Having a Western passport comes with many perks, such as getting to enjoy travelling from one country to another.
Russian Nuri Katz, founder of investment firm Apex Capitals, holds three passports - Israeli, Canadian and U.S. Having to get these passports, the businessman paid $6.8 million.
"A lot of people do not know what they want. "'I want to go there,' clients say. Well, 'there' is 150 different countries." Apex Capitals is a Russian-centric investment business which guides clients through the citizenship-by-investment application process.
Countries which encourage such applications are the U.S., Britain, Canada, and smaller nations like the Caribbean islands of Antigua and St. Kitts.
In 2010, metals billionaire Alexander Abramov paid for $7.4 million in investments or real estate. In the case of St. Kitts, it would only cost $400,000 for citizenship for real estate purchases.
Having two passports also has its downside. Billionaire banker Vitaly Malkin resigned from the Federation Council after his Israeli citizenship and decades-long quest for Canadian citizenship was revealed. Also, applying for the citizenship requires explaining the applicant's financial history to immigration officials unfamiliar with Russian history and accounting practices. Irina Zozulya whose family emigrated to the U.S. in 1998, suffered from a year long process of back and forth to U.S. immigration services in Moscow.
While others endure getting their citizenship, other Russian businessmen and billionaires have secured their passports very quickly. Billionaire Leonid Nevzlin got his passport in one month after donating $1.5 million to a diaspora museum and promising an additional $20 million.
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