,000 bond for the visa (along with the usual checks and balances). Those restrictions affected some of the East African Community (EAC) members. That should be a warning for not only those who need to travel, but also for anyone who enjoys it as there are more restrictions for Kenyan passport holders.

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Globally, the top passports to have for visa free and visa on arrival have been the wealthier countries such as Japan, North America and Europe. The one issue with some countries is that the passport holder is only permitted to have a single citizenship, and for a Kenyan that could mean giving up their passport, which is extremely valuable for travel on the continent.

As anyone from one of the ‘top passport’ countries knows, the trouble with travel within Africa are the numerous visas that are required to go anywhere. For non-Africans this is true, but for Kenyan passport holders, the travel possibilities are virtually unlimited with visa-free travel to almost all of the 54 countries. That is something no businessperson based in East Africa would ever want to lose.

In fact, Kenya has a similar program for attracting investors at a price tag of USD200,000 that gives permanent residency.

There are interesting alternatives to this conundrum with a permanent visa. The Americans have the ubiquitous ‘Green Card’, which is perhaps the most obvious example. There are several ways to obtain it, including a lottery and through investment. Or there is a long waiting list that can take years-with no guarantees.

What these visas offer is a streamlined visa to third world countries. In other words, with residency visa, the passport that the applicant has becomes much less important than the country that the visa is issued in.

So, for Kenyans interested in options such as this should consider where the permanent visa is located. That should mean Europe, for example. With a European visa, there are numerous opportunities for freer travel with it.

With the investment schemes, there should be the chance that the investment will increase, and the funds are not a ‘donation’. Investments in businesses and real estate are the more popular and are something to consider.

Obtaining a second citizenship as an option has always been popular amongst high-net-worth individuals, but that usually comes with a high price tag. In addition, there have been more crackdowns on various ‘passports for sale’ schemes as seen with the recent bad press from Malta.

The results are two-fold, one the increasing costs as the windows close, and the cutting off altogether of the program.

Portugal has had a long history with East Africa, and their impact can still be seen in Mombasa. One reason that they liked it so much was that it reminded them of home as Portugal is similarly compared to Mombasa.

A fitting case study is the Ocean Villas Project leads to the ‘Golden Visa’ for investments in luxurious property in coastal Portugal (an hour from Lisbon). An investment of 500,000 Euros (because it is new construction) gives the investor a new villa that they own and a permeant visa that gives them the right to choose to live there.

This visa option is inclusive of the entire extended family of the investor and his or her spouse. The potential leads to citizenship or permanent visa status in 5 years, though that is not mandatory. It gives Kenyan passport holders immediate ease of travel through the relaxed visas in almost all cases as they are usually then treated the same as Portuguese citizens.

The Portuguese passport is ranked 6th worldwide. Permanent residence, Permanent residence,

The Chinese have a saying that the families should have various homes that they should maintain in case there are problems with the main family base. Visa options such as this are ideally suited, as they offer housing and residency. Something all internationally minded people can find beneficial.

Permanent residence, Permanent residence

Frank Cheang

Frank Cheang is the Chief Executive of Elysium 8 Holdings Unipessoal LDA (Portugal) and an Adjunct University Lecturer.