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Is Your Second Citizenship Program Actually A Scam?

17 Nov
This Is Why The Offshore World Gets A Bum Rap

Is Your Second Citizenship Program Actually A Scam?

This Is Why The Offshore World Gets A Bum Rap

The offshore services world gets a bum rap.

Most people think that anyone with activities “offshore” is doing something illegal or nefarious.

That’s not the case… despite the mainstream press’ attempts to disparage anyone who is found to have done something as alarming as say, opening a bank account in another country.

That is not to say that the offshore world is without shady characters. Just as when buying a used car, you can find reliable resources… and scoundrels.

Scoundrels in the offshore arena are those who will sell you a product or a service for whatever inflated price they think they can get away with…

And those who will sell you a product or service that isn’t legitimate or doesn’t actually exist.

Scams in the offshore world are well documented. In today’s world, they’re both promoted and then damned online… meaning both the scam marketing and the sad tales of those who were taken in and swindled survive and are searchable forever.

Thus helping to keep the negative concerns about the industry alive.

This is unfortunate because the scammy, swampy offshore world is a subset of the legitimate one.

Options For Diversifying Your Investment Portfolio

You have good, valid, and legal options available to you for protecting your assets and diversifying your investment portfolio.

Google them, though, and you’re likely to connect with not-so-good, illegitimate, non-compliant, and even outright outside-the-law offers, as well.

Citizenship programs are one area in particular where gray and black market guys flourish, and I predict we’re going to see lots more of these dudes up to no good appearing on the scene post last week’s U.S. presidential election.

As President Elect Trump works through his transition to the White House, many who wish he were not Pennsylvania Avenue bound are looking to transition themselves and their assets beyond U.S. borders. Many are looking to take the ultimate go-offshore step by renouncing U.S. citizenship… and many, many would like at least the option to ditch Uncle Sam should life in the United States under President Trump play out to be as unsavory as they fear it could be.

And Americans are but one source of expanding demand for second passports. Citizens of many other countries have even more urgent and dramatic desires to hold alternative citizenships.

Easy Second Passports

Quick and easy second passports are a boom market right now.

Attracting the attention of lots of guys looking to make quick and easy money.

I knew one such group in Paraguay a few years ago…

Paraguay offers easy residency options and a short timeline to becoming eligible for naturalization. Three years of legal residency qualify you for citizenship in this country.

While three years is not a long time when it comes to naturalization, it wasn’t quick enough for many, and one group decided to take advantage of the demand for a speedier option. They began selling near-instant citizenship by falsifying documents, backdating them to show that the three-year residency requirement had been met.

The group sold this service for something like US$35,000, which made it much less expensive than the legitimate citizenship-by-investment program alternatives.

Eventually, the group was found out and shut down.

These kinds of illegitimate citizenship programs touted by unscrupulous offshore providers create black marks for the countries they target for their passport scams.

Dominican Republic Citizenship Program

A new example came to my attention this week. Someone has started writing about quick citizenship in the Dominican Republic. It’s a similar kind of an offer as the one from those guys in Paraguay years ago.

In this case, though, it has come to the attention of the DR immigration authorities almost immediately.

I was in the Dominican Republic just a couple of weeks ago (to collect my residency visa and cédula and to begin the process of acquiring citizenship in that country).

One thing that struck me during this visit was how serious DR authorities are when it comes to their residency and citizenship programs. They are eager to expand these programs and are offering attractive options for both. The current administration is very pro foreign investment. Thus my interest.

At the same time, the country is working hard to earn and protect a reputation for being serious. They don’t want to be seen as a scammy, swampy offshore haven. They want to be recognized as the legitimately appealing offshore diversification option they are.

And they want to improve the value of their passport. Specifically, they are negotiating with the EU to make it possible for DR passport-holders to travel visa-free in Europe.

Then along comes this guy offering a made-up DR passport program.

The Dominican Republic offers great residency options that legally lead to citizenship in a short period of time. You can be eligible to apply for naturalization in the DR after just six months of residency. The naturalization process takes about a year from the date of your application.

Paying someone extra won’t get you a passport in the DR any faster… unless your service provider is doing something he shouldn’t be.

If he is, be aware that you’re the one who will be held responsible if you’re caught traveling on an illegally obtained passport.

The real cost of residency and naturalization in the DR is about US$7,000 all in. The guy promoting a made-up option is charging US$45,000.

You’ll have to go to the country at least twice to obtain residency status and once for the naturalization process. Anyone selling you a service where you don’t ever have to go to the country is, again, doing something he shouldn’t be doing to make that possible.

Lief Simon