Citizenship by Investment or ‘economic citizenship’ refers to a one-time investment that interested individuals need to make into a country to acquire a citizenship and a second passport. In 1990’s, many countries started and offered such programmes that were then discontinued because of several issues.
But at the turn of the century, two countries started to offer top-quality Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIP). These were St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica. Over the last two decades, several countries took the cue and launched spectacular citizenship and dual passport programmes – including the Caribbean nations – and now some European countries are following suit.
But before you decide to opt for citizenship by investment programmes, make sure to look at all the details before proceeding. Factors such as evaluating the value of the new passport, see its international standing, and finding out if residency in a country will actually lead to citizenship offer good starting points.
Types of investments that can lead to citizenship
Here are the most common investment types that may be required as you plan to acquire a second passport for yourself and your family.
Real estate offers one of the most common categories of investment in all countries that offer Citizenship by Investment programmes. In fact, countries that don’t have CIP programmes in place may still offer residency to different passport holders who decide to invest in their real estate sector – and this can often eventually lead to citizenship.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, one of the very first countries to launch a Citizenship-by-Investment programme, for example, an investor will need to purchase a real estate property worth at least $400,000 that must be held for a minimum of 5 years, or a real estate property worth $200,000 with a holding period of at least 7 years.
On the other hand, Turkey’s CIP programme also requires interested individuals to invest in real estate worth at least $250,000. You can choose to invest in one or multiple properties as long as the total amount is being reached. Many interested candidates choose properties with guaranteed rental incomes. Almost all other countries offering CIP also offer some form of real estate investment as an option to investors looking to either relocate permanently or simply hold a dual passport.
Another investment category that allows individuals to have a new passport is via investment in government bonds. Many countries offer these options including St. Lucia and Turkey. The former recently lowered its government bond investment requirements for citizenship to $250,000, making it a fairly attractive option compared to Turkey which has an investment requirement of a minimum of $500,000.
Turkey has many different bonds available for investors to choose from and the good thing about this investment is that it doesn’t just grant them Turkish passports, but also offers decent fiscal returns. The country requires that the investor must hold this investment for at least 3 years after which they can receive the citizenship.
On the other hand, St. Lucia requires investors to hold their investments for at least a 5 year period to obtain citizenship. The country’s passport is also considered one of the best in the world if you’re interested in enjoying visa-free access to multiple destinations around the world.
Many countries with Citizenship by Investment programmes accept non-refundable, one-time donations from investors in lieu of a second passport. These include St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Vanuatu, and Malta. Donations start from a minimum of $100,000 and can go up to $650,000 for relatively expensive options such as Malta.
Other investments that allow interested candidates to acquire a country’s citizenship can involve financial investments in local enterprises, setting up, or relocating a business or its head quarters to a specific country. Currently, there are a total of 11 citizenship-by-investment programmes running worldwide, with each passport offering a unique mix of advantages and benefits.
Depending on the passport you choose to go with, you can have visa free access to over 180+ countries, access to the entire European Union to freely live, work, and travel and some of the top educational institutes, and a wide variety of business opportunities to establish or grow your business. Countries offering citizenship by investment include Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Turkey.
Overall, when it comes to choosing a citizenship by investment programme, passport shoppers should think in terms of what they need out of a citizenship programme and also look at their budgets before finalising a country.
Whether you’re looking for hassle-free worldwide mobility, permanently settling down or relocating, or high-quality real estate investments, citizenship by investment programmes offer them all. The key is to know what you need and then plan to invest accordingly.