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What Nigerians can benefit from having multiple residencies and citizenships

As countries open up for travel and visits, there can be no better time to leverage opportunities provided by various states for businesses and investments than now.

Part of the way to have unlimited access to opportunities that exist in other countries is by having a second residency or citizenship.

Some benefits of second citizenship include obtaining irrevocable citizenship, registering assets with no restrictions, improving your family’s life and security, immediate access to some countries without visa and enjoying overall upgrade and conveniences amongst others.

A second residency or citizenship may be unclear or totally misunderstood, depending on who brochures the subject. For a lot of elites and middle-class citizens, this can be a bit complex, but in the last few years there has been a remarkable shift in opinions of dual nationality.

In the absence of accurate migration/emigration statistics in most 3rd world countries, analysts rely on the historical figures published by different sources, but the Investment Migration Insider (https://www.imidaily.com) which have being leading this recently reveal that there has been a surge in the number of individuals holding dual or multiple residencies and citizenships.

Read Also: Why it pays for Nigerians to invest in a second citizenship

The demand for the alternate citizenship and other residency programs among wealthy Nigerians has been gathering steam for over a decade. In the early 80s, most affluent families had their babies in the UK, taking advantage of Jus soli, commonly referred to as birthright citizenship – the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship. In the 90s the focus moved to Ireland and in the 2000s, many delivery rooms, in the United States and other European states, received tons of Nigerians searching for dual citizenship for the unborn.

Many sources claimed that applications for 2nd residency and citizenship programs increased by 185 percent by Q4 2020, making Nigerians the second-largest nationality to apply for such schemes after the Indians. Some Nigerians are predicting political chaos ahead and want to have an escape plan if the need arises, while others are exploring wealth preservation strategies in stable economies as the country deals with devaluation of the naira and inflationary trend which is overwhelming to many.

Travelling from Nigeria could be tedious due to visa requirements as only 26 countries allow Nigerian passport holders visa-free entry and most of the countries are in Africa. Favourite destinations like the United States, United Kingdom, Europe’s Schengen zone, Canada etc require Nigerians to obtain visas ahead of travelling.

For the wealthy, this is too much hassle. They detest the long queues associated with visa applications generally, and think, “why not purchase the citizenship of a country with visa-free access to Europe? What is the point of having means, if you cannot use it to buy your freedom?” An interesting thought.

Nigerians find it considerably more difficult to roam the globe than a Ghanaian, as the strength of the Nigerian passport (ranked 97th globally in terms of travel freedom) leaves little to be desired. Extensive preparation – psychologically and financially, is required to travel almost anywhere. It does not stop there, rejection rates on visa application by Nigerians is startling:

The Investment Migration Insider also reported that, the UK visitor visa refusal rates in 2019 for Nigerian nationals was 32.16 percent (42,772 of 132,996 applications rejected); Schengen visa refusal rates for Nigerian nationals in 2018 was 49.75 percent (44,076 applications rejected out of 88,587); USA B1 refusal rates for Nigerian nationals in 2019 was a colossal 67.2 percent.

Ironically, despite the visa rejections that Nigerian applicants deal with, the level of documentation required from Nigerians is far more comprehensive than any European or North American making similar applications.

Documents to be provided include proof of financial means (typically in the form of bank statements), accommodation, travel insurance, as well as, in many cases, employment contracts, income tax returns, and so on. Most Nigerians need to collate an alarming number of documents when applying for tourist / visitors’ visa, documentation comparable to documents required for a second residency or citizenship application.

Essentially, the hassle an American has to go through to obtain citizenship by investment in the Caribbean, isn’t that different from what a Nigerian would require to apply for a Schengen visa.

It’s not only about the travel; Nigerian banks face repeated sanctions, international wire transfer obstacles, and a complex financial landscape. This makes financial freedom even more difficult for some to achieve in African countries. Add to that the weak (and continually weakening) currency – one Nigerian Naira buys you US$0.0026 – this and many other factors are the reasons we advise our clients to diversify their asset base, and plug into a financial system that will also give them access to single digit borrowing to invest back in Nigeria whenever the need arises

The rationale for a 2nd residency and citizenship to many Nigerians is safety.

A recent report ranks Nigeria 3rd in the Global Terrorism Index, surpassed only by Afghanistan and Iraq, and well ahead of perennially combustible destinations like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. The recent wave of banditry and kidnapping is compelling enough for emigration. Relocation to Canada is quite popular with the middle class, and also aspirational to the lower socio-economic class.

Despite all the challenges, the opportunities in Nigeria are enormous and new millionaires are emerging every year. At A. D. & Partners, we do not believe that a 2nd residency and citizenship is indicative of losing faith in your country of origin – it primarily is a means of positioning yourself for global opportunities.

 Iduh, is the managing partner A. D. & PartnersInfo@adandpartners.com: 08055550850

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