FAQs: Citizenship by Investment

FAQs: Citizenship by Investment

Is citizenship by investment legal?

Yes it is legal, and moreover most countries have provisions that allow their Government to grant citizenship in return for major contributions to society, culture, the economy, and other interests of the State.

Citizenship-by-Investment programs offer you the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality and an alternative or second passport quickly and simply, without major disruption to your life.

What are the benefits of a second citizenship?

Second citizenship provides flexibility, mobility, and security. Citizenship in a second country can result in greater international mobility through visa-free travel, which can save time and money each time you choose to pass through a nation that is not your own. A second citizenship also increases your ability to find safety and security, because you can look to two governments for protection. Second citizenship can also benefit your international tax planning, your education opportunities, and your healthcare alternatives.

An alternative citizenship is attractive for financial planning to HNW individuals and families. It offers more privacy and economic security across banking and investment portfolios.

Investors, expats and pensioners enjoy tax breaks and the possibility of improved personal and corporate tax exposure

Which is the best Caribbean program?

There are five Caribbean countries offering citizenship through investment programmes, namely Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and St Lucia.

Each client’s individual situation is different. If you are obtaining a new passport for easier travel, each Caribbean passport is broadly similar however if you’d like visa-free travel to Russia and China, Grenada is the only one that offers it.

How long will it take to achieve citizenship ?

The timeframe to approval varies from 3 to 4 months in some Caribbean jurisdictions, to 12 months or more in Malta in order to obtain a European passport.

When do I get my passport?

Government approvals and processing may take about 3-6 months from the submission of your application. Processing time can be more or less efficient depending on the jurisdiction selected.

Does my family qualify for citizenship as well?

Yes. Your family can also obtain citizenship under your application. Qualified dependents can include parents and children (minimum and maximum age restrictions apply) with additional government fees payable.

Do I have to visit the jurisdiction before I am granted citizenship?

No visit is required prior to citizenship being granted under the Caribbean programs, however in Antigua, a minimum five-day visit is required within the first five years, during which, each new citizen must make an oath/affirmation of allegiance.

Is there a mandatory residency requirement each year?

There is no mandatory residency requirement except in the case of Antigua which requires new clients to spend five days in the first five years. We recommend all new citizens visit Antigua regardless to take the oath of allegiance, check on their investment and familiarise themselves with their second home nation.

What You should know about Due Diligence?

Due diligence is the heart beat of the investment immigration industry collecting $15 billion in investments through CBI and Golden visa schemes.

Governments have maintained the highest standards of due diligence keeping out high risk applicants to protect the integrity of the migration schemes.

Agents first do preliminary due diligence and background checks before passing the files to Governments. Governments and CIUs do various profiling checks for sanctions, source of funds and other risk tools to identify risk. Third party due diligence reports from Thomson Reuters, Exiger, Refinitiv, S-RM are sought by Governments before a decision is made on approvals. Sometimes this takes atleast 2-3 months. Over 90% of the work involved for passport applicants lies in screening for risk. High risk applicants including Politically exposed persons (PEPs) are subjected to Enhanced due diligence (EDD)

Applications are refused in the following cases

  • Failing background checks
  • Previous Criminal record
  • Visa rejections from visa waiver countries.
  • Individuals or entities subjected to sanctions.
  • Wanted persons by Interpol or other law enforcement agencies.
  • Failing to explain sources of income.
  • Applicants from a country subjected to sanctions (eg. Iran, North Korea, Sudan)

Applicants for the Caribbean passport programs undergo common vetting by the Joint Regional Communication Centre (JRCC) along with Enhanced due diligence (EDD) checks. JRCC the sub agency for Caricom IMPACS (Implementation agency for crime and security).

The JRCC assists regional law enforcement personnel in the detection of persons who are travelling with stolen, lost and fraudulent travel documents, along with the identification of and monitoring the movements of persons of interest, including those who may be a high security threat to the safety and security of the Region.

The Legislation of Citizenship by Investment Act empower authorities to revoke citizenship of applicants, any time after granting citizenship, if found to be:

  • Imprisoned abroad for 12 months or more
  • Bringing disrepute to the country engaging in illegal activities
  • Wanted person or subject of interest to international law enforcement

Cyprus, Malta, Saint Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, Malta, Bulgaria have a history of revoked passports and stripped citizenship on applicants who acquired citizenship through investments.

Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria do not accept applicants subjected to OFAC (US), EU or UK sanctions.

Malta St Lucia St Kitts Grenada Dominica* Antigua* Cyprus Vanuatu
Afghanistan Chad Eritrea
Iran Kyrgyzstan Libya Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, Yemen
Iran, North Korea Cuba,
North Korea, Burma/Myanmar Sudan.
Case-by-case Iran North Korea Sudan Afghanistan Iran
Iraq North Korea Somalia Yemen Sudan
EU sanctions, OFAC, UN sanctions, PEPs Afghanistan, Iran North Korea, Somalia Yemen

Note: Nationals of countries such as Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Somalia are restricted for some Caribbean citizenship by investment schemes* unless they live outside these countries for over 10 years and have no financial connections to these countries. In some cases, applications from high risk countries are considered on case-by-case basis.

All countries that run economic citizenship programs have extradition treaties with commonwealth nations (eg. Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, India) and also with other countries such as China, Russia making it easy to extradite criminals and wanted persons who abuse passport schemes.

Will I have to pay tax in my second citizenship country?

Taxes are an important subject with citizenship by investment. In most countries, taxation is based on residence (183 days a year) and not based on citizenship. Tax laws in most countries are extremely complex and varies for dual citizens.

Vanuatu, St Kitts and Antigua are only three countries that have NO personal income taxes on both local and foreign income. If you pursue a  passport that comes with no personal income tax, these countries are the most desirable ones. All other CBI countries in the Caribbean will exempt you from personal income taxes ONLY if you are a non-resident citizen.

Here is a quick summary of how taxes apply in CBI jurisdictions:

CBI Corporate Tax Personal Income Tax Wealth Tax Capital Gains Inheritance or Estate Tax Tax Treaties
Antigua 25% 0% 0 0 0 Caricom, UK
St Kitts 33% 0 0 0% (< 1yr) 0 Caricom, Monaco, Switzerland, UK
Dominica 25% Residents only 0 0 0 Caricom
St Lucia 30% Residents only (upto 30%) 0 0 0 Caricom, Switzerland
Grenada 28% Resident/Non-residents income within Grenada (15%) 0 0 0 Caricom,UK
Vanuatu 0% Upto 17% 0 0 0 19 countries
Turkey 22% 15-35% yes 22.00% 1-30% 94 countries
Malta 35% Upto 35% 0 12% 0 76 countries
Cyprus 12.5% Upto 35% 0 20.00% 0 65 countries
Bulgaria 10% 10-18% + SS 0 0 0.4-0.8% 86 countries
Moldova 12% 12% + SS 0.80% 10.00% 0 50 countries
Montenegro 9% 9-12% 0 9.00% 5.00% 42 countries
Egypt 22.5% Upto 22.5% 0 0 2.50% 50 countries
Jordan 20% Upto 14% 0 0 (except company share sale or depreciable assets) 0 32 countries

Source: Deloitte and other sources

Will I lose my fees if my application is rejected?

In the event that an application is rejected, the government application fee deposit paid upon submission and all the government due diligence fees will be lost. These are the fees payable upon submission of the application to the respective Citizenship Investment Unit. Legal fees to the Licensed Agent, who will submit the application and represent you throughout the process, may be lost depending on the reason for the rejection (for example: if a client lies or omits information required in a government application form).

Can I add dependents after I am granted citizenship?

Some governments including Antigua and St. Kitts made provision for additional dependents to be added within the first five years of citizenship. Dependents must fall within the stipulated parameters i.e. children of a certain age or student status, newly adopted children, newborn children, new spouse. The process can take up to three months and additional application and due diligence fees apply. An additional investment amount may also be required if the investment route on which the original application was based was a donation to a government fund.

Am I eligible for second citizenship/second passport/dual residency?

Each country has a specific set of requirements the applicant must meet to be able to apply for its citizenship or residency by investment programs. Some of the most common conditions include being over 18 years of age, having a clean criminal record, a legal source of funds and investing in one of the government-approved options. Immigration by Investment programs overlap with some requirements of the citizenship and residency by investment programs, but usually include additional business-related requirements to be met to be eligible to apply.

How do governments decide who will be accepted?

Governments collaborate with independent third-party Due Diligence Agents who use a variety of publicly available information sources and intelligence to check the factual information of the applicant and everyone included in the application. These checks include verification of birth certificates at official institutions, media reports, verification of businesses and companies the applicant owns. A third level check includes vetting the applicant by law enforcement agencies and INTERPOL to ensure a clean criminal history. Once the checks have been completed, the Government draws a decision based on the Due Diligence reports.

Do I need to speak the language of the country I am applying to?

The governments of the countries that offer these programs welcome you to learn their languages and experience the lifestyle and cultural abundance they have to offer. Still, in cases of Citizenship by Investment programs, you are not required to learn the language if you do not desire to do so. On the other hand, Residency and Immigration by Investment programs sometimes require you to learn the language.

What investment options available for citizenship by investment?

Citizenship by investment regulations provide 5 types of investment options to acquire immediate citizenship.

  1. Lump sum Donation to State (one time)
  2. Real Estate Investment (no less than $200K)
  3. Government bonds / Treasury securities
  4. Business Investment
  5. Bank cash deposit

The first and most popular option for most citizenship investors is Lump sum donation. We have seen over 80% of the clients, go through this route because it is easy, simple, cheap and fast.

The second most popular option with clients is real estate investment. This option attracts more wealthy and HNW investors who want to profit from real estate investment yields. You must hold on to the property for 3-5 years before selling it off in the market. After you sell the property you can still keep citizenship and passport.

The third option is financing the government bonds. At the moment 7 CBI programs offer buying Government bonds or securities in exchange for passport. Cyprus has scrapped this option since 2019. For example, you could finance Bulgaria €1m worth of Govt bonds only for a total €250,000 spread over 5 years (you only pay 5% interest). It would cost even less for Turkey and St Lucia.

Bank deposit is also a very interesting option if you want to risks with your liquid cash. At the moment only Turkey and two other countries have this option. The problem with this approach is the amount is too high and some nationals may also face problems opening bank accounts.

The final option available is Business investment. This is a great option if you have business background, already successful investor and you can create jobs. Antigua and Saint Lucia are the only two Caribbean countries that award citizenship by investment to business investors making at least $1.5m or $5m jointly. Under the joint investment plan, each investor making $400K qualifies for passport. For Turkey all you have to do is create 100 jobs to become a citizen.

We compiled a nice comparison of investment options available for citizenship by investment program, so that you would know where and how much to invest.

Donation Real Estate Gov Bonds Bank deposit Business Time (Months)
Antigua $100K $200K x x $1.5m 3
Dominica $100K $200K x x x 3
Grenada $150K $200K x x x 3
St Kitts $150K $200K x x x 3
St Lucia $100K $300K $500K x $1.5M 3
Vanuatu $130K x x x x 2
Malta €650K x €150K x x 4
Cyprus x €2M x x €2M 7
Bulgaria x €500K €1M x €1M 18
Montenegro x €250K x x €5M 3
Moldova €100K €250K €250K x x 3
Jordan x x $1M $1M $750K 12
Egypt $250K $500K $750K $250K $400K 3
Turkey x $250K $500K $500K $500K 3

Note: For Malta you must pay Donation + Bonds. For Montenegro there is €100,000 fee per application above real estate investment.

Citizenship VS Residency

Be clear to under the difference between citizenship and residency (permanent)

Benefits Citizenship Permanent Residency
What you get? Passport Visa /Residence permit
Travel Worldwide Regional (schengen area)
Price Cheap (starts $100K) Expensive (starts $250K)
Personal Visit NO YES
Citizenship Included Naturalization (slow)
Real Estate Ownership No restrictions Limited
Rent a place NO Yes
Renewals 5-10 years 2-5 years
Must live NO NO (yes if you want citizenship)
Education, Healthcare, Employment Equal rights Equal rights
Family members Immediate Immediate
Banking Access Yes Yes
Taxes* NO (unless you live) Yes
Rights* Full Citizen Rights Restricted (eg. No right to vote)
Deportation No Yes
Embassy help Yes Limited

*Please seek professional advice.

Why Citizenship is so much better on the long run?

Citizenship is often so much better than residency for thousands for reasons.

  1. Cheaper than residence schemes
  2. Hassle free
  3. Application package completed within 3 months (all family and children get passports)
  4.  No visit to country required (saves you lot of money).
  5. Mitigate your taxes (prepare in advance)
  6. Collect your passport from agent or at the consulate.
  7. Enjoy your full citizenship rights across the globe
  8. Citizenship once granted is also passed to future generations. (you did not waste your money, you only invested in your future family)

Why invest in Real estate for citizenship?

Investing in real estate for passport has distinct advantages.

  1. You get permanent residence card + citizenship + passport.
  2. You get permanent home address, proving strong ties to the country.
  3. Sell the property shares later in 3-5 years, you would still be citizen.
  4. You can also invest in hotels or resorts for equity shares.

Prices for real estate to acquire passport starts from $200,000 in the Caribbean much higher in Europe. Remember ONLY investing in Government approved developments will qualify you for citizenship.

Remember Caribbean citizenship by investment programs levy additional Government fee (upto $50K) if you want citizenship and passport for buying real estate. This does not apply for Turkey or Cyprus.

The Cheapest real estate citizenship by investment programs for small families, according to our calculations (see above) are:

  1. Dominica
  2. St Kitts and Nevis
  3. Turkey
  4. Grenada
  5. Antigua

Let’s say you buy an equity share in a five star resort under construction in Dominica for $200,000 and you pay $50,000 government fee and $20,000 agent fee for your passport. All in all, you pay $270,000 but after 3 years you decide to sell your share for $210,000 with a profit of $10,000. This means you only have paid $60,000 for your passport. That’s a great deal, but only if you make profit with real estate. But remember you will be at a loss when the property prices fall. Like any other investment decision, the real estate market also carries risk. But it is your choice to decide!

These are some of the best five star real estate projects we recommend for buyers. Some of these projects are under development.

  1. Six Senses LaSagesse Hotel / Kawana Bay, Grenada
  2. Canelles Resort / Alpina Hotel, St Lucia
  3. Kolasin Hotel / Durmitor Hotel, Montenegro
  4. Non Such bay, Antigua
  5. Park Hyatt / Marriott, St Kitts and Nevis
  6. Jungle Bay Villas / Secret Bay, Dominica

How to protect yourself from passport scams?

It is also very important you only apply for legally running and official programs and you do not fall into passport scams. Follow these 3 cardinal rules.

Rule 1: Do not buy real estate or pay full Government contribution before receiving Letter of approval from the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Government. This should take 2-3 months. Only pay the initial retainer deposit which consists of agent fee and due diligence fee. If your application is refused you don’t need to pay the contribution. Don’t let yourself be conned!

Rule 2: You are supposed to pay the donation or contribution ONLY directly to the Government bank account. Don’t pay to third parties.

Rule 3: Don’t invest in real estate developments that are not approved or authorized by Government. You won’t qualify for citizenship/passport investing in unapproved developments. These are likely scams to lure investors.

A Word of Advice

Don’t fall for cheap passport scams, these might involve $10K-$15,000. You will be disappointed and lose what you bargained for! Look for the red flags! Seek a trusted legal advisor.

For example, there are no South American countries that offer instant passports for investments. The only way to become a citizen is to become a resident and naturalize, at least not before 3 years.

What to look for when buying a passport?

With so many CBI programs around, often it can be more confusing to clients to pick the right passport for the right price. It is important that you do not overspend and pay only what you need for.

Consider the below factors while you make a decision:

1. Price factor

Price is the first most important factor for clients applying for investment citizenship schemes.

The most expensive passport may not be the best passport for you. You have to find the right balance between the price you pay and the passport benefits. Always pick the right one for you and family. Don’t overpay for the passports.

You also have to keep in mind that the more family members you add, prices rise exponentially.

2. Application process and time

A significant number of clients have asked us about which citizenship programs have simple application and fast processing times.

We have always told them the same answer. Allow 3-4 months and apply as early as possible.

We have seen applications approved in 80 days and Vanuatu has simple and super fast application processing times. We have seen letter of approvals issued by Citizenship commission, as early 4 weeks.

If you want the fastest program, our suggestion would be Vanuatu. All Caribbean passport schemes takes atleast 3-4 months.

3. Passport power

The strength of a passport to visit many countries without visas is another factor to be considered.

4. Passport Validity

Passport validity is very important to consider when applying for citizenship by investment programs. Some countries issue passports for 5 years or 10 years.

Passports with ten year validity are more convenient to clients, as they don’t have to go through the hassle of renewing passports quickly.

Note that Antigua, St Lucia and Grenada have passport validity of 5 years. All other passports come with 10 year validity. Antigua is a special case, once you renew the passport first time, the passport validity extended to 10 years.

CBI Validity
Antigua 5 years
St Kitts 10 years
Dominica 10 years
St Lucia 5 years
Grenada 5 years
Vanuatu 10 years
Turkey 10 years
Malta 10 years
Cyprus 10 years
Bulgaria 10 years
Moldova 10 years
Montenegro 10 years

5. E-2 Visa to enter United States

Access to E-2 investor visa is a very important benefit that comes from Citizenship by investment (CBI) schemes to enter US.

E-2 visas are cheaper alternative to EB-5 in terms of processing speed and cheaper investment. Certain countries such as China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Russia do not have E-2 treaty direct with US, so citizens from these countries can take advantage of CBI schemes as backdoor entry to US. Remember E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas and even family members can apply.

Here are some of the important difference between E-2 and EB-5 visas.         

E-2 EB-5
Visa Category Non-immmigrant Immigrant Visa
Min. Investment $100,000 – $200,000 $900,000 to $1.8 million
Visa validity 2-5 years Temporary Green card (2 years)
Green card No Yes
Job creation 5 jobs 10 jobs
Waiting time 3 weeks 2-15 years
Citizenship No Yes
Residence conditions None Must move and live in US.
Not absent for 6 months per year
Quota none 10,000 annual limit
Working Full time Director
Work permit Spouse only Spouse and children < 21
Application paperwork Easy Complicated / Strict rules
Who can apply? E-2 treaty countries No restrictions
Taxes on Worldwide income* May be Yes
Visa fee $205 $3,675 (I-526 petition)
Legal costs $10,000 to $20,000 $50,000 to $100,000

*Please seek professional tax advise before your immigrate to US.

There are only 7 CBI countries that have E-2 treaty investor signed with the United States:

  • Montenegro
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria
  • Grenada
  • Moldova
  • Egypt
  • Jordan

6. Right to Vote

The Citizenship by Investment Regulations of Antigua, St Kitts, Vanuatu do not permit the right to vote to CBI citizens. All other countries offer voting rights and even holding government positions.

7. Citizenship transferable to Generations

These citizenship by investment programs allow transferring citizenship rights upto three family generations only.

  • Dominica
  • St Lucia
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • Vanuatu

Except these four programs, all other CBI programs offer full lifetime citizenship.      

8. No personal visit

Citizenship Programs that have no personal visit requirements for passports are much more attractive and desirable to clients.

Imagine you live in the UAE, the Caribbean or Vanuatu is still far way and you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars in flight bookings to take your family just for a passport. This is unrealistic, especially the world is reeling with the outbreak of coronavirus. It is really not a good time to travel during disease outbreaks.

Except 5 CBI programs, all other countries require a personal visit atleast once.

  • Montenegro
  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria

9. No Residence conditions

Citizenship by investment programs that have zero or no residence conditions are more attractive to many clients.

All countries (except caribbean and vanuatu) issue residence permits before issuing naturalization certificate under CBI.

CBI Residence
Antigua 5 days*
Dominica None
Grenada None
Saint Lucia None
St Kitts None
Turkey Once
Vanuatu None
Malta Once
Cyprus Once
Montenegro Once
Egypt Once
Jordan Once

*Antigua imposes 5 day residence requirement when you renew your passport after 5 years. If you don’t visit Antigua, your passport will be cancelled. For Turkey, formalities can be completed by issuing Power of Attorney

10. Healthcare / Education / Safety

European countries are superb when it comes to education and healthcare, especially Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria. These countries also have low crime rate and high safety rankings. Moldova and Montenegro are okay catching up to European standards, but they have a long way to go.

Caribbean countries still struggle with crime and do offer affordable healthcare. They also have some nice universities eg. St George Medical University in Grenada and the newly opened University of West Indies campus at Antigua.

You should only consider this if you want to move and live in the country. If you just want a passport for mobility, probably you can ignore these.

11. Quotas

You must also seriously consider limited quotas with citizenship by investment schemes. This is because once the quota reaches the limit, the schemes won’t reopen again and you missed the opportunity to acquire citizenship through investments.

These are limits currently imposed on certain CBI schemes. The Caribbean passport schemes do not have any limits.

Malta Total quota 1800 (to be extended)
Montenegro Total quota 2000 (expires in 2022)
Vanuatu 600 per year
Turkey no limits
Cyprus 700 per year
Moldova 5000 (total quota)
Jordan 500 per year
Caribbean No limits

12. Tourist arrivals

Tourist arrivals is an important indicator on the attractiveness of country to apply for citizenship.

Tourism plays an important role in driving revenues, economic growth and prices in the real estate market. You may want to consider this data when investing in hotels and resorts.

Tourist arrivals in countries running citizenship by investment programs for 2018 – Source: World Bank Data

CBI Tourist Arrivals (2018)
Bulgaria 9,273,000
Cyprus 3,939,000
Malta 2,599,000
St. Kitts and Nevis 125,000
Antigua and Barbuda 269,000
St. Lucia 395,000
Turkey 45,768,000
Grenada 185,000
Vanuatu 116,000
Egypt 11,196,000
Jordan 4,150,000
Dominica 63,000
Montenegro 2,077,000

Source: World Bank Data 2018

How much it would cost to BUY a passport?

These are some rough estimates on how much it would cost to buy a passport under the citizenship by investment programs.

Please expect accredited Agents charge you upto $20,000 (not added in the list below) per application. It depends on whether you are applying single or group as family. Professional fees also vary based on circumstances.

Single person Main + Spouse + 1 Child < 18 Main + Spouse + 2 children < 18
Antigua $132,800 $125,000 $125,000
Dominica $109,950 $200,000 $200,000
Grenada $158,500 $200,000 $200,000
St Kitts and Nevis $157,750 $195,000 $195,000
Montenegro €365,000 €385,000 €395,000
Vanuatu $130,000 $175,000 $190,000
St Lucia $109,500 $165,000  $190,000
Turkey $270,000 $270,500 $272,000
Malta $895,000 €975,200 €1.05m
Cyprus €2.16m €2.16m €2.16m
Bulgaria €300K €300K €300K

Note: – Above prices are the cheapest options calculated. There can be no less than this.
– Turkey, Montenegro, Cyprus ONLY offer real estate option since there is no donation.
– Montenegro Government requires 100,000 fee per application.
– Real estate option not included in the above prices for Caribbean. This route costs more.
– Bulgaria financing option for Government bonds.

How do family members influence passport prices?

Family members have a BIG impact on the prices of CBI schemes. The costs increase when more family members according to the framework of CIP legislation established by Governments.

We compare the six most popular low cost CBI schemes, assuming main investor, spouse and children under 18, apply for citizenship by investment schemes.

Take a look on the price variations for family citizenship by investment programs for Main applicant, Spouse and number of children below 18 years included in the application for donation route.

Family 1 2 3 4 5 6
Antigua 132,800 $ 125,000 $ 140,900 $ 125,000 $ 183,500 $ 196,800 $
Dominica 109,950 $ 200,000 $ 216,850 $ 200,000 $ 244,750 $ 271,200 $
Grenada 158,500 $ 200,000 $ 218,000 $ 200,000 $ 247,000 $ 274,000 $
St Kitts 157,750 $ 195,000 $ 207,250 $ 195,000 $ 217,750 $ 228,000 $
Vanuatu 130,000 $ 175,000 $ 176,000 $ 190,000 $ 225,000 $ 242,000 $
St Lucia 109,500 $ 165,000 $ 206,500 $ 190,000 $ 233,500 $ 259,500 $

How much it costs to buy a citizenship under real estate?

These are our rough price calculations to buy a passport depending on the number of family members.

Assuming 1 main application, 1 spouse, and number of children under 18 added below, here are the rough estimates of minimum real estate investment required. For example 1 main applicant, spouse and 3 children < 18, make the total family members five.

Approximate calculations for buying real estate under citizenship by investment depending on family members

Real Estate 1 2 3 4 5
Antigua $257,800 $265,600 $265,900 $266,800 $267,000
Dominica $234,950 $250,400 $251,850 $253,300 $255,000
Grenada $278,500 $286,500 $288,000 $290,000 $292,000
St Kitts $242,800 $267,100 $277,400 $287,800 $289,000
St Lucia $349,500 $365,500 $366,500 $366,500 $366,500
Montenegro $406,000 $417,000 $428,900 $430,000 $432,000
Turkey $270,000 $275,000 $277,500 $279,000 $280,000

We work with trusted real estate partners with citizenship by investment and golden visa programs.

Which is better? A passport or residency?

Passports literally has become much cheaper and faster than investor residence schemes. It saves you money and a lot of hassles in the long run.

Which is the best citizenship by investment program?

In our opinion, considering the costs, processing times and other passport benefits, these are the best programs we can suggest to clients

1. Grenada
2. Vanuatu
3. St Kitts and Nevis
4. Turkey
5. Cyprus

Which is the easiest and fastest citizenship by investment?


What do you think is the cheapest citizenship by investment program?

According to our calculations, pricewise, these are the cheapest passport programs depending on whether you apply as single person or family.

  1. Dominica / St Lucia – one person only
  2. Antigua – Families

What do you suggest for the best real estate passport program?

We consider these real estate citizenship by investment programs as the best:

  1. Grenada
  2. St Kitts and Nevis
  3. Turkey
  4. Cyprus
  5. Montenegro

Do citizenship by investment schemes have quota limits?

Yes, five citizenship by investment scheme have limited quotas for applications, explained below.

  • Malta – 1800 IIP applications  (extension likely in 2020)
  • Montenegro – 2000 applications (total)
  • Cyprus – 700 applications (per year)
  • Moldova – 5000 applications (total)
  • Bulgaria – no limits
  • Turkey – no limits
  • Vanuatu – 600 applications (yearly)
  • Dominica, Grenada, Antigua, St Kitts,  St Lucia – no limits

How can I apply for citizenship by investment?

  1. Pay initial retainer deposit.
  2. The Authorized agent will help you with all the KYC forms and documentation and will file the application to Government.
  3. Upon passing all due diligence and background checks, the Citizenship By Investment Unit (CIU) will issue approval letter within 90 days.
  4. Pay the full donation amount to Government bank account (if you are rejected, you don’t have to pay)
  5. Take the Oath
  6. Collect your passport from your agent or at embassy

Can I appeal if citizenship by investment application is refused?

Yes, depending on the program, it is possible to appeal the CIU decision.

What citizenship by investment options I have for E-2 visa?      

E-2 visa is a non-immigrant investment visa issued by the United States. In recent years, E-2 visas became more popular than EB-5, because this visa is cheaper, faster and only low investment required ($100,000 minimum but atleast $200,000 recommended). You must also create 5 jobs.

As of 2020, EB-5 requires $900,000 investment and creation of 10 jobs. Many consider EB5 way too expensive and significant waiting times (atleast years).

If you come from any of the non-E2 countries, you cannot apply directly, instead, you have to make use of CBI schemes. Once you become a CBI citizen, you can file for E-2 visa at any US consulate, where you are resident or citizen of. E-2 visas are issued for maximum of 2 years with extensions.

Grenada CBI offers the cheapest E-2 visa route. All other CBI options are quite expensive. Grenada passport will cost you about $170,000 plus on top of that if you pursue E-2 option, be prepared to invest at least $200,000 in US businesses to have your strong chance for approval.

Remember only 7 citizenship by investment programs will offer you E-2 visa option.

  • Montenegro
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria
  • Grenada
  • Moldova
  • Egypt
  • Jordan

What is the basis citizenship by investment?

Citizenship by investment are expedited naturalization programs – a legal process acquire an additional or alternative citizenship by making an economic contribution to the state.  

How do small countries benefit from the proceeds of citizenship by investment?

The Surplus revenues generated from citizenship by investment programs are used by small countries in housing, social welfare, public works, pensions, building schools and hospitals, disaster slush fund and funding real estate developments (hotels/resorts) to meet tourism sector.

Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Cyprus over the years have significantly benefited from citizenship by investment.

Why do I need to establish genuine link after becoming citizen?

As a responsible CBI citizen, you are also required to strengthen the ties with the country that offered you citizenship, this way your citizenship is secure and hard to revoke.

You can create genuine link in the following ways: Paying taxes and social security, buying a real estate or permanent home, charity donations and helping non-profit efforts, frequent trips or long periods of living, learning local language, culture and integration to local population etc..

What is a Golden visa?

A golden visa is an instant permanent residency equivalent to green card issued to foreigners buying real estate or employment creation. Investors given permanent residence status have the right to live in the country indefinitely with equal rights in employment, healthcare and social benefits.

Portugal first coined the word ‘Golden visa’ when it launched ARI scheme in 2012.

Do citizens have compulsory military service?

CBI citizens are exempted from military service.

In general, Cyprus, Turkey require military service from its citizens. For Malta, Montenegro and Bulgaria it is voluntary. Please note if you serve in military, you will automatically lose your nationality in some countries.

Which citizenship by investment programs require taking Oath of allegiance?

St Kitts is the only country that does not require Oath of allegiance. All other citizenship programs require taking oaths (takes 30 months). In most cases there is a fee for oath sessions taken at consulate or embassy.

A new change, Vanuatu now permits taking oaths by video conferencing due to coronavirus outbreak.

Do citizenship by investment programs permit name change?

Name change is permitted by three programs Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts, if deed poll is submitted from country of birth along with citizenship application. A deed poll is a legal document that proves a change of name.

Vanuatu allows after receiving citizenship through affidavit. All other countries do not permit name change. Please note there are additional costs for this service.

Do citizenship by investment units share applicant information?

Yes details on refused applicants are shared between countries, through official channels.

How to use your dual passports for travel?

The key is using the right passport!

Millions of dual citizen travel each day, using their passports for travel. It is perfectly legal. In fact, you can expand your visa freedom, making use of two passports. For example one passport has visa free travel to Canada and the other passport could have visa waiver to China. This way you can travel between these two countries maximizing your passport power.

Follow these cardinal rules when you use more than one passport for travel.

  1. You must enter and exit the country using the same passport.
  2. If you enter a country where you are citizen, use that passport to enter and exit. For example, if you are US citizen, you must use a US passport to enter and exit United States.
  3. Do not disclose your second passport, where dual citizenship is prohibited. Instead, show your residence card, or travel through a neutral visa free country.

This is where dual citizenship comes into play. Dual citizens carry more than one passport for exit and reentry.

We will explain two situations:

Dual citizenship accepted: If your country allows dual citizenship, things get much easier, you can fly directly from country A to country B using the destination country B passport.

Dual Citizenship not permitted: Things get complicated if your country do not allow dual citizenship and you are prohibited carrying two passports. You should not disclose two passports in that case as it makes it illegal.

Use of dual passport works best, in two ways:

  1. Show your origin country passport with destination country’s residence card, visa to exit from Country A flying directly to Country B (or)
  2. Travel through a neutral third country (C), eg Dubai, Istanbul, Hong Kong etc. to reach Country B from Country A

Remember airlines will only ask you to show your passport for destination country. It is their job to check whether you meet the entry requirements. You must book the ticket same passport number. The airline and immigration are two different.

Here is a very good example using dual passport to travel.

Let’s say you are a US/UK dual citizen, your destination is the United States. Following the above cardinal rules we mentioned above.

  1. You present the US passport to airline during checking
  2. You show British passport to exit United Kingdom
  3. Show US passport to US border officers (CBP) to entry