August 27, 2021
Traditionally, individuals were only granted citizenship through birth, marriage, or naturalization. But in 1984, some countries began to offer another means of becoming a citizen of that country. That is by investment in the country.
Many countries now offer citizenship to those who financially contribute to their economy through financial investment or donation. This helps their economy while providing individuals and families the privilege of alternative citizenship, giving them the right to travel freely and settle in the country of their choice, depending on the citizenship they hold.
There are several ways that an individual can invest in a country to gain citizenship. These can include
- Making a non-refundable contribution to the country
- Making approved real estate investments
- Making approved business investments
- Investing in approved government bonds, shared capital, or investment funds
- Contributing to a government fund
- Deposits to a local bank
Benefits of CIP Programs
Some benefits of citizenship investment programs include
- Ease of mobility and travel without the need for a visa
- Safety and protection in certain political or war climates
- A dual citizenship status
- Ease of doing business internationally
- Education availability for family members
- The ability to invest in real estate in these markets
- Worldwide income tax advantages
St Kitts, located in the Eastern Caribbean, was the first to offer citizenship by investment in 1984, but many more countries have joined those ranks since then. At the moment, there are many countries throughout the world offering successfully operating investment citizenship programs.
The Best CIP Programs Right Now
The 5 current best investment citizenship programs right now are
- St Kitts and Nevis — As the oldest program, St Kitts and Nevis requires a one-time non-refundable contribution of $150,000 or a minimum $200,000 real estate investment to qualify for citizenship. There are no residence requirements, and you are not required to visit to get a St Kitts/Nevis passport. A St Kitts passport gives a holder access to 154 countries around the world.
- St Lucia — The requirements to be eligible for St Lucia citizenship are a $100,000 contribution, a $300,000 real estate investment, a $3.5 million business investment, or purchase of a COVID Government Bond in the amount of $250,000, which can be refunded after five years. There are no residency requirements and no visit is required to obtain a St Lucia passport. St Lucia is the fastest citizenship investment program in the Caribbean. The St Lucia passport has access to 145 countries around the world.
- Vanuatu — Vanuatu offers two different citizenship investment programs: the Development Support Program and the Honorary citizenship contribution program. There is also a real estate investment option. Both programs require $130,000 investment for one person, increasing for couples and families. It is the only citizenship investment program in the South Pacific that offers a passport offering access to 130 countries worldwide. As the fastest CIP program in the world, approvals are often issued in 20 to 30 days. Vanuatu is primarily a tax-free country with no income, wealth, or inheritance tax. It is also non-FATCA.
- Dominica — As the most popular citizenship investment program in the Caribbean, it requires a $100,000 non-refundable contribution or $200,000 real estate investment to qualify for citizenship. There are no residency requirements, and you need not visit to get a passport.
- Grenada — As one of the best passport options in the Caribbean, Grenada requires a $150,000 contribution or $350,000 real estate investment. There are no residency requirements, and you do not have to be present to get a passport. The advantage of a Grenada passport is that it has a visa-free waiver with both China and Russia as well as an option to apply for an E-2 treaty visa to the United States.
Getting Legal Assistance
If you have questions about these citizenship investment programs in particular or would like to discuss other options for citizenship planning, getting the advice of an international law attorney is critical. Contact us at Bukh Global to discuss your legal options.