Grenada’s Citizenship’ll Enable Nigerians Travel To 140 European Nations, Says Britishborn Hotelier, Mohammed Asaria
Mr. Mohammed Asaria, a British-born Grenada industrialist, who grew up in England and studied Law at the famous Cambridge University, is the Managing Director of Citizenship by Investment (CBI). In this interview with NDUBUISI UGAH, he explains why he is targeting the Nigerian hospitality industry to develop ultra-luxury hotels where investors may apply for second citizenship, among others. Excerpt:
For the benefit of hindsight, what do you mean by Citizenship by Investment?
Citizenship by Investment (CBI), sometimes referred to as Economic Citizenship, is a process by which foreign nationals can receive a second citizenship in exchange for a monetary investment in the target country. The foreign investor’s money is typically invested in a government-approved real estate project.
For example, by investing US $220,000, plus associated government fees in our government- approved Six Senses real estate project on the island nation of Grenada, investors and their families are granted dual citizenship without the need to visit or reside on the island. Citizenship is granted expeditiously within a three-month period.
Citizenship of Grenada allows an individual the ability to travel to 140 countries (including the UK, Schengen, Russia, China and many more) without the need for a prior visa, and moreover allows them to make an investment (suggested minimum of USD150,000) in the United States in exchange for residency under the e2 visa program (this may be achieved with in a six week period)
How can interested Nigerian applicants get access to this travelling plan?
Our team can be reached on email at info@rangedevelopments. com and on WhatsApp: +971 52 732 4097. Interested investors can also visit our website www.rangedevelopments.com, where there is a contact form.
What are your thoughts on obtaining second citizenship as an investment decision?
Citizenship by Investment is a solid investment decision, as it provides the investor with global mobility, a hedge against current political, social and economic anxieties, and the opportunity to migrate to the US, if so desired.
The opportunity secures a family’s future with citizenship for life, including an unlimited number of eligible dependents, passed down to generations (applicants are not required to visit or reside on the islands). Particularly when investing in Grenada, there is a relatively low minimum amount required, as well as favourable tax laws and dual-citizenship regulations.
How would you rate the level of acceptance and how do you see this in five years time.
We are very selective who we on board as clients, and for this reason we have over a 95 per cent acceptance rate. We work with the most renowned lawyers in Grenada and the United States to ensure our clients applications are handled in the most professional and efficient manner.
Year on year, the demand for second citizenship is growing. In 2020, Grenada recorded a 25 per cent increase in the number of applications and the government singled out Range Developments as the prime contributor to this increase.
What has being the recent trends in the demand for second citizenship, especially from developing countries?
Would you say the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic played any role in this a positive or negative role? At Range Developments, we have seen a significant uptick in interest and demand for second citizenships, from developing countries and beyond. The worldwide pandemic has certainly played a role in this increase, as wealthy individuals and their families seek safe, isolated opportunities for a second residence, and a path to dual citizenship.
The pandemic has created anxieties – whether these are social, political or economic in nature. Second Citizenship is a hedge against some of these challenges. Travel restrictions will be with us for the foreseeable future and visas will be harder to acquire.
So, for high net worth individuals from the emerging market, the need for a citizenship which provides wide visa free travel is no longer a luxury it is a necessity so they may continue their businesses in an uninterrupted manner.
Aside from restrictions on personal mobility, the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably lead to heightened capital controls and additional taxes on the wealthy. Second Citizenship can mitigate against some of these challenges.
Can you take us through Range Developments trackrecord and success stories you have had in helping immigrant investors secure second citizenship and US residency?
Since our foundi n g in 2011, Range Developments has emerged as the global leader in the field of citizenship by investment development. We are the only CBI developer that has completed two 5-star luxury resorts. Our track record speaks for itself – we work with world-renowned brands such as Park Hyatt St. Kitts (opened in 2017), the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski Dominica (opened in 2019) and, in Grenada, Six Senses La Sagesse. Our hotels have featured widely and won awards in the top media outlets including CNN, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Caribbean Journal, and Vogue.
Our projects have attracted over 1,600 investors and helped more than 4,000 individuals gain second citizenship so far. With increasingly tightened restrictions on immigration to the United States, CBI programmes may be the only option for immigrants seeking a better life for their families.
There is a ban on Nigerians applying for permanent residency in the United States, this is on top of the recent suspension of L1 and H1B visas. Grenada, through its unique treaty with the United States, facilitates an avenue for Grenadian citizens and their families to live in the United States through the E2 visa programme. An E2 visa may be obtained in as little as 6 weeks and requires an investment to be made in the investor’s own business – there is no stipulated minimum amount but USD150,000 is recommended in practice.
Your third citizenship by investment project Six Senses La Sagesse is underway. Can you share what the project is about and how it is relevant to Nigerians seeking second citizenship and US residency? Why is this very important?
Six Senses La Sagesse, expected to be complete by 2022, is slated to feature one hundred luxury rooms and suites, oceanfront villas, spas, shops and watersports’ facilities. Six Senses is considered one of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands and is part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group.
By investing in our government-approved project, Nigerians will have a clear, reliable path to second citizenship in Grenada and residency in the US. 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.
And this is where Grenada is unique, in the access it offers to this type of visa. We have assisted many Nigerians with this route to the United States.
What would it cost a prospective client to acquire second citizenship in Grenada and what are the eligibility criteria?
By investing US $220,000, plus associated government fees in Range Developments’ Six Senses Grenada project, investors and their families are granted dual citizenship.
The investor must undergo a due diligence assessment before being awarded second citizenship. This process can be completed in three months.The investor is required to maintain his investment for five years, following which this can be sold to another investor who may also apply for second citizenship of Grenada, whilst the original investor maintains his citizenship in perpetuity.
Is this second citizenship package transferable to applicants’ offspring and to what extent are spouses and extended family members covered?
Yes, family members can be included on the citizenship application. Siblings (unmarried and without children) of the primary applicant and his or her spouse, children below the age of 30 and parents are also eligible for citizenship. Citizenship is passed down through generations.
Is there a minimum holding period for foreign buyers of Grenada properties to enjoy citizenship?
There is a five-year holding period. After this period, an investor can resell their investment to any subsequent investor interested in second citizenship. The original investor keeps his or her passport.
Can you give a sense of the minimum required investment in the US by Grenada passport holders in exchange for residency?
There is actually no set minimum investment required to participate in the E2 visa programme, as long as the investment is sufficient enough to establish and operate a profitable business in the US, however the general range is $100,000 to $300,000 and the suggested minimum investment amount is US $150,000.
Does Range Development apply for the E-2 US Visa on behalf of interested clients or is that part of the journey left for immigrant investors to take care of themselves?
We pride ourself on our customer service and customer satisfaction. We assist the client at every single step of their citizenship by investment journey and subsequent US E2 visa application process.
Can you tell us how long it takes from the process of application to acquiring the second citizenship documents in Grenada, is this the same process for US residency typically?
Investors and their families typically receive their passports less than 120 days after submitting the application documents. E-2 visas can be processed in approximately two months, making them an ideal choice for foreign investors seeking an expedited pathway to US residency.