Russians without foreign residency or citizenship were prevented from traveling outside the country during the Chinese coronavirus lockdown.
Many a wealthy Russian learned an important lesson during this period — get a foreign passport.
Demand for residency in another country is up 20% over last year according to travel industry executives in-country.
“We are seeing an unprecedented boom in Russian interest in programs that allow them to obtain a residence permit abroad,” said Marina Shalayeva, director of foreign real estate and private investment at Knight Frank, reported Forbes Russia.
“During the pandemic, a residence permit and citizenship, unlike visas, could provide an opportunity to enter these countries,” added Forbes.
Most are trying to get a passport inside the Schengen area which will allow free travel throughout the European region.
Russians’ demand for “golden passports” is up in countries with relatively cheap citizenship-for-investment programs such as Malta and Cyprus. Countries in the Caribbean are also popular among Russians after many of them slashed the minimum investment required to obtain a passport when the coronavirus hit the region’s tourism industry, reported The Moscow Times.
The Russian government has cracked down on foreign citizenship in recent years, requiring all foreign passports to be registered with the Kremlin or face a substantial fine.