The United States has one of the most powerful passports in the world, a ranking created based on the number of destinations holders can access without a prior visa. So, the American allows unhindered travel to a total of 171 countries.
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However, this ranking is higher in some European countries. In all, 13 countries offer a greater degree of global reach to their “investors”. For example, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Portugal They currently provide access to 172 countries, more than the United States.
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This is according to research by Astons, a firm of international experts in residency and citizenship by investment, which reveals European passports offer more strength than the US in terms of the freedom of movement they offer.
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“There is no denying that the United States is one of the most powerful passports in the world however This concept of power varies depending on the investor’s prioritiesAlina Lesina, immigration expert at Astons, says.
The company analyzed the latest data on European countries offering citizenship through investment or Residency by investment with a long-term perspective of obtaining citizenship later.
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Thus, the study shows “golden” passports or “secondary golden visas” that provide the added benefit of visa-free, visa-on-arrival, or electronic travel authorization (eTA) travel to the largest number of foreign countries.
“The ability to travel without having to go through a tedious visa process each time is one of the major factors influencing investment in golden visas and golden passports,” notes Lisina. For many high-income individuals, “there are many countries that offer global mobility A little more than the US and at a much lower investment cost, although the time it takes to obtain citizenship or permanent residence varies.”
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Research shows, for example, that other European countries offer barrier-free travel to more countries.
Austria It tops this list, giving access to 174 countries. However, with a minimum investment of $3.3 million, Austria is also one of the most expensive “golden passports” to obtain. The granting of Austrian citizenship is also the exclusive competence of the government, so there are no guarantees that applications will be approved.
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but, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Malta and the Netherlands Located near Austria, the seven countries allow unhindered travel to a total of 173 foreign countries.
With a minimum investment of $276,392, the Italian passport ranks as the most powerful in the world with the lowest possible cost when it comes to investment. Permanent residence in Italy can be obtained after five years with the Italian Start Up visaCitizenship by naturalization and Italian passport is possible 10 years after the initial grant of the visa.
Meanwhile, Germany ($398,005 USD) is among the most affordable and accessible countries globally, allowing investors starting a business that fulfills economic need to obtain residency, before obtaining citizenship afterwards.
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Luxembourg and Spain have minimum investment thresholds of $552,785, Its residency-by-investment programs allow investors to apply for citizenship after five and ten years, respectively.
However, research suggests that perhaps the strongest of all is Malta and the Malta Citizenship by Exceptional Services Naturalization Program by Direct Investment.
Although the minimum investment is slightly higher, $773,899, Malta is the only European country that offers a direct path to citizenship. With citizenship granted after three years of residency, it is also one of the fastest programs available to investors.
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“Currently Malta is the most attractive country, due to its fairly reasonable investment threshold, as well as the abundance of international mobility and the speed with which European citizenship is obtained,” explains Alena Lesina, immigration expert at Astons. “Malta has a very favorable tax system, which is much more comfortable than, for example, the United States, Which also makes it attractive in the eyes of investors.”
Finally, those who invest in the Netherlands with its Foreign Investment and Investment Visa can become permanent residents after five years, although the minimum investment is higher at $1.381 million.