According to the CBI Index, the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme ranks best. The relatively new Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Programme ranks tenth. What are the most attractive features of Egypt and its Citizenship by Investment Programme, and can they improve its position?
Published by PWM (Professional Wealth Management), the CBI Index compares citizenship by investment programmes available all over the world by evaluating each on nine criteria in its PBS (Point Based Scoring) model:
• Freedom of Movement
• Standard of Living
• Minimum Investment Outlay
• Mandatory Travel or Residence
• Citizenship Timeline
• Ease of Processing
• Due Diligence
• Certainty of Product
The Index’s ranking system takes into account key factors investors consider before selecting their CBI programme.
Dominica secured the first spot in the best citizenship by investment rankings for 2021 along with St Kitts and Nevis. The two are followed by Grenada and Egypt ranked tenth from the 14 programmes evaluated.
The Caribbean programmes have long dominated the CBI Index, primarily because they are the most affordable and offer balanced passport benefits. While in 2021, Dominica shared the crown with St Kitts and Nevis (same Total Points and Percentage), it also took the first place in 2020 and 2019, when Egypt was not listed yet.
European programmes have over time declined in popularity due to their costs, and countries such as Cyprus and Moldova have already closed their doors. Bulgaria is getting closer to ending its golden passport programme, and Montenegro is signing last applications by the end of 2022.
The World Citizenship Report (WCR) is the first-ever endeavour investigating the value of citizenship through the lens of a global citizen. Successively to about five years of research, the culmination of data has resulted in a ranking of almost every country in the world to demonstrate how they fare on the key components of:
• Global Mobility
• Quality of Life
• Financial Freedom
• Economic Opportunity
• Safety and Security
The 2022 World Citizenship Report measures 187 countries against five motivators that are relevant amongst High Net-Worth Individuals. Dominica and Egypt are not in the top ten, but several European and Asian countries are.
Dominica takes 52nd place globally, and Egypt lands at 114. However, in the Safety and Security component’s regional breakdown, Dominica comes in 3rd for Latin America & Caribbean.
Although it may seem like the choice is obvious and that picturesque Caribbean islands fit the ultimate ‘dream destination’ for second citizenship, let us have a look at what Egypt can offer and whether it has a chance to compete with Caribbean programmes.
The Egyptian passport has restricted travel opportunities, so something else makes the country attractive for investors:
• Strategic location – Located in the north of Africa, Egypt connects two continents. Its Suez Canal controls an eight per cent share of world trade. Egypt is also viewed as a centre for business and as one of the oldest civilisations on Earth.
• Highly populated market – The country has a large amount of young people, and English is used in business and multi-cultural environments. Egypt is also home to the largest population and business market in the Middle East. Compared to Europe, its property prices are low, which is an added advantage for investors.
• Low-cost business establishment – The cost of living and maintaining a business is exceptionally low in Egypt.
• Lifestyle – Cairo is a sleepless city with 17 million people, a bustling culture, excellent weather, and plenty of places to visit.
Before applying for Citizenship by Investment, one must carefully consider whether they want to live on a picturesque, nature-paradise island or a dynamic, multi-cultured state with thousands of years of history. Let us compare a few statistics:
|Religion:||Christianity – 90%, Other-10%||Islam – 90%, Christianity – 10%|
0-14 years: 21.62%
15-64 years: 66.65%
65 years and more: 11.43%
|0-14 years: 33.38%
15-64 years: 60.75%
65 years and more: 5.33%
|Language:||English, French||Arabic, English|
|Area:||751 km2||1,010,408 km2|
|Investment sectors:||agriculture, tourism, manufacturing||tourism, transportation, trade, minerals, cinema and music, solar power, property and construction,food and agriculture|
On 14 March 2020, the Government of Egypt published Parliament Law No. 190 regarding foreigners getting Egyptian citizenship through investment. Egypt’s programme allows wealthy people to obtain citizenship after investing $250,000 USD or more in the nation. It takes an average of six to nine months to obtain citizenship through investment in Egypt.
Egypt’s Citizenship by Investment offering is not well defined yet, which is a fundamental difference when comparing it with a well-established, and reliable CBI Programmes like that of Dominica that launched in 1993.
Until September 2018, foreign nationals wishing to naturalise were required to demonstrate ten years of legal residence in Egypt. This changed, however, when Egypt’s parliament passed a law allowing citizenship to be granted after a residence period of only five years for foreign nationals who first deposit about US$447,000 in one of Egypt’s state-owned banks.
One year later, the Egyptian Government took steps towards the launch of a formal citizenship by investment programme when it approved a draft decision setting requirements for the granting of citizenship to foreign investors.
Four routes to citizenship were specified in Egypt. First, the acquisition of state-owned property with a minimum value of US$500,000. Second, the acquisition of a minimum 40 per cent stake in an investment project in which the total invested capital is US$400,000 or more. Third, a direct deposit of US$750,000 with the Central Bank of Egypt to be returned after five years at zero per cent interest. Finally, a non-refundable contribution of US$250,000 to the Central Bank of Egypt.
|Investment||Investment Type||Hold Period|
|US$500,000||Purchase of state-owned property||–|
|US$160,000||40% stake in an investment project||–|
|US$750,000||Deposit with the Central Bank||Five years|
|US$250,000||Non-refundable contribution to the Central Bank||–|
Though investment requirements are laid out, and a government entity has been established to process applications, Egypt still does not boast a fledged citizenship by investment programme.
Until Egypt’s new citizenship by investment offering is implemented in full, applicants will need to commit to five years of residence in Egypt prior to citizenship.
Citizenship by investment programmes distinguish themselves from others by:
• Processing applications at speed and efficiently
• Removing burdensome requirements, such as mandatory residence, travel, interview, or language requirements
• Performing extensive due diligence on applicants
• Establishing an entity that is fully dedicated to application processing
• Making use of designated, licensed agents to submit applications and provide guidance to applicants
The table below compares these aspects for Dominica and Egypt:
|Residence requirement||No||Five years|
|Processing time||Three months||Six to nine months|
|Minimum investment||$100,000 USD||$250,000 USD|
|Processing entity||Dominica Citizenship by Investment Unit||Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Unit|
|Parents and siblings included?||Yes||No (spouse can gets citizenship after two years)|
• Choose an investment pathway – you can choose from a donation, bank deposit, property ownership, business establishment or join a current business
• Investment project planning – if you choose the business option, you need to study the Egyptian market and current businesses and projects
• Prepare documents – collect all the documents required based on the pathway selected (bank papers, passport, proof of payments, contracts, etc.)
• Application process – in this step, you will need to make the investment required: deposit capital, establish/join a business or buy property. You will also have to submit your application to the Unit
• Temp residency – foreigners can apply for a six-month residency permit until all the requirements are met
• Granting an Egyptian passport – Obtaining an Egyptian passport after due diligence takes around six months
This depends on your client’s needs and expectations. When someone wants to ‘escape the world’ and live in an intimate society, then Dominica is the perfect choice. Egypt offers potential investors exactly the opposite. When proposing the Egyptian Citizenship by Investment Programme to your clients, you offer them life in a home to one of the world’s oldest and greatest civilisations. Egypt today is a cosmopolitan nation with a fusion of many cultures and traditions with a liberal attitude and friendliness towards foreigners. While hectic and chaotic at times, Egyptians are genuinely warm, affectionate, and trusting. Egypt has a relatively young population with 37 per cent of people under the age of 15, while Cairo has many residents from the US and Europe.
As one of the world’s oldest civilisations, Egypt is home to some incredible historic landmarks like the Pyramids of Giza, City of the Dead, and the Ramses II statue. The country has seven UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites.
Music, literature, and film are big here. The nation hosts many festivals and movie-going is as popular as Egypt’s movie-making industry.
Most economic activity takes place along the Nile River Valley with tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing as key industries. The tourism sector accounts for about 15 per cent of Egypt’s GDP and 12 per cent of employment.
Egypt’s Citizenship by Investment Programme is inclusive of children up to the age of 21 (if they are unmarried) and provides eligibility to apply for an E-2 visa to the US. This makes it just one of three CBI Programmes (along with Grenada and Turkey) to allow dual citizens the ability to work and live in the US.
To get advice on investor immigration options, feel free to contact us for a consultation.
CS Global Partners has a team of experts with heaps of industry knowledge to help you decide what country and citizenship or residence programme may suit you best.