JS 69: Establishing Residency Overseas with Lief Simon Co-Founder of ‘Live & Invest Overseas’July 23rd, 2014 by Jason | Comments Off on JS 69: Establishing Residency Overseas with Lief Simon Co-Founder of ‘Live & Invest Overseas’
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Lief Simon is the co-founder of Live and Invest Overseas, which is one of the world’s leading resources on investment, real estate and retirement overseas. Simon joins the show to discuss residency. Lief Simon has lived and worked in seven countries on five continents and has traveled to more than 50 countries. His real estate investing experience began nearly 20 years ago with a multi-unit building in Chicago. After selling that building for a total return of more than 1,800 percent in just 30 months, Lief began to diversify internationally.
In the decades since, Lief has personally bought and sold property in 21 countries. He has managed multi-million-dollar developments, multi-million-dollar property portfolios and more than two dozen rental properties. Over the years that Lief has been living overseas, he has also been actively engaged in doing business. He has launched and managed business ventures in 10 countries, including local businesses, web-based businesses and international franchises.
Lief has spent more than three weeks out of four on the road for the better part of the past two decades, travelling almost constantly in search of the world’s top emerging real estate opportunities. In recent years, Lief has also turned readers on to targeted investments suitable for the individual investor in Mexico, Nicaragua, Romania, Panama, Belize, the Philippines and most recently, Colombia and Brazil.
He has been quoted in articles on international real estate in Live and Invest Overseas, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and Outdoor Magazine.
Visit Live and Invest Overseas at www.LiveAndInvestOverseas.com.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the JetSetter Show, where we explore lifestyle-friendly destinations worldwide. Enjoy and learn from a variety of experts on topics ranging from upscale travel at wholesale prices, to retiring overseas, to global real estate and business opportunities, to tax havens and expatriate opportunities. You’ll get great ideas on unique cultures, causes, and cruise vacations. Whether you’re wealthy or just want to live a wealthy lifestyle, the JetSetter Show is for you. Here’s your host, Jason Hartman.
JASON HARTMAN: Welcome to the JetSetter Show! This is Jason Hartman, your host, where we explore lifestyle-friendly destinations worldwide. I think you’ll enjoy the interview we have for you today, and we will be back with that, in less than 60 seconds, here on the JetSetter Show.
JASON HARTMAN: It’s my pleasure to welcome Lief Simon to the show! You’ve heard his name before, because he’s been on before! And he is the cofounder, along with Kathleen Peddicord, of Live and Invest Overseas. She’s been on the show as well. And we are going to talk today about residency, and dual citizenship, second passports, the way you can earn them both through economic programs, and through traditional naturalization. And what are the best countries, the fastest countries, the lowest cost jurisdictions, and let’s just dive in. Lief, how are you today?
LIEF SIMON: I’m doing well, Jason. How are you?
JASON HARTMAN: Good, good. It’s good to have you on again. And you’re coming to us today from Panama City!
LIEF SIMON: I am, I’m at our offices here in Panama today.
JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. Well, when you look around the globe, what are the places that offer—let’s talk first about non-economic citizenship programs. Because, of course, those are the type that you don’t have to pay for. But if you want to do it faster, I assume you’re gonna say you can pay your way in through an economic program.
LIEF SIMON: Right. Yeah. So, through just normal naturalization, you have to qualify through residency status. And each country has their own rules. For somebody to move to the US, they have to have a green card long enough to apply for naturalization in the US. And the same applies to other countries. So, the general range you’ll find for time you have to put in as a resident, will be—the lowest I know of is 3 years, and the highest I’ve heard of is 20 years. So, 20 years is a long time before you can get a second passport. So, most people are looking for that 3-5 year—most countries are 5 years—range. But you’ll also, besides looking at how long you have to be a resident, you have to see, what do they look for while you’re a resident? So, Uruguay is a good example. Uruguay’s a 5 year program. 3 years if you’re married. Not married to an Uruguay—just married period. I’m not sure why that—
JASON HARTMAN: They discriminate against single people, just like in the United States!
LIEF SIMON: Exactly. So, they have a short period for qualifying, and the other thing is, what qualifies you? In most countries it’s just legal residency. In Panama, they distinguish. It’s not just legal residency, which you can have under a temporary residency permit. But you don’t start qualifying for citizenship—the time doesn’t start counting until you have permanent residency in Panama. So there’s that distinction you have to be aware of as well. In Uruguay it’s once you have legal residency, the clock starts ticking. Again, 3 years if you’re married, 5 years if you’re a single person. But Uruguay wants to see you in the country over those 5 years, at least half the time. So, you have to put your time in, in the country. Whereas other countries, like, let’s say, Panama—for example, once you have that permanent residency, you don’t necessarily have to be in the country to maintain the residency. You can show up once every two years and keep your residency, and still be able to apply for naturalization.
JASON HARTMAN: Wow! And how long did you say it takes in Panama?
LIEF SIMON: Once you have permanent residency, it’s 5 years.
JASON HARTMAN: Okay. So, 5 years. But you really don’t have to be there except every 2 years! That’s interesting.
LIEF SIMON: Exactly. And so—so each country you’ll take a look at—the idea of giving you citizenship means you want to be a part of the country. And so, they generally also expect you to continue to live in the country after you get citizenship. But once you have citizenship, it’s—there are rules that could allow them to take it away from you. But generally they’re not that onerous. Panama is another good example; in Panama, you’re meant to, it’s part of the law, that you give us all previous citizenships when you’re naturalized in Panama. And if you don’t, then they have the ability to revoke your naturalization.
JASON HARTMAN: That’s not good.
LIEF SIMON: It wouldn’t be good. We’ve—there’s only one kind of urban legend rumor that we’ve heard, that one person had theirs revoked, and it was basically because they pissed off the wrong person, who dropped a dime on them to the government. But we haven’t been able to actually verify that. But that’s—so, it’s not likely in the case of Panama that you would have your naturalization revoked. Because they do actually allow for dual citizenship if you’re Panamanian born with more than one citizenship.
JASON HARTMAN: But the first thing one has to do is establish permanent residency status in either case, whether it be Uruguay or Panama, right?
LIEF SIMON: Well, permanent residency status in Panama, and just legal residency, which effectively is permanent residency, in Uruguay. Some countries distinguish and some don’t, between temporary and permanent.
JASON HARTMAN: So, then the question is, what does it take to establish residency? Whether it be legal, or permanent? I guess.
LIEF SIMON: Right. And, so, again, that’s country by country. But Uruguay, you just have to show that you can afford to pay your bills, basically. So, if you can show—there’s no set amount, in Uruguay. So, Uruguay has lots of flexibility in this system. But basically if you can show that you have $1500 a month in income, you can get residency in Uruguay.
JASON HARTMAN: And you can probably live somewhat well on that income, too.
LIEF SIMON: Exactly. If you needed to, $1500 would do you fine in Uruguay, without a doubt.
JASON HARTMAN: That’s amazing. Yeah, okay.
LIEF SIMON: Panama has specific programs. Right now, the best one is what’s called the specific countries residency, which is an executive order from the current president, Martinelli, and the elections were last week, so there’ll be a new president July 1st. So, we’re not sure the specific countries residency will still be valid when the new president comes in, if he keeps it or not. That’s up in the air. That is the only non-pensionado, non-retiree visa in Panama that gives you permanent residency on the first application. All the other options in Panama make you go through the temporary period, which adds to the number of years before you can be naturalized.
JASON HARTMAN: And, you only mentioned these two countries though. What about the other 230 or so countries in the world?
LIEF SIMON: There are some other good options. You can get residency in Ireland, for example. If you want an EU passport, Ireland’s probably one of the best options. They speak English, you can establish legal residency there, if you can again show that you can afford to pay your bills. And in that case, if you—again, there’s no set amount, but if you can show that you have $100,000 in a bank account, you can get residency in Ireland. And you can get—you don’t have to live there full time. And the way Ireland works, it’s 60 months, in the previous 9 years. So, it’s—you have to have 5 years of residency, but you can spend that legal residency over 9 years if you want to. Not sure why you would, but it’s possible. And, what they want to see in Ireland is that you’re basically there full time the last year before you apply for naturalization. And again, they expect you to live in the country after you get naturalized, and in fact, they have the option, if you leave for 7 years straight, if you haven’t written a letter to the local consulate, wherever you are living, saying, I’m living outside of Ireland, but I want to keep my citizenship—if you don’t send the letter each year of the 7 years, they have the option to revoke your naturalization.
JASON HARTMAN: Wow. That’s a bummer. You know, it’s just too hard to get into the EU! The Ireland program is pretty difficult! You mention it because it’s the easiest in Europe, I assume. Or in the EU, I should say. But it’s still pretty difficult, because like the first thing anyone thinks is, they don’t want to spend the winter in Ireland.
LIEF SIMON: Exactly, exactly. And you don’t have to. And—Kathy and I are naturalized Irish citizens. We lived there for 7 years. And just because you apply—this is another aspect of this that people need to understand—so, you’re eligible after 5 years. You send in your application, whether it’s Ireland, Panama, or Uruguay—how long is it gonna take for that application to get processed? And depending on the country, that could be anywhere from six months, I think, at best, to, as long as two years. So, the full process, by the time you think about getting residency to the time you have a passport, is gonna be definitely more than 5 years. Figure 6, 7 years.
JASON HARTMAN: Are those sort of the three best non-economic programs nowadays?
LIEF SIMON: I would say so. From being able to qualify, and the relative ease of getting the pass—you know, getting naturalized after the fact—those would be in the top 5, for sure.
JASON HARTMAN: Okay, alright. Are there maybe two others that you—even if you don’t know them from beginning to end, you just want to drop the names of the countries, possibly?
LIEF SIMON: Paraguay is supposed to be fairly straightforward, except they’re even more onerous on being in the country. And they—the naturalization process goes through the court system. So, you have a very high possibility of not being approved in Paraguay, that’s my concern there. But theirs is a three-year residency timeline as well. So, it’s short, but that end risk I think is a bit high. And then the other option—well, I think it’s Latvia, you only have to buy a property for 160,000 Euros and you can get residency there. I’m not 100% sure how long the timeline is for citizenship, but that’s another EU citizenship possibility.
JASON HARTMAN: Wow. That’s not bad for Latvia! Say that one again?
LIEF SIMON: 160,000 Euros invested in real estate. And that gets you residency. I’m just not 100% sure of how that residency may lead to citizenship. But it’s definitely, it’s a very easy European residency status.
JASON HARTMAN: Right, right. But that’s really an economic program, and we didn’t switch gears to economic programs yet. So, I guess that’s a good segue maybe, right?
LIEF SIMON: Yeah. Well, it’s an investment program. The economic programs, really you’re donating money to the governments of the countries that offer these programs. That’s a true economic one. There’s a lot of investment incentive ones, where you can invest half a million Euros, or a million dollars, and get residency and fast track to citizenship. So that kind of falls in between. Because you don’t—if you’re investing, you’re not losing that money. With Saint Kitts and Nevis, for example, if you donate $250,000 to, I forget the exact name, but it’s basically the sugarcane fix the country fund, you’re giving up that $250,000. You’ll never see it again. On top of that, you have government fees that could add another, say, 100-$200,000 to the 250 grand. So, call it 500 grand for a Saint Kitts passport.
JASON HARTMAN: And that’s just literally a donation. It’s not an investment.
LIEF SIMON: Yeah.
JASON HARTMAN: See, the distinction here is, an investment is one thing. People can justify an investment. But just paying a fee, it’s just a fee! That’s amazingly expensive. Wow.
LIEF SIMON: Exactly. And Saint Kitts does have an investment side. You can invest $400,000 in an approved development in Saint Kitts in real estate, and so it is an investment, but you’re not going to make any profit on that investment. You might get 2 or 3% a year renting the place, and when you go to sell it, you’re not going to have any capital appreciation. So, it’s parking $400,000, plus you have transaction costs for the real estate. You have to park it for five years. Or just give the money. Every time I do the analysis, it’s actually better to just give the money and put the $150,000 you save into the bank, and you’re ahead of the game in five years.
JASON HARTMAN: It’s not that I disagree with you that you won’t make any appreciation, or have any capital appreciation on that property. However, I just have to ask—why do you say that? You say it as though you’re so sure.
LIEF SIMON: Well, I’ve spoken to real estate agents on Saint Kitts who’ve been selling property through this program, and these properties are geared towards foreigners. Note—so, you’re going to spend $400,000 on this property. Maybe you’re going to get a one bedroom condo in an apartment complex somewhere. And you can’t resell your property to somebody else going into the economic citizenship program. So, you have to sell it to somebody who wants to use it as an end product, and there, you’re willing to pay the premium for the property because the economic partnership program, and the requirement of being in a specific development, but an end user doesn’t have that necessity. And so, all the numbers I’ve seen, and the people I’ve spoken with—yeah, you’ll essentially—maybe you’ll make 10% over five years appreciation, but more than likely not, especially once you consider all the transaction fees.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, I would agree with you. You know, there are so many scams out there that are being sold to unwitting foreigners who just have more money than brains, and it’s too bad. But that’s good that you explain that. Okay, so, economic programs. Any others? I mean, there are some other good ones out there, aren’t there?
LIEF SIMON: Well, there’s two other kind of legitimate basically, pay the government for a passport. I just forgot. Is it…Antigua that just launched a new program at the end of last year, and through the end of March, they had a special going, where you—the donation was only $200,000 instead of $250,000. Just to start getting people into their system. But essentially, that program is the same as the Saint Kitts program. They modeled the numbers and everything off of the Saint Kitts program. So, you can invest in real estate for $400,000, or you can, now that the discounted period is over at the end of March, they don’t have a sugarcane fund in Antigua, but it’s—they just give the money to the government.
JASON HARTMAN: I love this branding, the sugarcane fund. You know, why don’t they just call it the Banana Republic Fund? You know?
LIEF SIMON: Well, I do think it’s supposed to help the farmers who are losing out over the last many decades with regard to sugarcane crops. But right, exactly. You’re just giving money to a black hole, as far as you’re concerned, as the investor. And then the last legitimate program out there is Dominica. There, the investment is only—well, the investment. The donation is only $100,000, and the fees are much less. The government attorney’s fees. The difference is what you’re getting with your passport. And this is something to look at when you’re going for a second citizenship, whether it’s through naturalization or one of these economic programs, is, how useful is the passport? So, in the case of Dominica, they have, I think it’s like 87 countries that they can travel to visa-free. Whereas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua, they have like 120 countries that they can each, that they can visit visa-free. So, you’re getting more with your passport with those first two countries than you are with Dominica.
JASON HARTMAN: Okay, so that’s great that you make that distinction also. Do you know how many countries a US passport can travel to visa-free?
LIEF SIMON: It’s in the 110-120 range. So, I do believe that the Saint Kitts passport is slightly better. It’s different countries, the Saint Kitts can go to, than the US. It’s not the same list. But the US has issues with certain countries, like Brazil, where Brazil doesn’t care if Americans come, but because the US charges Brazilians a fee for applying for a visa, it’s reciprocity, and so, Brazil, Americans can’t travel to visa-free. Whereas on my Irish passport I can go to Brazil without a visa.
JASON HARTMAN: Right, right. And so, what you do is, you have the two passports—maybe you even have more—but you have the two, you have a US passport and an Irish passport—and you just—do you carry both of them when you travel, and you just pull one out of your pocket depending on what’s advantageous? How do you do that? Is that okay? Like, if they were to search you, and say, oh, you also have a US passport! That’s not cool. Would they be okay with that?
LIEF SIMON: It’s all perfectly legal, to have more than one citizenship, more than one passport, as long as they’re legitimate passports, right? And so right, I travel with both, and depending on what country I’m going into—like, if I’m going to Europe, I enter with my European Union passport. I go through the short line.
JASON HARTMAN: Skip the lines, yeah.
LIEF SIMON: Exactly. And when we went down to Chile last year, the year before, I had heard, I knew this going in, that when you land at Santiago, they charged Americans at the time I think it was $135. It’s gone up since then. So, Kathleen and I entered using our Irish passports. We didn’t have to pay that fee, and we [unintelligible] where you go in one line to pay the fee, and you had to go to immigration after. So, we skipped all of that. So, when you—the main thing you have to remember is, when you enter a country with one passport, you have to leave the country with the same passport. So, as you’re exiting the country, you gotta make sure you get that exit stamp in the passport that you used to get into the country.
JASON HARTMAN: That’s a good point. But what—so, what would happen if you didn’t?
LIEF SIMON: Well, they would think that you’ve been in the country—
JASON HARTMAN: Longer than 6 months, or whatever—
LIEF SIMON: Exactly, and then could, next time you try to enter with that passport, it could cause you problems.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, they’d say, oh, you’re still here, we’ve been looking for you.
LIEF SIMON: Exactly.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, okay. Good point. Okay. So, Dominica. What else do you want to cover in terms of places and locations?
LIEF SIMON: Well, there are the in-betweens, as we discussed a little bit, where you can invest in a business, or you can invest in real estate to gain residency, and that residency can lead to citizenship. Ireland even has one of those programs. If you invest half a million Euros in real estate in Ireland, they’ll give you residency. The problem I have with that is, you don’t need to invest half a million in Euros to get residency in Ireland; they have another visa option where you can just show them you have a half million dollars in cash, in your bank account, and get residency that way. So, you don’t have to go through the investment side if you don’t want to.
JASON HARTMAN: Right. You can get residency in Ireland that way, but you can’t get a passport.
LIEF SIMON: No. It would be the same process. You gain residency by investing in the real estate. You’d have to do your time, so to speak, your five years, and then you could apply for naturalization. It’s just supposed to be a streamlined residency application. But in the case of Ireland, I can tell you from experience, it’d be just as fast to do the other route. And then, Spain, Portugal, Greece, many of the European countries looking for investment, have implemented these residency programs if you invest in real estate, all with different amounts—Latvia, we spoke of, has the lowest amount, and then you would do your time for residency that way. Countries like Montenegro—
JASON HARTMAN: Did you—I lost you for a moment. Did you say Montenegro?
LIEF SIMON: Montenegro, yeah. And Montenegro, there’s an investment plan. You can go there if you invest, I think it’s only a half million Euros. I forget the exact number. But you invest a large enough amount in a business in Montenegro, and you get expedited residency that leads to expedited citizenship. Again in that case it’s an investment, but you have to start a business, you have to hire Montenegrins, and while most of them speak English, do you want to spend time in Montenegro running a business? If you do, then it’s a way to get a passport. The Montenegro passport isn’t that useful as a travel document. If they got into the EU eventually, it would be a more useful document.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, very good point. And you know what’s kind of interesting nowadays about starting a “business”? A lot of this stems out of old-fashioned thinking, where these governments say, we don’t want you to come here unless we know you have money, or we won’t allow you to work, because you’ll take a job from a local citizen. Or thinking like that, right? But this concept of starting a business—I mean, where the heck is a business located anymore nowadays, anyway? So, you move to Montenegro, you start a “business,” but it’s an online business. You hire one or two Montenegrin employees. Did you pass? I mean, I don’t know what exactly that means. Invest $500,000 in a business there.
LIEF SIMON: It’s certainly possible. You’d have to look at the rules for each country. Macedonia was the other country I was trying to think of that has a similar—
JASON HARTMAN: I lost you again for a moment. That’s that Panama connection. Did you say—where?
LIEF SIMON: Macedonia. Macedonia’s the other country that has the similar investment program, hire somebody local, etcetera. And you’d have to look at the specific rules for each program, but it’s quite possible that setting up an Internet business, as long as you hired employees and brought the money into the country, of course, and paid your taxes—that’s part of it as well, they’re hoping to expand the tax base with these businesses.
JASON HARTMAN: Yeah, okay. Very interesting. So, maybe my two final questions—give out your website first.
LIEF SIMON: Sure. It’s www.liveandinvestoverseas.com, and there you can find information about our products, but our events—we do conferences for people to retire, live, invest, buy real estate. Mostly in Latin America right now, but we’re hopefully doing a European conference some time next year.
JASON HARTMAN: My first question is, who does this? What is—I’m kind of interested in it, because just a plan B, you never know what’ll happen. Maybe there’ll be like travel restrictions if things fall apart and there’s like an economic collapse. But who really does this? Who wants to go and just take $400,000, or $250,000, and just hand it to some other government and, you know, I sort of wonder—I worry about being scammed, too. You know, there are probably all kinds of people that say oh, they’ll take your money and work with the government there for you. Who knows what they’ll do—
LIEF SIMON: These programs have very systemic and formal paths. So, the—you can only work with a government-authorized agent. And they have to—you go to the government’s website, there’s a list. So for Saint Kitts, for example, there’s a list of, I don’t know, 20, 30 agents and attorneys that are authorized to offer this program, and have all the proper documentation and stuff. But to answer your question, the basic answer is, people with a poor travel document currently. So, for Americans, it’s not so much—it’s really an idea to drop what amounts to half a million dollars to get a passport, because their passport is good enough to travel all the world. But, Russians, Chinese, these people, wealthy people from these countries—they have a crappy passport, and so, they’re—if you’re a multimillionaire in China, dropping that half million dollars to get a better travel document that would allow you then to go to, you know, London, would be nothing. So, that’s really who those programs attract most of. But Americans, really, wealthy Americans who are trying to do their estate planning, and they don’t like what’s going on in the US or whatever, they’re a small percentage of the ones doing the economic programs. But if you’re an American, as you said, it’s a backup plan. And we have—in fact, my essay today for my offshore living letter, talks about second passports. A reader wrote in saying, I’m eligible for an Austrian passport through my parents, because they came from Austria, and World War II; should I get the passport? If you’re eligible for something, you take advantage of it. But he wanted to know why. He didn’t want to just do it. He was like, what’s the benefit? So we just went through we talked about. There’s the travel benefits, there’s in the case of the EU passport, you’ve got, what is it now, 28 countries that you can live in and work in if you wanted to. So, it’s a very positive thing to have, that opens up lots of opportunities.
JASON HARTMAN: My mind just, as you were talking, my mind just instantly went to—well, criminals do this. This is what wealthy criminals in the US do. They’re trying to escape the law or something, you know? But I suppose these countries would check you out, probably, and wouldn’t want you in. Unless they were just outright hostile to the US, like Venezuela, Cuba, Iran. North Korea. North Korea would probably take you.
LIEF SIMON: Probably. It’s not a very good travel document though.
JASON HARTMAN: Maybe not.
LIEF SIMON: But you’re talking the way people think about anything offshore, that there must be something nefarious, because you want to do something offshore. And I’m sure there are criminals, or people trying to evade taxes doing this. But, to get residency in most countries you have to provide a criminal background check from where you’re living. And so, mostly you’re right, most countries don’t want criminals moving there, and so they have these background checks that keep anybody with a felony record out of their country, from getting legal residency. So there are some checks and balances in that case.
JASON HARTMAN: Only, just my snarky commentary—only in the US do we want criminals coming from our southern border. And we don’t allow people with educations and money to come into the country, because we’re just, I don’t know, a self-loathing country. We’re trying to destroy ourselves, you know. Okay, enough of my snarkiness here.
LIEF SIMON: But that’s the one thing, people think, I’ll get a second passport, I’ll give up my US passport, and I won’t have to pay taxes in the US anymore. Well, that’s fine, but that’s not a great reason to give up your US citizenship, or to seek another citizenship. And there is, people call it an exit tax, there is a final tax on your assets if you qualify as you leave, because the government’s not going to let you leave without paying a capital gains tax on capital gains you’ve already accumulated up to that point of departure.
JASON HARTMAN: So, what did the Facebook guy do? Remember, he was like, one of Zuckerberg’s sort of major partners, who renounced his citizenship, right before the IPO, I think, of Facebook, and then moved to Singapore, I believe.
LIEF SIMON: It was Singapore. And he had both Brazilian and US citizenship, and Singapore’s one of those countries that requires you to give up your previous citizenships, and they actually walk you down to the embassy to make sure you give it up kind of thing. But, so, right, the timing of his renunciation would fit precisely with this exit tax. So, he gave up his citizenship before those shares were worth the billions that they became worth after the IPO. He still would have paid a capital gains tax on whatever they were worth, or valued at, the day he gave up his citizenship. But, right, he saved himself billions in capital gains taxes.
JASON HARTMAN: Wow. Amazing. Amazing stuff. Okay. So, then my last question for you is, how do you do it? Do you just go to the government website, like you mentioned for Saint Kitts, find the approved agents or lawyers, give them a call, give them some money, and then they start the process? Do people go through your company? Is this like—I mean, you talk about the concept and the fact that it’s available, but of course there are a zillion details of filling out paperwork, and doing it right, and you know, not getting your application rejected, I’m sure. Everything is real complicated when you get into the minutia. How do you actually do it?
LIEF SIMON: Well, for the economic citizenships, right, you want to deal with an agent who’s authorized in that country. And you can start with going to the program’s websites, and look for people. We have someone we work with, who’s based in the US, who helps people, and Saint Kitts and Dominica, and probably the new country, Antigua, as well. And, so he knows all the contacts and people through that. If you’re just looking to get residency through naturalization by putting in your time, then you have to pick the country, and then depending on the country, we can introduce people to attorneys who can help establish residency, and they understand the naturalization laws, and so you can know everything up front before you start the process. Because you’re right, there’s a lot of details that could slow you down, cause hiccups along the way, if you’re not working with someone who understands the process.
JASON HARTMAN: And are these US-based attorneys, or always foreign attorneys in the country?
LIEF SIMON: In the case of the economic citizenship program, it’s a US-based consultant. He has a law degree, but he’s not an attorney. In the case of the residency, [unintelligible] local attorney. In Uruguay we have an attorney we work with; in Panama there’s a couple we work with. In Ireland, to gain residency, it’s better actually not to work with an attorney. Because they speak English, it’s easy to go to their immigration website and see what the process is. You still have to kind of know what it is, and I had to help one of our readers, kind of walk them through what they should do. You have to go to guarda station, which is the police station. [Unintelligible] immigration officer, and usually in the small towns, in the middle, the immigration officer has another job, and he may not know anything about immigration. So, you might have to walk in through what he has to do to help you with your residency, which was the case with these readers of ours.
JASON HARTMAN: Fantastic. You are a wealth of information. Thank you so much. Lief Simon; the website is www.liveandinvestoverseas.com, and again, great having you on the show!
LIEF SIMON: Great! Happy to be here Jason. Thank you.
ANNOUNCER: This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company. All rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com, or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate, or business professional for any individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own, and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively.
Transcribed by David