The following interview features Mohammed Asaria, Managing Director of Range Developments, as he explains how Nigerians can participate in Grenada's citizenship by investment program which offers a second citizenship.
Q: Your organization is known for the development and completion of luxury and high-end resorts under Citizenship-by-Investment programmes. What exactly is a Citizenship-by-Investment programme all about?
A: The concept is very simple: in return for a real estate investment or a contribution to the government, an investor is allowed to apply for citizenship of a country. If successful, they become eligible for many of the benefits that follow, including visa-free travel to many worldwide destinations, access to a tax-efficient jurisdiction, and much more. In the case of economic citizenship of Grenada, an individual can invest and reside in the United States.
Q: Under this programme, it is said that a person or investor can legally acquire a new nationality in return for an investment in the economy of the host country. Can you shed more light on this?
A: Absolutely right. And even better than that, if an investor becomes a citizen of Grenada they can then apply for an E2 visa for the United States. This allows citizens of Grenada to live in the US. Grenada is the only citizenship by investment jurisdiction in the Caribbean that extends this benefit to its economic citizens.
Q: What is the difference between the citizenship-by-Investment programme and Golden Visa programme?
A: Citizenship-by-Investment offers the chance to become a full citizen of a country, with all the benefits that imply, including mobility and security. The Golden Visa programmes offer just residency, although in some cases they can lead to full citizenship after many years, typically seven. In the case of the Portuguese Golden Visa, the process takes seven years, with the requirement to spend a week or two in Portugal each year, and learn the language.
Q: On the issues of security, financial crimes, money laundering, etc., what is your take on these?
A: There is a strict due diligence process that every applicant needs to undergo. These are in-depth and independent. To the best of our knowledge no known criminal has ever succeeded in applying for citizenship In Grenada.
Q: It is interesting to note that your company has grown to become the leading Citizenship-by-Investment developer. What would you say is responsible for this feat?
A: Hard work, some smart thinking, a good team and a desire to deliver on our promises! Besides, we take our responsibilities very seriously. For our staff and shareholders, we want to continue to have a thriving business. For our investors, we want to be sure that they receive what they are due. And for the inhabitants of the island where we are building, we want to provide jobs, sustainable projects and honour our promises.
Q: How can a citizenship status be conferred on someone without causing any major disruptions to an investor’s life?
A: The application process is now quite streamlined. For an investment in a country such as Grenada, the application takes 3 to 4 months. The subsequent E2 application takes from 2 to 3 months.
Q: What will you say is responsible for the higher concentration of CBI programmes in the Caribbean region and how can Africa as a continent benefit?
A: Really through its history and its membership of the Commonwealth, the Caribbean is ideally poised to benefit from the Citizenship-by-Investment industry. In Grenada’s case, the ability for its citizens to invest and reside in the United States stemmed from the treaty of trade and commerce entered into after the US invaded Grenada in 1983. Grenada is unique in providing US access to its citizens among Caribbean CBI countries.
Many African investors are investing in the Caribbean islands and availing second citizenship. This is a growing treat and provides African HNW with frictional travel benefits across UK, Europe, Russia and beyond. Moreover, Grenada provides African HNW the ability to access the US economy and grow their businesses.
Q: In your view, what are the many benefits for participating in the Citizenship by Investment programmes?
A: As an antidote to uncertainty, a Citizenship-by-Investment programme allows investor mobility, security, and access to education for their children as well as tax-friendly regimes. This is also in Grenada’s case with the ability to invest and reside in the United States.
Q: How can Nigeria benefit because the country is considered the fastest growing economy in Africa?
A: Any successful investor should have a policy of diversification. Not only is a real estate investment a good idea but in many cases, it is the only way for Nigerians to live and work in the United States. due to the recent suspension of L1, H1B visas for all foreigners and a temporary ban of EB5 visas to Nigerians by the US government, one of the only ways to move to the US is through applying for an E2 visa. This is where Grenada is unique.
Q: Kindly tell us the application process for interested Nigerians.
A: Grenada has emerged as the leading CBI option due to its multiple benefits and access to the E2 visa, as well as, visa-free travel to China. Citizenship of Grenada may be obtained in a cost-effective manner expeditiously within 90 days following a detailed due diligence process on the applicant. This is also a very cost effective-jurisdiction in comparison with the range of other existing citizenship programs. Potential investors can either email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +971 55 887 4216.
Q: Can you shed more light on the cost implication of second citizenship in Grenada and the eligibility criteria?
A: To secure Grenadian citizenship, investors must first invest US$220,000 (plus government fees based on the composition of the family) in a government-approved real-estate project, such as Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada and apply for citizenship of Grenada. The level of government fees depends on the number of family members the main applicant is planning to include into a citizenship application. So, for a family of four, there will be an additional US$80,000 of government fees.
The investor must hold the investment for 5 years. Thereafter they can resell the investment to another investor who can also apply for citizenship of Grenada. The original investor keeps their citizenship in perpetuity. In addition, an investor will also receive a profit from the operations of the hotel. The projected yield is from 2% to 4% once the hotel opens.
Q: How can middle income earning people be a part of this investment opportunity especially with many still recovering from the economic effects of a pandemic?
A: Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for second citizenship programs has increased. While the outlook remains uncertain, many people are nervous about capital controls, higher taxation and even social unrest, are embracing the options that second citizenship gives them.
It is no longer just the preserve of the very wealthy. Citizenship seekers are no longer just looking for mobility, but also as a hedge against some of these challenges. This explains why Grenada has become so topical, as it provides an avenue to relocate to the United States quickly – in just six weeks with an E2 visa – by establishing a business in the US.
Q: You said that the citizenship process can be completed within a three to four-month window, what steps does Range Development take to enhance this speedy process?
A: Range Developments is the leading developer of luxury hotels under the citizenship by investment projects in the Caribbean. Our track record speaks for itself: we work with world-renowned brands such as Park Hyatt St. Kitts (open in 2017), the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica (open in 2019) and, in Grenada, Six Senses La Sagesse. The completion of Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada is due in Q4 2022. Our hotels have featured widely and won awards in the leading media – including CNN, Bloomberg, New York Times, Caribbean Journal, and Vogue. Our clients come from many different regions, including India, China, Russia, the Middle East, South Africa, and Nigeria among others. We have assisted more than 1,600 investors so far with more than 4,000 passports issued to their families. In conjunction with leading US law firms, we have helped scores of investors to reside in the United States.
Q: How does Range offer assistance to interested clients for the E2 US Visa application process?
A: Range Developments recommends US immigration lawyers who can assist with the E2 application process.