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Grey Market Passports

Warning: this is where most of the scams take place, so take care.

However in saying this you can also pick up some good value citizenship bargains. There are a handful of trusted citizenship & passport programs in existence.

Basically we are talking about fully valid, legally issued and renewable passports that are obtained through unconventional sources, often enriching a bureaucrat, passport officer and consular official along the way.

This would be illegal in most countries, but paying bribes is common business practice in many third world countries. The USA is currently the only country in the world that has made it illegal for its citizens to engage in corruption of foreign government officials. Other countries, such as Germany, take the exact opposite view and even allow such bribes as tax-deductible expenses. So unless you are American, you at least would not be committing a crime in your home country.

Although there are many variations, the method of issue usually boils down to one of two:

  1. Rebirth: a native woman from the target country will be given a financial incentive to declare that she is your mother, but she never registered your birth because you were born out of wedlock to an American father who was just passing through town (or whatever story you might concoct to give yourself a name that matches your ethnic appearance). Your father then took you off to live in another land. You will be issued with a new birth certificate by a co-operative government official, and in turn with a passport.
  2. Backdated naturalization: a co-operative official will issue you residence documents duly backdated by some years, and then at the same time will issue a certificate of naturalization followed by a passport.
    Either of these methods are pretty foolproof since once citizenship has been issued, the files are unlikely ever to be looked at again, and you can simply renew the passport at any consulate worldwide. And third world bureaucrats are not known for the efficient working practices anyway. However, if you were to do something really stupid like getting arrested for a serious crime in which Interpol would be interested, or applying for naturalization in the USA in your new name leading to a background check, then the files could be opened and they might not look 100% kosher.

The other risk is that your friendly, helpful official could get caught or turned in by political opponents. Provided you keep out of the issuing country this is no particular risk to you, but it could affect the validity of your passport when you seek to renew it.

The conclusion is that grey market passports are a great alternative for anonymizing business and offshore banking, and when you need a quick second passport with no questions asked. However, you would be unwise to base a whole new life upon these as you would always have that lingering doubt at the back of your mind. A second passport should serve as a reassurance, not as a worry.

Advantages:

Low cost, from US$10,000 upwards
Fully legally-issued passport from authorized, internationally-recognized authorities
Fast and no questions asked
Police clearance certificate can be issued, allowing you to apply for residency elsewhere
Completely new name and identity possible with rebirth method
Depending on country, visa-free travel is usually better than with White Glove Instant programs.
Can be used as a stepping stone to a better passport (see hybrid programs below)

Disadvantages:

You should try to learn the language of the country if you are backdating a residence claim.
Many scams: use a reputable consultant and tread with care!

 

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