For millionaires in countries that issue politically “problematic” passports and passports that limit the freedom of movement, the offer to acquire a citizenship of another country is priceless. In case you don’t know, countries that exchange their citizenship for investment usually have visa-free access to a huge number of countries around the world.
Second passport became a new trend among the wealthy individuals, while sports cars, yachts and designer clothes were pushed on the second position in the list of must-have luxury items.
The island state of Saint Kitts and Nevis literally consists of two small islands in the Caribbean, and is the first country that started to sell its citizenship. In 1984, the government of this country came up with a plan on how to attract foreign investors and pour more cash into the country's economy. Thus, the first program of citizenship by investment was created.
Millionaires in countries where political disruptions occur or whose passports don’t have much power (for example, China and some countries of the Middle East) are ready to give out a lot for the possibility to move freely around the world. Holders of Saint Kitts and Nevis passport, for example, have access to 132 countries.
Currently about 10 countries have citizenship by investment programs, including Cyprus, Portugal, Malta, and Dominica. Investors can buy real estate, government bonds or donate money to a state fund to qualify for the program. Montenegro is in the process of launching its own citizenship by investment program. It is expected that this program will become a leading one immediately after the launch.
Cyprus’s program is one of the most popular European programs. Its passport can be acquired by investing 2 million euros either in real estate or in government bonds. For this amount, the investor will get the possibility to visit more than 150 countries without visas. While the passport of Saint Lucia will cost the investor 150 thousand dollars. This investment is non-refundable, the entire amount must be donated to the National Economic Fund. In exchange, the investor will be able to get visa-free entry to over 120 countries.
Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom also have similar programs, but the citizenship these countries is harder to get and require more expenses.