There's definitely a certain prestige that comes with having multiple passports - not to mention an easier life when it comes to visiting and living in other countries. What many do not realize, however, is that it's not necessary to have a spouse or blood relative to get a second passport; it's actually possible to 'buy' citizenships to multiple countries, if you have enough cash.
It's far from the only way that the super-rich get to have a very different travel experience, of course. From being able to visit exclusive hotels and resorts, to flying on their own private jets, being rich definitely makes a difference when it comes to seeing the world. This ability to buy a passport isn't as simple as forking over a few hundred thousand for a new citizenship, though. It comes via investment in the country - usually through real estate - that allows people to become citizens or long-term residents.
Known as Citizenship By Investment (CIP) programmes, multiple countries including Thailand, St Lucia, Antigua, Cambodia, Greece, and even the US have this option. Of course, the cost and limitations range from place to place, and only some of these countries offer full citizenship. One of the cheapest places where it's possible to purchase a 'passport' is Thailand, where 'Elite Residency' visas start at just over $15,000 for a five-year residency visa. One of the priciest is the UK, where $2.57 million invested in the economy can get you a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa for five years (after which you can apply for indefinite leave to remain).
These CIP programs are designed to allow people to live and work in a country if they are contributing significantly to its economy through investments, and as such, certainly, make some sense. For many people, these are also a fantastic way to move to a country that they have no prior connection to, and there are many who take part in CIP visas and citizenships in order to live and work in their new country permanently.
However, there are also plenty of people who use the CIP program as a way to simply collect passports as a status symbol, or to gain tax benefits from owning real estate in multiple countries. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this - if the super-rich want to show off with a passport rather than a Ferrari, why stop them? But for those who don't have millions in the bank, it may still be possible to move to an exotic location with a few extra thousand...
Source: Business Insider