Regardless of where we live, in reality, we are all in some way, shape, or form at the helm of the “Political Status Quo”. Whether its government interference, unethical banking practices, ever-growing energy prices, political war games, or taxation – living a life of true freedom is no easy feat. Over the past years ore and people are looking into living off the grid options for various reasons. Many of which give up their quest after finding out about the obstacles.
However, don’t despair – as not all is lost!
What if I told you that by making some (highly achievable) changes to the way you live your life, that you could move one step closer to breaking free of this unearthly status quo?
By this, I mean living off the grid as a political act.
Fancy finding out what I think you should do to achieve the euphoric goal of reducing your reliance on third parties, governments, and all-round oppressors? Well, fasten your seat-belts my almighty readers, as it’s going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.
Within my 2 part guide to living off the grid, I’m going to focus on some key metrics in particular. Notably, this will include citizenship, taxation, homeownership, and self-sustainability.
Before I delve into the fundamentals, I want to make it clear that the viewpoints expressed within this article are those of my own, and solely of my own. What might work for me and others reading my guide, might not work for everyone. In other words, what my view of living off the grid are, might be completely different to yours.
The important thing to recognize is that we are all in this together.
We all want a life of freedom and contentness, which is why you are here reading my opinion piece. If there is anything constructive that you would like to add, please do let me know in the comments section. That way, we can try and build a centralized hub of knowledge and ideas.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight into it.
In order to set the scene, I thought it would be worthwhile discussing my recent experience with Thai Immigration officials at Bangkok Airport. Now, as a British citizen, I hold a UK passport. This gives me heaps of freedom when it comes to visiting new countries, as in most cases, I get visa-free access for at least 30 days. I get even more visa-free access in some parts of the world, such as 3 months in Malaysia, and a whopping 6 months in Hong Kong.
Now in the case of Thailand, I am able to get 30 days of visa-free travel, which can then be extended by another 30 days once inside the country. As somebody that absolutely loves Thailand, I recently repeated the above process twice, with a cross-border visa-run sandwiched in-between, and thus, a total of four months in the country.
Upon spending a few weeks back in Europe and returning to Bangkok Airport, immigration officers took me to one side to ask me what my purpose in Thailand was. I explained that I am a self-employed writer that works online, and as such, I am financially self-sufficient.
However, I was swiftly told that in their eyes, I was living here, meaning that I was breaking the rules of the tourist visa system. Fortunately, Thai officials allowed me to re-enter the country on the proviso that I booked an outward ticket on the spot, which I did there and then.
The reason that I am telling you this is that my personal situation, alongside the personal situations of more than 7 billion people worldwide, is based on one key driver – citizenship.
The reality of life is that your opportunities are often defined by where you were born. Your citizenship will determine where you can and can’t go, how long you can stay, where you can work, how much tax you pay, whether you pay for healthcare, whether or not you get a pension – and everything else.
Why is my passport more worthy than that of say, somebody from Kenya or Peru?
The answer is nothing. Well, nothing apart from government policy and political war games.
This is why I decided to see if there was any way possible to obtain a second citizenship, or better – change citizenship completely. While it is still a work-in-progress, I’ve met a lot of people in the online space that have provided me with some really useful information, which I have shared with you below.
Can I obtain a second citizenship?
The short answer to this is “Yes”. The slightly longer answer is “Yes, but it usually requires a significant amount of time, effort, and in some cases – money.”
OK, so let me explain. Unless you have family ties to a particular country (parents or grandparents – by descent), or are prepared to marry a local citizen in your nation of choice, you will need to think outside the box.
For example, there are a number of nation-states that allow you to obtain citizenship if you are prepared to inject smaller amounts of capital into the country’s economy, too.
The amount of money required for this cash-for-passport arrangement will vary considerably depending on the jurisdiction in question. While some run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, other allow you to deposit just $5,000 into a local bank account account.
Furthermore, the amount of time that you will be required to live in the country before being eligible to apply for citizenship will also vary.
To give you an idea of the options, I’ve listed three examples below. However, for more information on obtaining a new citizenship, you might want to check out this really comprehensive guide by the NomadCapitalist.
My number one pick for the easiest country in the world to obtain a second citizenship is that of Paraguay. I actually visited the country close to two decades when I went on the backpacking adventure of my life, and I have to say, the place is absolutely beautiful. In fact, I would have no problems at all spending a considerable amount of time in Paraguay.
So, what’s the deal with citizenship then?
Well, first and foremost, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an eligible country with such a small investment requirement, which stands at a bank account deposit of just $5,000. This isn’t a fee of any sort, as you get to withdraw the money out once you have been granted permanent residence.
Before you can apply for fully-fledged citizenship, you’ll need to have spent three years as a resident. However, guess what? You only need to stay within the country for 183 days of the year for it to be classed as a full year of residency.
Even better, there are no restrictions on your country of origin, nor will you be required to earn a minimum salary amount to qualify.
In even greater news, those holding a Paraguayan passport are eligible to visit a full range of countries on a visa-free basis, including most of Europe!
As mentioned a moment ago, you really need to think outside of the box to obtain a second citizenship. And that’s why I point you towards Dominica.
The mountainous Caribbean island is home to just over 73,000 residents and has a GDP just-shy of $700 million.
So why Dominica?
Well, in terms of the required investment to obtain citizenship, this will falls within the $200,000-ish range. I know this isn’t cheap, but in comparison to the likes of Malta – which asks for a staggering investment of about $1.3 million, it’s one of the lowest on offer (although arguably much higher than Paraguay!).
However, it is important to note that with the right legal firm on your side, you stand the chance of waiving the investment amount. In order to do so, you would need to prove to the Dominica authorities that you:
[A] Will be spending a considerable amount of the year in the country and
[B] You have a steady income
Now, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to what constitutes a considerable amount of time in the country or what is viewed as a steady income. This is why I say with the right legal firm behind you, as both terms are highly subjective.
As such, I am of the understanding that getting the right people to authorize your citizenship application will ultimately determine whether you are able to waive the $200,000 fee or not.
Nevertheless, if this isn’t an option to you, and you do need to make the investment, then this can either be injected into Dominica real estate or a local business.
In terms of how long you need to remain in the country before being eligible, the general consensus is a period of two years. However, and once again, some people that I have spoken to claim to have gotten it quicker, and others slower!
My third selection for the most dual-citizenship-friendly nation in the world is Macedonia. Firstly, let’s get the bad news out of the way first. In order to qualify for dual-citizenship, you will need to make an investment of at least 400,000 Euros into a domestic business.
If you’re in a position to do that, you can obtain citizenship in just a year, subsequently making Macedonia one of the fastest options out there. A further, and perhaps, highly fundamental advantage of choosing this option is that you effectively gain overnight access to mainland Europe.
In fact, you’ll enjoy visa-free access to the entire Schengen Area (which is most of mainland Europe), without needing to deal with the bureaucracy and ever-growing red-tape of European Union regulations.
Note: Before moving on, it is important to remember that obtaining dual-citizenship in any of the above countries is still no easy feat. You will likely need to deal with a legitimate, but at the same time highly connected legal firm that is able to grease the wheels on your behalf.
This is highly achievable, but it will require extensive research to make sure you are doing everything by the book. This further highlights the importance of sharing our knowledge and experience on the Frugality platform so that we can collectively learn!
So now that I’ve covered citizenship, in the next section of my opinion piece I am going to talk about that dreaded word – tax