For example, immigration procedures in the EU are tough. I’ve been through one residency program in the EU and I’m currently working on an EU citizenship that involves a very complicated process. We all have enough stress in life to add more headache like that to it all. I do these programs to have firsthand experience. Chances are you don’t need the experience, just the residency, so let me be your guinea pig and tell you that it’s not worth the stress of endless bureaucracy.
For that very reason, the ease of doing practically anything in Georgia is one of the country’s great appeals.
If you have ability to freelance or start an online business, or you want to start a business overseas to take advantage of the growing market, Georgia is always my first choice and recommendation in that regard as well.
Here’s how it works:
First, apply for residency. This is a simple procedure which will then allow you to spend some time in the country and eventually apply for citizenship. You’ll need to know more specifics on what to do, but you can qualify for citizenship without much hassle. There are a couple of ways to go about this, but Georgians like Americans quite a bit so you shouldn’t have any troubles.
Your next steps depend, again, on your specific goals and motivations for moving abroad. If you plan to expatriate as a means to renouncing your U.S. citizenship, Georgia might still work, but I would also suggest you look at other options. By renouncing your U.S. citizenship and only having Georgian citizenship, you will no longer be able to visit the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, parts of Central America and (until next year) the EU, the UK or Ireland without a visa.
This does not mean you won’t be able to travel to these places, only that you’ll need to get a visa before you do so. Most U.S. citizens aren’t used to this since a U.S. passport has visa-free access to over 170 countries worldwide. If you’re not willing to do the paperwork and pay the fees to get a visa to the various countries you want to visit, then Georgia may not be the place for you to obtain citizenship in order to renounce your loyalties..
However, some of my clients just want to go and live on the beach. Literally. They want to renounce their citizenship and begin living exclusively on beaches. A passport from Georgia and many other countries will give you access to most Caribbean countries, as well as Brazil and other countries in South America and most of Southeast Asia. So, if you’re an expat with the primary goal of traveling to a sunny place with a beach, then Georgian citizenship would work great for you.
Another solution would be to follow my “belt and suspenders” strategy, in which you get a citizenship in a place like Georgia that offers you many of the personal and business freedoms you are looking for, plus a residency in an EU country that will give you access to all the other countries you don’t have visa-free travel privileges to with your new passport.
Georgia is a great country. I don’t know if it’s the country that suits every single U.S. citizen, especially because I consider most of Americans (myself included) a bit spoiled in terms of flying and visa-free travel. We are used to getting on a plane and going to basically any country we want to without ever worrying about a visa.
Most U.S. citizens were shocked, for instance, when they discovered they couldn’t go to Brazil for the Olympic games without first getting a visa. While Brazil made an exemption in the end to allow Americans 90 visa-free days only during that period, most people don’t realize that visas are just a normal part of the traveling life for other passport holders.
Getting a passport is not always an easy, straightforward process. There are certain procedures you must follow, which is why I always recommend hiring a professional — be they a lawyer or someone like me. If you want to go to the Netherlands, for example, there are 22 different procedures you must complete and, at the end of the process, you will have to renounce any other citizenship you may have since the Netherlands does not allow dual citizenship.
Georgia, again, is a good country in that regard because they allow dual citizenship. If Georgia doesn’t pique your interest, I am also looking into Serbia as a very attractive and interesting place for citizenship, investment and living.
Finding and creating a new income source abroad
What would your advice be to people who would also need to find a new source of income abroad? What are your top five expat destinations for white collar professionals who want to go abroad?
Again, I am not exactly an expert regarding getting a job. I’ve always been my own boss. If you are in the U.S. and you are looking for a job, I guess Canada, Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Ireland are the places for you. If you have a college or Masters degree, scored well on any career-specific exams, are a native English speaker and you have an in-demand job, such as an accountant, it can be much simpler for you.
But, for me, that is not a lifestyle I recommend since you can end up paying the same amount in taxes in these countries, or even more, than in the states. My suggestion would be to figure out how to turn that white collar profession into some kind of productized service business.
For example, if you’re an accountant, figure out how to offer accounting services in some other or multiple countries. One of the biggest challenges I face when I go places is that accounting services from professionals are expensive since there’s no real competition in these countries for good accountants.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.