Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes are found in many countries across the world, particularly in the Caribbean. These programmes allow individuals to legally gain citizenship of a nation in return for investing in its infrastructure. Considering the many benefits of a dual citizenship, as well as the fact that countries can invest the money they receive back into their economies, CBI programmes are incredibly valuable.
Unfortunately, fraudulent CBI programmes are all too common. As a result, it can be hard for would-be applicants to determine whether or not their programme of choice is legitimate. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, which highlights some key questions which can help you identify legal citizenship programmes.
Countries with legitimate programmes tend to have official government-endorsed websites that outline information about the programme and assist potential applicants with determining fees and requirements. The CBI programme of St Kitts and Nevis provides all of these details and is officially linked to the Office of the Prime Minister. Any programmes that don’t have endorsements of this nature aren’t to be trusted.
Legitimate programmes will run lengthy background checks on their applicants. For instance, Dominica has ranked first in the CBI Index for six years running and conducts comprehensive internal and external checks. These are carried out in partnership with some of the world’s leading financial institutions which specialise in identifying corruption, terrorism, and money laundering.
Individuals must also provide documents like police certificates, birth and marriage certificates, evidence of employment, bank statements, and references. The process can take up to three months to complete, proving that the country goes above and beyond with due diligence on applicants. Conversely, any programmes that promise a return in just a few days or weeks should sound alarm bells.
As touched upon, CBI programmes are meant to be win-win solutions for applicants and countries alike. Consequently, legitimate governments are unlikely to offer citizenship to non-nationals at low prices — though of course, the size and economic prosperity of a country will have an impact on what they consider substantial. As a result, you should be wary of programmes that purport to sell citizenship at a bargain. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Citizenship is a matter of high importance, and no CBI programme can come into existence unless it is transcribed into the country’s legislation. Anyone seeking to apply for citizenship in Dominica, for example, can read the relevant laws online. These include the Commonwealth of Dominica Citizenship Act, the Commonwealth of Dominica Citizenship by Investment Regulations 2014, and the Commonwealth of Dominica Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Regulations 2016. Again, any country without legislation around its CBI programme should arouse suspicion.
Most CBI programmes rely on agents, who will submit applications on an applicant’s behalf. To safeguard this process, the majority of CBI jurisdictions only use agents who have been extensively vetted, and whose licences can be removed if they fail to present genuine applications. A list of these agents is often made available online for transparency. Dominica, for example, regularly updates its list of authorised agents and marketing promoters. Applicants should be sure to find similar lists themselves before applying for a programme.
To confirm the above suggestions, we talked with Kumar Pratik. client manager at CS Global Partners and asked him what are his top tip for ensuring that he’s working with reputable business? Kumar Pratik replied: “Firstly and most importantly: check if the service provider is on the official government website. Each CBI programme has a list of authorised agents, promoters and sub-agents on their websites. Check the prices on the website and compare the information you received from the agent with what is on the government website.”
When asked what the key advantages of partnering with CS Global Partners are, Kumar Pratik said: “Absolute peace of mind that they are working with the best in the industry, evidenced by the fact we hold exclusive mandates to promote three of the world’s best citizenship by investment programmes. Once they hand over a client, they remain in the know. Our legal processing team take care of all their clients’ needs during and after the application. We have honed our skills over the years working in complex situations. Our in-house team makes the application process as smooth and seamless as possible.”
If you would like to partner with us, please contact us on [email protected].