The process of getting a second passport or a foreign worker visa may seem simple, but it generally isn’t. But it’s hard to ignore that saying: “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” Still, when it comes to acquiring global mobility assets, the saying doesn’t apply as often as you think it might. There are exceptions, though. Here, we’ll explore which processes you can tackle and which ones need the help of a bona fide global mobility consultant.
What Applications You Can’t Do On Your Own
You cannot apply on your own for a citizenship-by-investment program. It’s not because of the difficulty of processing the application, but because governments don’t accept applications directly from applicants. They set up intermediaries and approved agents to help market the programs and structure them.
Considerable due diligence is required of applicants for citizenship-by-investment programs. Licensed intermediaries are often seen the first line of defense against fraudulent applications. Consequently, there are no citizenship-by-investment programs you can apply for on your own without professional help.
2. Golden Visas
Residency-by-investment programs like Golden Visas tend to require an investment in real estate, a government fund or making a bank deposit. What makes professional help a must is that you have to make sure your investment qualifies for the purpose of the Golden Visa. You are often required to make the investment before applying for residency, so the risk is all yours.
The last thing you want is to lock your funds into an investment that does not qualify. The documentation can also be tricky, but it gets even trickier when the government requests proof of the legality of the funds. This can be a colossal job where an expert will be needed to submit everything to document the origin of your wealth. Someone is needed to do the back and forth with government agents. And doing that in a different language than your own? Forget about it!
3. Citizenship by Ancestry
Most of us process our own citizenship by ancestry application for our children or even for ourselves when our parents are still alive and the required documentation is easily accessible. The moment it gets tricky is when the ancestor was born more than 70 years ago or longer. It’s especially tricky when the ancestor is a grandfather or someone even farther up the family tree. You will need to identify those ancestors and trace their birthplaces. Often you will also need to prove that they didn’t lose their citizenship from their country of origin.
Many Americans may be eligible for European citizenship based on their European ancestors, but in most cases getting that passport is not a straightforward process. Taking it up without professional help might take years and create countless headaches. Many end up giving up and resorting to professional help after a year or two of unsuccessfully trying on their own. Unless you can qualify from a parent who is alive, we don’t recommend doing this on your own.
What You Can Do On Your Own
1. Retirement Visas
If you are retired and have a sizable pension, you could qualify for retirement visa across the world. Obviously, you might have a bit of research to do to figure out which countries offer retirement visas and how you can qualify for them. Hopefully you’ll still feel up to taking on the filing of the application yourself and submitting the documentation.
But things get complicated when dealing in a foreign language or when your passive income is from multiple sources. Unless you are comfortable in finance, you might want to have the guidance of a professional. Also, you have to take into consideration the time you might waste preparing the application and if it gets denied due to lack of documentation. At the retirement stage of life, time is the most valuable thing and shouldn’t be wasted.
2. Work Visas
If you are an American moving to another country for work, more often than not, your company HR department will take the necessary steps to get you a work permit. And if it’s in a country in which you speak the language, you might not even need their help to submit the documentation.
Still, it might cause you a headache or two, but it’s not rocket science. At worst, you might get delayed a few months. If you are applying in a country where you don’t know the language, we don’t recommend using a basic service like Google Translate.
3. Family Reunification
If you are living in a country and want your family to join you, you might be tempted to file an application for family reunification yourself. Family reunification can apply to children, a spouse, common-law partners, siblings and parents. Filing an application for a family member might not be very complicated, depending on the jurisdiction and whether you already know the language.
However, making mistakes on your application is common. That might set the process back half a year or so. If time is not much of a factor, then you might want to take the chance. That said, legal fees for these types of applications are usually $1,000 to $2,000.
4. Change of Status
If you have already established yourself in a country and gained legal residency, there will come a time in which you need to renew or change your status. Renewing a work permit is often rather simple. Applying for permanent residency after the required years of residency could be a tad more complicated, though, but be within reach if you are comfortable with the language.
Applying for naturalization after so many years is often done by the applicants themselves without professional help. Of course, if you can afford the average $1,500 in legal fees that lawyers charge, you might save some time and a few headaches.
At Golden Capitalist, we offer global mobility services for high net-worth individuals and their families. We are a team of highly qualified global mobility advisors that is dedicated to helping clients with their global mobility issues and requirements.