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RIYADH: Expats living in Saudi Arabia are more interested than ever in obtaining a second passport, according to new data from Dubai-based immigration firm, Citizenship Invest (CI).

In an interview with Arab News, CEO Veronica Cotdemiey said that in the second half of 2020, the interest of expatriates in the Kingdom to get a second passport through various investment programs increased by 46%.

CI said Libyan expats in Saudi Arabia were the largest group seeking second citizenship, followed by Syrians, Indians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Yemenis and Egyptians.

According to Cotdemiey, the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) has given many people the opportunity to reflect on “critical issues” and provided those who could afford it a way to get around and to move to safer countries, potentially with better health care. systems.

“People have realized that they have a strong need for a Plan B whether or not they have strong jobs or businesses because it goes beyond financial security,” she said. “The power of having a strong passport in times of crisis is the ultimate insurance policy.”

Cotdemiey said many wealthy people found themselves trapped in their home countries during the pandemic, unable to take their families to safer countries due to the visas required to do so. “It has triggered a sense of urgency, and many are finally taking the step to acquire a second nationality and a second passport, never to face this situation again,” she said. In addition to obtaining a second passport, citizenship through investment programs often requires investors to acquire a second home or other investment property in the country in which they are applying for citizenship.

The three most popular programs selected by expats in Saudi Arabia were Saint Kitts and Nevis with 46% of applications, the Commonwealth of Dominica with 21% and Vanuatu with 18%.

According to data provided by CI, the three most popular programs selected by expats in Saudi Arabia were Saint Kitts and Nevis with 46% of applications, the Commonwealth of Dominica with 21% and Vanuatu – a country made up of 83 similar islands. in the Maldives and located close to Australia – with 18 percent.

The other countries include Grenada, which accounted for 6.28 percent of claims, Portugal (3.43 percent), Saint Lucia (2.86 percent) and Antigua (1.14 percent).

Cotdemiey also said the minimum investment required for a second passport starts at $ 100,000. For Saint Kitts and Nevis, a limited time offer is available for the next six months, reducing the required financial contribution to the Two Island Nation Sustainable Growth Fund from $ 195,000 to $ 150,000.

Dominica, which has another popular citizenship program, reduced the non-refundable contribution for a family of four from $ 200,000 to $ 175,000. It also incorporated the inclusion of the principal applicant’s siblings or spouse in a single application.

The desire to obtain a second passport is not a new phenomenon in the Middle East. In 2019, Arabian Business Magazine reported that nearly a third of respondents to a global online survey by Arton Capital, a Canadian company specializing in international residency and citizenship programs for investors, said they had acquired the citizenship of ‘a country other than their country of origin, or planned to do so.

In 2017, CI also reported that families and high net worth residents of the Kingdom had contributed to a more than 70% increase in demand for European and Caribbean second nationalities.

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