Dual citizenship – or dual nationality – means being a citizen of two countries simultaneously and sharing the rights and responsibilities of the citizens in each country. One of the ways to obtain second nationality is to apply for citizenship through one of the Citizenship by Investment Programmes.
From submission of the application to receiving the approval in principle, applicants can generally expect to wait around three months for their certificates and passports. They are not required to attend an interview, pass tests, or even travel to the country of their second citizenship, which helps speed up the process.
Preparing the paperwork consumes the most time and average estimated costs of the whole process is from US$ 100,000 onwards. Each country has a different set of requirements that applicants must fulfil for its citizenship by investment programme. For example, some programmes require medical examinations and proof of good health, while others do not.
However, some requirements are common to all such programmes:
• Have a clean criminal record
• Show the legal source of the investment funds
• Invest in one of the government-approved options, such as real estate, government bonds, or a government fund
All requirements must be met in order for citizenship application to be approved by the host government.
Applicants need to get these initial documents ready before starting the application process:
• Passport and ID card copies
• Birth certificate (apostille)
• Police clearance certificate (apostille)
• Health clearance / medical certificate
• CBI Application forms
They might also be ready to provide the following credentials:
• Lawyers’ credentials – lawyer who is certifying all the documents as true copies
• Medical examiner credentials
• Translators’ credentials – if there are any translations to be done, then these must be provided
For successful applicants, the citizenship by investment application process consists of seven main steps, which are:
The first step for applying for citizenship is to choose an authorised agent who has been officially licensed by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU) to be given the authority to act on behalf of the main applicant in relation to a citizenship by investment application.
Authorised agents are the only people who can handle CBI applications, the CBIU will not accept direct submissions. Applicants in this stage will be required to complete official forms and obtain certain supporting documents. In the case of real estate investment, applicants will be required to reserve the property through a sale and purchase agreement, they will also be required to pay the due diligence fees for them and any additional family members.
When all forms are complete, the authorised agent submits the application to the relevant CBIU. The local authorised agent then becomes responsible for liaising with the CBIU in relation to all correspondence, queries, or questions that may arise with respect to the applicant’s file.
All this paperwork will need to be submitted in English and with the appropriate notarisation and legalisation. The Government acknowledges receipt of the file and confirming that all documents have been submitted in good form. At this point, the file is sent to the due diligence agency appointed by the Government for background checks.
The application submitted to the country’s CBIU undergoes there a thorough due diligence background check by an independent third party. A report from the independent review is then submitted to the CBIU, and upon evaluation, the Unit will provide a recommendation concerning whether or not citizenship should be granted to the applicant and family members.
Due diligence checks include checking for criminal records and assessing applicant’s ability to provide funds. The due diligence checks take an average processing time of 60 days. The CBIU will evaluate submitted file considering the due diligence report and make a recommendation on processed application to the Government accordingly.
If the application is successful, the CBIU will issue an Approval in Principle letter with instructions on how to complete the programme’s required investment. Upon proof of investment, another official approval letter will be sent to the applicant with which he or she can apply for the country’s certificate of citizenship and passport. The Letter of Approval will be issued by the Government CBIU after doing all the background checks.
If the application is approved in principle, the CBIU’s letter will also instruct the applicant to make his/her contribution payment e.g., for government funds, complete the payment on the real estate property, or use any other available investment option offered by CBI programmes.
Upon receiving proof of payment, the CBIU will then issue a certificate of registration, which stands as evidence of citizenship. At this stage, the applicant will need to complete the balance all the remaining investments, provide all the remaining application documents to the agent.
After the completion of the above steps, the applicant will receive a Citizenship Certificate, which makes him/her a citizen. Citizenship Certificates are issued approximately one month after the Government confirms receipt of the funds. The Citizenship Certificate must be sealed and signed by a government authority.
Once the Citizenship Certificate is issued, the citizenship by investment process is complete. Applicants may instruct their authorised agent to apply for their passport on their behalf. Passports are issued by the Passport Office, which is a different authority to the one that processed the citizenship. The issuance of passports takes approximately one week, and the passport can be collected from the authorised agent or at the nearest consulate in applicant’s country.
Please note that this is a generic step by step guide on the application process, however each country and each programme has its particularities e.g., the application process for residency programmes differs from citizenship programmes.
The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme is the only programme of its kind to offer a guaranteed fast-track route to citizenship, known as the Accelerated CBI Application. Under the Accelerated CBI Application, a successful applicant can receive citizenship in as little as 60 days from submission of an application. The Accelerated CBI Application is available for the following additional cost, inclusive of due diligence fees:
• Main applicant – USD 42,500
• Spouse – USD 32,500
• Dependant child under 18 – USD 22,500
• Dependant child/other dependant over 18 – USD 32,500