This article will explore the most family friendly citizenship by investment programmes and why this may be important to your clients. We’ll cover your clients’ different citizenship options and how adding family members with citizenship by investment programmes differs from the residence by investment programmes.
How can citizenship by investment programmes be family friendly? Two main factors determine whether a CBI programme is family-friendly.
1. Does the programme offer your client the ability to pass their new citizenship to future generations?
2. Can your client add family members to the CBI application to have dual citizenship?
Now, it’s worth noting that the requirement for dependants differs depending on the programme. These requirements vary from the additional cost of each family member you’re looking to add and the relation the family member has to the main applicant. Hence, it’s best to know what each programme offers.
All Caribbean CBI programmes scored the highest marks in the family pillar of the CBI Index 2021. The CBI Index is an annual publication by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine, which provides a comprehensive rating of all the citizenship by investment programmes across the world. The Caribbean programmes are known for being family-friendly due to their vibrant culture and strong family values.
Let’s start with St Kitts and Nevis. The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme widened its dependants clause in 2020. Now, on top of being able to add the main applicant’s spouse and children, siblings can also participate. To qualify, a sibling can be either a brother or sister of the main applicant or the spouse of the main applicant. Moreover, the sibling must also be unmarried, childless, 30 years of age or younger, and dependent on the main applicant for financial support. St Kitts and Nevis’ investment immigration programme is the longest standing CBI programme and has a reputation as the industry’s Platinum Standard due to factors such as processing speed and effective due diligence.
Dominica ranked first in the 2022 CBI Index with St Kitts and Nevis. The benefits of this CBI programme also consist of the ability to pass down citizenship to future generations. For this citizenship by investment option, the family members who can be included in an application consist of a spouse, children if under the age of 18 (if above this age, the child needs to be substantially supported by the main applicant or his or her spouse), parents, and grandparents if they are also substantially supported by the main application or their spouse. A sibling aged 18 or over attracts an additional fee. The additional investment does not include the processing fee, due diligence, naturalisation, or passport fees. Following the issuance of citizenship to the main applicant, family members can still be added over time, but at an additional cost which increases year on year.
Grenada’s citizenship by investment programme also offers the ability to pass down citizenship to future generations. It allows a family of up to four members to be added to the application for a USD 200,000 donation to the National Transformation Fund. This family offer excludes parents and grandparents under the age of fifty-five and siblings.
Vanuatu’s investment immigration programme was one of the highest-ranked family-friendly options outside the Caribbean islands. Children over the age of eighteen can be included, however, for this CBI programme, a higher degree of dependency is required. Therefore, children above this age must be residing with or be dependent upon the main applicant or spouse and attending full-time education.
For comparison purposes, programmes like Cambodia scored low in the CBI index for the family pillar because only a spouse or minor child of the main applicant can obtain citizenship with the main applicant.
Bulgaria’s CBI programme scored the lowest for the family pillar due to only spouses and children being able to obtain citizenship. However, this can only be applied for once the main applicant has been approved.
When discussing the family element of residence by investment programmes, it’s best to start by explaining what residence by investment or RBI is. RBI programmes initially offer a residence visa to an investor. After a few years living in that country, it may be possible for your client to apply for citizenship through naturalisation. It is important to note that one’s residency status can be revoked if the conditions of residence are not adhered to. Moreover, there is a condition of physical residence in that country for a period of time before an investor qualifies for citizenship. Most RBI programmes also differ from citizenship by investment programmes when it comes to adding family members.
Ireland’s RBI programme is the only one similar to CBI, in the sense that family members can be included in the main application. However, for other RBI programmes, such as Spain, the applicant may have to apply first and only when they have residency status can their family members submit separate applications. Therefore, if an applicant wants the whole family also to obtain citizenship, it may be best to choose a citizenship programme as residence takes much longer to obtain full citizen status.
A prime example of Spain’s RBI is one of our most recent clients, Jack. He’s a family man, married with three children, and looking for residency status in Spain. Over the last few years, he frequently travelled to Spain for work and making this move there would make life easier for him. However, a key concern was not knowing whether his family could join him.
One of the problems we had with this residency programme, like many others, is that only after his residence permit was accepted could his family members apply for residence status. But after this period, we were able to submit applications for his wife, three children all under the age of eighteen, and his parents, who are also classed as dependents.
Adding family members onto citizenship by investment application is an important factor for many clients. This factor can impact which programme you advise them to consider. So, if your client were looking for second citizenship, would the ability to add a wide range of family members affect where he or she would want to invest?
Get in touch with CS Global Partners today and let us help you determine which second citizenship programme is right for you.