IMI Official Partner
A significant shift in the investment migration winds is in the air. As the awareness regarding the benefits of global mobility assets grows throughout the public, a new understanding of individual sovereignty emerges.
The idea that one citizenship by itself is enough is dissipating quickly, and the adoption of the modernized concept of flag theory is becoming quite the trend among high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs).
Europe and North America have, unsurprisingly, dominated the investment migration scene for decades, rivaled only by the citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean and Turkey. However, as global geopolitics become more complex, tensions rise, and investment migration programs face heightening pressure, HNWIs are looking for places outside of the bi-polar geopolitical spectrum that also have simplified immigration programs.
Enter Latin America.
Self-sufficient in resources, outside of the global conflict zone, and boasting some of the simplest, most affordable migration programs in the world, Latin America, or LatAm for short, is the newest gold mine for flag theorists.
For those who do not know, LatAm has an absolute wealth of immigration programs that fit in nicely within the global citizen ideology. The most well-known program may be that of Paraguay.
Obtaining residence in Paraguay ranks among the simplest immigration procedures worldwide. There are two ways to obtain a residence permit: The traditional route and the SUACE program.
The Traditional Route, dubbed the Cedula route by many because the residence permit is supported by a National ID Card (Cedula de Identidad), is a straightforward way to get Paraguayan residency status.
The criteria for the Cedula route is that a person signs a declaration that they want to establish a business in Paraguay, work in a profession, or simply that they have the independent financial means to reside in the country without access to public funds.
Successful applicants get a two-year temporary visa that has no physical residence requirements attached to it. However, we recommend that residence permit holders visit Paraguay during the two years and establish a documented connection to the country (be it a registered business, home address, memberships, or similar).
After two years, they will qualify for permanent residence, and having a connection to Paraguay makes obtaining that permanent residency much easier.
Holders of this temporary residence permit also get a national ID card, which allows them to live, work, and study within Paraguay.
The minimal requirements mean that the Cedula route is one of the simplest immigration programs in the world, and it is a shoo-in for any global citizen’s mobility portfolio.
The second route, the SUACE program, leads directly to a 10-year permanent residency, but it does require an investment of $70,000 in a business in Paraguay.
While the SUACE route may be an excellent fit for entrepreneurs looking to expand their business into Paraguay, we do not recommend it for newcomers whose main objective is the residence permit, and not just because it has a higher outlay.
The SUACE program requires applicants to hire five full-time employees, and doing that with a $70,000 capital can be a challenge. This creates a headache for people who want to obtain a Paraguayan residence to get some peace of mind and live in a relaxed environment.
While the SUACE compares positively against other residency-by-investment programs in the world (and is much more affordable), the existence of the Cedula route means that people with enough financial means have a much easier and affordable option.
The SUACE route is an excellent option for those already investing in a business within Paraguay, making the permanent residency a by-product of their inevitable investment, but other than that, it offers basically the same benefits as the Cedula route.
The only pure advantage of the SUACE route is that it leads to citizenship faster. To apply for naturalization, a person must have resided on a permanent residence permit as a tax resident (six months a year) for three years. Since the Cedula route starts out with a two-year temporary permit, it would take a total of five years to apply for naturalization.
It is important to note that awarding citizenship is a government prerogative, and Paraguay’s naturalization process is just that. Many “bad apples” in the migration field may offer Paraguayan citizenship through investment, but that is not official in any way and is a scam, so be aware of such situations.
In essence, those looking to have a Paraguayan residence permit as a “Plan B” are better fitted to the Cedula route, while the SUACE route is better for those who either already want to invest in Paraguay or those who want to reside in order to apply for naturalization.
Uruguay also has a simplified permanent residency program. All a person needs to do is declare their intent to reside in Uruguay and prove they have the financial means to support themselves.
At the initial stage, successful applicants are awarded a two-year temporary residence permit until the processing of their permanent residency is complete, a matter that takes about six to twelve months.
During that period, a person must reside in Uruguay for six months to qualify for permanent residence, and if they want to apply for citizenship in three years (for married couples) or five years (for single applicants), then they must maintain a tax resident status in the country.
It is that simple.
The Uruguayan program is quickly becoming popular among many Spanish speakers and Northern Americans due to its simplicity, which mirrors the laid-back lifestyle in the country.
The open market, political stability, growing economy, and natural scenery of the country are massive interest points. Mix in the fact that getting a permanent residence there is extremely simple, and Uruguay offers the complete package.
While Paraguay is an excellent Plan B, Uruguay provides a remarkable Plan A for people who want to enhance their lives by moving to a place that offers an excellent standard of living and is diverse enough so that anyone can find the lifestyle they are looking for within one place.
How Do Paraguay And Uruguay Compare To Other LatAm Programs?
LatAm was built on immigration, and it continues to draw in foreigners from all parts of the globe to this day.
The continent offers a multitude of immigration programs, and we will highlight why Paraguay and Uruguay are the best of the bunch.
In terms of simplicity, Uruguay and Paraguay’s programs are at the head of the herd. They are quick, simple, and affordable.
Take Brazil’s residency by investment program as a prime example of the affordability factor. To qualify for a Brazilian residency permit through the program, an applicant will have to invest either $28,000 and create ten local jobs in an innovative activity, $93,000 in a business, or at least $126,000 in real estate.
Paraguay and Uruguay are part of MERCOSUR, meaning their residents will have economic and mobility access to Brazil, and since both the Paraguay and Uruguay programs have no investment requirement, they provide a much more affordable alternative.
Argentina, LatAm’s second-largest country behind Brazil, also has an independent means program similar to those of Paraguay and Uruguay. However, it is the differences between the countries that make Argentina a lesser option.
Argentina’s market is very restricted, and its government has been under pressure and faces instability issues due to the circumstances in the country. Human Rights Watch recently highlighted “police abuse” and “endemic violence against women” as major concerns in the country, safety issues that are adding to the country’s internal instability.
Paraguay and Uruguay’s immigration policy is also overall simpler. Take Argentinian naturalization as a prime example. To apply for naturalization in Argentina, a person must reside for two years, which is quick, but once they obtain citizenship, they cannot renounce it. This strange regulation adds a layer of restriction that global citizens may find unnerving.
Paraguay and Uruguay have the best balance between a simplified program and an excellent place to live, making them the optimal choice for those looking to establish a foothold in LatAm.
LatAm’s Increasing Allure
The first point of attraction is LatAm’s status within the increasingly tense global geopolitical scene. The continent, bar the days of European colonization, is one of the most peaceful places on Earth, hidden far away from conflict areas such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
This political stance makes countries like Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina some of the best contingency plans the world has to offer.
The open markets in these nations are also a good place to diversify and protect one’s wealth, and that market is bolstered by the Mercosur Union, an EU-esque conglomerate of five member countries and seven associated states that operate on an open market and free movement policy.
That means gaining access to Paraguay, Uruguay, or Argentina grants greater mobility into the others, including Brazil, another member nation. This enhanced access is a major draw for those looking to elevate their global mobility score.
Paraguay and Uruguay offer a safe place to live or do business, and their exciting yet relaxing lifestyle is bolstered by some of the best natural scenery in the world.
The demand for LatAm programs hasn’t hit an all-time high yet; they remain obscure relative to the EU Golden Visas and Caribbean CIPs, but they are getting more noticeable by the minute.
Comparing LatAm programs to those of the EU isn’t fair to either. Each offers its own set of benefits. For those chasing down complete individual sovereignty, acquiring both is the best way to move forward, especially considering LatAm programs do not require any significant financial outlay.
The programs of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina offer HNWIs the chance to safeguard themselves, their families, and their wealth without having to break the bank.
Watch our upcoming webinar – LatAm Unveiled: Paraguay & Uruguay Residency – on December 8th.