New Options for Fast-Track EU Citizenship

New Options for Fast-Track EU Citizenship

By Mark Nestmann • February 13, 2013

Two weeks ago, I returned to the United States after more than three weeks abroad, first in the Caribbean, then in Europe.  I've come back with new options for Fast-Track EU Citizenship.

My last stop in Europe was in London, where I met with Jonathan Chalmers, a citizenship and residence consultant who on February 15 will open The Nestmann Group's newest representative office there. He will be assisting our clients in Europe, the Middle East, and Russia with citizenship applications for the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, along with selected EU countries.

Jonathan's 30-year career began with the U.K.'s immigration service, and he also served as a senior advisor to former U.K. Home Secretary Douglas Hurd during the Thatcher administration.  In 1989, Jonathan left government service and subsequently became the director of several immigration, nationality, and work permit consultancies with both private and multinational clients including 3M, TDK, Aon, Phillip Morris, Kraft, and Omnicom, whose intra-company programs he managed.

From 2007-10 Jonathan was a member of Henley & Partners’ Residence and Citizenship Practice Group based in Zurich, Jersey, and London. While there, he drafted proposals for citizenship-by-investment programs for the governments of several Caribbean, European and African countries. He was also involved in setting up Henley's first Global Residence and Citizenship Conference, as well as expanding its U.K. presence among family offices, private banks, tax advisors, and asset managers.

Jonathan has personally handled dozens of applications for EU citizenship, primarily in the Republic of Austria. A successful application will lead to Austrian citizenship for your entire family—you, your spouse and up to two unmarried children under 18.  Moreover, applications are considered Austrian state secrets. The issuance of the passport won’t be publicized in any manner nor revealed to any foreign government.

The Austrian passport is one of the world's most desirable travel documents. An Austrian passport not only permits you to live or work in any of the 27 EU countries without obtaining a visa, but also allows visa-free travel to more countries than any other travel document (including the United States), with the possible exception of Switzerland. It also permits you to visit countries that you can't visit (at least not officially) with a U.S. passport (such as Cuba). As such, an Austria passport is an excellent alternative to a U.S. passport for current U.S. citizens considering expatriation.

Another benefit of an Austrian passport is Austria’s traditional neutrality. Austrians have a long history as mediators due to the country’s location in the center of Europe. The country enjoys good relations with Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, and Middle Eastern countries. You’ll find that an Austrian passport is welcome almost anywhere, and, in a “terrorist” situation, less likely to raise political antagonism than, for instance, a U.S. or U.K. passport. Finally, with an Austrian passport, you’ll be eligible to purchase real estate in Austria and throughout the EU, with fewer restrictions than would otherwise apply.

While it’s not well known outside Austria, it’s possible to obtain Austrian citizenship in exchange for making a significant contribution to Austria. Only a handful of persons gain citizenship in this manner every year, compared to the approximately 30,000 per annum that become citizens via naturalization, which ordinarily requires 10 years of continuous legal residence. Jonathan has handled numerous applications of this type.

There’s another benefit as well—under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, if you qualify for an “instant” grant of Austrian citizenship, you won’t need to give up your previous passport. This is in contrast to other ways of acquiring Austrian citizenship, which require relinquishing your previous citizenship and passport. Nor is there a need to sign an Integration Agreement, pass an exam on Austrian history or the Austrian Constitution, or to learn German, if you qualify under this provision. The passports that you and your family receive will be indistinguishable from an ordinary Austrian passport.

There are four types of significant contributions you can make in order to qualify for citizenship in this manner:

  •  Cultural. This category includes a famous actor, actress, poet, or other person who portrays Austria in a positive light and brings the country substantial benefits in the form of publicity, tourism, etc. It also includes individuals who make a substantial financial contribution to an Austrian cultural icon.
  •  Sports. This category encompasses famous football (soccer) players, skiers, etc., who star on Austrian teams, thereby leading to added prestige to Austria.
  • Science. This category includes famous scientists and researchers or professors.
  • Economic. This category covers persons who make a significant acquire, form, or bring a company to Austria, or form a joint venture with an Austrian company, thereby contributing to a substantial number of new jobs, increased exports, etc.

An application for “instant" citizenship usually can be processed in 12-18 months, although occasionally it takes more time. This process, in virtually all cases, requires the assistance of a qualified intermediary, such as Jonathan. This is not only because of the political sensitivity of instant citizenship—applications must be handled with substantial “finesse” by the intermediary that you choose—but because every minister in the Austrian government must personally sign off on your application. Each of them must be convinced that your application is in the interest of the Austria.

And it’s expensive—unless you're a famous opera star or one of the world's best soccer players, you'll need to come up with at least $3 million (including all fees) to qualify. What's more, the most clear-cut path to "instant" citizenship is by making a donation—not an investment. So once you spend the money, you won't get it back, although under Austrian law, the contribution is tax deductible. Fortunately, the arrangement is structured so that you pay the bulk of the donation only after approval. All funds are kept in an escrow account, so your interests are at all times 100% protected.

Jonathan has succeeded in obtaining Austrian or other EU citizenship and passport for numerous nationalities, including Iraq, Syria, Russia, and of course, the United States. If you're seriously interested in this option and have the economic means to make the required donation, contact me immediately at info@nestmann.com, and I'll put you in touch with Jonathan Chalmers.

Or contact our new representative office in London directly at:

The Nestmann Group, Ltd.

100 Pall Mall

St James

London SW1Y 5NQ

United Kingdom

Tel.: +(44) 20 7321 3771 [beginning 15 Feb. 2013]

Fax: +(44) 20 7321 3738 [beginning 15 Feb. 2013]

E-mail: london [at] nestmann.com

Copyright (c) 2013 by Mark Nestmann

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About The Author

Since 1990, Mark Nestmann has helped thousands of clients seeking wealth preservation and international tax planning solutions. He is the author of highly acclaimed Lifeboat Strategy and other books & reports dealing with these subjects.

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