Citizenship by investment: available countries and their programs

2024-05-20
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In an increasingly globalized world, the concept of obtaining citizenship through investment has become an attractive option for many high-net-worth individuals seeking to expand their travel capabilities and access international business opportunities. This process, often referred to as “Citizen by Investment,” allows individuals to secure a second passport by making substantial investments in a host country’s economy. From the sun-kissed beaches of the Caribbean to the historic landscapes of Europe, various nations offer unique programs tailored to attract foreign capital. In this article, we will explore the diverse array of countries that offer citizenship through investment, detailing each program's requirements, benefits, and the strategic advantages they provide to international investors.

Available Programs

The global landscape of citizenship by investment programs offers diverse options tailored to various needs and financial capacities. Here we delve into some of the programs available in Grenada, Vanuatu, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates.

Grenada

Grenada's Citizenship by Investment Program is celebrated for its straightforward and fast processing, typically within a few months. Investors can qualify by either donating a minimum of $150,000 to the National Transformation Fund or investing $220,000 in government-approved real estate, which must be held for at least five years. One of the standout advantages of Grenadian citizenship is the ability to access the United States E-2 visa, allowing investors to operate a business and reside in the U.S. Additionally, Grenada offers visa-free travel to over 140 countries, including the EU and China.
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Vanuatu

Vanuatu offers one of the fastest citizenship by investment programs available, with processing times as short as 30 to 60 days. The program requires a non-refundable donation starting at $130,000 for a single applicant, with additional costs for family members. This program is particularly appealing due to its tax benefits, as Vanuatu does not levy personal income tax, inheritance tax, or capital gains tax. Vanuatu’s passport provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to approximately 130 countries, including the Schengen Area, the UK, and many Commonwealth nations.

Hungary

Hungary's citizenship by investment landscape has evolved, and while direct options are currently limited, it offers a residency by investment program that can pave the way to citizenship through naturalization. Investors can opt for a government bond investment of approximately €300,000 to gain residency. This investment is usually secured and returned after five years, minus application and processing fees. Hungary is attractive due to its location in the heart of Europe, offering excellent mobility across the Schengen Zone and a high standard of living.

UAE

The United Arab Emirates introduced a long-term residence visa known as the Golden Visa, which can lead to citizenship under specific circumstances. This program is designed for investors, entrepreneurs, special talents, researchers in various fields of science and knowledge, and bright students. The investment threshold starts at AED 2 million (approximately $545,000) in real estate to qualify for a 5 or 10-year visa, which is renewable. The UAE is a significant business hub with a tax-free environment, world-class infrastructure, and a strategic location for international trade.

Each of these programs offers unique pathways to citizenship with distinct advantages, tailored to meet the needs of investors from around the world. Whether it's tax benefits, global mobility, or business opportunities, these countries provide compelling options for acquiring a second passport through investment.

Turkey

Turkey's Citizenship by Investment program is one of the more accessible and economically diverse options, requiring a minimum real estate investment of $400,000. Alternatively, investors can deposit $500,000 in a Turkish bank or invest the same amount in government bonds, all of which must be held for at least three years. Turkish citizenship provides a strong passport offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 110 countries. Additionally, Turkey's strategic location as a bridge between East and West provides unique business opportunities, and its vibrant culture and historical significance add to the quality of life for residents.
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Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis offers one of the oldest and most reputable citizenship by investment programs, established in 1984. Investors can choose between a non-refundable donation of $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund or investing $200,000 in approved real estate, which must be held for at least seven years. The program is known for its efficient processing and the strength of the passport, which provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 150 countries, including the EU and UK.

Dominica

Dominica's Citizenship by Investment program requires a minimum investment of $100,000 as a donation to the government's Economic Diversification Fund or a $200,000 investment in approved real estate. The island is attractive for its natural beauty and is often called "Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its lush landscape and extensive natural parks. The passport offers visa-free access to over 140 countries, and the program is highly regarded for its simplicity and transparency.

Switzerland

Switzerland does not offer a direct citizenship by investment program, but it does provide a pathway to residency which can eventually lead to citizenship through naturalization. Investors can gain residency by demonstrating substantial financial investment in the country, usually through business ventures that create local jobs or involve significant tax contributions. Switzerland offers a high quality of life, economic stability, and privacy, making it highly attractive to wealthy individuals and families seeking a prestigious European base.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia introduced its Citizenship by Investment program in 2015, providing various investment options: a $100,000 donation to the National Economic Fund, a $300,000 real estate investment, or a $500,000 purchase in government bonds, each with different holding periods. Saint Lucia's passport is powerful, offering visa-free access to more than 145 countries, including the Schengen Area and the UK. The island's stunning natural beauty, with its iconic Pitons and warm tropical climate, makes it an appealing choice for investors seeking both lifestyle and travel benefits.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda's Citizenship by Investment Program offers an attractive mix of beachfront lifestyle and substantial global mobility. Investors can choose from several options, including a minimum donation of $100,000 to the National Development Fund, a $400,000 real estate investment in approved projects, or a $1.5 million direct investment in an eligible business. Holders of an Antiguan passport enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 150 countries, including the Schengen area, UK, and Hong Kong. Additionally, there's no tax on worldwide income, capital gains, or inheritance, making it highly appealing for international investors.

How the Program Works

Citizenship by investment programs typically involve the following steps:

  • Application Preparation and Submission: Applicants must gather all required documentation, including passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates (if applicable), police clearance, and proof of investment. This paperwork is then submitted along with the application forms to the government or through authorized agents.
  • Due Diligence Checks: The government conducts thorough background checks on applicants to ensure they meet all legal and financial criteria. This includes verification of source of funds, criminal record checks, and assessment of overall eligibility.
    Investment: Upon approval, the applicant makes the prescribed investment in the chosen option (donation, real estate, or business).
  • Citizenship Grant: Following the investment and approval of the application, citizenship is granted, and passports can be issued.
    Is it Necessary to Get Citizenship for Buying Real Estate
  • Obtaining citizenship is not a necessary condition for buying real estate in most countries; however, in the context of citizenship by investment, an investment in real estate is often a pathway to obtaining citizenship. It's important to distinguish that while one can own property in many countries without being a citizen, the specific investment in approved real estate projects as part of a citizenship by investment program is what leads to citizenship.

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What’s the Difference Between Second Citizenship and Dual Citizenship?

Second Citizenship is when an individual legally acquires citizenship of another country in addition to their original citizenship. This can occur through various means including naturalization, marriage, descent, or investment.

Dual Citizenship refers specifically to the status of an individual who is simultaneously recognized as a citizen in two countries. This means the individual has legal rights and obligations associated with both countries simultaneously.

How to Check the Availability of Getting Citizenship by Investment

To determine eligibility for citizenship by investment, prospective investors should:

  • Consult Official Sources: Check the official government website or contact authorized agents of the citizenship by investment program. These sources provide the most reliable and updated information regarding eligibility, investment requirements, and application processes.
  • Legal Consultation: Seek advice from legal experts who specialize in citizenship and immigration law. They can offer personalized guidance based on the individual’s circumstances and help navigate the complex legal requirements.
  • Financial Assessment: Review financial readiness and ensure the availability of funds for the required investment. This includes evaluating the source of funds to meet due diligence requirements.

By understanding these key elements, potential investors can make informed decisions about pursuing citizenship through investment.

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Citizenship programs

All programs
Grenada Grenada
Grenada
from $150,000
3-6 months
Obtaining Grenadian Citizenship by investment program grants the right to live and work in Grenada at all times, the right to vote in elections and all rights associated with membership of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Learn more
Turkey Turkey
Turkey
from $400,000
4-6 months
Cosmopolitans can get a second citizenship for investing in the country's economy from $400,000. There are five options to choose from: buying real estate, investment fund shares or government bonds, participating in the fixed capital of a Turkish company, opening a deposit in a Turkish bank.
Learn more
UAE UAE
UAE
from $15,000
2+ weeks
Majestic skyscrapers, luxury hotels and shops, beaches and summer all year round. Building a business career in the UAE is prestigious.
Learn more
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