Having explained the benefits of what second citizenship can provide in our previous blog – not just for the individual in question but for his/her immediate and even extended family – the obvious question for anyone giving the idea serious consideration is – what next? How does one go about securing that treasured second passport? And where?
Although there are a number of options in terms of destination, we’ll focus on the Isle of Man, an offshore jurisdiction which offers compelling opportunities for those seeking second citizenship.
The Isle of Man is positioned in the Irish Sea, conveniently located off the west coast of the United Kingdom mainland and just an hour’s flight from London. Measuring approximately 35 miles long and 15 wide, it’s a welcoming and scenic jurisdiction, steeped in history with a reputation for being both business and family friendly given its low crime rate and advantageous tax system.
Although the Island is a British Crown Dependency in that the Queen is Head of State, it has remained a self-governing, parliamentary democracy for over a thousand years – a world record. Today, passport holders come and go as they please, with its citizens benefitting from visa free travel to the vast majority of countries around the world.
Furthermore, the Island’s Government is keen to support entrepreneurial flair and is open to fresh investment. So that’s a good starting point.
Crucially, the Isle of Man can provide a level of personal safety and security in total contrast to the hostile and dictatorial regimes that many seeking solace may well have experienced in the past.
The Sterling Role
As a long established fiduciary and professional administration services business based in the Isle of Man, Sterling has extensive experience in dealing with high net worth clients across the globe. We specialise in assisting individuals and families worldwide with an often complex range of estate planning, wealth management, tax and business structuring issues. In more recent times our services have extended to those wishing to apply for citizenship in the Isle of Man, via an Isle of Man Tier 1 Immigration Entrepreneur or Investor Visa (see our previous blog for the differences in qualification criteria).
Although there is no formal register here of approved agents, experience would show that without effective, professional assistance, it would be virtually impossible to make a successful application to the Island’s immigration department without guidance.
As experienced and well-connected practitioners, Sterling can help guide you through the application process, to ensure the preparation of a submission is correct so that it will be processed sympathetically and efficiently. And whilst on paper that may sound straightforward and clear cut, it rarely is the case when applying for full-blown immigration. It isn’t simply a case of filling in a few forms and off you go!
The reality is that the whole process can involve a great degree of soul searching and time. No two cases are the same – something that we never lose sight of. For this reason, we see our role not only to help you administratively but also to give you unfettered support – to help clarify what’s best for you individually.
Ideally, our responsibility for your case would begin right at the outset – from the time you start formulating the idea of a second citizenship.
After initial phone or email contact, we would encourage a face-to-face appointment as soon as possible, either in the Isle of Man or in a pre-arranged off-island location.
These primary consultations are arguably the most crucial in the entire application process – because they are designed to establish your suitability before starting the citizenship application.
There are many fundamental, pre-assessment issues to address. We would take the time to help you evaluate the realities of long term settlement in the Isle of Man. Typically we would want to ensure that you are comfortable with the level of investment necessary to qualify for second citizenship, whether your current business or future commercial plans would be compatible with what is available or required on the Island. And would you realistically see a long term future here for yourself and your family?
These are all pivotal considerations in establishing a solid case for proceeding with any second citizenship application.
Throughout and Beyond the Application Process
Assuming initial discussions are successful – this could be conducted over a period of months – and it seems clear there is a viable case for proceeding with a full application, that’s when our detailed background work begins on your behalf. We’ll provide all the necessary support to demonstrate your suitability for citizenship.
As a regulated business, we understand exactly what is required to get through the various checks and balances presented by the Isle of Man immigration service.
We won’t just help you through all the form filling and paperwork, but also make a thorough assessment of all aspects of your immediate and longer term requirements. This could certainly extend to tax affairs, wealth management, succession planning and types of preferred investment.
Indeed, our role may well entail a fully integrated “family office” style service – not just relating to the business venture being considered, but also finding a suitable property, helping integration in the local community, assisting with schooling, joining clubs and pursuing hobbies. We would leave no stone unturned in helping the integration process.
Working closely with the immigration services, we would coordinate the entire application process on your behalf – before, during and after its successful completion. Where external advisors or specialist support were deemed necessary, we would draw upon our network of highly experienced associates at the appropriate time. Fundamentally, however, we would always act as your point of contact, in order to maintain a streamlined service and to ensure your privacy and integrity was respected throughout.
The overriding objective would be to successfully oversee your application for citizenship at the first attempt.
So how long does the whole procedure take? Well, everything could be wrapped up within a 12 month timeframe. But every situation is unique and, by its very nature, each application put before the immigration service would have to be handled on its merits. After all, making life-changing decisions should never be knee-jerk. Given the inevitable challenges any “new citizen” would be likely to face in the Isle of Man or anywhere else for that matter, it is paramount to be properly prepared from a business and personal perspective. And these things take time.
Seeking second citizenship is not something anyone would undertake lightly. Leaving the past behind and starting a new life in an unfamiliar environment can be both testing and inspiring. But for the process to be rewarding – both from a business and family perspective – it has to be thoroughly planned and given a considerable amount of thought.
At Sterling, we will do everything we can to put ourselves in your shoes – to help you make the right decision on second citizenship. If that decision is to relocate to the Isle of Man, then we are on call to help ensure your application is readily accepted.
If citizenship by investment is something you are currently considering, then in the first instance, contact: info@https://sterling.im