Thanks to the CBI (citizenship by investment) index, the best countries for obtaining citizenship and investment which have immigration programs are annually determined. In 2019, the index included 13 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Vanuatu, Grenada, Dominica, Jordan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Malta, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Turkey.
CBI-2019 Leader – Dominica
In 2019, Dominica remained the best country for citizenship by investment, maintaining its leadership position for the third year in a row.
Why is Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Program remarkable:
- Two investment options to get a passport
- Minimum costs per applicant from $100,000
- There is no obligation to come and stay in the country
- No interviews required, no language or cultural test
- Fast application processing
- Applications are considered competently, and the process itself is strictly regulated
Dominica took leading positions in the following categories (“pillars”):
- Investment minimum – $100,000 US per applicant. Dominica shared this position with Saint Lucia.
- Obligatory visit and stay – no requirements. While in Antigua and Barbuda obligatory to visit the country for 5 days during the first 5 years.
- The term for granting citizenship is up to 60 days from the date of application.
- Ease of application processing.
- Checking the applicant for reliability.
How the CBI is calculated
- Ranking the overall effectiveness of each of the programs and the demand among investors.
- Ranking concerning the seven indicators (the so-called “pillars”):
- freedom of movement (how many countries without visas or with easy access options a passport holder can visit).
- standard of living (various aspects are assessed, including the growth rate of real GDP per capita, the availability and quality of medicine, education, and the level of social standards).
- minimum investment costs (the lowest amount of required investments for participation in the program).
- compulsory travel or residence (how often and for how long you need to come to the country before obtaining citizenship).
- citizenship schedule (how long it takes to process an investor’s application).
- ease of processing (the level of complexity of collecting the necessary documents, the need to pass language and other exams).
- legal expertise (how thorough is the verification of the legality of the origin of the applicants’ funds).
Each of the seven parameters is evaluated on a 10-point scale. The maximum score achieved by the program is 70, with all final scores expressed as a percentage of the total available for accrual. It’s calculated based on averaging the values of composite indicators and sub-indicators.
To calculate the CBI, data is taken from official sources and publications of institutions with the highest international status, as well as information from specialized calculations of industry experts.
Changes in the CBI-2019 index
The CBI-2019 index, as in the previous two years, is one of the most reliable sources of information on current immigration investment programs. This data is used by investors and immigration lawyers to build a strategy for obtaining a second citizenship focused on individual priorities.
Compared to CBI-2018, some significant changes have been made when calculating the new index. Let’s look at them in more detail:
- When evaluating the Vanuatu program, not only the granting of honorary but also full citizenship, was taken into account.
- The Cyprus program has changed the procedural points for submitting applications and added two mandatory subsidy contributions.
- Many countries have increased the number of countries available for visa-free visits and added new investment options to obtain citizenship.
The governments of the countries have solved several issues to expand cooperation with new residents by including their funds in promising projects. The tax implications of obtaining citizenship and the use of applicants’ funds for socio-economic purposes are detailed.
The global problems remain the same as a year ago. Investor demand exceeds the capacity of the migration services of the countries. The introduction of several measures related to agents and closer attention from the international community make this area dynamic towards improving service and opportunities for investors.
In 2018, Jordan and Turkey were included in the ranking for the first time, and they managed to maintain their positions without significant performance loss. Montenegro can join the list of candidates in the next rating.
Why get citizenship by investment
People seek to obtain a second citizenship for several reasons. Wealthy businessmen are increasingly open to everything new, and their business is acquiring a global orientation.
The second citizenship has long been considered not as a profitable investment, but as a necessity for free movement between countries and the legal presence on their territory for the required period. A second passport can also be a good insurance policy in case the situation at home changes for the worst and an urgent relocation to another country is required.
If the investor lives in an unstable region, then participating in the citizenship by investment program is sometimes the only way to protect their assets (as a result of nationalization, social unrest or revolution).
The main reasons why a wealthy foreigner participates in one of the CBI programs are:
- Expanding business opportunities for yourself and the whole family
- Improving living conditions
- Visa-Free travel
- Better education and job opportunities for family members
Detailed requirements for each program can be found in the Program Comparison section. If you want to know the cost of participation specifically for you and your family, contact our specialists, and they will send you a cost estimate with all possible fees.
There are 5 citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean. At first glance, they offer similar conditions for obtaining a passport. However, they have significant differences.
- The Grenada citizenship program is often chosen for the E-2 visa to the United States and visa-free travel to China. It is the only program in the Caribbean that opens these opportunities to the holders of their passports.
- It will be beneficial for investors with a family to get an Antigua and Barbuda passport. This island state offers to issue a passport for 4 people (including the investor himself) for only $100 thousand. However, it is worth remembering that the program requires you to visit the island and stay there for 5 days during the first 5 years.
- Saint Lucia’s passports are gaining popularity among investors since this program provides investors with 5 investment options (not only in real estate or donations to the state). In May 2020, a new option appeared – the purchase of government bonds of the COVID-19 Relief Bond series with maturities in 5, 6 and 7 years.