The Passport King’s Multi-Billion Dollar Company

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Good morning! It's Thursday, August 17th - You probably haven’t heard of the Passport King, but rich people looking for dual citizenship have— and they'll pay a premium for his services.


The Passport King’s Multi-Billion Dollar Company

Entrepreneurs are always looking for an unmet consumer demand to capitalize on, but no one before Chris Kalin identified citizenship as a commodity to be sold.

For the uberwealthy around the world, Chris Kalin can provide them with citizenship to select countries for a hefty fee– earning him the name Passport King and billions in revenue.

So, What’s the Business?

Chris Kalin is a Swiss attorney whose original claim to fame is a 760-page guide to doing business in Switzerland that’s still featured in every one of the country’s embassies.

With an in-depth understanding of immigration and foreign labor law, Kalin identified a lucrative opportunity for his firm Henley & Partners. In 2006, the Caribbean sovereign state of St. Kitts had one of the world’s highest murder rates and was undergoing extreme economic turmoil. Kalin went to St. Kitts officials with an idea that could effectively create resources out of thin air for the country.

Henley & Partners developed a citizenship investment program in which buyers could pay $250,000 for St. Kitts citizenship without ever having to step foot in the nation.

The money from the investment program was a godsend to St. Kitts, allowing them to invest in infrastructure, education, and law enforcement.

However, it was also a big win for Henley & Partners. The firm nets 10% from every citizenship sale. Since the creation of the citizenship program, over 20,000 applicants have received St. Kitts passports. This means that investors have poured $5B into the investment program and returned $500M for Henley & Partners.

You may be wondering to yourself, “Why would someone spend $250K for citizenship in a country they’ve never even visited??” Well, that’s because citizenship in St. Kitts can be an invaluable asset to those who can pay the fee.

  • Visa-free travel to 132 nations

  • Limited disclosure of financial information

  • No capital gains tax

  • A haven in case of political turmoil at home

Due to these unique benefits, nationals of China and the Middle East are the biggest buyers in Henley & Partners’ various Caribbean citizenship investment programs. Many view it as a way to evade sanctions, taxes, and an escape hatch in case of government collapse.

Additionally, citizenship programs can help investors leapfrog their way into working in the United States. For example, a Grenadian citizenship allows them to receive a US E-2 work visa which may have not been an option with their original citizenship.

How They Won: Rinse and Repeat

After funneling billions of dollars into St. Kitts's economy, prime ministers from around the world sought out Kalin’s guidance. As a result, Henly & Partners have developed similar citizenship investment programs for Grenada, Antigua, Cyprus, and Malta.

Individuals can buy into these citizenship programs for between $200k and $250K, but there is another option. Many of these programs also grant citizenship for a $400,000 minimum investment in real estate.

The Christophe Harbor resort in St. Kitts sells condo-with-passport packages for $400K. As a result, the island is dotted with villas that are rarely occupied but serve as a convenient address when taxmen doubt the legitimacy of wealthy individuals’ foreign residency.

Why It Matters

The most successful businesses are the ones that identify a consumer demand and supply it before their competitors can. Chris Kalin effectively invented a new consumer good for affluent individuals around the world and won big as a result.


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