Many who read this have been researching global mobility assets like golden visas, citizenship-by-investment programs and citizenship by ancestry for some time. It’s always important to have a basic understanding of these assets before you apply for them or making investments toward getting them. One must know and acknowledge the possible benefits and consequences. For Americans, this step is even more important due to their unique tax situation.
Legal fees to obtain a global mobility asset can range from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on your situation. Costs can run even higher if you add international tax planning. Costs toward obtaining a residency or citizenship-by-investment program often include:
- Professional advisory fees
- Legal fees
- Government application fees
- Asset acquisition fees (including real estate-related fees, such as a transfer tax, municipal tax, notary fees, agent fees and registration fees)
There are things that you can do on your own and there are other processes you simply can’t do on your own. Obviously, the more you value your time, the more you put it to work for you.
How To Choose Your Professional Global Mobility Advisor
The professional global mobility advisor is the one who will guide you through the process and protect your interests. As an American, when you choose your advisor you have to make sure the advisor is strong when it comes to these four pillars:
1. Being A Global Mobility Specialist
This is perhaps the most key aspect for Americans looking to obtain a global mobility asset. Traditional firms that provide mobility assets have, during the last decade, mainly sourced their clients from emerging countries, such as wealthy Chinese investors looking to relocate to the U.S. or Canada. The products they sell are often geared toward these emerging markets. As an American, when you consult with these traditional firms, don’t be surprised if they ask you for a one-size-fits-all solution that isn’t necessarily in your best interest, like simply getting the Portugal Golden Visa and a Caribbean passport.
These can be good solutions, but what some lesser firms don’t know is that Americans can often qualify for a multitude of other residency programs and citizenship based on their ancestral roots. These global mobility assets are something investors from emerging countries would not qualify for but Americans just might.
Hiring the right global mobility consultant will set you toward the best path possible, not only in terms of destinations but also if you are looking at tax aspects. Do not trust those who would sell you global mobility assets without understanding international taxation, especially if you, are an American with unique needs in this regard.
2. Extensive Knowledge of International Taxation
Americans pay taxes on their worldwide income, independent of where they live. In effect, this means American expats pay U.S. income taxes even when they live abroad. This reality is pretty much unique to Americans. A Canadian, for example, can break his tax residency in Canada, move to a tax-free jurisdiction and potentially never pay income tax again. As an American, it’s a different story.
Someone telling you that simply getting a second passport and forfeiting your Americans citizenship will release you of your tax obligations toward Uncle Sam might lead you into unexpected and troublesome side effects. It’s only as easy as it sounds. If you own assets, you will need a specialist to help you structure every asset for the inevitable exit tax (should you forfeit American citizenship and plan for a possible departure from the U.S.).
This act is not something you put in the hands of an amateur or someone not licensed for the job. You need a global mobility tax consultant, the best in the business. At the end of the day, if you can reduce your tax liability from $20 million to $5 million, it’s worth every penny.
3. The Ability To Correctly and Efficiently Process Files
Depending on the type of global mobility asset, filing an application can be very complex. You might think every professional advisor should be able to properly file an application, and you may be right. But the problem often arises when firms are understaffed to be more profitable, or they process files using underqualified staff.
In the end, many of these firms are businesses that want to make money and might cut costs to increase profitability. You might talk to a professional advisor initially, then be quickly kicked down as soon as you sign, which brings you to a less-experience staffer with no legal background. This can turn out to be a mess, as applications can be lost, delayed and refused.
These types of firms are not able to provide the required quality of service. Unfortunately, this is very common in this industry. The bigger firms don’t necessarily equate to being better, either. They might kick your application down to a rookie paralegal, whereas a boutique firm might pride itself on having the owner review each case before filing.
4. Be A Qualified Global Investment Advisor
When selecting a residency or citizenship-by-investment program, the investment you choose becomes very important. When being advised on an investment, you want to make sure the person giving the advice is actually qualified to do so.
An immigration lawyer or consultant might not have the expertise to evaluate investment projects, making his or her opinion void of any real value. Registered global investment advisors, however, are qualified to advise on investments. They have the industry knowhow and expertise to provide an educated opinion on each project.
Golden Capitalist offers global mobility services for expats, consultants, and businesses. We are the leading global mobility firm. We specialize in Global Mobility Services (Citizenship by Investment, Golden visas, Citizenship by ancestry) & relocation services.