In this ever-changing world, global citizens everywhere are looking to become more mobile and diversify their assets with lucrative investments. A solution for both goals for many is dual citizenship.
The investment immigration industry is constantly growing and changing, and we want you to have all the tools to choose the right country and programme that best fits your budget, family, and business needs. In this post, we will provide you with the best and most affordable investment immigration programmes available in 2021.
Before we get started, it is important to understand what the difference is between citizenship by investment and residence by investment.
Citizenship by investment programmes offer the opportunity for reputable individuals to legally obtain a new citizenship in return for an investment in the economy of the host country. The main goal of these programmes is to find a win-win solution for both investors and the countries offering the citizenship by investment programme. This process aims to be relatively smooth provided that an investor delivers all the necessary documentation, passes all necessary due diligence checks, and makes the qualifying investment. The investment made by that individual is often put towards improving the quality of life for those inhabiting the host country.
Dual citizenship offers many advantages, but we have broken them down in three:
Here are some of the most popular citizenship by investment programmes currently available worldwide and their requirements and benefits. It is worth noting that the Caribbean offers the most affordable options in the citizenship by investment industry.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme was launched in 2013. For single applicants, it has a minimum investment of US$130,000, made up of a $100,000 contribution to the National Development Fund plus a US$30,000 government fee for a single applicant. Ten percent of the government fee is due upon application submission and is non-refundable should the applicant not pass the nation’s due diligence. The process takes around six months to complete from start to finish, and you must also pay due diligence, processing, and registration certificate fees. Successful applicants must spend five days on Antigua and Barbuda soil within five years of obtaining citizenship. There is a travel requirement to take the oath of allegiance, which is usually completed at the same time as the five days residence requirement. There is no language requirement, mandatory interview, or knowledge-based test.
Dominica’s CBI programme has been running since 1993 and has a minimum investment of US$100,000 which must be made as a direct contribution to the Government. Commonly known as the Economic Diversification Fund option, this makes Dominica the industry’s most affordable citizenship by investment programme for single applicants. During the three-month process from application to approval in principle, robust due diligence checks are carried out. There are no travel or residence requirements, no language requirements, and no interview or knowledge-based assessments. The applicant must be of good character and be over the age of 18. Holding citizenship of Dominica allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 143 destinations. The Dominica CBI Programme has been ranked the best CBI programme on offer to applicants for the past four consecutive years by the CBI Index, a publication by the Financial Times’ PWM Magazine.
To obtain citizenship by investment in Grenada as a single applicant, you must make a minimum contribution of US$150,000 to the country’s National Transformation Fund. The process takes around 90 days from submission of an application to approval, and it is during this period that due diligence checks are performed. There are neither travel or residence requirements, nor a language requirement, mandated interview, or knowledge-based test. To apply, you must be of good character, and successful applicants will gain visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 144 destinations.
The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme is the world’s longest-running CBI programme and one of the most trusted, being the first of its kind. Single applicants can make a minimum contribution of US$150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). Under a Limited Time Offer running until December 2021, families of up to four (excluding siblings) can also obtain citizenship for US$150,000 via the SGF. The process to obtain citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis takes approximately 90 days from submission to approval in principle on the normal route. However, this can be fast-tracked to 60 days or less under the nation’s Accelerated Application Process for an additional fee. There are no obligatory travel or residency requirements for this programme and no interview or language requirements. Citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 157 destinations.
And for the final Caribbean CBI programme, St Lucia launched its programme in 2016. This has a minimum contribution amount of US$100,000 for a single applicant, joining Dominica as the world’s most affordable programme. A decision is usually made concerning your application within three months of submission, stating if it has been approved or denied. Applicants must pledge the oath of allegiance to St Lucia and be of good character. There is no need to travel to or reside in St Lucia, nor are there any language requirement or interview requirements. If successful, you would have visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 146 destinations.
The European countries that offer citizenship by investment programmes are Austria, Bulgaria and Montenegro. However, it is worth noting that the Montenegro CBI programme ends on the 31st of December 2021, and that, for those keeping score, the former Cyprus CBI option was recently cancelled. Malta also offers citizenship by investment, but its offering is unique in that investors must first physically reside in the country for at least 12 months and pass an eligibility assessment before applying for citizenship. You can find out more about Malta’s Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations here [our licence number is AKM-ACCA-21].
Austria’s programme was launched in 1985, and there is no specified minimum investment amount because this is determined on a case-by-case basis. However, the investment threshold is high, as applicants are usually expected to invest millions of euros. The citizenship by investment process in Austria is one of the industry’s least transparent, and it is difficult for potential applicants to navigate. The citizenship process is lengthy and takes around two years. While there is no formal residence requirement with the Austria CBI programme, applicants are generally expected to show some degree of presence in the country. There is no language or culture test nor a mandatory interview. By holding citizenship of Austria, you would have visa-free or visa-on-arrival to 189 destinations.
Bulgaria’s CBI programme was established in 2009. It has many investment options, the most affordable of which is participation in a Bulgarian company that employs ten or more citizens. This is around a 257,000 euro investment. Applicants can apply for citizenship after approximately 12 months if choosing the fast-track option, but citizenship may take longer to acquire. Two formal trips are required, but no actual physical presence is needed during the residence period. You will not have to take a language or culture test, nor sit an interview. Bulgaria’s citizenship by investment process is a more complicated process for applicants to navigate. This CBI programme allows visa-free access or visa-on-arrival access to 173 destinations.
There are three CBI programmes in Oceania, which are Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea. However, the Samoa and Papua New Guinea programmes are not widely known enough to attract many applicants. Thus, we will focus on Vanuatu.
The Vanuatu Development Support programme launched in 2017 and has a minimum investment requirement of US$130,000, 25 percent of which is non-refundable. The process from application submission takes approximately two to three months, and during this period, applicants must undergo due diligence checks. One trip is required to take the Oath of Allegiance, but this requirement is currently suspended due to COVID-19. There is no formal language test or interview to be attended, and holding citizenship allows you visa-free or visa-on-arrival to 133 destinations.
In Asia and the Middle East, there are four citizenship by investment programmes on offer. However, Bangladesh’s CBI programme is highly unpopular, so we will solely focus on Cambodia, Turkey, and Jordan.
Cambodia’s CBI programme was launched in 1996 with a minimum donation requirement of one billion Cambodian riels. This is approximately 243,000 US dollars. This process takes between three to six months, with, to our knowledge, no external due diligence carried out. One trip is required to sign the Oath of Allegiance. There is no residence requirement, but there is a language requirement and a cultural knowledge test. Very little is known about the application process in Cambodia, and it is one of the more opaque citizenship by investment programmes. The Cambodia CBI Programme allows successful applicants visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel rights to 54 destinations.
Turkey’s CBI programme was launched in 2017 and its most affordable investment option is the purchase of property for US$250,000, to be held for at least three years. This makes the Programme more affordable than the European programmes, but more expensive than the island nations of the Caribbean and Vanuatu. The process duration is between three to six months. There are no residence requirements for this CBI programme. However, you must travel to Turkey to supply biometrics.
Jordan’s CBI programme launched in 2018, and its most affordable investment option is an investment of US$750,000 in a Jordanian SME which must be held for three years. The process lasts around three-months, but applicants should be warned that the due diligence employed by the nation is not as robust as that of many other CBI countries with strong reputations. There is also no travel or residence requirement, nor a language or knowledge-based test. However, there is a cap of 500 persons per year who can be accepted. Citizenship of Jordan offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry to 51 destinations.
These were our top picks for the best citizenship by investment programmes of 2021 from around the world. We understand investment in a second citizenship is a major step for you and your family, so if you have any questions about any of these programmes or want to learn more to help you make a choice, CS Global Partners is at your service. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your inquiries and one of our experts will address your concerns.