Our identity is fundamentally shaped by our citizenship, which gives us a sense of community and a variety of rights and advantages. Investors, however, occasionally face the unfortunate possibility of losing their citizenship due to unforeseen events. This loss can occur due to various reasons, including voluntary renunciation, involuntary revocation, or other unforeseen events. When it comes to citizenship by investment, understanding the legal consequences of losing citizenship becomes even more crucial. It is important to understand what happens when you lose your citizenship and delve into the legal implications and potential remedies, specifically in the context of citizenship by investment.
The loss of rights and privileges, the impact on immigration and residency status, the concern for national security and extradition, as well as the disruption of family and heritage ties come into the picture when an investor loses his citizenship. Additionally, remedies, such as appealing the decision, seeking alternative citizenship through investment programs, and considering dual citizenship options are to be further discussed.
The Legal Consequences of Losing Citizenship:
Loss of Rights and Privileges:
People who lose their citizenship frequently lose access to a range of former rights and benefits. In accordance with a United Nations study, those who lose their citizenship might not be able to vote, work, live in that nation, or use its social services or healthcare system. Additionally, the ability to travel freely and enjoy consular protection from the former country of citizenship may also be compromised. For being eligible for Turkey Citizenship by Investment program, the minimum investment for real estate purchases was increased to $400,000 on June 12th, 2022, and not abiding by the same would lead to losing citizenship.
Immigration and Residency Status:
For individuals residing in a country as citizens, losing citizenship can have significant implications on their immigration and residency status. They might be subject to immigration laws, necessitating the acquisition of a suitable visa or permit to be allowed to remain in the nation legally. For instance, losing citizenship in the US may necessitate a person applying for non-immigrant visas or legal permanent residence (green card). Investors can invest in UK government bonds, shares, or loan capital of operational companies registered in the UK, or they can make a sizable purchase to qualify for UK Citizenship by Investment status. Investors must put at least £2,000,000 into existing British companies’ shares or bonds. In order to invest in their own business in the UK, innovators must have at least £50,000. The investor may add an additional two years to the visa. This calls for keeping the investment in place for 40 months before requesting an extension. The money may be refunded after five years.
National Security and Extradition:
In cases where citizenship is revoked or renounced due to actions deemed detrimental to national security or involvement in criminal activities, losing citizenship can lead to additional legal consequences. It may result in increased scrutiny, surveillance, or potential extradition to face charges in the former country of citizenship. The Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBAL CITY) reports that some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have provisions for revoking citizenship on grounds of national security.
The Figure illustrates the distribution of nations for territorial citizenship acquired based on birth. We can see that although unconditional birth in the territory of a state, which is mostly found in the Americas, may be rare, it is nonetheless existent in up to 19% of countries worldwide. In addition, another 17% of nations have a variety of conditional birth in the territory of a state, where children born in the territory only acquire the citizenship of that country, regardless of the parental citizenship, if a parent was born on the territory or owns a certain resident title. Parental group or gender limitations are in place in 11 nations.
Family and Heritage Ties and Limitations on Dual Citizenship:
The loss of citizenship can disrupt familial and heritage ties, impacting family reunification, inheritance rights, and the ability to pass down citizenship to future generations. The International Organization for Migration highlights that individuals who lose their citizenship may face difficulties in maintaining family connections and accessing family reunification processes. Certain countries do not allow dual citizenship, and loss of citizenship may be a consequence of acquiring citizenship in another country. According to a study by the University of Michigan, approximately 66 countries prohibit or restrict dual citizenship. Investors considering acquiring second citizenship must carefully consider the legal implications and potential consequences before pursuing dual citizenship.
Remedies for Lost Citizenship:
Appeal or Judicial Review:
In some cases, individuals may have the right to appeal or seek judicial review of the decision to revoke or deny citizenship. Engaging legal counsel with expertise in immigration and citizenship law is crucial to explore the available legal remedies and challenging the decision through administrative or judicial processes. According to data from the Migration Policy Institute, the success rates of citizenship appeals vary across countries, highlighting the importance of seeking professional assistance.
The data above represents the net international immigrants. We can see that there is a sharp decline in the number of individuals after the year 2016 and further decline after 2020 due to COVID. The number of international immigrants increase after the year 2022 showing that the rules and regulations have been made friendlier to the investors looking for Citizenship by investment.
Naturalization or Citizenship by Investment:
For individuals who have lost their citizenship, obtaining citizenship in another country through naturalization or a citizenship-by-investment program may be a viable option. According to the Henley Passport Index, citizenship by investment programs, such as Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment program and UK Citizenship by Investment program has gained popularity. These pathways provide an opportunity to regain the benefits and rights associated with citizenship. The country Turkey makes an average of $250 million every month from its foreign investors only and citizens with a Turkish passport can visit around 110 nations without the requirement for a visa, a visa on arrival, or an Electronic Travel Authorization.
Asylum or Refugee Status:
When losing citizenship puts a person in danger of persecution or harm, they may be offered protection and legal recourse by applying for asylum or refugee status in another nation. Individuals who have lost their citizenship owing to discriminatory practises or persecution may be eligible for asylum or refugee status, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Data on about 4.4 million stateless people living in 95 countries as of the end of 2022 have been compiled. The true sum, according to estimates, is significantly larger. In 2022, 339,300 people fled their home countries as refugees, while 114,300 people were resettled with or without UNHCR assistance.
Dual Citizenship Options and International Human Rights Mechanisms:
Where it is legal, considering the option of obtaining dual citizenship can assist people in keeping ties to their old nation of citizenship while taking advantage of citizenship in another. According to the CIA World Factbook, several nations, including Canada and Switzerland, permit dual citizenship under specific circumstances, giving people the chance to maintain ties to their ancestry while making use of second citizenship. People can seek redress through international human rights institutions if they feel that losing their citizenship breaches their human rights. According to the Amnesty International Report, individuals can file complaints with relevant human rights bodies or engage non-governmental organizations specialized in human rights advocacy. These mechanisms provide a platform for addressing citizenship-related issues from a human rights perspective.
Based on the graph depicted in the Dataset’s over 10,000 country-year data, we can see that, in 1960, the majority of nations 62% still had a conventional unfavorable attitude towards dual citizenship. A citizen who willingly gains the citizenship of another state forfeits their citizenship under this stringent policy. However, 76 percent of nations will still tolerate dual citizenship by 2020 and let persons voluntarily get citizenship in another nation without adverse effects on their citizenship of origin.
Losing citizenship is a significant and life-altering event with wide-ranging legal consequences. It is essential for individuals facing this situation to seek expert legal advice to understand their rights, explore potential remedies, and navigate the complex legal landscape. Whether through legal challenges, naturalization in another country, or exploring dual citizenship options, individuals may find paths to regain the benefits and protections associated with citizenship. By gaining insights into these legal consequences and available remedies, investors can make informed decisions and mitigate the challenges associated with losing their citizenship through a citizenship-by-investment program.
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