Wealthy Americans Are Looking for Citizenship Elsewhere in the Wake of Social and Political Unrest

By: Lauren | Published: Mar 30, 2024

The United States has long been considered one of the best countries for the wealthy. From a thriving economy to minimal taxes, it’s always been possible to get rich and stay rich in the USA. 

However, current data shows that many wealthy Americans are worried about the nation’s future and have decided to invest in citizenship elsewhere, just in case. 

Living Abroad Is Easier Than Ever

Over the past decade, global travel has become more common than ever before. While many still consider America their home, these trips have truly opened their eyes to the possibility of living somewhere else.

A large commercial airplane flies through a blue sky

Source: Freepik

Now, as the United States struggles to maintain a steady economy, taxes are raised, and the 2024 presidential election is right around the corner, thousands of wealthy Americans are starting to think living abroad would be better. 

Millionaires Are Making Moves

Of course, for many Americans, the dream of living in another country is just that: a dream. Without substantial income, it can be extremely challenging to apply for a foreign passport or even a long-term visa. 

Ultra-wealthy man using a tablet on his private jet

Source: Adobe Stock

However, for those who do have disposable income, the process is actually quite simple. Many countries, especially in Europe, only require a few hundred thousand dollars in investments to obtain citizenship. And for a multimillionaire, that’s pocket change. 

Migration Consultancy Reports a 500% Increase in Inquiries

Migration consultancy films Henley & Partners and New World Wealth released a report this month entitled “2024 USA Wealth Report.”

Stylish woman waits for a taxi at the airport with her luggage

Source: Freepik

It contained a plethora of data regarding America’s high-worth population. But one especially interesting statistic it noted is that inquiries from uber-wealthy US citizens about citizenship abroad increased by 500% in the last five years. 

Citizenship-By-Investment Programs

The vast majority of these inquiries are multi millionaires looking for a simple way to get citizenship in another country. Luckily for them, there are several options, but the most popular is a citizenship-by-investment program. 

Dozens of $100 bills are spread out on a table

Source: Freepik

Several countries in Europe are willing to exchange a long-term visa or citizenship for a few hundred thousand dollars worth of investments in their economy. Each nation has its own stipulations, such as minimum investments, background checks, and even residence requirements that force applicants to live in the country for a specific length of time before getting their permanent residency.

Top Countries for Wealthy Americans

Among the many countries offering such options, the most popular destinations for wealthy Americans are Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. 

Picturesque photograph of a coastal village in Greece

Source: iStock

As some of the most beautiful, temperate, and cultural countries on the planet, there are many reasons why Americans are choosing these four Mediterranean paradises. But it helps that they have the simplest application processes, too.


Why Are So Many Rich Americans Getting Foreign Citizenships?

When it comes to why there has been such an immense influx of rich Americans applying for foreign citizenships, there’s no one answer. 

A woman is filling out her tax forms by hand next to her laptop

Source: Freepik

Some feel as though US schools are no longer safe for their children and others believe that the 2024 election (no matter who wins) may just tear the country apart. But the majority are worried about Biden’s “billionaire tax,” and want to live somewhere where the government won’t take 25% of their earnings. 


Will America Experience a Millionaire Exodus?

It’s important to understand that these uber-wealthy Americans aren’t necessarily packing their bags just yet. They are simply applying for foreign citizenships in case they want to use them at a later date.

Photograph of several people walking out a door

Source: Freepik

At this point in time, it’s become far more common for the American elite to migrate within the country to cities and states with lower taxes and cost of living.


Where Are American Millionaires Moving To?

Many extremely wealthy Americans are leaving states like California and New York for greener, i.e. cheaper, pastures.

Skyline of Austin, Texas, as seen from the river

Source: Wikipedia

Austin, Texas; Miami, Florida; and Scottsale, Arizona, have seen the biggest influx in American millionaires and billionaires over the past decade. Elon Musk recently relocated from California to Texas, and several Hollywood A-listers like Mark Wahlberg and Celine Dion, have also left the Golden State behind to save money on income and property taxes. 


The USA Has More Millionaires and Billionaires Than Any Other Country on Earth

Although the wealthy are moving, they aren’t leaving the USA just yet. As of March 2024, there are more millionaires in the USA than anywhere else in the world. In fact, the 2024 report notes that 37% of all millionaires live in America. 

Skyline of New York City, New York at sunset

Source: Freepik

Currently there are 5.5 million millionaires and 788 billionaires in the USA, and those numbers are growing every year. 


These Numbers May Change Depending on Who Wins the Oval Office in November

The USA has seen a 62% increase in millionaires over the past year, and most experts agree that this number is likely to continue to grow over the coming decade.

Former president and candidate for 2024, Donald Trump/ President Joe Biden speaks at an event at the White House

Source: Shutterstock/Shutterstock

However, exactly how many more people are added to the list will undoubtedly depend on who wins the presidential election in November. President Biden has famously proposed a “billionaire tax” that could minimize the increase in ultra-wealthy Americans, whereas former president Donald Trump has promised to decrease taxes for America’s elite. 


America’s Economy Will Suffer if Its Uber-Wealthy Move Away

As California has already noticed, fewer millionaires means less money for the state. Even if only a small percentage of America’s excessively wealthy leave the USA behind for the good life abroad, it will absolutely negatively affect the country’s economy. 

Digital illustration of the United States of America flag

Source: Freepik

Of course, no one knows yet how many will actually leave and how drastically the economy will suffer. But if the 2024 report is any indication, there will likely be a significant exodus of America’s wealthy in the next few years.