5 Popular Citizenship by Investment Programs

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06.11.2020

What is dual citizenship by investment? Citizenship by investment is a process by which a person can obtain a second citizenship and passport by investing or donating to a foreign country. The easiest and most popular way to do this is through property investment. Depending on the country, the investment amounts can vary from $100,000 to $2.5 million. Each country has specific requirements for investment or donation amounts, processing time, residence time and fees. All countries require applicants to be of good character, excellent health and with no criminal record.

The Easiest and Most Popular Citizenship by Investment Countries

There are a few aspects to consider when deciding which investment program is best. The following countries are considered to be the most desirable dual citizenship destinations due to their favorable options, quality of life and easy processing.

Grenada

Grenada is a mountainous volcanic island with lush rainforests, impressive waterfalls and beautiful beaches. It is known around the world as the ”Island of Spice” and offers delicious authentic dishes with African, French and Indian cooking techniques. Grenada has a rich culture with heritage traditions which are an important part of local life. The best news is that hurricanes are rare which makes this a perfect place to move with family or invest in the country to gain a second citizenship.

The Grenada citizenship by investment program offers many benefits to foreign investors:

  • Visa-free or visa on arrival access to more than 143 countries
  • Possibility to get long-term visas to USA and Canada, E-2 visa to the US
  • Visa-free China (the only Caribbean nation with this option)
  • No need to visit the island during application process
  • No requirement to reside in the country
  • No global income, dividends, wealth or inheritance tax
  • Information on obtaining citizenship is not disclosed to third parties
  • All family members can obtain citizenship within 3-5 months
  • Parents (55 and older) and children (up to 30) can obtain citizenship together with an investor

Specific requirements of investment include:

  • $150,000 donation to the National Transformation Fund or
  • $220,000 / $350,000 real estate investment approved by the government

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the oldest and easiest citizenship investment programs. Expats flock to these beautiful islands for the sandy beaches, pleasant climate, low housing costs and of course no income tax. In recent years it has become the favorite destination for many crypto investors due to the country’s privacy guarantee. For those thinking of moving to the islands, a love for the outdoors and outdoor activities is a must, but since there is no residency or visit requirement, investors can become citizens without settling there for the long term.

Investors can either donate $150,000 to the government’s Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) or invest in real estate for $200,000. Every real estate project must be pre-approved and is only resellable after 7 years. If the investment is $400,000 or more then it is resellable after 5 years. There is a 3-5 month processing with a 60 day accelerated process option. St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship grants visa-free travel to 151 countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia.

Investors have the option of bringing their families including parents from 55 years and older and children under 30. While the investment for a single applicant is $150,000, a spouse requires an additional $25,000 and each additional dependent requires another $10,000. There is a 23% discount for foreign families of four through the remainder of 2020.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a stunning tropical country comprising of more than 80 islands that is often called “The Happiest Place on Earth” and ranks 4th on the Happy Planet Index. Citizens form tight-knit social communities and solve problems together making it the perfect destination for individuals and families looking for better connection to others and the planet.

It is the only citizenship by investment program of its kind in the Asia Pacific hemisphere. A Vanuatu second passport includes zero taxes (except for a local 12.5% VAT), option for corporate set up and banking and visa-free travel to 129 countries with long-term visa options for the US and Canada. It has one of the fastest application processes starting at 6 weeks. There is no need to visit the island during the application process and no residency requirement.

For investors, there are many options of affordable properties and economic growth prospects. The investment criteria is actually a non-refundable donation to the country’s Development Support Program. The prices vary by family size:

  • Single Applicant: $130,000
  • Applicant with spouse: $150,000
  • Applicant with spouse and one child: $165,000
  • Family of four: $180,000
  • Each additional dependent: $15,000

Vanuatu offers a “pre-approval” stage in their process for a background check on the applicant that costs $5,000 and normally takes 7-10 days. And if an investor happens to own some Bitcoin, the country was the first to offer a Bitcoin payment option.

Malta

The Malta citizenship by investment program is one of the most desirable because it has a pretty simple process, especially if acquiring it through the Global Resident Programme. Malta has the best weather in Europe, a laidback way of life and a forward-looking economy. In recent years, it has also become known as “Blockchain Island” and is very friendly towards Bitcoin and crypto investors. It is part of the European Union so citizens enjoy the right to live, work and travel in all EU countries. Citizenship also includes visa-free travel to over 166 countries and territories including all six big English-speaking countries.

There are three investment options:

A government donation of €650,000 for the main applicant plus a €25,000 contribution for any spouse and younger children. Unmarried children 18-26 and dependent parents and grandparents are another €50,000 each.

A purchase of a property valued at €350,000 or more with the stipulation to own it for at least five years. There is also an option of leasing a high-value property with annual rent exceeding €16,000.

An investment of €150,000 in Maltese government bonds for five years which must be kept for at least five years. Other government-approved financial instruments may also be an option.

There are also due diligence fees for the whole family:

€7,500 for the main applicant

€5,000 for the main applicant’s husband or wife

€5,000 for each dependant aged between 18 and 25 years

€5,000 for each dependant aged over 55

€3,000 for each dependant aged between 13 and 18 years

After the investment, individuals receive a Malta residence document and must maintain it for 12 months to be granted citizenship.

Cyprus

Cyprus is a beautiful island country considered as the crossroads of Europe, offering its citizens visa free travel to 173 countries, including the UK, EU, Canada, Japan and the US. For this, and other reasons, it is considered as one of the best citizenships in the world.

The Cypriot government is constantly looking to boost up the country’s economy, increase work and investment opportunities and offer foreigners benefits to become part of their diverse country. Cyprus is part of the European Union, World Trade Organization, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which makes it a great financial investment for high net worth individuals.

To get a second passport, Cyprus requires individuals to invest over €2 million in real estate or business for at least three years and citizenship approval can happen in as quickly as 6 months. The investment also includes a donation of €100,000 to the Government Research and Development Fund and €100,000 to the Land Development Organization. Commercial properties have a VAT tax rate of 19% while residential properties attract 5%.

Cyprus does not have a residency requirement and no dividend, interest, royalty or inheritance tax for non-domiciled residents. It also has the lowest income tax rate in Europe – just 12.5%. Over 80% of the country speaks English so there is no language learning requirement either. The application process is easy and straightforward.

It’s important to note that Cyprus also has a great permanent residency program that is much cheaper than a full citizenship, but still offers some of the same benefits. The residency permit can be granted in just two months and covers the whole family. It requires a property investment of €300,000 for a brand new property. Individuals are also required to show proof of at least €30,000 (plus €5,000 for each dependent) in annual foreign income and €30,000 must be deposited into a Cypriot bank and held there for three years.

There are many options around the world for citizenship by investment, but these five countries continue to innovate and offer unique options for new investors. Please reach out with any questions to our chat form.

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