Citizenship by investment is a means to secure second citizenship and passport in another country by investing in its economy.
This can be accomplished through different types of established investment options, including real estate, government bonds, establishing a business, development funds, etc.
Investment options and required investment sums vary greatly depending on the program and the type of investment. Citizenship by investment programs help obtain citizenship faster than traditional immigration processes.
There are several key ways to get the most out of your citizenship by investment.
First, it’s essential to define and prioritize your goals clearly. Some of the common motivations include mobility, finances, business opportunities, education, and lifestyle. It’s also important to determine how much capital you are willing and able to invest, whether you’re willing to reside in a different country, and the type of investment you’d like to make.
Once you’ve determined all of these factors, you can select a program that will be most aligned with your requirements and goals. Proper planning and research, paired with a skilled advisor, is the best way to get the most out of citizenship by investment.
Economic citizenship is essentially the same thing as citizenship by investment. It’s a way to obtain second citizenship and a passport in another country by investing in its economy. This can be accomplished through different types of investment options, including real estate, government bonds, establishing a business, development programs, etc.
Investment options and required investment sums vary greatly depending on the country. Economic citizenship often refers to Caribbean citizenship by investment programs since these countries greatly depend on foreign investment as a means to develop.
There are a number of significant differences between the terms “residency” and “citizenship.”
|A citizen of a country, nation or state has rights that are not conferred on a resident. Citizens can confidently expect that they will hold their status and rights for life. In addition, citizenship status can be inherited by children and grandchildren. Residents do not have these privileges or security. Each of these delegations entail different responsibilities, conditions and rights.|
|It is common for residents to have to renew their residency permits by continuing to satisfy the country’s legal requirements. These can include continuing to hold the initially-required investment, maintaining good health and clean criminal records, and meeting physical residency requirements. Residency status can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the laws of the respective country.|
A High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) who is considering global citizenship, or obtaining a so-called “Golden Visa” should be familiar with the differences between citizenship and residency, the qualifying requirements, and the laws of a country before selecting it as their destination of choice.
Residency by investment is achieved when an applicant and their approved family members satisfy certain conditions. Those conditions vary by country and typically involve such criteria as:
Some countries, after a specific period, say 5 years, may require that immigrant investment residents only have to be of good health, have no criminal record, and continue to show they will not become a burden on the state, instead of also having to maintain the investment.
There are also governments, such as the island of Cyprus, that do not offer a period of residency. Successful investors become naturalized citizens in a single process of a few months.
Most countries that offer immigration through investment and Immigrant investor programs want to encourage entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals to choose their program, and thus offer the incentive of citizenship.
In most cases, citizenship follows an approved period of residency. However, some countries don’t require residency. These include Cyprus, Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda - they offer citizenship within weeks, instead of years.
All we see there are a number of significant differences between permanent residency and citizenship. Now, lets take a look at the advantages of each one.
*In some countries the ability to “work” does not mean seek employment. Countries like Greece and Cyprus only allow permanent residents to work within their own business, but not seek employment in the country’s workforce.
When it comes to securing a second passport, it’s important to know all of your citizenship-by-investment options. Many countries offer residency and citizenship programs, each with different investment requirements and benefits. We’ve provided a brief overview below of the five different types. Depending on the program you choose, you can either invest in a single option or spread the investment across several different options.
These types of projects entail investing in commercial or residential property in your country of choice. The requirements can vary from total ownership of a property, fractional (shared) ownership in a major development or a lease for the required duration.
Shared ownership in a large development involves being a passive investor and not managing any part of the project. The USA’s EB-5 Visa Program (investment in Regional Center) is an example of passive investment leading to permanent residency, while the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CIP) is an option for either whole or fractional investment.
In Bulgaria, Project St. Sofia is a groundbreaking new real estate investment opportunity. The first mega-resort development of its kind in Europe, it’s guaranteed to become a key landmark for business and leisure. It’s a secure investment opportunity that offers the option to invest in real estate shares or an actual property with a title deed with high growth potential. Investors are eligible for fast-track citizenship after 1 year of permanent residency with no physical presence required.
Purchasing government bonds is a way to obtain permanent residency or citizenship without risking capital or being personally involved in a business enterprise. The respective country's government guarantees the bonds, and your full investment is returned without accruing interest. The minimum holding period is usually five years.
If you’d prefer to finance the investment, your initial deposit is not returned, but rather used to finance the initial loan and cover other finance charges. Some countries like Bulgaria offer a fast-track to citizenship if you purchase an additional bond value.
The Quebec Investor Visa Program offers permanent residency to investors who make a one-time payment of CAN$1.2* million, leave it in place for 5 years, and then get it back after the required duration has elapsed, without accrued interest.
*The investment amount can be financed.
If you’d like to expand your entrepreneurial empire by owning and running your own business in a different country, this option is for you.
Depending on the program chosen, securing a permanent residency or citizenship will enable you to easily trade within particular economic and geographic areas.
These types of investment options require potential investors to create new employment opportunities or preserve existing ones. The UK’s Innovator Category, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Lucia’s CIP allow for joint applications by investors who want to have shared ownership of a business.
This type of investment requires a sizable donation to an approved fund or charity in a particular country. It’s a philanthropic way to contribute to your new country’s economic development while making a positive impact. The donation varies according to the number of applicants and delivers all the benefits of citizenship.
All of the countries in this survey offer excellent tax regimes. Some are members of the European Union (EU), CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Schengen Zone. Membership of these organizations opens up travel, temporary and permanent residency, and business opportunities to their members' citizens, including duty-free import and export trading opportunities.
Whatever your reasons for looking into residency or citizenship-by-investment, this short description of the best citizenship-by-investment programs will give you a first-class introduction.
The UK is a country with many international ties and a very popular investor destination.
The UK Citizenship by Investment Tier 1 (Investor) Program's details include:
*Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settlement, which is equivalent of the permanent residency status.
Bulgaria has established itself as a very attractive destination for immigrant investors. It is strategically positioned within the European Union for international trade. Its historical association with the Russian Federation and other nations offers many benefits to global citizens.
Applicants may follow a standard or a fast-track process to achieve Bulgarian citizenship by investment.
The program basics are:
The main benefits of the Bulgarian investor program are:
Cyprus is at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia, and is one of the easiest countries in the l European Union to gain citizenship.
The Greek Permanent Residency and Citizenship Program offers a pathway to secure permanent residency in Europe via an affordable real estate investment in Greece. Of all European residency by investment programs, Greece provides the most cost-effective investment.
Moldova is a lovely eastern European country nestled between Ukraine and Romania - it’s strategically located, with easy access to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Launched in the second half of 2018, the Moldova Citizenship by Investment Program (MCBI) was developed by the Government of the Republic of Moldova to use the foreign investments generated by the MCBI program to power Moldova’s expansion across all sectors.
The minimum, non-refundable contribution to the Public Investment Fund depends on the size of your family.
In addition to the investment, processing and due diligence fees are required by the government of Moldova.
The benefits of Canadian residency and citizenship have made it the world’s most sought-after country for investor immigrants. Its economy is the world’s 11th strongest, its population is well-educated, and the country has a great reputation for being welcoming.
The Nova Scotia Nominee Selection Program (NSNP) attracts high-net-worth applicants who want to settle in the province and meet its labor market and other economic needs. It is also a path to a Permanent Residency in Canada.
Applicants for Nova Scotia Entrepreneur Stream must satisfy the following criteria:
Dependent family members and other relatives (as defined by NSNP) may also be included under the same application.
While Canada has many different immigration programs, the Québec Investor Visa offers a route to Canada citizenship by investment. Providing that the applicant has met all the other requirements such as physical residency, he/she can apply for citizenship after 3 years.
Grenada's citizenship by investment program is very fast and beneficial. Approved applicants should receive their citizenship after 60 business days from application. The entire process is kept strictly confidential. To be awarded citizenship, applicants may:
The following relatives of the main applicant are eligible to be included in the application:
Grenada has an E-2 Investor Treaty with the USA, enabling citizens to own a business in the USA and achieve temporary residence there.
The Commonwealth of Dominica is known for its safe, happy, vibrant lifestyle. It has become a major center for international financial services. The Dominica citizenship by investment program enables applicants to become citizens in 4 to 6 months.
Applicants choose one of two options:
Investment of at least $400,000, split between two investors at a contribution of $200,000 each, plus government fees.
Dependent family members, including spouses, children below 30, and parents over 55, can apply.
Saint Kitts and Nevis offers several avenues for investors to secure a full citizenship for themselves and their families through economic contributions.
The St. Kitts citizenship by investment program currently has 2 options available: investing in approved real estate developments, or making a non-refundable donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). We’ve provided more details on each of these below
National Development Fund (NDF) Donation
Real Estate Investment
Antigua and Barbuda is a beautiful Caribbean country that offers citizenship within approximately 3 - 4 months from application.
Citizens enjoy all the rights of a CARICOM member nation, and may also capitalize on some specific benefits offered by the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment program, such as being eligible for a 10-year, multiple-entry visa to the U.S.A. Applicants with a personal high net worth attain citizenship by selecting one of several options:
National Development Fund (NDF) Donation
Real Estate Investment
St. Lucia offers many benefits to its citizens, including its relaxed lifestyle, tropical climate, world-class entertainment, and access to direct flights to all of the Americas, Caribbean nations, and Europe.
The St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment Program was established in 2015, making it the newest Caribbean CIP.
Benefitting from the decades of experience other Caribbean CIPs have, St. Lucia has had the advantage of implementing only the best practices of each one.
Other investment options offered by St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment program are investment in government-approved enterprise projects and investment in government bonds.
Countries stand to gain many different benefits in exchange for offering citizenship and passport by investment:
Securing a second citizenship requires detailed planning and careful preparation. The process can be meticulous, but each required step is clearly defined and there are many resources available to help guide you.
This may sound like an obvious question, but citizenship by investment programs vary greatly by country, with each one offering a different set of benefits. To choose the best one for your needs, you need to determine your primary goal(s) for pursuing a second passport.
The most popular ones include:
Before you choose a desired program for your citizenship we strongly suggest to answer the questions below for yourself so you know exactly what conditions you need.able to submit your citizenship application while having free capital for other investment opportunities.
1. What is your allotted investment budget?
Each program entails a different investment amount and fees, so it’s important to consider cost requirements when choosing a country.
2. Do you need to finance the investment amount rather than making a lump sum payment?
Financing your investment can be advantageous since you’ll be able to submit your citizenship application while having free capital for other investment opportunities.
3. What are your desired investment terms?
Are you looking solely for a guaranteed return on your investment, or are you willing to take a chance on a “risky” venture? A third, more philanthropic option is a non-returnable donation to a development fund in your country of choice.
4. How quickly do you need to achieve citizenship?
You can secure residency or citizenship within a few months or a few years, depending on the respective country’s program.
5. Are you planning to reside in your country of choice? If not, how much time are you willing and able to spend there?
Different programs have different physical residency requirements, so you’ll need to determine if you’re looking for a country to serve as a second home and place to conduct business, or simply as a means to secure other benefits. If you’re leaning toward the latter and don’t intend to reside in the country, you’ll need to make sure you can satisfy the program’s physical residency requirements. Otherwise, select a program that does not have such requirements.
6. How important are the country’s international economic memberships and visa-free travel arrangements?
Is your goal to secure visa-free travel to as many countries as possible? Determine the geographic region to which you’re trying to gain visa-free access. Just as an example, is visa-free travel around the EU more important than visa-free access around CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market)?
7. Is your primary goal to secure an advantageous tax regimen and secure asset protection?
Some countries offer better tax policies than others. Things to consider are tax rates, tax incentive schemes for new capital investment, or no double taxation agreements with other countries. Some countries have no capital gains tax, personal income tax, wealth tax, inheritance tax, or gift tax; no estate duty, and no income tax paid on income from dividends or interest. If the taxation aspect is important, choose a country that has the most advantageous policies.
8. What is the importance of the country’s geographical location?
If you plan to reside in the country or spend extensive amounts of time there for business, then the geographic location, climate, and infrastructure are important things to consider.
9. How important is language, education opportunities, health care, business opportunities, tax regimens, lifestyle, and culture for your family?
If you plan to reside in the country for extended periods of time, these are key so make sure that you have a good knowledge of what each country has to offer!
Honestly answer all of the questions above and score the importance of each item on your list. This will help you narrow down your choices.
Once your list of priorities is established, you’re ready for the next step: choosing you citizenship by investment program and country.
Once you’ve selected a country and program, it’s time to fill out and submit the application.
The respective government agency confirms that they have received your file.
The list above provides an overview of the standard steps required to secure permanent residency or citizenship. Each country has its own process, so the requirements will vary slightly depending on the program you choose. Some countries do not require you to be physically present at all, while others require at least one visit, or even long-term physical residency before they grant citizenship.
When you have reviewed the steps, shortlisted your options, and compiled your initial questions, book a free consultation.
We look forward to helping you on your journey to securing a second citizenship through investment.
Vicky Katsarova, CEO
“My world travels and my own immigration experiences have given me a deep understanding and clear insight into each of our clients’ specific requirements, aspirations and concerns. It is this intense personal association with client expectations and needs that helps to set our company and our service apart.”