If you’re looking to obtain global mobility, better healthcare, and a secure future for yourself and your family, our citizenship by investment guide offers everything you need to know. We look at the best citizenship by investment programs available in 2021 and explain all the terms and requirements to start your journey with us today.
Citizenship is the status of ‘belonging’ to a country, as recognised under the law of that country. In international law, it is membership to a sovereign state. In general, the fundamental rights commonly regarded as arising from citizenship are the right to a passport, the right to access social services including education and healthcare, the right to leave and return to the country of citizenship, and the right to live and work in that country. In return, you accept the responsibility of complying with the laws and rules of the respective state. Some countries permit their citizens to have multiple citizenships, while others insist on exclusive allegiance.
The concept of citizenship has been around for centuries, yet the term has evolved to redefine what it means to be a citizen of a country or even the world.
Citizenship by investment (CBI) is another route to citizenship. It is a legal process to grant individuals —and, in some cases, their families—dual citizenship in exchange for a financial contribution to the host country’s economy.
The initiative permits countries to channel the generated funds into developing healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more. In exchange, investors are granted citizenship alongside that of their home nation, provided their country of origin allows dual citizenship.
Depending on the country, there are specific requirements for the investment you can make and different benefits associated with the citizenship you acquire.
Citizenship by investment has become an increasingly popular choice for those looking to increase their mobility and become global citizens. Holding multiple citizenships offers investors a Plan B in unstable and uncertain times. Individuals and their families who obtain second citizenship can also enjoy the same rights as local citizens, including access to healthcare, educational facilities, and business opportunities. Dual citizenship of a nation with an expansive visa-free and visa-on-arrival offering also brings greater global mobility, allowing investors to access hundreds of countries and territories worldwide.
While citizenship by investment programmes offer a range of benefits to investors, the investment itself also serves as a crucial and much-needed financial contribution to the host country’s economy.
Funds from CBI programmes are often allocated to a country’s key priority areas including housing, infrastructure development, sustainable growth initiatives, education, climate resilience, economic growth, enhancing medical facilities, tourism development, and heritage preservation.
In 1984, the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis was the first in the world to introduce the citizenship by investment programme. Its offering remains the longest-standing today.
In 1684, St Kitts and Nevis was the heart of the sugar trade industry under British occupation. After introducing beet sugar as an alternative in the 1900s and the country’s independence, the “Sugar Industry Diversification Fund” was launched under the country’s new Citizenship by Investment Programme.
The Programme allowed the Federation to develop their tourism industry, which soon became the backbone of the local economy. Although the Sustainable Growth Fund later replaced this option, St Kitts and Nevis remains an upper-middle-class country with strong healthcare services and a high literacy rate.
Many countries around the world allow high-value investors to become citizens through citizenship by investment programmes. However, a handful of nations stand out as they have the most well-known citizenship by investment offerings. According to the CBI Index, these countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu, Malta, and Turkey.
These countries have precise guidelines and investment requirements. In most cases, they do not require applicants to have resided in the country before and to know the language . A notable exception is Malta, where, under the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, applicants must reside in Malta for at least 12 months and pass an eligibility assessment before they can apply for citizenship. Most citizenship by investment programmes offer a few investment options such as a contribution, real estate investment, or business investments.
Released yearly by Professional Wealth Management, the CBI index is a publication from the Financial Times and the only independent study that comprehensively evaluates and compares all active citizenship by investment programmes globally and ranks them against nine pillars deemed most important to individuals seeking dual citizenship through investment.
Created in 2017 by independent researcher James McKay, founder of McKay Research, the CBI Index aims to bring value to the investor immigration industry and provide a practical, decision-making guide to individuals and families considering citizenship by investment.
According to the CBI Index, Caribbean countries have been ranked best in the world year after year. These countries are known for their broad family eligibility, high due diligence standards, quick processing times, and affordable minimum investment thresholds. The top five include the following:
The Commonwealth of Dominica has been operating its Citizenship by Investment Programme since 1993, making it one of the oldest citizenship by investment programmes around. The island is famous for being home to over 365 rivers flowing through its unique rainforests and mountainous terrain. Investors may qualify for citizenship through a donation to a Government fund or an investment in pre-approved real estate.
As ‘Platinum Standard’ of citizenship by investment, St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme is one of the most trusted of its kind. Established in 1984, the Programme offers the industry’s only guaranteed fast-track route to citizenship, with the 45–60-day Accelerated Application Process available for an additional fee.
Grenada has several reasons to be a favourite among high net worth individuals. Having restructured, redeveloped, and re-launched its Citizenship by Investment Programme in 2013, the Caribbean island has become a popular second citizenship option, particularly among those with larger families. Through Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, successful applicants can obtain citizenship of a nation that allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to approximately 144 countries and territories. Citizens of Grenada are also eligible to apply for an E-2 Visa to the United States.
Launched in 2016, St Lucia has the youngest citizenship by investment programme in the Caribbean. Inspired by its Caribbean neighbours, St Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme provides a wide range of benefits for investors and locals alike. An idyllic spot for nature seekers, history buffs, and sybarites, the citizenship of St Lucia offers all the tropical benefits of citizenship of a Caribbean nation, along with visa-free entry to approximately 146 countries.
With hundreds of beaches and year-round sunshine, Antigua and Barbuda is heaven on earth. You can make this popular holiday location the home of your dreams by applying to the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Programme. Established in 2013, the programme grants citizenship in exchange for an investment in one of four investment options.
The price for a second citizenship differs from country to country. However, the option to get dual citizenship in countries that offer citizenship by investment is aimed at high net-worth individuals. The lowest costs start at $100,000 for a single applicant in the Caribbean.
The Commonwealth of Dominica has a citizenship by investment programme that is one of the most cost-effective in the industry. With either a contribution of $100,000 or an investment of $200,000 in real estate, you can become a citizen of Dominica under the Programme if you meet the eligibility requirements.
If applying through the Accelerated Application Process for an additional fee, you can get your dual citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis in 60 days, provided you pass due diligence. Vanuatu, a chain of 80 islands in the south Pacific to Australia’s east, is also quick with its processing. The Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Programme takes approximately 60 – 90 days for approvals if successful and offers visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to approximately 130 countries and territories.
In the Caribbean, the first step in your citizenship by investment process is choosing an authorised agent. The Citizenship by Investment does not deal directly with the public regarding applications. However, it channels all applications through approved and partnered agents who handle the entire process for you, including advising on everything from filling in relevant paperwork, what copies you need of which documents, and any doctor’s appointments that need to be coordinated.
In this stage, agents also vet the applicants, and if cleared, their applications are forwarded to the country’s CBI Units for additional due diligence. All Caribbean Units use external due diligence firms, as well as agencies like Interpol and the JRCC to review the applicant’s credentials against the respective organisation’s databases.
Once applicants pass the vetting process, they make the relevant investment. After the funds have cleared, the government issues the individual with a certificate granting immediate citizenship to the investors. Barring a few minimal outstanding fees, your citizenship by investment process is complete. Now, new economic citizens can apply for their passports through the respective passport office.
The terms ‘citizenship’ and ‘passport’ are often incorrectly interchanged, so it’s crucial to establish the difference between them. Legally, citizenship represents the relationship between a state and an individual, granting them human rights and responsibilities in that state. Meanwhile, a passport is a travel document that allows you to move between states.
Government-issued passports provide visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to specific countries, depending on the deals made between the respective governing bodies. Some passports grant visa-free travel between more countries than others.
A valid passport can provide evidence of citizenship and serves as a travel document if you need to cross borders.
Most citizenship by investment jurisdictions also require investors to:
CS Global Partners is a legal advisory specialised in residency and citizenship by investment solutions. We offer premium expert advice to investors seeking dual citizenship or residency recommendations. To date, we have helped many clients from various parts of the world.
CS Global Partners proudly holds government mandates to market their investor immigration programmes. We are known to operate in complete transparency and provide tailored solutions based on our client needs while always being fully compliant with government rules and regulations. Should you have any questions, or if you would like a detailed breakdown of programmes suitable for your family, kindly contact us, and we will be delighted to help you.
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