What is citizenship by investment?
Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes have grown in popularity in recent years due to the benefits they offer investors and their families. At their core, these schemes provide citizenship in return for an investment in the country.
Citizenship by investment (CBI) is a pathway for foreign nationals and their families to obtain citizenship rights in another country through qualifying financial investments. Also known as investor visas, these programmes typically offer foreign investors a wide range of benefits and allow them to secure a second passport.
St. Kitts and Nevis launched the world’s first CBI programme in 1984. The scheme continues to this day, making it both the world’s oldest and longest-running CBI programme.
Over the years, the demand for CBI programmes has increased as people look for a secure plan B and greater global mobility. This has prompted more countries to introduce similar programmes. Today, numerous countries around the world offer citizenship by investment schemes.
How does citizenship by investment work?
CBI schemes, sometimes referred to as a Golden Visa, are intended to promote economic growth in a country through foreign direct investment.
There are various types of investment options. These include real estate investments, government bonds, business ventures, and charitable contributions.
These schemes are typically aimed at high-net-worth applicants as they require a substantial investment.
What are the benefits of citizenship by investment?
Citizenship by investment schemes provides individuals with numerous benefits. Bear in mind that each programme is different. This means the benefits differ from scheme to scheme. Some of the typical benefits include:
One of the primary citizenship benefits is the enhanced global mobility it provides. Passport holders gain visa-free access to more destinations. This makes travelling for business or pleasure more of a seamless experience.
Becoming a citizen in another country opens the door to several social benefits. For example, you can access the healthcare and education system in the host country. This often applies to both the investor and their family.
Having dual citizenship can help investors reduce their tax burden. Some countries have a more favourable tax system. This means citizens do not pay income tax, capital gains, wealth or inheritance tax on worldwide income or assets.
The ultimate plan B
CBI schemes can offer applicants and their families greater security and stability. A second citizenship provides a safe haven and an alternative residence option, ensuring a secure environment for your family’s future.
A second citizenship can provide access to a new market and business environment. This can help enhance your business and investment opportunities.
Programme investment options
The investment options for each CBI scheme are different. Some of the common investment routes include:
- Real estate options such as:
- Residential property
- Commercial property
- Government-approved real estate projects
- Making a bank deposit
- Purchasing securities or units of investment funds
- Investment in job creation or a business
- A non-refundable donation to a government-approved fund such as
- A National Development Fund (NDF)
- An Economic Diversification Fund (EDF)
Be aware that investment requirements and minimum investment amounts differ between countries.
Some schemes also offer refundable investments. The length of time required to hold an asset will also depend on the option and the programme’s investment requirements.
What is the application process?
The citizenship application process varies depending on the programme. Typically, the process involves the following:
- Submitting necessary documents
- Undergoing due diligence checks
- Making the required investment
- Obtaining approval from the government
Caribbean countries tend to offer the cheapest citizenship programmes and some of the fastest processing times. However, how long the entire process takes will vary depending on various factors, such as the country and the investment option.
Who can apply for citizenship by investment?
Every country has a different set of requirements. For example, some require medical reports to show you are in good health. Some of the typical requirements include:
- No criminal record
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Not be from a prohibited nation
- Showing the required documents, such as proof of funds There are other prerequisites to consider. However, these are dependent on the country’s programme.
Some of these include:
- Paying government fees
- Meeting specific requirements, such as passing a language test
- Be able to support yourself financially
How to choose the right citizenship by investment programme
There are several factors involved with selecting the appropriate citizenship by investment programme. These include your goals and situation.
Each CBI programme offers different benefits, investment options and investment criteria. Finding a scheme that aligns with your goals and preferences is essential. Potential investors should seek professional advice to make an informed decision.
Holborn Pass is an international leader in investor visas. We provide comprehensive support and solutions for clients who wish to secure citizenship or residency in another country. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.Book a consultation
Frequently asked questions
The duration of the citizenship by investment process varies from country to country. Typically the Caribbean nations that offer CBI programmes, such as the St. Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia provide faster processing times than their European citizenship counterparts.
Most citizenship by investment programmes allow the investor’s immediate and dependent family members to also obtain citizenship. This includes spouses, dependent children and sometimes parents/grandparents.
In most cases, the investment made in real estate is not refundable. However, the property can often be sold after a specific holding period.
The residency requirements to maintain citizenship vary by country. Some countries require a minimum number of days of physical presence over a specified period. Meanwhile, some have no residency requirements.
Countries offering CBI programmes often allow dual citizenship. However, dual citizenship depends on the rules of your country of origin and the new country of citizenship.
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