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The Ultimate Citizenship by Investment Guide

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 examine the best citizenship by investment programmes available in 2022 and explain all the terms and requirements so you can start your dual citizenship journey. 

What is Citizenship?

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, access to 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.

 

Citizenship vs Passport

The terms citizenship and passport are often incorrectly interchanged, so it’s important to establish their differences. Citizenship represents the relationship between a state and an individual, granting them rights and responsibilities in that state. Meanwhile, a passport is a travel document that allows you to move between states. A valid passport can provide citizenship evidence and serve as a travel document if you need to cross borders.

It is inaccurate to assume that a citizenship by investment programme can be reduced to idioms like buy a passport scheme or passport for sale. In some cases, it can even be confused with a golden visa, which actually refers to a residency by investment programme, which is an entirely different concept.

The Different Types of Citizenship

The concept of citizenship has been around for centuries, yet the term has evolved over time to redefine what it means to be a citizen of a country or even of the world. While, in its basic definition, citizenship remains the legal status held by a citizen within a state, that state no longer has to be the country of a person’s birth.

Some of the most common types of citizenships are jus sanguinis, a Latin term also known as “right of blood” or ancestral citizenship, jus soli, which means citizenship achieved based on where an individual is born, jus matrimonii, known as citizenship through marriage, and naturalisation, which refers to citizenship granted after an individual has spent sufficient time in a country.

Family Citizenship: Jus Sanguinis

One of the most common paths to citizenship is jus sanguinis, a Latin phrase translated into English as “right of blood”. This describes an individual whose parent, grandparent, or other family member is already a citizen of a different specific state from the country in which the individual was born. Countries that offer this citizenship outright include France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Romania, Thailand, and Turkey.

Citizenship by Birth: Jus Soli

Jus soli, another Latin term meaning “right of soil”, generally refers to the rule granting citizenship to an individual who is born in a country. However, this does not apply in every country, and certain legal regulations may restrict individuals in some nations under what is known as lex soli law. Some of these countries include Australia, Egypt, New Zealand, and South Africa. In many jurisdictions such as Canada, Israel, or Greece, jus sanguinis and jus soli are combined into one model. This offers individual citizenship to their birth country, as well as that of one or both parents.

Citizenship by Marriage: Jus Matrimonii

Known legally as jus matrimonii, becoming a naturalised citizen by marrying an individual with citizenship has become common practice since it was introduced in the wake of the Second World War. Rules differ across the world with regards to how long a couple will need to be married before citizenship will be granted, and some nations also extend this right to couples in civil partnerships.

Naturalisation

Naturalisation usually applies to those who have entered the country through legal means, such as political asylum or having lawfully lived there for a mandated period. For those becoming new citizens, it is customary to take a test that demonstrates an understanding of the nation’s laws, culture, tradition, and language. In countries that do not offer dual citizenship, new citizens are also required to renounce their old citizenship.

Economic Citizenship or Citizenship by Investment

For those unable to acquire citizenship in more traditional ways, economic citizenship can be a viable path. Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes give investors a means of gaining citizenship through a meaningful monetary contribution to a country’s economy.
There are currently over a dozen active CBI programmes in existence, the first being for St Kitts and Nevis, which dates back to 1984.

What is Citizenship by Investment?

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 country’s economy. The initiative permits countries to channel generated funds into developing healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more. In exchange, investors are granted citizenship alongside 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.

The concept of citizenship by investment was first developed in the Caribbean, with St Kitts and Nevis being the first to offer the scheme in 1984. There are only a handful of countries around the world that currently offer a citizenship by investment programme, five of which are located in the Caribbean. This includes Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis. Other countries that offer a citizenship by investment scheme include Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Vanuatu.

Caribbean Citizenship by Investment

In 1984, the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis became 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.

Caribbean CBI Timeline

The Programme allowed the Federation to develop its 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 robust healthcare services and a high literacy rate.

CBI Terms to Know

Citizenship by Investment Unit

Some countries that offer citizenship by investment programmes have government entities (commonly called ‘Units’) dedicated entirely to the economic citizenship process. They oversee and process all citizenship by investment applications.

Citizenship vs Residency

Although you may be both a citizen and a resident of the same country, the terms’ citizen’ and ‘resident’ are two completely different things. Being a resident of a country that is not your country of citizenship allows you to travel and reside in the country, often for a limited amount of time, while retaining your home country’s citizenship and passport. On the other hand, citizenship confers a status for life to live and work in the nation.

Due Diligence

Due diligence is crucial to maintaining the reputation of the citizenship by investment industry. In the Caribbean, due diligence checks are done internally by Citizenship by Investment Units and in conjunction with external firms, regional and international law enforcement agencies, and partner governments. Assessment factors include police certificate requirements, fingerprinting or other biometric data collection, source of funds analysis, and some programmes implement bans on high-risk countries of origin.

How to Apply for Citizenship by Investment

The first step in your citizenship by investment process in the Caribbean is choosing an authorised agent. Citizenship by Investment Unit 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 CBI Units use external due diligence firms and 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 appropriate 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.

What is the CBI Index?

Released yearly by Professional Wealth Management, the CBI index is a publication from the Financial Times. The independent study 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. You can see all the past CBI Index reports here.

Citizenship by Investment Countries

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
• St Lucia
• Vanuatu
• Malta
• Turkey

These countries have precise guidelines and investment requirements. In most cases, they do not require applicants to have resided in the country before or 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 applying for citizenship. Most citizenship by investment programmes offer a few investment options such as a contribution, real estate investment, or business investments.

Cheapest Citizenship by Investment

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.

Fastest Citizenship by Investment

If applying through the Accelerated Application Programme 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.

Best Citizenship by Investment Programmes

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:

Dominica Citizenship by Investment

Launched in 1993, Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme has been ranked as the number one CBI initiative for five consecutive years by the CBI Index, published by the Financial Times’s Professional Wealth Management (PWM) magazine. The CBI scheme focuses on its applicants’ overall quality and integrity, only accepting outstanding character and reputation individuals. To ensure credible persons of excellent standing are granted citizenship, comprehensive due diligence checks are performed on all applicants over 18 years of age.

Application Process

For successful applicants, the Dominica Citizenship by Investment application process consists of seven main steps:
– Pre-approval by CS Global Partners and preparation of the application
– Submission of the citizenship application
– Application processing by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and internal and external due diligence checks
– Approval in principle
– Contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund or investment in the pre-approved real estate
– Citizenship certificate issued
– Passport application

Explore Dominica citizenship programme

St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment

The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme stands as the oldest and one of the most trusted, successful programmes of its kind. Since 1984, it has allowed individuals and their families to legally obtain citizenship of one of the Caribbean’s most idyllic locations. It offers a fast-track route to citizenship, with the 45-60-day Accelerated Application Process available for an additional fee.

Application Process

For successful applicants, the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment application process consists of seven main steps:
– Pre-approval by CS Global Partners and preparation of the application
– Submission of the citizenship application
– Application processing by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and internal and external due diligence checks
– Approval in principle
– Contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund or investment in either pre-approved real estate, a private home, or the ‘alternative investment’ option
– Citizenship certificate issued
– Passport application

Explore St Kitts and Nevis citizenship programme

Grenada Citizenship by Investment

Having restructured, redeveloped, and re-launched its Citizenship by Investment Programme in 2013, Grenada has become a popular second citizenship option, particularly among larger families. Citizens of Grenada are also eligible to apply for an E-2 Visa to the United States.

Application Process

Grenada Citizenship by Investment application process consists of seven steps:
– Application and pre-approval by CS Global Partners
– Submission of citizenship application
– Government processing and due diligence checks
– Approval in principle
– Investment in National Transformation Fund or Pre-Approved Real Estate
– Citizenship certificate issued
– Passport application

Explore Grenada citizenship programme

St Lucia Citizenship by Investment

Launched in 2016, St Lucia has the youngest Citizenship by Investment Programme in the Caribbean. However, it 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 has all the tropical benefits of citizenship of a Caribbean nation.

Application Process

St Lucia Citizenship by Investment application process consists of seven steps:
– Application and pre-approval by CS Global Partners
– Submission of citizenship application
– Government processing and due diligence checks
– Approval in principle
– Investment in the National Economic Fund, pre-approved real estate, pre-approved enterprise project, or government bonds
– Citizenship certificate issued
– Passport application

Explore St Lucia citizenship programme

Antigua Citizenship by Investment

Antigua and Barbuda is heaven on Earth. with hundreds of beaches and year-round sunshine Established in 2013, the Programme grants citizenship in exchange for an investment in one of four investment options.

Application Process

Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by investment application process consists of seven steps:
– Application and pre-approval by CS Global Partners
– Submission of citizenship application
– Government processing and due diligence checks
– Approval in principle
– Making the investment of your choice
– Citizenship certificate issued.
– Passport application

Explore Antigua and Barbuda citizenship programme

Additional two popular Citizenship by Investment Programmes, not originated in Caribbean:

Turkey Citizenship by Investment

Launched in 2017, Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Programme is a relative newcomer in the citizenship by investment industry, but it has found significant success among Middle Eastern applicants, particularly from Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Egypt.

Application Process

The application process in Turkey can be broken down into eight steps:
– Select your investment option
– Make a residence permit application
– Open a bank account in Turkey
– Make the relevant investment
– Submit your application to the Government
– If successful, applications are approved within three to six months
– Documents evidencing citizenship issued
– Submit passport application

Explore Turkey citizenship programme

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment

Vanuatu’s Development Support Programme (DSP) is one of two citizenships by investment programmes that coexist in Vanuatu. Established in 2017, the DSP originally conferred only ‘honorary’ citizenship, which afforded successful applicants far fewer rights than those held by native and naturalised citizens. However, the DSP was overhauled in 2018 and now confers ‘full’ citizenship (albeit without the right to engage in political life in Vanuatu).

Application Process

The application process in Vanuatu can be broken down into eight steps:
– Choose a Designated Agent
– Submission of the application and payment of relevant fees
– After due diligence, a first decision is made in relation to the application, known as a ‘pre-approval’ if successful
– At this point, 25 per cent of the contribution is due
– A final decision is made in relation to the application
– Upon final approval, the rest of the contribution must be made
– Certificate of Naturalisation is issued, and a passport can be obtained
– Successful applicants must travel to take the Oath of Allegiance in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths

Explore Vanuatu citizenship programme

Why Dual Citizenship?

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.

Cost of Dual Citizenship

The price for 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.

Benefits of Dual Citizenship

Having dual citizenship can help individuals avoid unfair persecution from certain states or escape from a conflict-torn region. It can also provide an alternative to political asylum, security from an unstable environment, or better education and lifestyle for children.

While the path to dual citizenship may differ according to the needs of each applicant, the benefits of dual citizenship are undeniably attractive for everyone. Here’s what you can look forward to as a holder of dual citizenship.

Family Reunification

Recent moves to facilitate family reunification have made dual citizenship easier to obtain for one’s whole family. As a result, large families are now able to obtain citizenship together without leaving anyone behind.

Health and Education

Many countries that offer citizenship provide access to robust, first-rate healthcare systems with the capacity to fully support citizens through times of adversity.

Parents want to give their children the tools to succeed in learning and life, and dual citizenship can grant children access to some of the top schools in the world. But education isn’t just for children – with citizenship of a European or Commonwealth nation, you can enrol in some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities.

Domestic Wellbeing

Many countries with dual citizenship offerings boast high air quality, diverse ecosystems, and access to lush nature in abundance – far removed from the urban sprawl and polluted haze of some of the world’s busiest cities.

Sense of Community

Dual citizenship is a chance for you to access some of the world’s most compassionate and welcoming countries. Happily, citizens can, in some jurisdictions, expect to be met with an overwhelming sense of community in which all individuals are integrated and respected.

Economic Opportunity

Dual citizenship can open doors to new entrepreneurial options, thanks to the abundance of financial opportunities available across the globe. It gives you the chance to fulfil your dreams of expanding your business on an international scale and to make the connections you need to bring your business to the next level.

Global Mobility

Global mobility empowers individuals with increased freedom of movement, allowing them to follow innovative ideas and opportunities while experiencing the richness of the world. Individuals with dual citizenship can enjoy entry to a greater number of destinations, which can significantly improve the ability of an individual to reach unique opportunities and experiences in new regions and markets. Being a global citizen means embracing our global world and all its possibilities.

About CS Global Partners

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 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 want a detailed breakdown of programmes suitable for your family, kindly contact us, and we will be delighted to help you.

Start your Citizenship by Investment journey with CS Global Partners today. 

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