Everything you need to know about Citizenship by Investment
What is Citizenship by Investment and How to Obtain it
There are many traditional ways in which to obtain Citizenship within a country or territory. These include birth, descent from a citizen parent, marriage to a citizen and naturalization. Naturalization can often be lengthy process that involves long periods of residence or family relationships. Requirements and conditions will also often vary from country to country.
Many countries will also offer Permanent Residency status to people who invest beyond a certain minimum threshold amount in that country or make some other significant non-financial contribution to that particular country. This can then be a route to citizenship through naturalization, but again comes with residency requirements and other conditions that may be unfavourable. It’s also largely dependent on the discretion of the government of the day and political will.
In the last few decades, however, another more direct route to citizenship has emerged. This route is referred to as Citizenship by Investment.
What is Citizenship by Investment?
The concept is straightforward; a government approved and administrated programme is in place that allows citizens of other nationalities to make a minimum real estate investment in a government approved project or make a contribution towards a government welfare fund of that country and in return obtain full citizenship of the said country.
In Simple Terms: Invest a certain minimum amount and obtain a second passport; allowing for global freedom of movement and tax efficiencies among other benefits.
Citizenship by investment programmes usually don’t have any residency requirements and in some cases there is no requirement to even visit the country. These programmes are also almost always fair and transparent and do not discriminate against any nationality, ethnicity or other group. However, an unblemished character, relatively good health and no criminal record are requirements across the board.
Citizenship by investment confers all the rights of citizenship to the applicant and they are considered fully naturalized citizens and can pass their citizenship on to future generations and enjoy all the benefits that any ordinary citizen of the chosen country would enjoy.
These programmes offer you the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality and an alternative passport quickly and simply, without any major disruption to your life. These programmes also usually allow for dual citizenship, allowing you to retain your citizenship in your first home-country whilst enjoying all the benefits of citizenship in your second home-country.
Which Countries Provide Citizenship by Investment
The Caribbean consists of many countries that provide Citizenship by Investment programmes. Citizenship in these countries comes with plenty of visa free travel privileges and potential for tax efficiencies. These Caribbean countries include:
- Kitts and Nevis
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
Citizenship in some of these countries comes with more benefits than others or at least benefits that may be of more value to certain groups of investors than others. For example, Grenada maintains a treaty with the USA that allows Grenadian citizens to own businesses and reside in the United States.
Other countries that offer true Citizenship by Investment programmes include:
Amongst these countries Cyprus and Malta are higher in price however, they offer full EU citizenship with the right to live and work in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland. Both also come with advantageous tax environments.
How to Apply
Applications for Citizenship by Investment will usually need to go through an approved service provider. Even if this is not the case, a service provider will be well versed with the regulations and requirements and can assist you to ensure a smooth process.
Speak to us today to learn more about these programmes and how to make your application a successful one.
Please note that every application will need to go through necessary due diligence and due diligence requirements in certain jurisdictions may be more stringent than others. Therefore, you should be able and willing to provide all necessary documentation and other information that may be required in order to ensure that your application is accepted successfully.
Beware of Scams
Citizenship by Investment programmes are always government approved and administrated programmes in the destination countries. The laws of these countries also explicitly provide for these programmes and everything is done legally and without room for question.
Therefore you should avoid any programme that may involve undocumented payments or any unsolicited communications. You should also become immediately suspicious if any service provider promotes a programme in any country for which you can’t find an explicit government promoted programme online.
A genuine citizenship by investment programme is commoditized (meaning anyone can access it), structured, legal and fast. Anything that doesn’t meet these requirements is not a genuine Citizenship by Investment programme.
There are plenty of programmes that are not true Citizenship by Investment programmes but provide a legitimate path to citizenship and these may work well for you, but you must take precautions to know what you’re getting into and to avoid falling prey to scammers.