10 countries offering citizenship by investment

Scores of nations worldwide are offering people a direct route to citizenship based on investment. We’ve rounded up some of them

By Michelle D'Souza

Published: Wed 25 Aug 2021, 12:00 AM

Covid-19 brought on unprecedented challenges and caused massive disruption around the world, showing us that having multiple passports (or even multiple residences) allowed multiple solutions. A second passport can also ensure protection against political and economic challenges in an investor’s country of origin. Worldwide, nearly 30 countries offer residence- and/or citizenship-by-investment programmes. Know in detail about investment, processing time, key benefits of citizenship by investment programmes of the nine countries.

St Kitts & Nevis: The St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is the oldest of its kind in the world. Established in 1984 the program grants citizenship through donation or real estate investment to qualified applicants. The government requires investment of either a minimum donation of $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) or investment of $400,000 in real estate (can be reduced to $200,000 for connected investors) plus related government and due diligence fees.

St Lucia: The Saint Lucia citizenship by investment program was launched in 2015. The terms for obtaining a second passport are regulated by the «Law on Citizenship by Investment» and its by-laws.

Saint Lucia citizenship can be obtained for a minimum investment of $ 100,000. Applicants are offered four options: contribution to the state fund, buying real estate, purchasing bonds or investing in a business. Investments in bonds and real estate can be returned within 5 to 7 years after being granted citizenship.

Investors receive citizenship through a simplified procedure. They do not need to obtain a residence permit card, live in the country or take a language proficiency exam. Together with the main applicant, citizenship is also offered to their spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters if included in the application.

Dominica: Citizenship by investment in Dominica is available through two options. The first is by making an economic contribution (donation) to the country under the government’s investor visa programme. The second option available since January 2015 is through real estate investment.

Dominica has become one of the most affordable and flexible second passport programmes available. Until 1993 it was not possible to gain Dominican citizenship without residing in the country. The Dominican government changed that with the Economic Dominica Citizenship programme whereby the need for residency to gain citizenship was waived. Applicants making such a contribution are granted full citizenship for themselves and their family allowing visa free travel to over 152 countries including the UK and the EU Schengen zone.

Grenada: The Grenada Citizenship-by-Investment Program requires applicants to either make a significant economic contribution to the country or to acquire a government-approved qualifying asset. In exchange, and subject to a stringent vetting and due diligence process, including thorough background checks, the applicants and their families will be granted citizenship. To qualify for citizenship, the primary applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements, and satisfy one of the two primary qualifying options.

Antigua and Barbuda: The citizenship by investment programme for Antigua and Barbuda provides a second passport to investors offering visa-free travel to over 160 countries including the UK, EU Schengen zone, Hong Kong and Switzerland. There are several options for investment to gaining citizenship in Antigua. Investors can choose to contribute $100,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund. They can invest $1.5m in establishing a business ($5.0m for two or more investors) or invest $400,000 in a government approved real estate project (can be reduced to $200,000 for connected investors).

Turkey: The Turkey Citizenship-by-investment programme allows investors to access both the European and Asian markets, as well as gain lifelong citizenship to a country that is in the process of full membership negotiations with the European Union. As for investment, the real estate option entails property purchase of a minimum of $250,000 plus fees. The processing time to gain a citizenship takes approximately six to nine months from submission of the application to the time of approval.

Montenegro: Situated on the Balkan Peninsula in South-eastern Europe, Montenegro is known for its magnificent and unparalleled natural beauty. Though Montenegro is geographically in Europe, it is not part of the EU. Investment involves a minimum financial requirement of 350,000 of which €250,000 is reserved for a real estate investment and €100,000 is given as donation to the country. The processing time is approximately three months from submission of the application to approval.

Malta: The new Malta citizenship by investment legislation has an increased focus on ensuring applicants have a genuine link with the country. Successful candidates will be granted citizenship in Malta by a Certificate of Naturalization, which can also be extended to include their families. Once a candidate is awarded Maltese citizenship, they have the ability to set up business in the country and can get a Malta passport enabling them to enjoy visa-free travel to more than 160 countries across the world including the United States. Eligibility for Malta Citizenship by Investment includes Fit and Proper Test, good health, direct investment, real estate purchase or rental and charity donation.

Austria: Austria is the only Western European country that offers the possibility to obtain citizenship by investment and an EU passport without prior residence requirements. Those wishing to make the country their second home will need to make a minimum contribution of €3 million as investment. The minimum processing time varies from application to application but usually takes 24 to 36 months.

North Macedonia: Located in Southeast Europe, the Republic of North Macedonia is surrounded by picturesque rivers and scenic, lush mountainous areas. Its growing economy and excellent agriculture and trade opportunities are attractive to investors and businesspeople. The North Macedonia Citizenship-by-Investment Program allows foreign nationals to make an investment into the country and apply for an alternative citizenship. The country boasts a dynamic, emergent economic climate and a booming agriculture and manufacturing industry, excellent for business investment and growth. It allows you visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 126 destinations. The citizenship is applicable to the whole family including the main applicant’s spouse and dependent children under 18, which can be passed down to future generations. The programme requires a foreign individual to invest up to €200,000. The processing time for the citizenship application takes two to five months.

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