What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is a way to obtain citizenship of a country, via a large investment in that country that is consistent with the laws, rules, and regulations of that country.

Depending on the country, the process to receive CBI will vary.

CBI was created and implemented first by St Kitts and Nevis in 1984, in the country’s Citizenship Act of 1984. Since then, many countries have followed in the country’s footsteps, particularly in the Caribbean. This is why the Caribbean is known as the ‘cradle of CBI.’

Also Read: Citizenship by Investment Due Diligence

How does the Citizenship by Investment process work?
Different countries have different CBI processes, but most will have multi-step procedures to make sure that applicants are upstanding and lawful citizens of their current country.

After finding a programme that suits your needs, consider the programme’s special requirements on applications, investments, and residence. Each programme has varying requirements.

Consider too, the due diligence procedures. The best programmes will ensure that their due diligence process is robust and reputable and will have vetting consistent with international standards.

St Kitts and Nevis has a multi-stage due diligence process for prospective applicants, for example. This process consists of substages within the stages to ensure that applicants are of the highest quality.

The due diligence process includes third-party international agents who vet applicants and do on-the-ground checks.

Similarly, in Dominica due diligence is integral to the CBI process. Background checks, in-person checks, source of wealth verification and law enforcement checks are all part of Dominica’s robust and multilayer due diligence process.

Dominica’s requirements, along with the requirements of St Kitts and Nevis, are consistent with the procedures supported and praised by international partners, such as the US.

The US and Caribbean CBI programmes agreed on six principles for due diligence in February 2023. St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica quickly and thoroughly implemented the principles, which included mandatory interviews for applicants and collective treatment of denials.

CBI is only granted after vetting steps have been completed. After the thorough multistep vetting processes are completed, applicants can legally acquire citizenship after approval of their application. After this, applicants can apply for a passport.

This is all subject to applicants putting in the necessary investment, paying due diligence fees and finishing the due diligence processes.
Why get a second citizenship?
Citizenship by Investment offers applicants new opportunities that often would not be available to them prior to acquiring the second citizenship.

From cultural opportunities to economic development, to education and health opportunities, a second citizenship provides unparalleled options to discerning global citizens.

Health, education, and peace of mind

Because many CBI programmes allow citizenship to be passed down to children, a second citizenship not only sets an applicant up for success; it can also make the educational, health, and economic opportunities better for the family.

Educational offerings, academic programming and academic specialisation vary country to country. Securing a second citizenship may mean that you have better universities to choose from, that may specialise in your area of focus.

Similarly, countries vary in the quality of schools and vary in how they structure and approach the educational system. Gaining an alternative citizenship allows applicants and applicants’ families to be set up for success, as applicants may take advantage of the educational offerings, scholarships, and fees of the CBI country of choice.

St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica have strong educational offerings, and the Caribbean region boasts strong universities.

Healthcare is another fundamental offering that varies country to country. Some countries have strong and well-funded healthcare systems, but others are lacking in this area. Having a second nation to call upon for healthcare grants families an extra layer of security and support.

For people from countries experiencing political turmoil, underfunded social programmes, or other insecurity, CBI can be beneficial for ensuring peace of mind. Peace of mind is priceless, something that goes beyond monetary return-on-investment.

But in the realm of monetary return-on-investment, CBI delivers, too.
Return on investment and economic opportunity
Citizenship By Investment is a great economic choice for investors. Many CBI countries have favourable tax regimes, offering tax benefits such as no capital gains tax or low personal income tax.

Business opportunities abound for people who gain a second citizenship. Entrepreneurs and businessmen and women will enjoy the opportunities that CBI offers, in its access to global markets and favourable tax regimes.

Travel is made easier, too by CBI. For truly global citizens who want to explore the world, its cultures and economic opportunities, CBI is a great option that will open many doors.

For people looking to retire in style, CBI offers great retirement destinations, too. Countries such as St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica are beautiful with a lush natural environment, offering retirees the chance to retire in a beautiful area.

The safety and low crime rate of these countries also allows for greater business confidence, along with a more peaceful and relaxing retirement.

The prosperity and high quality of life offered by these countries is an enticing option for applicants and their families seeking security and economic opportunity.

Benefit for CBI countries

Choosing a CBI programme in countries such as St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica also allows prospective economic citizens to feel good about their investment.

As Small Island Developing States (SIDs), Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis have to be innovative in planning for the future, a future that will be affected by climate change and climate-induced natural disasters.

CBI gives them the funds and support to plan for future risks and to capitalise on future opportunities. CBI also aids social and infrastructural welfare of these states.

In Dominica, CBI funds go to the country’s ambitious mission to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation. As part of this mission, CBI helps build and reinforce climate-resilient infrastructure, build climate-resilient homes, and invest in green energy.

With CBI funds, Dominica is currently building a geothermal power plant along with an international airport, new bridges and new roads to supplement its growing ecotourism industry. This all contributes to the country’s continued economic diversification.

The country’s varied and enticing ecotourism offering led to its status as the first country in the world to be benchmarked by Green Globe. Green Globe sets high standards in its certification system of countries offering sustainable ecotourism.

Dominica also offers multiple natural parks, four and five-star ecohotels, and protected marine parks. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is particularly of note as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In St Kitts and Nevis, CBI funds go to funding sustainability initiatives and economic development. CBI funds have allowed for renewable energy investment, along with investment in economic diversification.

For example, CBI helped the country establish a new Department of Creative Economy, which will empower people in the creative to continue developing their talents. CBI is also going to St Kitts and Nevis’s future generations through funding schools and educational initiatives.

The energy transition away from fossil fuels is being helped along via CBI funds, too. From solar panel installation to further energy diversification to geothermal and wind power, CBI is being used to encourage green energy.

CBI also helps to reinforce infrastructure and give back to future generations through improving schools, hospitals, and other social welfare offerings. The National Sport Policy, also funded with CBI, is helping future generations through encouraging health outcomes and physical fitness for young people.
Citizenship By Investment: a win-win option
Citizenship by Investment thus benefits the applicant and the applicant’s family, along with the citizens of the country offering the programme. This means that CBI is a win-win option, rather than a zero-sum game.

Investors, particularly in countries such as Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, can rest assured that they are assisting these countries with climate resilience, sustainability, and social welfare.

For families, CBI offers peace of mind, security, and an oasis away from high-crime, politically unstable places. This means that children can go to school and university in safe and respected environments, with reliable healthcare systems and strong, democratic governments.

For business owners, CBI offers a strong return on investment with favourable tax regimes, global markets and favourable conditions for entrepreneurship.

Retirement is also a great option with CBI. Safe and beautiful countries such as Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis offer retirees a stunning natural environment to spend their retired days.

All and all, CBI is the best option for people seeking safety, sustainability, and democracy. It is also the best option for CBI countries, who can benefit environmentally, socially, and economically from CBI.