With over a dozen citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes now on the market, prospective applicants must consider all the factors crucial to choosing the programme that best suits their needs. This includes location, benefits and most notably, cost.
When investing, the rule of thumb states that the reward should far exceed the cost. For example, it is widely accepted that purchasing a luxury car requires forking out a substantial amount. However, it is also seen as an asset and investment for one’s future. Second citizenship operates similarly.
Firstly, you need to consider how many people you’re acquiring citizenship for, as costs can vary depending on whether it’s for a single applicant or a family of four. The destination is also a significant component in your decision. For example, if you’re looking to invest in an European programme, the investment requirement will be far costlier than looking at a Caribbean programme. This is evidenced when looking at countries like Austria which requires a minimum of three million euros as investment. Similarly, Malta’s new offering asks investors to contribute a minimum of 600,000 euros.
Looking for a cost-effective programme does not mean you’re compromising on quality. In fact, some of the industry’s most affordable programmes are also ranked as the best routes to a second citizenship. In the latest CBI Index, an annual study that measures CBI Programmes against nine pillars, Caribbean islands took all top five slots.
They also scored highly for their due diligence procedures, one of the most important features of a successful CBI Programme. Due diligence ensures that the reputation of a country and its programme remain intact and uncorrupted by dubious characters. From an applicant’s point of view, a strong due diligence framework usually symbolises that a programme is secure and can be trusted.
So, aside from location and number of applicants – what other costs does a client need to consider? Many programmes may have additional government fees, due diligence fees or processing fees. It is also important to consider why a programme is low cost. Are there temporary discounts available as seen with St Kitts and Nevis’ limited time offer or is it due to the programme undergoing several changes over the years? While low cost does not mean an inadequate programme, investors should do their research to ensure that its international standing and perception is not damaged.
For a single applicant, the answer is straightforward. Dominica offers one of the world’s most competitive investment thresholds, with applicants receiving economic citizenship in return for a US$100.00 contribution to its Economic Diversification Fund.
Similarly, St Lucia matches Dominica’s affordable price point. St Lucia established its Citizenship by Investment programme in 2016 and it is the newest programme in the Caribbean. To obtain citizenship of St Lucia under the Programme, single applicants must contribute $100,000 to the country’s National Economic Fund.
Single applicants in Antigua and Barbuda are required to contribute $100,000 to the Programme’s National Development Fund (NDF). However, the Programme also implements a government fee of thirty thousand US dollars on the contribution option. This makes the minimum contribution amount one hundred and thirty thousand dollars, excluding due diligence and processing fees. Antigua and Barbuda offer the same price for nuclear families of four, making it the most cost-effective option for small families.
For the Vanuatu Development Support programme, there is a minimum contribution requirement of US$130,000 for a single applicant. Applicants are required to take one trip to Vanuatu to take the Oath of Allegiance, but this requirement is currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions. Holding citizenship of Vanuatu would allow you visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to approximately 133 destinations.
St Kitts and Nevis prides itself on presenting a premium price for applicants to the Caribbean – something it closely associates with its reputation as the ‘platinum standard’ of the industry. Until 31st December 2021, however, the dual island Federation is operating a US$150,000 limited time offer on nuclear families – a discount on the more typical price of US$195,000.
While Grenada shares St Kitts and Nevis’ investment of $150,000 for a single applicant, its family option comes in at a more expensive price of $200,000.
Therefore, when it comes to affordability, it is the Caribbean that becomes most accessible, not only to the ultra-high net worth individual but also to the professional and businessperson seeking second citizenship as a single applicant or with a family.
Are you still struggling to decide? Sometimes it’s best to reach out to an expert if you need support in making the right decision for you and your loved ones. At CS Global Partners, we can help match you with the CBI programme that best fits your needs and wants. If you have any questions, please contact a member of our specialist legal team.