With the Golden Passport, Gain Citizenship to Another Country

Turns out, you can become a citizen of another country—but it’ll cost ya. 

For those who have a little extra change to spare—anywhere from $100,000 to $1 mil—a new travel visa (ICYMI, see here) may be the last thing you have to worry about. While the extra step is being added for standard travelers, the wealthy have access to a one-way ticket to citizenship in ~22 countries. Enter, the “golden” passport. 

The only commodity this (albeit extremely inaccessible and expensive) luxury calls for is an investment in property or a public benefit, a few background checks, and a short wait for approval. To wit, the holder isn’t even required to reside in the country of citizenship.

And the wealthy are jumping on this “golden” opportunity left and right. Harlan Crow, the billionaire Republican with the habit of gifting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with expensive and secretive trips, won citizenship to Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2012. Meanwhile, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel earned French citizenship with an exceptional mystery contribution because “he loves France.”

To many, these investments are worth it. The golden passport provides the ability of international travel without planning and without the disturbance of global catastrophes. Remember when your travel plans were ruined in 2020? Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt—who bought an EU passport while the rest of the world was on lockdown—can’t relate. 
So, if you have $1 mil or so and no use for it, make a contribution to the country behind your 300-day Duolingo streak for the ultimate leisurely jet-setting experience. (We heard Turkey is so hot right now.)

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.