St. Peter's Pool, Malta. Photo by Drew Limsky

What Are The Most Popular Second-Passport Countries For Americans?

As some countries clamp down, a few safe havens still exist. That could change.

More and more Americans are hedging their bets and going through the arduous process of obtaining a second—or third, or fourth—passport. The wealthy are building their so-called passport portfolios with the same intentionality that they employ to build their other asset portfolios. 

According to Henley & Partners, a law firm that specializes in high-net-worth citizenships, no other nationality is engaged in such avid passport-portfolio-building. 

The reasons are many, from tumultuous U.S. politics and general global instability, to the rise of remote work and the desire to ease multinational business transactions. Hostility to the U.S. in certain pockets of the world is certainly a factor. Regardless of the mix of reasons, being an expat or a global citizen carries more cachet than ever.

Henley & Partners reports that the most popular second passports are from Portugal, Malta, Greece, and Italy. These countries have traditionally offered “golden visa” programs that allow non-citizens to invest in real estate (plus pay other fees or “donations”) in exchange for residency. 

The clear waters of St. Peter's Pool, Malta. Photo by Drew Limsky
The Citadel, Island of Gozo, Malta
Island of Gozo, Malta. Photo by Grzegorz Rzekos
Island of Gozo, Malta
Island of Gozo, Malta. Photo by Grzegorz Rzekos

So-called golden passports work much the same way. But to critics, the transactions have proven too popular, upending the countries’ housing stock; several European nations—for example, Spain, Ireland, and the U.K.—have cancelled their programs. Portugal has followed suit, adding significant restrictions. Greece is increasing its investment minimum for those who want to be based in Athens, Thessaloniki, Mykonos, or Santorini. On the other side of the world, New Zealand requires a $3 million investment.

Valletta, capital of Malta. Photo by Drew Limsky
Cafe culture in Valletta, Malta. Photo by Drew Limsky

That leaves Malta, due south of Sicily, which boasts a Mediterranean climate, tasty cuisine, a laidback lifestyle, and beautiful beaches and waters. A golden passport can be had for an investment of approximately $730,000. With popular Portugal clamping down, look for increased bizjet flights to Executive Aviation Malta, an FBO located right at Malta International Airport.