Deciding on obtaining a second citizenship or immigrating to another country is not a small decision; it is a life-altering journey that can greatly enhance your living standard and provide you with unparalleled freedoms if done correctly. The key to broadening your horizon through obtaining a second citizenship is choosing the right citizenship by investment firm to guide you, and today we will take you through the top 5 things to consider when choosing an RCBI firm.
Number One: Certification
The most important factor to consider when approaching an RCBI firm is whether they are certified agents of any given second citizenship by investment program or not. Countries such as Antigua & Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia require their international agents to be certified and listed on their website
By requesting to see the certification of any given firm (see example below), or checking on the government’s official site, you know you have a good start to becoming a global citizen. Working with a certified agent is the legal route to obtaining second citizenship, but it comes with a multitude of other benefits such as:
- Knowledge and experience: certified firms are always in direct contact with the relevant government; giving them unique insights and knowledge about the citizenship by investment program. That same government monitors its agents to ensure they are providing up-to-standard services to investors and working within the legal boundaries of the law.
- The process firms undergo to become accredited by a citizenship by investment unit is a costly and rigorous one. They are perpetually under high scrutiny from the government to ensure their processes and practices are all legal and match the required standards, and the process is done annually and they must undergo due diligence every year to maintain their status as government-authorised agents. These are firms that invest time, money, and effort into becoming authorized agents, and these are the firms that you should choose when inquiring about citizenship by investment programs.
- Avoid unintentional misrepresentation – working with a firm that is not certified by the government may put you in the unenviable situation of misrepresentation, as the government may deem your application to be illegal or ingenuine. Even in the case an application faces any hurdles, unaccredited firms do not have the expertise, connections, or relationships to be able to save your application; this is turn could cost you massive amounts of time, money, and could lead to future complications when re-applying for the same citizenship by investment program or any others.
- It is more cost-effective – choosing a certified firm enables you to work directly with the relevant parties and government representatives. Firms that are not certified, however, will most probably send your application to a third-party certified firm, incurring extra administrative fees along the way. Not only that, but in the event of a problem you would find yourself in a situation of “he said, she said” and have your file stuck indefinitely.
- It is faster – a certified firm has direct communication with the relevant government and it is your direct connection to the country you are applying to become a citizen of. This makes the process more precise and transparent.Certified firms are usually well established with long-term relationships with citizenship by investment units that are based on mutual respect; this in turn, leads to smoother and faster processes.
Number Two: Transparency & Honesty
We at Savory & Partners hold transparency and honesty as core values at our firm, be it with our clients or among our team, we value the truth. We strive to create open and honest communication lines with our clients, and we hope they respond in kind. We are not saying we are the only firm with these values, of course, as many out there adopt them as well, all we are saying is that it is important you look for them when choosing a CBI consultancy, and here is why:
- CBI is a life changer – When you are considering obtaining a second citizenship through investment you are embarking on a venture that is both extremely sensitive, personal, and extremely beneficial. You need a partner that is completely honest, gives you truthful information, and provides you with the options that best suit your needs, not theirs. There are various options to choose from and some may benefit you more than others, it is important a CBI firm show you which one is the best option for you and why.
- Disruptions may occur – working with any government in the world is a tricky matter, as any slight disruption on the government’s end may create a backlog or delay in processing files. This was very apparent in 2020, as the pandemic forced government offices to shut down for some time. But even other disruptions, such as weather or natural occurrences, for example, may create delays. It is important to have a firm that quickly updates you and lets you know what is happening in real-time, and why. Just imagine you order a package, and it is late 5 days and the company you ordered it from is not answering your calls, how upset would you be? Now imagine that the company informed you before the delay that the package will take 5 more days due to a certain reason, wouldn’t that be a much better customer experience? Transparency is hard, and that is why only a handful of companies completely adopt it. That is why clients who value honesty and transparency choose Savory & Partners, as we go the extra mile to ensure that all our communications and operations are transparent and genuine.
Number Three: Expertise & Track Record
This one is quite logical, we know, but still very important that we need to mention it. Choosing a CBI firm that knows what it is doing is not that difficult, choosing one that has perfected the craft, however, is like striking gold. The knowledge, experience, and specialization of a CBI firm play a colossal part in a customer’s experience, and you want yours to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Here are just some reasons why you should do your research and choose a firm with outstanding experience in the field:
- Gain invaluable information – look for a firm that has been around long enough that they know what was, what is, and what is to come. This way you can get inside information about any possible future opportunities that may suit you better than the ones available. Or maybe a government is looking to increase investment amounts in a couple of months, and a firm that can anticipate that is able to expedite your process to save you money and time.
- Get your second passport quickly – having experts work on your application makes it uncomplicated and organised.You won’t be getting a call every few days from your case handler requesting another document they forgot to ask you for when you started the process, they won’t make silly mistakes that require you to resubmit, and they will be able to make your life easier by handling everything on your behalf. When an expert has handled complicated files and spent years honing their knowledge you can just lay back and relax while they get you and your family that new passport that opens the doors of the world wide open.
- Make smart investments – this is extremely important, as citizenship by investment is a two-part venture, it’s both about the citizenship and the actual investment. Working with inexperienced or new professionals means your investment is a means to an end. Working with seasoned experts, however, means your investment is just as important as the citizenship part; and they are able to consult you on the best investment options that not only get you your new passport, but a good return and exit strategy for your investment as well.
Finding firms that exude expertise will be the first step in a successful citizenship by investment application. Take Savory & Partners for instance: their team has a combined 35 years of CBI experience and has been a family-owned business since 1797.
The Savory name holds a great weight of honour since the founders, Savory & Moore, were named Royal Chemists to the King and Queen of England.
With a lineage known for its superior level of integrity, dating back over 200 years, the Savory legacy continues to build on their commitment to excellence and upholding their family values.
Number Four: It is About Value, Not Price
Ah yes, let’s talk about office fees. In order for a CBI consultancy to take on your file and submit your application, they will request service or office fees. Nothing out of the ordinary there. What you need to do is make sure that the structure of their fees proves good value for money and corresponds to swift action. Here are some thoughts on office fees:
- Payment breakdown – you want office fees to cover the workload of a firm so it takes immediate action, but you also want to keep the fees in easy-to-handle and bundled payments. Paying all upfront is not a fan favourite while paying in two or three instalments keeps the process going smoothly and doesn’t give you a headache of having to transfer small amounts every few days. Look out for firms that do not offer a refund guarantee if your application is not approved. Also, if a CBI firm expects you to pay upfront, something is not right.
- Beware of firms that do not show you the product you are investing in. If you are getting citizenship through investing in real estate be sure to find a firm that provides you with important information such as floor plans, ROI, liquidation strategy, and more. Make sure a firm is providing you with a product suitable to your taste and need.
- Good value for money – looking for the cheapest office fees may be a natural reaction, but keep in mind you need to look for fees that represent good value for money. Would you rather have a fresh grad who is learning as they go handle your 100 thousand USD second citizenship file, or an experienced professional in the field. Hiring the best talent comes with a higher cost, but for good reason, these people have the experience and know-how to constantly deliver quality results. You don’t need to check if a certain quotation from any CBI firm is the cheapest, but rather check if it is worth it.
- Choosing a consultancy firm just because it is cheaper could be drastically detrimental in the long run, as you will also receive cheaper quality of service. Having your application refused because the firm you chose did not invest in becoming authorised agents so that they could offer cheaper fees will result in you losing large amounts of time and money, and having to do it all over again with a proper, authorised agent.
Number Five: Empathy and Understanding On an Individual Level
Always look for a firm that understands your needs and pain points. You do not want some generic solution for your problems, you actually need a scalable and long term fix. Citizenship by investment is meant to change lives for the better, and you need someone who understands where you are and where you want to be.
The following are some thoughts on the matter:
- Cultural differences – different nationalities require different needs. Yemeni passport holders, for example, may require better travel mobility, while, on the other hand, American citizens may look for another citizenship to relieve them of their taxation restraints. Every culture has its different needs, that is why we have assembled a team of 15 different nationalities. We understand that you need to talk to someone who understands the problems you have, and may even have them as well. We can advise you on the best way to remedy them.
- Make sure to research a firm before signing with it, check their LinkedIn and social media, Google them, contact them and see how they respond. You want a firm that adorns family values and personal empathy within its team, as it will translate to their relationship with you. Savory & Partners is a family business, and upholds family ethos within its team, our CEO is hands-on and this not only makes the team feel cared for, but our clients as well. Even during the Coronavirus pandemic Savory & Partners made it a goal to keep everyone aboard, not induce salary cuts, and maintain a high-flying team spirit. We did what we do best, help people, and that includes our clients.
- Continuous support – before you view signing with a CBI firm as a business transaction you must view it as a relationship. By choosing a firm that puts you first and caters to your needs through open communication and unhindered support, you are gaining a fruitful relationship that can benefit you in the future. Maybe you need to establish a business in your new country of citizenship, or open a bank account, or send your children to university there. A CBI firm that creates a relationship with you is happy to help guide you through all of your needs even after you get your new passport and citizenship. Business deals close, relationships span through time.
Choosing the right CBI firm has never been easier
There are many other things to look for in any CBI firm you choose but we have stuck with the main ones, and we at Savory & Partners have dedicated ourselves to becoming the best firm for any investor by listening to our clients and constantly tending to their needs. Our customer-centric approach is a product of who we are, emphatic, experienced, professional, and transparent people. We proudly carry those values on our shoulders for all to see, and our past clients, who we are still in touch with, by the way, have had wonderful experiences because of that.