For those who are looking to obtain a second citizenship and passport it might be a vital task, being done once upon a life and thus very important. It’s normally well-known that you have at least to spend several years in a foreign country before it allows you to apply for its citizenship. Some may have also heard that there are quicker programs called economic citizenship programs or fast-track naturalization programs supported by a number of countries. Here is where rumour and misinformation start giving the ground for numerous scammers looking for your money.
Facts to Know About Second Citizenship
There are only three official economic citizenship programs in the world today.* Those are being offered by the Commonwealth of Dominica (not the Dominican Republic), Saint Kitts and Nevis and Austria, and require contribution of at least US$ 100,000 in case of Dominica and millions of dollars in case of Austria. They also call it citizenship-by-investment programs.
Countries like Belize, Grenada and some others that offered the same a while ago have already stopped their programs. Panama second passport program was re-enabled in 2008 with new requirements.
There are still very few countries where you can opt for a so called fast-track naturalization program. And there are countries that indeed support a kind of instant citizenship programs granting a citizen’s status to foreigners on a case-to-case basis in exchange for a certain contribution to the country’s economy. However, they do not advertise nor legalize it as a governmental program. It’s not necessarily a stop-light for you, but you should be aware of the other side of it. Programs that are not put in the form of a law are vulnerable. After the government or particular high-ranking officials are gone, their policy and activities might be revised and admitted illegal. As a result, the entire series of issued passports might be cancelled. The history knows such cases.
The non-official nature of such policy is also another reason why so many fraudulent websites still exist and thrive. You never know whether you deal with the “right” person. We would like you to be aware of the signs that might mean the company offering you its services is a scam.
Bad Signs to Beware Of
- Too cheap offers. More or less reasonable prices for legal citizenship and passport start from US$ 30,000 for one of the Central or South American countries. Even if you received your long-awaited passport purchased for 5,000-15,000 US$, sooner or later you will meet the trouble. Most probably, crossing the first boundary. An ordinary interview can find you out to have no relations with the country having issued the passport. A little check and the passport might appear to be “non-existent” or, even worse, blacklisted by Interpol. The official economic citizenship programs will secure you from having such kind of problems.
- Too quick passport programs. No matter what, but a real citizenship cannot be obtained within 7-15 days. You should count for at least a month, and in very rare occasions for a shorter term. Again, we’re speaking about those “non-official” programs here.
- No need to travel. Be especially careful here. The only official program that does not require a personal visit is the one of St.Kitts and Nevis, which is due to a really thorough due diligence check. In this case your documents will really be shipped to you by a courier mail. Another exception is within the program of Dominica with its option to arrange a meeting with the Dominica authorized official person in your country for an extra fee. But that’s it. Every other no-need-to-travel program is a fake.
- Citizenship for anyone. Hardly possible to be true. There are always restrictions. Even with the official programs having no explicit limitations there is no guarantee of approved application from, for example, citizens of Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and some other countries.
- Citizenship through marriage or adoption. This one will most probably fail, unless you’re amazingly lucky and prepared for big risk. If you want to obtain citizenship through marriage, there will be an interview. Simple but unexpected questions, for example about your family life. Your and your wife’s answers will be compared and you’ll fail. Citizenship through adoption is another risk and may occasionally work if you’re under 21.
- Diplomatic passports. Be wary of companies offering diplomatic passports, especially in many countries. Diplomatic passports require visas involving both countries’ governments and specific information to be provided, like the official reason for the trip etc. Which government wants this kind of trouble ladling out its diplomatic passports for a rather insignificant compensation?
- Non-existing citizenship programs. Some websites still offer their assistance in obtaining citizenship through official citizenship programs in Grenada, Belize, etc. The only problem is that, as we mentioned above, those economic citizenship programs have been officially terminated years ago.
Do Your Own Due Diligence
We would recommend you to always deal only with licensed agents and law firms in the country where you wish to get a citizenship. If you’ve got dealing with an intermediary, make it sure to get through to the source. If possible, have a lawyer to travel with you and check every step you do.
Do your own due diligence check to sift out obvious scam before proceeding. Talk to them by phone. Arrange a meeting if possible. Search for the company’s name or website in Google, add “scam” or “fraud” at the end of the query. Check the website’s history in archive.org: was it totally different in the past or is there any history at all? Try to get second opinion from authoritative sources engaged in this area, not ordinary people on forums who will tell you that it’s absolutely impossible to buy citizenship.
The good news is that most of the existing scam websites have already built their reputation. People don’t just sit quietly – sooner or later scammers get unmasked by fraud alerts on forums, blogs or individual websites. We use all available information, including our own experience and official public advisories of the ministries of different countries to maintain the list of non-recommended companies presented below.
Some of them are 100% fraudulent, some offer no longer existing citizenship programs along with the twice higher prices for the existing ones, some appear on the list of public advisories as not authorized to deal with citizenship, some try to sell documents that lead people to troubles once used or appear useless at best and received a good portion of negative feedback from their customers. Should you come for our advice, below are the companies that we do not recommend you to deal with.
Second Citizenship Providers Blacklist
- South American Citizenship Program (www.gosacp.com)
- Crown Associates, Crown Law Firm (www.crownpassport.com, inactive)
- Felice Consulting Group (www.felicegroup.com, inactive)
- Shustak Morris & Heller Inc. (www.new-citizenship.com)
- Gerald Associates (www.geraldassociates.com)
- Goldstein Associate (www.goldsteinassociate.com, inactive)
- Greenway (www.valeho.com)
- P&L Group Inc. (www.plgroup-eu.com)
- Ashbridge Consulting Limited (www.ashbridge-consulting.com, inactive)
- Goldstein Associates (www.goldstein-lawyers.com)
- Right Way (www.right-way.net)
- Coldwell Diplomatic Consultants (www.diplomaticsecondpassports.com)
- Viza.cc (www.viza.cc, inactive)
- D & T Group (www.second-passport-citizenship.com)
- First Business Group (www.firstbusinessgroup.com)
- EuroHome (www.euhome.info, inactive)
- Immigration Club (www.immigration-club.info)
- KLP Trade Company (www.europassport.org)
- General Council of Diplomacy (www.generalcouncil.info)
- International Privacy Consultants (www.diplomaticsecondpassport.com, www.diplomaticsecondpassport.ws)
- Baywest International Ltd., Baywest Group (www.secondpassportsolutions.com, inactive)
- Bayline Group, Bayline Consulting (Belize) Ltd. (www.your-second-passport.com)
- Privacy Solutions (second-passports.net)
- 2nd Citizenship Ltd. (www.2ndcitizenship.eu, inactive)
- Inc Seychelles & Alda Immigration (www.incseychelles.com)
- Seymore Associates (visafreetravel.com)
- ImmigrationCitizenship.net (immigrationcitizenship.net)
We keep this list updated. Your comments and new information are very welcome. If you have any evidence of fraud as to the second citizenship, please let us know and we will put it on the list.
Should you require assistance with official citizenship programs, contact us, we will be glad to help.