Changing countries is a dream for many Brazilians, especially when they believe they have the right to dual citizenship. This search, however, also requires care, with immigration advisors and fake companies betting on the rush to change lives and the bureaucratic complexity of the processes to scam interested parties, gaining access to personal data and receiving money, often in the name of high fees. , without delivering the desired documents or following due legal processes.
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High fees, promises of uncomplicated procedures or lack of transparency are some of the signs of the so-called dual citizenship scam, which mainly affects those seeking to obtain a European passport. “Those looking for a faster process end up finding false advisory services or shell companies that take advantage of people’s anxiety to extort money”, points out Rafael Gianesini, CEO and co-founder of Cidadania4U, specialized in the sector.
Promises made are one of the first signs of trouble, according to the expert. The bureaucratic process of obtaining citizenship follows standards and schedules imposed by each country, with the offer of very short deadlines being a first sign of problems, either that the work is not being carried out or that it is not being carried out legally.
Checking the legitimacy of the advisory services and contracted companies also helps to differentiate the legitimate ones from those that can apply scams. According to Gianesini, it is important to check links with the country of destination and official records in Brazil, as well as international contacts. Companies in the sector, for example, usually have their own apartments or rent them out to immigrants, where they can stay upon arrival at their new home; the absence of it in contacts can also be a warning sign.
The executive points this out as a necessity even when hiring foreign companies, which can make access even more difficult and increase the chance of a coup. “We’ve seen people hire Brazilians who live in Italy or Italian lawyers directly, who have no connection with Brazil. Therefore, it is very important to see if the professional has a CNPJ or structure in our country”, he adds.
Having direct contact with the advisor in charge of the dual citizenship process also helps to establish trust. Interested parties must also have access to all documents used by the responsible company, which must be provided transparently and directly throughout the process.
How to avoid the dual citizenship scam?
Gianesini indicates the search for references as a good way to avoid falling into fraud of this type. Searching for friends or family who have already used the services of a certain company, for example, or searching for processes about CNPJs or even public complaints about services can help verify the integrity of a company or professional working in the segment.
The executive also indicates a preference for companies headquartered in Brazil, which facilitates the search for legal remedies if necessary. “If there is a Brazilian office and CNPJ, the client will also have the chance to use the national judiciary, such as small claims courts, if necessary”, explains Gianesini.
He does not recommend the use of international services to obtain dual citizenship, since, in case of problems, processes must be carried out in the country of origin, with expenses that, many times, can even exceed the amount lost in a coup. . In this case, he points out, a lot of people end up assuming the loss and running out of money and documentation.
Lack of transparency is also another indication of problems. According to the specialist, it is worth looking at whether the company’s website indicates who owns or is responsible for the processes, which should also appear during negotiations or work involving documentation. “If you are going to make a video call and the cameras are closed [e tais informações não existam]it cannot be trusted”, he concludes.