Wednesday, May 27, 2015

These 19 Passports Will Be a Lot More Valuable on July 1st

It seems strange that a complete accident of birth has such a massive impact on someone’s life.
We don’t get to control where we’re born. It’s a fluke really. Yet as soon as we come into this world a particular nationality is thrust upon us like a birthmark that stays with us for life.

Our nationality dictates so many things throughout our life.

It might mean that we’re required to serve in the military-- to go fight and die in some foreign land at the behest of an insensitive, out of touch politician.

It might mean that we’re required to pay an ever increasing portion of our income to finance government largess that we don’t agree with at all.

It can also substantially restrict the places we can go and travel in this world.

That last one is a major issue, because travel is a huge opportunity.

The world is a massive place. It’s gorgeous and there’s so much to explore. Anyone who ever says it’s a small world clearly never spent 26 hours on a plane trying to get to Palau.

There are so many opportunities and so many amazing people to meet that it’s only possible to capture the full human experience through travel.

Yet if you happen to be born on a particular piece of dirt, your travel opportunities are limited.
United States citizens, for example, have a lot of latitude in terms of where they can go. Though there are still a lot of restrictions.

Americans need a visa to go to a number of countries, including Russia, China, and several countries in South America.

If you’re from Ukraine, on the other hand, you can travel to Russia without a visa. However the vast majority of the world is off-limits unless you first jump through a number of administrative hoops.
Representatives from the European Union recently closed out a summit in Riga to decide the future of EU visa policy with respect to Ukraine.

Once again, Ukraine was denied visa-free access to the EU, proving that “European support” for Ukraine against Russia is just hot air and empty promises.

There are, however, 19 other countries, which will be joining the EU visa-free list as of July 1, 2015. They were officially approved late last year and reaffirmed at the summit.

They are: Colombia, Peru, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, UAE, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The thing that’s interesting about nationalities is that even though we’re born with one, you don’t have to live your entire life with that single option.

It is possible to obtain citizenship and a passport from another country. This means more options to travel and more options to live and work somewhere else should you want.

Panama is a great example.

There’s still an easy and inexpensive process to obtain residency in Panama, and in 5-years time you’ll be able to apply for naturalization, and then a passport.

Of the 19 countries that join the EU visa-free list this July, both Grenada and Dominica have “economic citizenship” programs where you can make a low six-figure investment in the country in exchange for citizenship.

Colombia and Peru are two places where you can become a legal resident and apply for citizenship in 2-5 years.

This can be very cost-effective, as in Colombia it can cost less than $1,000 to obtain residency, including legal assistance.

Bottom line-- there are always options. You don’t have to go your entire life being restricted by something that was an accident of birth.

Having a second passport means having more freedom and more possibilities.

So, finding expedited or cost effective ways to obtaining one is a great tool and insurance policy for anyone to consider.

Simon Black is Founder of

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