Citizenship by investment programs (CIP) offer a fast track citizenship to foreign investors against one time economic contribution to the Government, such as buying a property or one time contribution to the Government fund. All applicants and their family members had to pay the due diligence fee and pass the background vetting checks.
The first citizenship by investment scheme was introduced in 1983 by St Kitts and Nevis, since then the number of such schemes have proliferated to more than 10. Currently the CBI industry is estimated to be worth $5 billion annually. The proceeds from CIP were used for economic development and welfare projects. Caribbean countries used citizenship for sale revenues for hurricane recovery and rebuilding.
Today there are about 11 citizenship by investment schemes actively running and more countries are expected to introduce a CIP in the future.
Origin and Start of CBI schemes
- St Kitts and Nevis – 1984
- Dominica – 1993
- Malta – 2014
- Bulgaria – 2013
- Cyprus – 2013
- Antigua and Barbuda – 2013
- Grenada – 2013
- Saint Lucia – 2015
- Vanuatu – 2015
- Turkey – 2017
- Moldova – 2018
- Montenegro – 2018
The Benefits of Second passports acquired through citizenship by investment schemes are numerous. Second passports or Gold passports are considered to be the ultimate luxury status symbol of the 21st century among the rich and wealthy. Passports are also placed in investment portfolios. In a recent survey on second passports, two-third of HNW millionaires already have a second passport, while one-third are already considering one.
- You can call a country second home, visit anytime you want
- Greater travel freedom and mobility
- Get out of your country, when there is Global crisis
- Access to the best healthcare and education systems for your children outside your country.
- Access to international financial freedom (open bank accounts)
- Retirement and to receive pensions
- Today’s citizenship investment will be passed to future family generations.
- Live, work, study and do business anywhere you want.
- Greatly reduce your taxes with clever tax planning.
- Expand your business opportunities attending events, conferences, trade shows across the globe.
QUICK CBI PROGRAM COMPARISON
|Region||Country||Status||Price||Investment||Passport time||Visa free||Residence conditions||Passport validity|
|Europe||Moldova||Suspended||€100K||Donation||3 months||122||none||10 years|
|Europe||Montenegro||Active||€350K||Real Estate + Donation||3 months||123||none||10|
|Europe||Malta||Active||€900K||Donation + Bonds||14 months||182||12 months||10|
|Europe||Cyprus||Active||€2.5 million||Real estate||7 months||173||6 months||10|
|Caribbean||St Kitts||Active|| $150K (donation) or |
$200K (real estate)
|Donation or Real Estate||3 months||151||none||10|
|Caribbean||Antigua||Active|| $100K (donation)|
$200K or (real estate) or
|Donation or Real Estate or Business||3 months||150||5 days||5|
|Caribbean||Grenada||Active|| $150K (donation) or |
$350K (real estate)
|Donation or Real Estate||3 months||142||none||5|
|Caribbean||Dominica||Active|| $100K (donation) or |
$200K (real estate)
|Donation or Real Estate||3 months||137||none||10|
|Caribbean||St Lucia||Active|| $100K (donation)|
$350K (real estate)
$500K (Govt bonds)
|Donation or Real Estate or Govt bonds||2 months||145||none||5|
|Pacific||Vanuatu||Active||$130K (donation)||Donation||2 months||129||none||10|
|Asia||Turkey||Active||$250K (real estate)||Real estate||3-4 months||111||none||10|
CHEAPEST CBI SCHEMES
- Dominica / St Lucia is the cheapest CBI for single applicants.
- Antigua is the cheapest CBI for families.
- Real estate options also become cheaper than donation options for large families with over 5 dependents.
- Donation is the most popular route for passport by investment
- Buying a property is the fastest way to acquire citizenship and passport.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBI SCHEMES
- Montenegro offers the latest citizenship by investment opportunity.
- Turkey has one of the simplest and easiest citizenship by investment programs. Just buy a property for USD 250,000 anywhere in Turkey and citizenship is granted within 3-4 months.
- St Kitts, Dominica is the most popular citizenship by investment schemes
- Grenada is the most valuable CBI passport. Its citizenship can be transferred to all generations, has visa free access to China/Russia and provides access to the E-2 treaty visa to the United States.
- Cyprus investor citizenship scheme has a cap of 700 applications annually and applicants need to have Schengen visa, as of 2019 amendments.
- Cyprus, Bulgaria are the only CBI passports that have visa free (ETA) access to Canada.
- Maltese citizens can qualify for visa waiver with United States (ETA)
- Antigua has a 5 day residence requirement when renewing passport after expiry. Malta has 12 month physical residence requirement (e-residence), whereas Cyprus require 6 month immigration permit before receiving passport and citizenship
- Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria are full EU citizenship status that offer the right to live, work, study and full establishment in EU-28 member states.
- Moldova passport does not have visa free access to the United Kingdom or Ireland. Only EU schengen countries.
- Vanuatu has easy application process for DSP citizenship investment scheme (Easiest and fastest)
- Golden visa schemes, unlike CBI schemes, do not provide immediate citizenship or passports.
- All CBI countries fully support dual citizenship.
- St Kitts is the only country that does not require oath for citizenship. All other countries require oath of allegiance
- Turkey requires $250K property investment to become a turkish citizen. This scheme is the newly launched CBI scheme in 2018.
- Over 80% of CBI citizens take the donation route, while 15% invest in real estate, while only less than 5% opt for business investment route.
- Malta, Dominica publishes names of CBi citizens who acquired citizenship through Individual Investor program (IIP) in the official Gazette every year.
- Citizens of Moldova, Turkey, Montenegro, Grenada can apply for an E-2 visa to the United States. E-2 visas cheap and fast alternative to EB-5 (waiting times)
- Montenegro follows the INVESTMENT + DONATION model. This means you have to invest EUR 250K in real estate and pay an additional EUR 100K as donation to the development fund.
- European passports are widely respected as the best passports in the world than the Caribbean passports.
- Malta, Cyprus have the best education and healthcare systems in the world.
- Real estate investors can acquire permanent residence status, along with citizenship and passport. Buying a home proves a genuine link to the CBI country.
- St Lucia is the most popular for tourism. St Lucia is the only country that offers citizenship against purchase of government bonds for $500,000
- Cyprus, Antigua, Saint Lucia are the only three countries that offer CBI based on Business/enterprise investment of at least $1.5 million.
- Over 90% of the CBI citizens live outside the country and form a diaspora population
- Citizenship does not constitute tax residency. Tax resident status is acquired by becoming a resident and living 183 days a year
- There are no wealth, gift or inheritance taxes in the Caribbean
- Vanuatu offers honorary citizenship through Development Support Program (DSP) and ordinary citizenship through Vanuatu Citizenship contribution program. Both schemes have USD 160,000 prices.
Buying a real estate or property in exchange for citizenship has numerous advantages. You can invest for a limited share in a hotel or resort starting from $200,000 in CBI countries. You can also buy a full deed title but costs could exceed $1 million or more. Buying a permanent home for citizenship entitles you a permanent residence card + citizenship + passport. You can sell the property after three years and in some countries you are required to hold for over five years.
The most important advantage of buying a residential home is it proves you have a genuine link to have a passport. Your CBI passport can have an address that ties to your home in the local country rather than foreign country where you currently live. For example if you have your home in St Kitts, you can have your passport address tied to your home in St Kitts. This perk is not available through the donation option.
Real estate can be either rented or purchased to avail permanent resident card in CBI countries.
GOLDEN VISAS AND PASSPORTS
There is a significant difference between Golden visa schemes and CBI golden passport schemes. Here is a quick comparison
|Difference||Golden visa||Golden passport|
|Type||Residence by Investment program||Citizenship by investment program|
|Investment||Real estate||Donation/Real estate|
|Citizenship||After 5 years||Immediate|
|Physical residence||One or two weeks||Usually none|
|Taxation||Residence based taxation||Citizenship based taxation|
|Family receive||Residence permits||Passports / Naturalization certificate|
|Right to vote||NO||Possible|
|Best Programs||Greece, Portugal, Ireland||Malta, Cyprus, Grenada|
CBI applications from countries where dual citizenship is not permitted must seek legal advice before applying for CBI/CIP second passport schemes. Citizenship matters are very sensitive for families and must be taken seriously. Golden visa residence schemes (eg. Greece, Portugal, UK/Ireland) are best suited for those citizens where dual citizenship is not permitted.
These countries do not allow dual citizenship: China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, GCC countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar etc)
Russia, South Africa allow dual citizenship but require prior permission before acquiring foreign citizenship.
Check All Countries that allow dual citizenship here