Citizenship By Investment

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Citizenship by Investment

Also referred to as economic citizenship, citizenship by investment allows an individual (and their immediate family members) to gain citizenship status to a country which they were not born in. It is based upon a specified, quantifiable investment into the country in question.

Normally, the grounds on which citizenship is granted is based on a person’s country of birth. It may also be determined by marriage to a citizen, the descent from a parent who is a citizen, or naturalisation. Whilst residency is offered to wealthy individuals and investors in many countries, there are only a hand full of countries which legally allow citizenship by way of investment for economic considerations and without the requirement for previously lengthy residence.

Why Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by Investment essentially means that a person can apply for citizenship without having to show a prior connection with a nation. In effect, this type of citizenship allows an individual to become a citizen of a country even if they have never lived there and have no family connections.

Citizenship by investment is open to just about anyone who chooses to apply, and is a particularly popular course of action amongst entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals looking to make an investment.

citizenship by investment programmes we offer

Where did Citizenship by Investment begin?

The Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis unveiled the world’s first-ever citizenship by investment program in 1984, and was the first region to provide citizenship by investment to people living overseas. Nowadays, all Caribbean schemes offer at a minimum of two pathways to becoming a citizen through an investment; Option one is to make payments to a government fund, which in turn is spent on developing the local community and economy. Option two requires an individual to invest in a certain piece of approved real estate. This real estate is chosen by the government and usually includes apartments and hotel shares. Ever since that time, citizenship by investment in the Caribbean has grown in popularity. It has become increasingly trustworthy to investors who wish to benefit from a peaceful, stable life and increased mobility for themselves and their families.

Which other countries take part in Citizenship by Investment?

Countries which currently offer a fast track to citizenship via investment in this way include Australia, the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Malta, Cyprus, Austria and the United Kingdom.

Each country sets out its own eligibility criteria, however it’s worth noting that programs offered in Canada, the US and the UK can be more costly and time consuming. Essentially they offer the same benefits as Antigua and Barbuda, but with extra taxation involved. In most of these countries, once citizenship by investment has been obtained you are then part of that country’s taxation system. This is not the case though in Antigua and Barbuda.

What is attractive about Citizenship by Investment in Antigua and Barbuda in particular?

The Citizenship by Investment program in Antigua and Barbuda gives applicants the chance to be granted citizenship whilst enjoying the opportunities of investing in an exceptionally low tax twin state. Indeed, in Antigua and Barbuda there is no worldwide income tax, estate tax, death tax or capital gains tax.

The Application Process

Making an application for a Citizenship by Investment program requires the hiring of a trained citizenship advisor. Once this person has been recruited, the rest of the application should be relatively straight forward.

As mentioned, applications and eligibility are judged differently depending on the country concerned. However, as a guide the application process starts off with the investor preparing their application (in conjunction with their appointed citizenship advisor). Upon payment of the relevant fees, the citizenship file is then submitted.

Next, the government of the country being applied to makes an approval in principle before payment of the government contribution is transferred (if this is the option selected) or the real estate investment is made.
Finally, assuming everything is successful, a naturalisation/citizenship certificate is issued, along with a passport.

Benefits of Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by investment programs have become very well established over the last three decades. They have successfully provided a great number of benefits which have attracted hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals to enjoy second citizenships all over the world. Indeed, acquiring a second citizenship is a fantastic asset on its own, and in itself carries a huge range of diverse and beneficial elements. Furthermore, all citizenship by investment programs allow the overseas investor to bring dependents into the country such as their spouse and children. Many countries also offer foreign investors exceptional tax breaks.

Last but by no means least, a small number of countries also offer their overseas investors the opportunity to bypass the normal requirement to become a permanent resident completely before citizenship can be sought. This means that the investor and their family would become citizens immediately after the investment application has been approved, regardless of how long they’ve already been in the country. The benefit of this is that ultimately second citizenships can be gained in less than twelve months, depending on the country’s application processing time.

Disadvantages of Citizenship by Investment

Despite the huge advantages for both country and investor in citizenship by investment, there are some potential disadvantages which are worthy of note. For instance, some investment programs will offer only temporary residence initially, which can be revoked if the overseas investor turns out to not be eligible. For example, some governments stipulate their investors much create and maintain a certain number of new full-time jobs made available for the country’s citizens. If the investment fails to meet this criteria and not enough jobs are created, the individual will lose the investment funds and will not become a citizen.

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