FAQs

In this Frequently Asked Questions video series, we answer common questions on the investor immigration industry to provide all you need to know about citizenship by investment and residence by investment programmes.

What is a citizen?

Citizen: A person who is a legal member of a country, and who can exercise rights and perform duties by virtue of that membership. While the concept of citizenship differs in many countries, a citizenship usually provides the holder the right to a passport, to leave and return to the nation and the right to live and work there. How to become a legal citizen: There are various different routes to becoming a legal citizen, depending on the sovereign nation’s nationality law. This includes: Citizenship by birth or jus sanguinis Birth-right citizenship or jus soli Citizenship by marriage or jus matrimonii Naturalisation Citizenship by investment In today’s increasingly globalised world, it has become common for citizens to have ties to more than one nation with many considering themselves to be a ‘citizen of the world’.

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Can a person have more than one citizenship?

Holding multiple citizenship: Whether a person can hold more than one citizenship depends on each country. Some countries, like the United States and Canada, allow their citizens to, while some countries do not allow this, for example India and China. Under Indian Nationality Law, a citizen can lose their Indian nationality if naturalised in another nation. Similarly, China does not recognise dual citizenship. However, all Caribbean citizenship by investment countries do allow their citizens to hold multiple citizenship. The rising age of dual citizenship: In recent decades, dual citizenship has become increasingly normalised with more countries allowing their citizens to hold multiple nationalities. Many nations have begun recognising the benefits of dual citizenship especially those that have a large diaspora outside its borders. A dual citizenship can also offer the holder a level of safety and security particularly in times of crisis. Whether its political instability or social unrest, a second passport can operate as a useful Plan B that enables the holder to make quick decisions to protect their future.

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What are the benefits of citizenship?

Benefits of citizenship: Citizenship comes with various rights, for example, the right to live and work in a country, possess property there and vote. In many cases, citizens are entitled to social services including basic education and healthcare. Citizens may also apply for a passport; this passport allows them to travel to countries with which their country of origin has signed the relevant treaties. It is difficult for a person to lose their citizenship and citizenship can be passed down to one’s descendants. However, there are also responsibilities and duties attached to being a citizen which include upholding the law and, in some countries, this may include military participation. Benefits of dual citizenship: There are many benefits to dual citizenship including increased travel freedom to key global markets, and alternative business prospects.  

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What is citizenship by investment?

Citizenship by investment: Citizenship by Investment means obtaining citizenship of a country through a significant investment in that country, as specified in that country’s laws and regulations. The concept of citizenship by investment was first developed in St Kitts and Nevis, officially known as the Federation of St Christopher and Nevis when it was enshrined in the Section 35 in its Citizenship Act of 1984. Steps to qualify for citizenship: In order to qualify for citizenship, an applicant must undergo a multi-tiered vetting procedure that utilises both local and third-party agencies. Once an applicant is successful, citizenship is legally granted and the process of applying for a second passport can begin. Benefits of dual citizenship: Since 1984, the initiative has been adopted in many countries across the globe. The programme is seen as an effective way of raising capital for the host nation’s economy whilst also offering applicants an attractive investment opportunity and the dual citizenship benefits that come with it. This includes: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to key business hubs The right to live, work and study in the country The invaluable option of passing down citizenship by descent.

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Citizenship by investment Vs Residence by investment

Citizenship by investment: Citizenship by Investment Programmes result in a successful applicant gaining citizenship of a country. This generally does not require an applicant to spend any time in that country. Residence by investment: Residence by Investment Programmes, however, result in successful applicant gaining residence of a country. That is the right to live and work in a country. Residency can easily be taken away if a person fails to fulfil certain conditions. Often there are minimal physical presence requirements attached to a person’s ability to retain their residence rights. It is worth nothing that a person obtaining citizenship of a country does not necessarily mean they have obtained residence of a country because residence requires physical presence in a country. The most popular Residency by Investment Programmes are those of Singapore, Portugal and Greece and are commonly referred to as Golden Visa programmes.

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Does Obtaining Dual Citizenship Alter My Tax Status?

Generally not. Tax status is almost always dependent on physical presence in a country. An exception to this is the United States where citizens pay tax even when they spend no time in the country. Citizenship-based taxation Known as citizenship-based taxation, the US is one of two countries in the world that taxes its citizens no matter where they live. Those that hold an American citizenship are thus required to file yearly federal tax returns even if they are a resident of another nation. This has led many Americans with dual citizenship to renounce their US citizenship to avoid the double tax.

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Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes

There are five countries in the Caribbean that have developed Citizenship by Investment Programmes, these are: Antigua and Barbuda Dominica Grenada St Kitts and Nevis St Lucia The Caribbean is a well-established region within the Citizenship by Investment industry, with the first programme – and longest-standing – deriving from St Kitts and Nevis in 1984. The region also offers some of the most affordable and family-inclusive options on the market, enabling investors to include a wide array of dependants in an application.

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How do I apply for citizenship by investment?

How to apply? It depends on the country you choose but most countries require that you apply through an authorised agent who has been approved by the government of that country. Authorised agents are familiar with the country’s citizenship by investment programme and they can guide you through the citizenship process. Authorised Agents A list of all authorised agents is available on each country’s citizenship by investment website. All Caribbean citizenship by investment countries require that you apply through an authorised agent. Sub Agent This is different to a sub-agent, which acts as a bridge between the applicant and the authorised agent. Sub-agents work with the authorised agent to remain up to date with the latest programme requirements and often will be the first filter in a multi-layered process of due diligence checks. The Process Once undergoing the application process, the applicant is then subject to due diligence checks in order to ensure that only those of high moral character become citizens of the nation. They will also then need to make their qualifying investment which differs for each nation. For example, in the Caribbean, the citizenship by investment fee can range from $100,000 to $200,000, excluding additional fees.  

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What are the requirements for the Caribbean citizenship programmes?

Family Eligibility All main applicants for citizenship, but not their accompanying family members, must be over the age of 18. Everyone, including family members, must be able to show that they are of good character which means that they are reputable individuals who have no criminal record and have a clean source of funds. All family members must also be able to show that they are in good health. Additional requirements for Antigua and Barbuda Although most Caribbean countries do not require applicants to travel to or reside in their country in order to obtain second citizenship – Antigua and Barbuda does. Applicants for citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda must travel to the country in order to take the oath of allegiance and they must meet a physical residence requirement of at least five days within five years of receiving that citizenship. Children, however, do not need to fulfil this requirement until they turn 18 years old. Further, no prior business experience needs to be demonstrated in order to obtain citizenship by investment in a Caribbean country. Additionally, no Caribbean jurisdiction that offers citizenship by investment requires applicants to take any language or cultural tests to qualify for citizenship.

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Do I need to speak English to take part in the Caribbean citizenship programme?

No, but all of your forms must be completed in English. Additionally, any documents submitted as part of a citizenship by investment application must be in English or must be translated into English by a certified translator. For those choosing to reside on the islands, the most spoken language in the Caribbean is English. The only requirements for Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes are that the applicant is of legal age, has no criminal record and can make the qualifying investment. However, there may be additional requirements depending on the country that you are applying for.

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Caribbean citizenship programmes: Is an interview required?

Interview Although there is no mandatory interview requirement, in rare cases it is possible that a government may require you to attend an interview in order to explain certain elements of your application. Second Passport Only once becoming a citizen can the process for applying for a second passport begin. This process is entirely separate to the citizenship by investment application. In Dominica, for example, the process requires several documents including a certificate of naturalisation which is given to the applicant once they are approved as citizens.

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Are some nationalities excluded from Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes?

Due Diligence All applicants for citizenship by investment must undergo stringent due diligence checks. Where such checks cannot be completed because of instability in an applicant’s country of origin or because of an uncooperating or unreliable government, Caribbean countries bar applications altogether. Excluded Nationalities In Antigua and Barbuda, for example, citizens of Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are restricted from applying to the programme unless they migrated before the age of majority or they have maintained permanent residence outside of a restricted country for 10 or more years and maintain no economic ties to the country.

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What kind of investment qualifies me for citizenship by investment in the Caribbean?

Investment Options It varies, but all Caribbean countries offer the option to make a direct contribution to the government or invest in government-approved real estate. Direct contributions are usually made to a fund such as the Sustainable Growth Fund in St Kitts and Nevis and are non-refundable. Usually, these funds are then channelled into national development projects. For example, in Dominica, the Economic Diversification Fund was used to fund important socio-economic initiatives including constructing weather-resistant housing and a geothermal plant. Real Estate Real estate investments must be made in property that has been pre-selected by the government such as hotels and resorts. They come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement between that applicant and the owner of the real estate property. Under the real estate arm, applicants are required to pay a government fee to the relevant government. All citizenship by investment countries in the Caribbean, require investors in real estate to hold that property for a minimum period ranging from three to seven years depending on the country. Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia, however, offer more options than a direct contribution or investment in real estate. In Antigua and Barbuda, for example, investors can choose to make an independent or joint investment in a business or donate to the University of the West Indies fund. In St Lucia, investors can invest in an enterprise or purchase government bonds. The type of investment that an applicant chooses depends on their specific needs and requirements. CS Global Partners helps its clients make informed decisions that take this into consideration.  

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At what stage of an application process do I need to make the investment?

Most Caribbean countries will only require you to make the investment once you have received an ‘approval in principle’. That is when you have passed the government’s stringent due diligence checks and have received a letter indicating that you can become a citizen. Once you have completed the citizenship by investment application process, the applicant also receives a citizenship certificate and can thus begin their second passport application.

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What is the most affordable investment option available in the Caribbean?

Affordable options The answer depends on how many people you are applying with. However, for a single applicant, the most affordable option is a contribution of US$100,000 to the Dominican government or a contribution of $100,000 to St Lucia’s National Economic Fund. Although Antigua and Barbuda only requires a contribution of US$100,000 to its National Development Fund it also levies a US$30,000 government processing fee. Most citizenship by investment programme also include due diligence fees and processing fees. The overall affordable cost to obtain second citizenship, including additional fees, is Dominica and St Lucia. Acquiring a Caribbean second citizenship is one of the most affordable routes within the industry, the programmes also offer the most family-friendly options.

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Are there any other fees that I need to be aware of?

Cost of second citizenship The overall cost of a second citizenship ultimately depends on the country’s programme. Citizenship by investment fees can vary, even in the Caribbean. Every Caribbean country charges due diligence fees to cover the cost of performing high level due diligence on each applicant. Main applicants usually pay $7,500 for due diligence whereas the fees for family members are lower and in most cases no fee is levied for children under the age of 16. Some, but not all, Caribbean countries charge processing fees and application fees and some include bank transaction fees and VAT. Grenada Vs Antigua & Barbuda Grenada is the only country to levy fees on spouses even when they are not included in a citizenship by investment application. Payment of a government fee is required by all applicants who choose the real estate investment route. However, Antigua and Barbuda charges government processing fees on both direct contributions and real estate investments. In Antigua and Barbuda, 10% of these fees are due upon submission and are non-refundable.

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How long does the CBI process take?

Length of process Because citizenship by investment programmes offer citizenship and not residence, successful applicants can skip the five to six year minimum residence that other investment immigration routes generally require. In the Caribbean, the entire process from submission of an application to receipt of approval in principle takes from between three to six months. St Kitts and Nevis St Kitts and Nevis offers a more costly 60 day accelerated application process. For main applicants, the accelerated application process costs $25,000 including due diligence fees which would normally cost the main applicant $7,500. Granted that an applicant can successfully pass the due diligence checks, St Kitts and Nevis has the world’s quickest citizenship timeline – as ranked by the annual CBI Index.

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Caribbean programmes: when can I obtain a passport

To obtain a second passport you must first become a citizen. The citizenship by investment process ends with you receiving a certificate of registration or naturalisation. You or your representative must then take your certificate of registration or naturalisation along with other documents such as your birth certificate to the relevant passport office or embassy in order to begin your second passport process. This whole process takes around one week.

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How long is my passport valid for?

Passport Validity Most citizenship by investment countries issue adult ordinary passports that are valid for a period of ten years. However, for children under 16, a passport must be renewed in five years, as is the case in Dominica. Antigua & Barbuda In Antigua and Barbuda, however, applicants for citizenship by investment are issued passports that are valid for a period of five years and will only be renewed if the applicant can demonstrate that they have fulfilled the oath of allegiance and residence requirements associated with the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Programme.  

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What is citizenship?

Citizenship is a legal status given to a person when recognised under a nation’s laws. This usually gives an individual the right to live and work in a country as well as the ability to vote and access social services such as healthcare or education. Depending on the nation, citizens may have specific duties they must follow, this could mean paying certain taxes or participating in compulsory military service. For example, in South Korea, men between the ages of 18 to 28 are expected to enlist in the military. Other countries with mandatory military service are Singapore, Greece, Moldova and Russia.

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How important is Citizenship?

Citizenship Citizenship entrusts an individual with a number of rights and liberties which include voting and access to social services like healthcare and education. It is also offers a sense of belonging and identity and a shared kinship amongst others that also hold the same citizenship. The importance of citizenship The importance of citizenship also lies in the protection the state extends to its nationals. Those who do not hold any citizenship are considered stateless which means they have access to limited freedoms as they do not possess any identity documents. This means being unable to rent a home or to even travel beyond borders.

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What is the difference between a citizen and citizenship?

A citizen is an individual legally recognised as a subject of a nation. Citizenship refers to the status that is conferred to a citizen that enables them to enjoy its rights and privileges. For example, a citizen of the United Kingdom would have British citizenship.  

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How does one gain citizenship?

Different types of citizenship Citizenship can be granted in several different scenarios including from birth, naturalisation, marriage or through specific investment programmes. Jus soli Known as birth-right citizenship, refers to the process of granting citizenship to an individual at birth. Roughly, more than 30 countries around the world recognise this form of citizenship including the United States. Jus sanguinis This is the most common form of citizenship and is determined by an individuals parents. This means that if one parent is born within a country, a child is usually eligible for citizenship of that nation too. The Latin phrase translates to “right of blood”. Jus matrimonii This bestows citizenship through marriage. However, rules may differ depending on the country on how long a couple must be married before an individual can acquire citizenship. Naturalisation This is another common route to gaining citizenship. Non-citizens who have been in a country long enough or those who apply through legal means like asylum can gain citizenship but may be subjected to taking a test. This can come in the form of language, history or cultural tests. Citizenship by Investment A number of countries also offer citizenship to those who make an investment into its economy, the process only accepts those who can demonstrate a clean source of funds and can pass the necessary security checks. Concept of citizenship The concept of citizenship has evolved since its inception with many individuals now choosing to hold multiple citizenships to reflect the many countries they may have a connection to. However, while some countries recognise and allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship, there are many countries that require you to renounce your citizenship if taking up a new one.

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Dual citizenship and how many citizenships can you have?

What is dual citizenship? Dual citizenship is when an individual holds the citizenship of two countries and is recognised as a citizen under the laws of both. While there are many countries that allow its citizens to hold dual citizenship, there are also many that do not. For example, countries like India and China forbid holding dual citizenship.  Multiple citizenships Depending on the country, individuals can sometimes hold more than two citizenships making them eligible to enjoy the rights of those nations which usually include the right to live and work there. However, it is important to check the laws before receiving an additional citizenship as it could lead to your former citizenship being revoked.  

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