The Jordan Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme was ranked 13th in the CBI Index for 2021, out of 14 CBIs evaluated, while the St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme topped the list along with Dominica. Let us have a closer look at what Jordan can offer and what improvements its CBI programme requires.
The CBI Index compares CBI programmes available worldwide by evaluating each on nine criteria in its Point Based Scoring (PBS) 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 a CBI programme.
St Kitts and Nevis was the winner for 2021 along with Dominica. Grenada took the third-place position and Jordan ranked thirteenth from the 14 programmes evaluated.
The Caribbean programmes occupy the top 5 positions of the CBI Index, primarily because they are the most affordable and offer balanced citizenship benefits. While in 2021, St Kitts and Nevis shared the crown with Dominica (same Total Points and Percentage), it also took the second place in 2020 and 2019, when Jordan maintained its ranking of 13.
European programmes have over time declined in popularity due to their costs, and countries such as Moldova and Cyprus have already closed their doors. Bulgaria plans to end its golden passport programme, and Montenegro will stop accepting applications at 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. St Kitts and Nevis or Jordan is not in the top ten, but several European and Asian countries are.
St Kitts and Nevis takes 48th place globally, and Jordan lands at 89.
Jordan is a latecomer to economic citizenship, having launched its scheme in 2018. The scheme’s youth, together with a lack of transparency, however, have raised queries as to its reliability. This contrasts with the more established programme of St Kitts and Nevis, where requirements and processes are clear.
|Date of Establishment|
|St Kitts and Nevis||Jordan|
Similarly to Turkey (the only other Middle Eastern country to offer economic citizenship), Jordan is popular among Middle Eastern investors. Statistics on investor interest are, however, unclear, and at times contradictory. According to the Jordanian Investment Commission (JIC), overall scheme revenue far exceeds the number of approvals times the minimum investment required for each approval.
|2 October 2019 – 28 December 2020||206 applications approved||Of which 200 invested in ‘existing’ projects worth JD 854 million, and six in projects under the scheme worth JD 13 million (an average of more than US$3 million per investor)|
|December 2019 – September 2020||200 applications approved||Worth US$1.38 billion (an average of US$6.9 million per investor)|
There has also been an unexplained decrease in the total investment count (US$1.22 billion as of 28 December 2020, but 1.38 billion in September 2020), and in the total number of jobs created (7,326 jobs in December 2020, but 7,369 jobs in September 2020).
It is ambiguous what an ‘existing’ project may entail, but, as of September 2020, under the scheme applicants may only receive citizenship if they:
• deposit US$1 million into Jordan’s Central Bank, and hold the deposit for three years
• purchase government bonds worth US$1 million (with an interest rate determined by the Central Bank), and hold the bonds for six years
• purchase shares worth US$1 million in a Jordanian company, and hold the shares for three years
• invest US$750,000 in a Jordanian SME, and hold the investment for three years
• invest in a project creating at least 20 jobs, and hold the investment for three years – with a US$1 million investment if made outside the Amman Governorate, and a US$1.5 million investment if within the Amman Governorate
The minimum investments required under Jordanian law are far higher than those required by the St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme and are far more complex.
In St Kitts and Nevis, investors are always given the opportunity to make a one-time, straightforward contribution to a government fund. Additionally, they can invest in real estate, with most real estate available consisting of shares of resorts and hotels, and with a hold period of between three and seven years, depending on the nature of the investment and the buyer.
|Costs for a Single Applicant in St Kitts and Nevis|
|US$150,000||US$200,000 (joint investment to be held for seven years) or US$400,000 (individual investment to be held for five years) + US$35,000 Government Fee|
The high price of Jordanian economic citizenship is complemented by benefits, such as the right to live and work in Jordan. Unlike Jordanian-born nationals however, Jordanian economic citizens have limited political rights. For 10 years from citizenship, they cannot:
• hold a political or diplomatic position
• run for public office
• become part of the State Council and, for 5 years from citizenship, they cannot:
• become part of a municipal council
• become part of a village council
Other benefits that are felt more broadly by citizens of St Kitts and Nevis than they are by citizens of Jordan include visa-free travel and the protection of the Commonwealth of Nations. These two benefits are summarised in the table below:
|Jordan||St Kitts and Nevis|
|Visa-Free or Visa-on-Arrival Destinations||61||157|
|Membership of Commonwealth of Nations||No||Yes|
The next consideration is how easy it is to become a citizen of Jordan. In some respects, Jordan is similar to St Kitts and Nevis in that it does not require the applicant to attend an interview, pass a language test, evidence minimum physical presence, or travel to Jordan.
Unlike St Kitts and Nevis however, Jordan does not have a dedicated Citizenship by Investment Unit (or similar entity), and there is no website fully dedicated to economic citizenship and the application process. There is also no widely available guidance on programme requirements, a processing booklet, or government circular detailing the required documentation and necessary forms.
Difficulties also arise with respect to the availability of citizenship for the applicant’s family. In Jordan, qualifying dependants only include the applicant’s spouse, daughters (if unmarried, widowed, or divorced), sons (if under the age of 18), and parents (if the applicant is their only supporter).
By comparison, St Kitts and Nevis makes second citizenship available to far more family members. No distinction is drawn between sons and daughters, who, up to the age of 30, can apply so long as they are in a dependency relationship with the main applicant or the main applicant’s spouse.
There are no restrictions on underage children, and no age limits for children 18 or over who are physically or mentally challenged. Parents, grandparents, and the spouses of qualifying parents and grandparents – can all also be added, with some limitations detailed in the table below. St Kitts and Nevis allow siblings to be included in the application.
|St Kitts and Nevis|
|Parents||Parents of the main applicant or the main applicant’s spouse aged 55 or over, living with and fully supported by the main applicant|
|Grandparents||Grandparents of the main applicant or the main applicant’s spouse aged 65 or over, living with and fully supported by the main applicant|
|Spouses of Qualifying Parents or Grandparents||N/A|
|Siblings||Siblings of the main applicant or the main applicant’s spouse, aged 30 or under, unmarried, childless, and dependent on the main applicant for financial support|
Finally, it is important for prospective economic citizens to be aware of the due diligence processes adopted by Jordan. At present, there is no indication that Jordan engages a third party, expert due diligence firm to complete due diligence on applicants. Internal databases and EU databases are both checked. Additionally, whilst an applicant must provide a criminal record check, it is unclear whether that evidence must be obtained from more than one jurisdiction.
In St Kitts and Nevis, all the following checks are performed:
• KYC checks by authorised persons/agents
• Internal review by the Citizenship by Investment Unit
• Checks with the Joint Regional Communications Centre (utilising data from partner governments and Interpol)
• Checks by independent, expert due diligence firms (including on-the-ground checks)
Additionally, criminal records are required from multiple jurisdictions, including those of citizenship and residence. These more stringent checks ensure the reputation of an investor’s programme of choice remain intact, assuring applicants are investing in high-quality citizenship.
|Country||St Kitts and Nevis||Jordan|
|Ethnic Groups||African – 92.7%, mixed – 2.2%||Arab – 95%, Circassian – 3%, Armenian-2%|
|Religion||Christianity – 82.4%, no religion – 8.4%, non-Christian – 2.8%||Islam – 95%, Christianity – 4%, Druze – 1%|
|Age Range:||0-14 years: 19.87%
15-64 years: 70.13%
65 years and more: 10%
|0-14 years: 34.68%
15-64 years: 61.87%
65 years and more: 3.45%
|Languages||English, Saint Kitts Creole English||Arabic|
|Area||261 km2||89,342 km2|
|Investment Sectors||Agriculture,Tourism, Manufacturing||Tourism,Transportation, Natural resources|
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.