Is the US passport as good as it sounds?
Most Americans are under the impression that their country has the best of everything. But did you know that the US passport ranks relatively low compared to other countries?
Why a US passport may not be the best choice
There are two reasons why a US passport is not as strong as others in the western hemisphere. The United States does not have the same advantages and benefits as passports from other Western countries. The main disadvantage of a US passport is taxation.
Citizens have the right to live in the US, but nothing more. Compare this to an EU passport where citizens have the right to live in any of the 27 nations.
International tax liability is one of the main drawbacks of the US passport. It is the only country, apart from Eritrea, that taxes its citizens regardless of where they live.
Citizens of Canada, Denmark, Malta, etc. can move abroad, retain their citizenship and not have to pay taxes to their country of origin. However, if a US citizen becomes a tax resident of another country, they are still subject to US taxes.
For example, if you are a US citizen and live as a tax resident in Colombia (183 days or more per year), you will owe taxes to both the US and Colombia. Non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 35% in Colombia, which as a US citizen resident in Colombia, you will have to pay in addition to US taxes.
This can potentially cost you thousands of dollars a year in taxes. It is especially bad when you realize that there are so many options that are just as good as a US passport, if not better.
US passports offer less travel than other passports.
A US passport is not as comprehensive as others. The US passport allows visa-free travel to 186 countries. This may seem amazing, but it is not good for such a prominent passport. In comparison, several countries offer the same, almost the same, or even more options than a US passport.
A German passport offers visa-free travel to 190 countries. Singapore offers visa-free travel to 192 countries (and they have a much better and fairer tax code than the US).
This is not to say that visa-free travel to over a hundred countries with a US passport is not good. It is just not unique. Dozens of countries around the world offer the same or similar benefits.
Best alternatives to a US passport
Some of the best alternatives to a US passport are EU countries such as Ireland, Malta and Portugal.
You may want a passport that allows you to travel, study, invest and live within or outside the country's borders. An EU passport gives you more freedom to travel and the ability to live and work anywhere in Europe. Some EU countries have high taxes, but others have low taxes or special tax regimes that you can use to legally reduce your tax burden.
Which passport you choose depends on what you are looking for. For example, another advantage of EU citizenship is that it offers a number of excellent social benefits. You may prefer to keep your private health insurance, for example, or you may find that the public services in your new European home are comparable to what you received privately in the US and opt to use the public services instead.
There are a few tax-friendly countries in the EU. The small island nation of Malta tops the list for many reasons.
For those looking for low taxes and freedom of movement across Europe and the world, Malta's is the best option. But it comes at a very high price. For almost a million dollars, an investor and his entire family can become Maltese citizens in just over a year, with a two-week trip to Malta to complete the process. The family can then use that passport later as a back-up plan or move to Europe immediately.
As you can see, Malta's best citizenship programmes come with a hefty price tag. However, the benefits can far outweigh the costs, especially when you consider how much you can save in taxes each year. If you want the best option for you and your family, Malta is an excellent choice.
A million-dollar investment for citizenship may not be for everyone. But you can still get a Caribbean passport that approaches the level of a US passport. Several Caribbean island nations have little or no taxes and an affordable citizenship programme.
Island nations like Antigua, Dominica and the Bahamas. Each of these countries offers foreigners the opportunity to invest and live in tranquil islands away from the intense political climate of the United States.
Antigua offers several citizenship-by-investment options that open the door to the island's culture and favorable taxes. Investing in property, local businesses, the country's university fund or donating to a public project allows investors to become citizens.
Similarly, Dominica and the Bahamas offer citizenship-by-investment programmes that provide an easy path to citizenship. The exact price of each programme varies depending on the island nation you choose.
In Antigua, you can expect to invest between US$130,000 and US$400,000, depending on the programme you choose. One of the main benefits of Antigua citizenship is that the programme extends to up to four family members for the same price. This means that if you have a spouse and children, you can obtain citizenship in Antigua at no additional cost.
There are many ways to become a citizen, but if you are concerned that your passport is not at the top of the list, citizenship by investment can help you get there in a matter of months.
So, if you are interested in finding out more about residency by investment program and its opportunities to develop business, contact us today! Below this article, you will find a link to set up a free fifteen-minute consultation with us to discuss your options further.
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