Russian citizens who oppose the war in Ukraine have sought creative ways to flee Russia with their families. In September, when Putin announced a partial military mobilization, inactive military members who opposed the war wanted to “get out of dodging.” The main reason why the Russian President unwittingly recruits veterans and ex-servicemen to serve in the war is his depletion of military resources, mainly manpower. Cue United Passport.
What is a united passport?
United Passport is an organization that provides expedited passport and visa services to people around the world. In a message to their 300,000 subscribers via Telegram, they offered Russians the perfect loophole to become US citizens in this time of need. Again, leave it to the Americans to take advantage of another geopolitical situation. Once Putin announced that he was mainly “drafting” for the war in Ukraine, thousands of citizens were looking for places to move. Countries like Turkey, Armenia, Georgia and Serbia were their top picks as they would not need a visa to stay upon entry. However, many Russians have shown interest in moving to the United States.
“Grenada is called ‘little Switzerland,’ was the message United Passport wrote to its subscribers on September 25 via Telegram. Through United Passport, Russians could become citizens of Grenada for $150,000. With citizenship , they can apply for an E-2 visa in the United States since they officially become documented Grenadians.
An insider who posed as a Russian wanting to become a citizen of Grenada and wanting to live in the United States was able to get more information on how the process works. United Passport offered the insider a solution to buy a new InterContinental hotel project in Granada for $316,000 and the insider and his family would get passports with their share of the hotel.
Business Insider reached out to IHG Hotels & Resorts and they said their company “adheres to the highest ethical standards and has the same requirements for parties it engages with.”
Grenada is known worldwide for being a hotspot for tourists to relax, enjoy the beaches and sail. Russians wealthy enough to leave Russia have options, but the Grenada plan would be the best shortcut.
Why Pomegranate is the Strategy of Choice
Acquiring an E-2 visa through Grenadian citizenship is cheaper and faster than any other option for entering the United States. The EB-5 visa was initially the “go-to” for Russian investors to access the United States, but since the start of the war, the American Embassy in Moscow has suspended access to visa services.
“The difficult part would be being able to go to the appropriate consulate to have a real visa interview,” said Fadi Minawi, an immigration lawyer and senior manager at VisaPlace.
However, even before the war, the EB-5 visa took at least two years to be approved. “It can take years for that request to go through the process,” Minawi said.
The Grenada strategy would take only four months and cost about 80% less than the EB-5 route.
Problem it causes
In most cases, when obtaining a visa to enter the United States, you must verify your proof of income. Russians going through Grenada for the E2 visa would not have to do so many checks. This leaves the door open to Russians who have acquired their wealth through illegal activities.
“We shouldn’t say, ‘Of course, the moral imperative is that we want to help these people flee Russia, but we will only do that if you can invest,'” he said. Gary Kalman, executive director of Transparency International, an organization focused on illicit finance. “This is not a humanitarian policy. It’s a policy that attracts some of Russia’s wealthiest, many of whom may have gotten their money through ill-gotten gains.
Kalman said Russians with that kind of wealth who can afford a “shortcut” could most likely be oligarchs who made their money through “romantic deals.” And that it could be “very problematic” for immigrants to be able to buy their citizenship in the United States”.