We often get requests from clients working in the IT business. As digital entrepreneurs, these individuals are typically not tied to one specific location and can live and work internationally. In this Case we would like to address some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from such clients, on a real-life example.
- What kind of document would give me visa-free travel around the world, for business and pleasure?
- Would I be able to open bank accounts with such a document? Online entrepreneurs typically require international bank accounts in different currencies, for a smoother running of their business, without additional bank fees and transfer restrictions.
- Can I become a tax resident of the country of my new residency of citizenship, and what are the requirements?
- Anton, 35, founder of a successful IT company working with Russian and overseas contractors.
- Vitalina, 34, has her own IT company and works both independently and together with Anton.
- Svetlana, 1 year old, their daughter.
The ProblemAnton and Vitalina are actively developing their business and are planning to enter new, overseas markets. However, being based in Russia, all too often they encounter issues with international payments in foreign currencies, due to controls on international transfers and Russia’s policies on foreign currencies. As a result, sometimes the payments go the lengthy way from a client to the contractor, only to be reverted back to the client account, because of regulatory conflicts. At that, these bank transfers build up overseas commissions every step of the way, leading to unplanned expenses for our Clients’ businesses. In addition to extra expenses, these issues considerably prolong the terms of payments and risk negatively affecting our Clients’ relationships with overseas companies, who might be put off by such complications. Furthermore, our Clients wanted to open a company in a different jurisdiction, if possible with the passports of a new, second citizenship, in order to avoid the red tape of Russian foreign currency controls, and diversify their tax burden. The Clients already had permanent residence permits for two countries, in one of which they have lived permanently for over three years, and in the other they eventually lost their residency status because of not visiting the country often enough. This meant a more complicated process in terms of obtaining a second citizenship, for example because such patchwork of recent places of residency would require submitting statements of criminal record from each of those countries. Which, naturally, means time and extra costs.
Goals and ObjectivesThe key goals were to optimise the running of their businesses, and to travel unhindered around the world in order to establish better business contacts. And last but not least, of course the young couple liked the prospect of experiencing the lifestyle of some of the beautiful and interesting countries around the world. Not to mention the obvious concern of any parent for the future of their child: Svetlana was still very small, but in the future her parents would need to think of her school and university education. As educated professionals, Vitalina and Anton wanted their daughter also to receive excellent education and good work prospects for the future.
Looking for a SolutionWe offered our Clients two options we considered to be best in their specific case:
- Citizenship of Malta for a partially non-refundable investment of around EUR 1 mln
- Citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda for a non-refundable investment of USD 100,000
Starting the Cooperation, and an Unexpected ProblemThe Clients made their choice, and we set about collecting the necessary documents, when – an unexpected bump in the road! Turns out, the Clients have previously held several permanent residency permits in different countries. On a bureaucratic level, this means having to submit statements of criminal record from every country of residency longer than six months over the past ten years. After a closer review of the situation, it turned out that in one of those countries our Clients did hold a residency permit but in reality visited it very rarely and had never resided there for any extended period of time. This made the document collection a bit easier, but we still had to request, wait for, and obtain the statement of criminal record from the second country of our Client’s past residency. Seems easy enough, but the drawback, as usual, was time: such statements have to be requested through the respective consulate of this country in the country of the Client’s nationality (Russia), and the typical waiting time was three months. This was not an acceptable delay for our Clients. Our solution was to recruit a reliable legal counsel in the country of our Client’s past residency, who would be able to obtain such statement from the national authorities directly. This was not an easy task, but we managed, thanks to our well-established international network of business contacts. As a result, the waiting time was considerably reduced and we managed to assemble a full portfolio of the necessary documents and apply for our Clients’ citizenship-by-investment in just two weeks. After the submission, the portfolio is reviewed by an agency officially authorised by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. This process took six months – longer than usual, due to the agency’s backlog of applications from Asia.
The ResultsHalf a year later, we were proud to congratulate Anton and Vitalina on the approval of their naturalisation application, and on their new life without borders:
- Now they could travel hassle-free to most countries of the world
- In winter, they can choose to leave Europe and travel to the warmer climates
- Their business has reached new heights, thanks to smoother international transactions
- They became the tax residents of the Caribbean Community
- which allowed them to optimise their income taxation
- Anton and Vitalina can easily open EU bank accounts
- No more currency issues, easing the business settlements processes and reducing costs