Could the Pacific island nation of Nauru be the next global destination for high net worth investors? It seems an unlikely prospect for the smallest island country in the world. Nauru’s natural phosphate resources have resulted in a healthy economy in the past, but this same dependence has made it volatile in the years since, with the exhausting of its resources. Its market is small and isolated, and environmental concerns over its mining industry pose challenges for investment. Opportunities for high net worth investors may exist, but they are hard to find.

Nauru Citizenship Investment

Nauru has not joined a number of countries in offering any citizenship by investment. Such programmes allow individuals to obtain citizenship or residency rights in select countries through substantial investment. Citizenship can then lead to a passport. Attractive options for investors include Vanuatu citizenship or in the Caribbean, the Grenada passport or St Lucia passport both offering strong visa free access for travel throughout the world.

Nauru Economic Citizenship Programme

Up until 2002 Nauru offered the Economic Citizenship Programme, selling almost one thousand passports. However, the programme was closed after concerns emerged, primarily from the US, over its due diligence. Since then, the widespread success of the Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes has given renewed interest to the potential return of such a programme, with enhanced checks and balances. Nevertheless, this is yet to be seen.

Nauru Passport Strength and Ranking

Nauru’s unimpressive passport however would make the implementation of a Caribbean-style citizenship by investment programme a weak proposition for high net worth investors. The island nation ranks at number 111 in La Vida’s comprehensive Global Passport Ranking, below the halfway mark. While it provides visa-free access to a respectable 102 countries around the globe, this accounts for just 19.4% of world wealth (GDP) and 28.1% of global travel popularity.

Stronger options for a second passport exist with nations elsewhere. For example St Kitts’ citizenship programme and also that of Antigua. Both countries offer citizenship by investment programmes, with more attractive investment opportunities as well.

Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programmes

See below a selection of countries offering residency and citizenship investment programmes.