Citizenship Investment

There are a number of programs that offer citizenship by investment in real estate either as an immediate stage for the investor or as a secondary stage after a period of residency or connection with a country.

The investment level required is often correlated to the perceived “quality” of the citizenship. So for example, the level of investment required in Caribbean programs for citizenship is far lower than European countries granting citizenship.

Benefits

The two key benefits to citizenship through investment are residency and a second passport. Prospective investors need consider which of these are of importance

Second Passport

The granting of a second passport allows greater freedom for international travel. Often this is the key objective but such freedom for travel can also be obtained through residency cards issued by certain European schemes, without an additional passport.

Residency

Residency, or the right to residency, comes with citizenship. Investors need to consider many factors before taking up residency for themselves and their family.

Europe

The European Union is a collection of 28 European countries. A small selection of these offer citizenship by investment programs. Critically, citizenship of any one country means EU citizenship thereby granting the freedom to live, work, travel and study in any country within the EU.

Cyprus offers the quickest most effective route to citizenship in Europe and a second EU passport within two months. Investment of €2.5 million is required in real estate.

Malta offers citizenship through a combination of government contribution, investment and real estate. The program requires commitment and ties to the country. Investment is around €1.2 million.

Portugal offers residency through investment of €500,000 in real estate. Citizenship can be applied for after six years, critically without the need to live in the country during that period.

Spain offers a residency program through investment of €500,000 into real estate. However citizenship can only be applied for after living in the country for 10 years.

Greece introduced a residency program requiring investment of €250,000 in real estate. Citizenship can be applied for after 7 years of residency in the country.

Caribbean

Several Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment programs. Such schemes are often used for the benefits of travel that the resulting second passports offer and less so for the residency benefits. However these programs offer citizenship at a far lower investment level than those in Europe.

St Kitts is the oldest such program of its type, in operation since 1984. It requires an investment of USD$400,000.

Antigua and Barbuda requires a similar level of investment at USD$400,000. There is a requirement of 35 days residency in the first 5 years.

Dominica has a citizenship by investment option at just USD$200,000

Grenada requires investment of USD$350,000 and applicants have no need to travel to the country to apply.

St Lucia is the newest Caribbean program launched 1 January 2016 and requiring an investment of USD$300,00 in an approved real estate project.