Countries Where You Can Buy Citizenship (Via Investment)

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Did you know approximately 30 countries worldwide offer residency or citizenship by making investments?

However, only 12 countries provide a direct path to citizenship through investment. These programs allow families to obtain a second citizenship, travel freely, and settle in another country. 

Nowadays, many wealthy individuals are interested in exploring citizenship options as they offer access to new and exciting opportunities.

Several countries like St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean, and countries like Jordan and Malta are popular options. 

These countries have introduced citizenship-by-investment programs to attract foreign investors and boost their economies. 

Through these programs, investors can buy citizenship by making a substantial financial contribution, purchasing property, or creating jobs in the host country. These countries, sometimes called golden visa countries, offer residency or citizenship by investment.

This comprehensive blog will outline each country’s eligibility criteria, investment options, and procedural details, empowering you to decide on acquiring a second citizenship.

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What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship Investment means specialising in citizenship and residency programs, which do not require applicants to live in the country and allow dual nationality. The eligibility criteria for applicants include having a clean criminal record, a clear source of funds, and making a qualifying investment.

Europe, the Caribbean, and Oceania & Asia are the three different regions where it is followed. However, its North American programs are only limited to residency and not citizenship.

The number of individuals who purchase citizenship by investment varies yearly and across countries. However, on average, it is estimated that approximately 1.38 lakh Indians seek to buy citizenship through these programs annually.

The table below shows the minimum investment and the processing time to purchase citizenship in different countries.

CountryMinimum Investment in INRProcessing Time in Months
Antigua and Barbuda83 lakh3 to 4
Dominica83 lakh3
Jordan7 crore3
Malta5 crore36 (in exception cases, 12)
St. Kitts and Nevis2 crore4
Source: Official Government Websites
*Note- All the above figures are approximate per existing data and are subject to change

Benefits of Citizenship for Foreign Citizens by Investment

Citizenship by investment can be appealing, as it offers various benefits that positively impact your life. Let’s look into its advantages.

1. Global Mobility and Travel Opportunities: 

Acquiring citizenship through investment allows you to hold a second passport, significantly enhancing global mobility. You can travel visa-free or with visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries.

2. Business and Investment Opportunities: 

Holding citizenship through investment provides access to new business and investment prospects. It grants you entry into markets that were previously out of reach, facilitating trade, assets, and business expansions.

3. Enhanced Personal Security: 

Citizenship by investment can offer you and your loved ones an extra layer of personal security. By obtaining citizenship in a politically or economically stable country, you gain access to a secure living environment, better social services, and an opportunity to safeguard your assets.

4. Educational and Healthcare Benefits: 

Obtaining citizenship through investment can grant you access to high-quality education and healthcare systems. You can avail yourself of these benefits for yourself and your family, ensuring their future well-being and access to world-class educational institutions.

5. Tax Optimisation and Financial Advantages: 

Countries provide varying tax structures, and acquiring citizenship through investment can give you potential tax optimisation opportunities. It enables you to benefit from tax advantages, such as lower personal income tax rates or favourable business tax policies, leading to potential financial gains.

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Countries Where You Can Buy Citizenship (Via Investment)

Types of Investments in Citizenships

Investment in citizenship can take different forms depending on the country in which you want to obtain citizenship. Some of the most common types of investments include real estate, business, government bonds, and donation-based investments. 

Each type of investment has its requirements and benefits, so it’s essential to research and consult with a professional before making any investment decisions.

Let’s look at some of the categories for investment in Citizenship.

Category 1: Citizenship by Real Estate Investment

The requirements for real estate investment can vary from country to country. In some cases, you may have complete ownership of the property; in others, you may have shared ownership in a significant development or a lease for a specific period. 

In the case of shared ownership, you can be a passive investor without having any responsibility for managing the project. For example, the USA’s EB-5 Visa Program allows investment in the Regional Center, leading to permanent residency. 

St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment program offers investment options in government-approved projects like hotels, villas, and condos. Many Caribbean resort investments provide an annual financial return and allow you to enjoy resort facilities for a certain period every year.

In any real estate investment option, the invested amount must be retained for a minimum period, typically 3-7 years. After this period, you can sell your share at the current market value.

Category 2: Government Bonds

Investing in government bonds is a safe and low-risk option for those seeking permanent residency or citizenship without actively engaging in a business venture. 

The government guarantees the bonds so investors can expect a total return without interest. Typically, these bonds have a minimum holding period of five years. 

For instance, the Quebec Investor Visa Program offers permanent residency to investors who invest CAN$1.2 million, which can be financed, and leave it in place for five years without accruing interest. You can get it back after 5 years.

Category 3: Business Enterprise

If you want to expand and establish your business in a different country, citizenship or permanent residency through investment can be an excellent option. 

It can provide easy access to trade in specific economic and geographical regions, depending on your chosen program. However, these investment options require you to create new job opportunities or sustain existing ones.

For instance, the Enterprise Projects in Antigua, Barbuda, and St. Lucia permit joint applications from investors who wish to share business ownership.

Category 4: Non-refundable Donation to a Government-Supported Program

One of the investment options is donating to an approved fund or charity in a particular country, which can lead to citizenship. 

This type of investment requires a substantial donation. It is considered a philanthropic way to contribute to the economic development of the new country while obtaining all the benefits of citizenship. The amount of donation varies depending on the number of applicants.

The Process to Buy Citizenship through an Investment

Buying citizenship through an investment involves steps that allow individuals to gain citizenship in a country by investing in its economy. Here are some essential points:

1. Research and select a country

2. Understand the investment options

3. Ensure financial and educational eligibility 

4. Engage professional assistance

5. Apply and submit supporting documents (proof of identity, bank statements, passport copies, criminal record certificate, documentation immigration officials request)

6. Background checks and due diligence

7. Citizenship approval and payment.

8. Oath or pledge and documentation.

9. Acquisition of citizenship and passport

Below are some countries that provide the option of acquiring citizenship through investment.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda are beautiful twin islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Antigua, the more oversized island, is known for its breathtaking white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. 

In 2012, Henley & Partners created the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program upon the government’s request. The program offers individuals an opportunity to obtain alternative citizenship by investing in desirable properties or contributing to the National Development Fund of the islands. It is a popular choice for those seeking citizenship through investment.

Investment Minimum donation of USD 100,000
Processing Time3-4 months
Key benefit It allows you to travel freely to Antigua and Barbuda, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area, among others

Benefits of Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment

  • Access to about 150 destinations without a visa or with visa-on-arrival.
  • Includes permits to bring your spouse, dependent children under 31, their spouses and children, parents and grandparents who are 55 and older.
  • Special privileges in the UK and other countries are part of the Commonwealth.

Requirements of Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment

To qualify for citizenship, the main applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements, and select one of the following four options available:

Type of InvestmentAmount in INR
Donation to the National Development Fund80 lakh (non-refundable)
Donation to the University of the West Indies1.2 crore (non-refundable)
Purchase real estateat least 1.6 crores
Buy an eligible businessat least 8 crore
Source: Official Government Websites
*Note- All the above figures are approximate per existing data and are subject to change

Let’s look at each investment in brief.

  1. To be eligible for investment opportunities, applicants can make a non-refundable contribution of at least USD 100,000 to the National Development Fund or a minimum non-refundable contribution of USD 150,000 to the University of the West Indies. 
  2. They can also invest in an approved real estate project with a minimum value of USD 200,000, individually or jointly with another applicant. The purchased real estate cannot be sold within five years. 
  3. Alternatively, individuals can purchase an eligible business for USD 1.5 million or make a joint purchase, with each person contributing at least USD 400,000, totalling a minimum of USD 5 million.

Procedures and time frame of Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment

  1. The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) assesses all applications and conducts due diligence checks. 
  1. The application process is straightforward, and once approved, applicants must attend virtual interviews and collect their passports in Antigua and Barbuda.
  1. Successful applicants must spend at least five days in the country during the first five years of obtaining citizenship. 
  1. The time frame for the real estate option may vary depending on the project, so it is crucial to ensure that the developer provides the necessary paperwork required for the application.

Dominica

Dominica, an island nation in the Caribbean, established its citizenship through an investment program in 1993 to boost its investment. The program allows foreign investors and their families to obtain full citizenship in exchange for making an economic contribution to the country. Dominica is a former British colony member of various international organisations, including the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and CARICOM.

Under the program, applicants must make a qualifying investment, including contributing to the Economic Diversification Fund or purchasing an approved real estate property. In return, successful applicants and their families are granted citizenship, providing them various benefits, including visa-free travel to over 140 countries.

The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program is regulated by specific sections of the nation’s constitution and Citizenship Act, including § 101 and § 8 and 20, respectively. The program is known for its efficiency, simplicity, and affordability, making it a popular choice for those seeking citizenship through investment in the Caribbean region.

Investment Minimum donation of USD 100,000
Processing time3 months
Key benefit You can freely travel and have visa-free access to over 140 destinations worldwide

Benefits of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment

  • Travel to more than 140 countries without a visa or obtain one upon arrival.
  • Permit to bring your spouse, unmarried children under 31 who rely on you financially, and parents or grandparents aged 65 and above
  • Your future generations can also become citizens through descent.
  • You have the right to live, work, and study in Dominica.
  • There are no restrictions on dual citizenship in Dominica.
  • There is no minimum stay requirement.

Requirements of Dominican citizenship by investment

To be eligible for citizenship based on the current rules, you have two options to choose from as a single applicant if you wish to buy citizenship. 

Type of InvestmentAmount in INR
Non-refundable donation83 lakh
Invest in approved real estateat least 1.2 crore
Source: Official Government Websites
*Note- All the above figures are approximate per existing data and are subject to change

Procedures and time frame of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program

  1. Applicants and dependent family members aged 16 and older must attend mandatory virtual interviews via a secure platform. They must also take an oath of allegiance before an authorised notary, justice of the peace, or commissioner of oaths. After pledging allegiance, the citizenship application is processed further, and the citizenship certificates are duly issued.
  1. The investment unit processes Applications by citizenship, a dedicated government authority within the Ministry of Finance responsible for the program’s management. Application processing times are currently three months from receiving a fully completed application.

Jordan

Jordan is a beautiful country located in the Middle East, bordered by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Palestine. The country offers a range of natural features, including the famous Dead Sea, where you can float effortlessly due to its high salt concentration. It is a safe and stable country with a moderate, welcoming culture that embraces tradition and modernity.

The Citizenship by Investment Program of Jordan offers a pathway for foreign individuals to invest in the country and apply for alternative citizenship. Being a relatively stable country in a region of turmoil, Jordan attracts applicants from neighbouring nations seeking a safer place to reside.

Investment Minimum donation of USD 750,000
Processing time3 months
Key benefit You can freely travel to Jordan, Hong Kong, and Türkiye.

Benefits of the Jordan Citizenship by Investment Program

  • Travel to more than 50 destinations without a visa or by obtaining one upon arrival. 
  • It extends to your entire family, including your spouse, children (single, widowed, divorced, and under 18 years old), and dependent parents. 
  • Citizenship of a calm and stable country in the Middle East.
  • Citizenship of a country that plays an active role in the UN and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

Requirements of Jordanian Citizenship by Investment

To obtain Jordanian citizenship through investment, you must meet specific requirements. You have the option to choose from different investment opportunities within the country. 

  • The first option is to make a bank deposit and purchase treasury bonds. You must deposit 8 crore INR without interest at the Central Bank of Jordan. This deposit must be kept for at least three years. Additionally, you should buy treasury bonds worth 8 crores INR, earning you an interest rate determined by the Central Bank. You must hold these bonds for a minimum of six years.
  • The second option involves purchasing company shares and units. You must buy shares and units in Jordanian companies with a minimum value of 12 crore INR. They are held for at least three years, and the Companies Control Department and the Jordan Securities Commission denote temporary seizure of them. It is necessary to hold these shares for a minimum of three years. 
  • One of the options available is to start an investment project in a productive economic sector with a capital of at least USD 1 million in the Amman governorate (or USD 750,000 if the project is registered outside Amman). According to the Social Security Corporation’s guidelines, this option requires the project to create at least 20 employment opportunities or at least 10 opportunities for Jordanians if the project is in a governorate other than Amman.

Procedures and time frame of Jordanian Citizenship by Investment

  1. To obtain Jordanian citizenship, applicants must fill out application forms and provide relevant documents and fees.
  1. The eligibility criteria are applied to a maximum of 500 cases annually, and applicants must pass security clearance and financial adequacy checks. After the initial due diligence process, applicants can choose their preferred investment route, such as bank deposits, company shares, or creating employment opportunities. 
  1. Once the application is submitted and due diligence checks are completed, applicants may be granted citizenship if they meet the eligibility requirements. The citizenship can be extended to the investor, spouse, children, and dependent parents.

Malta

Malta is a beautiful island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, known for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. The country’s strategic location has made it an important trading hub throughout history, attracting numerous civilisations and leaving behind a rich architectural heritage.

Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation allows citizenship to foreign individuals and their families who contribute to the country’s economic development by a naturalisation certificate.

The Maltese Citizenship Act Cap. 188, LN437 of 2020, includes the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment Regulations. These regulations permit granting citizenship to foreign individuals and their families through a naturalisation certificate, contributing to Malta’s economic growth.

Here are some key features of the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization:

Investment: You can pay EUR 738,000 for staying at the property for at least 36 months or EUR 888,000 for a minimum stay of 12 months, including the property lease.

Processing Time: To be eligible for Maltese citizenship, applicants and all adult dependents must hold a Maltese residence status for at least 36 months. In exceptional cases, the minimum period of residence is 12 months. Only after fulfilling this requirement they can apply for citizenship.

Key Benefits: You have an attractive place to live or own a second home strategically located with excellent air links.

Benefits of Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization

  • You can benefit from having access to a reliable and open financial centre and a top location for conducting international business.
  • The screening process and standards for evaluating applicants are the most rigorous globally.
  • You can have an attractive place to live or own a second home strategically located with excellent air links.
  • You get visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more than 180 destinations
  • Include your spouse, children, parents, and grandparents in your citizenship application. Your family members can also benefit from Maltese citizenship’s advantages.

Requirements of Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization

The application for Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment is thoroughly checked and assessed and undergoes a four-tier due diligence process. To qualify, the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You need to make a financial contribution of either 5 crore INR for a minimum residence period of 36 months or 6 crores INR for a minimum period of 12 months.
  • Additionally, you must buy a residential property in Malta worth at least 6 crore INR. This property must be held for five years. 
  • You can lease a residential property with a rental value of at least 14 lakh INR per year for the same five-year period. Subletting the property is not allowed during this time. You must sign a lease agreement or purchase the property for 36 months (or 18 months, in exceptional cases) during your residence time.
  • You must donate at least 8 lakh INR to a registered non-governmental organisation or society involved in sports, culture, science, philanthropy, animal welfare, or the arts. It should be an organisation approved by the Community Malta Agency.
  • In exceptional cases, you must legally reside in Malta for at least 36 months (or 12 months). You must lease a residential property with a rental value of at least 14 lakh per year during this time. To apply for citizenship, you must have a valid residence card.

Procedures and time frame for Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization

  1. Obtaining Maltese citizenship through naturalisation involves a four-tier due diligence process, getting a residence permit, and submitting an eligibility application. 
  1. The applicant can apply for citizenship after 36 months of residence if approved. Successful applicants must fulfil investment, donation, and property requirements, take an oath of allegiance, and be monitored for five years. The Community Malta Agency conducts due diligence checks and monitors the applicants.

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis is a beautiful Caribbean country with two islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, located in the West Indies. The country is known for its stunning sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and lush rainforests, making it a popular tourist destination. 

It is famous for its Citizenship By Investment Program, which allows individuals to obtain citizenship and a second passport in exchange for an investment in the 

Investment Minimum donation of USD 250,000
Processing time4 months
Key benefit You can enjoy the full benefits of citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.

Benefits of St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program offers several advantages for individuals seeking citizenship.

  • Once you obtain citizenship through this program, you and your family will have full citizenship for life. This citizenship can be passed onto future generations through descent, allowing your children and their children to benefit from it.
  • Under this program, your spouse, children under 26, parents aged 65 and over, and other dependents can also acquire citizenship. 
  • Being a member of the Commonwealth, citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis enjoy certain privileges in the UK and other Commonwealth countries. 
  • Another advantage of this program is that it allows for dual citizenship
  • There is no requirement for a minimum stay in St. Kitts and Nevis. 

St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment requirements

You must be at least 18 years old and fulfil the application requirements to be eligible for citizenship. You have three options when applying:

1. Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC): This requires a non-refundable contribution, depending on the number of people included in the application. For more information, refer to the table given below.

Type of ApplicantAmount in INR
Principal applicant2 crore
Spouse or one dependent2.5 crore
Spouse and one or two dependents2.9
1 Additional dependent under 18 years old41 lakh
1 Additional dependent over 18 years old62 lakh
Source: Official Government Websites
*Note- All the above figures are approximate per existing data and are subject to change.

2. Approved Public Benefit Project: This option involves contributing at least 2 crore INR to a public benefit unit in an Approved Public Benefit Project. This contribution is non-refundable.

3. Real estate acquisition: You can also obtain citizenship by purchasing real estate in St. Kitts and Nevis. The minimum purchase value for different types of real estate is given below.

Type of InvestmentMinimum Amount in INR
Approved Real Estate3.5 crore
Condominium Unit3.5 crore
Single-family Private Dwelling7 crore
Source: Official Government Websites
*Note- All the above figures are approximate per existing data and are subject to change.

Procedures and time frame of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

  1. The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of St. Kitts and Nevis is responsible for processing applications for citizenship by investment. Applicants need to undergo a mandatory interview, which can be conducted virtually or in person, and their dependents aged 16 years or over may also be required to attend an interview if needed. 
  1. The CIU commissions independent professional firms to conduct background due diligence checks on both the applicant and the CIU itself before approving the application
  1. The application process usually takes around four months, and the time frame may vary depending on the real estate project chosen. Once the application is approved and the investment is made, the applicant receives a Certificate of Registration, which confers citizenship status and can apply for a passport.

Wrapping Up

Buying citizenship programs have emerged as an option for people seeking a second citizenship or residency in another country. These programs provide a chance for global mobility and access to various benefits.

Countries like Malta, Jordan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda are popular destinations where individuals can acquire citizenship or residency through financial investments or contributions. These programs often demand significant financial commitments, such as donating to national development funds or investing in real estate projects.

However, it is crucial for countries offering to buy citizenship programs to establish thorough screening procedures to ensure that only individuals with good character and reputation are granted citizenship. Moreover, international cooperation and regulation are necessary to uphold the integrity of citizenship.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Is it legal to buy citizenship through investment?

    A. Buy citizenship programs through investment in several countries that offer such programs is legal. These countries have specific legal frameworks and regulations to facilitate this process. They establish citizenship-by-investment programs to attract foreign investors and inject funds into their economies. However, it is crucial to ensure that you abide by the laws and guidelines of the country you buy citizenship from to avoid complications.

  • Q. Can anyone buy citizenship through investment?

    A. The opportunity to buy citizenship through investment exists, but each country has its eligibility criteria. Generally, these programs require a minimum investment threshold, such as investing in businesses, real estate, or government bonds, among other acceptable avenues. Additionally, applicants must meet specific financial requirements and undergo background checks to ensure their suitability for citizenship.

  • Q. Is it a quick process to buy citizenship through investment?

    A. The timeframe to buy citizenship through investment can vary based on the specific country’s processes and requirements. Some countries offer expedited methods, while others may take longer. Typically, the process involves submitting an application, completing due diligence checks, making the designated investment, and buying citizenship. It is essential to consult with immigration lawyers or experts to understand the estimated timelines for acquiring citizenship through acquisition.

  • Q. Does buying citizenship guarantee unrestricted travel benefits?

    A. While obtaining citizenship through investment grants certain travel benefits, they might not be the same for every country offering such programs. Some countries may provide visa-free travel or easy access to multiple nations, while others may have more restricted travel privileges. Before making any decisions, reviewing the benefits and limitations of the citizenship-by-investment program in the country of interest is advisable.

  • Q. Do you need to renounce your Indian citizenship when buying another?

    A. India, like many other countries, does not allow dual citizenship. Therefore, if you obtain citizenship through investment in another country, you may be required to renounce your Indian citizenship. It is essential to consider the implications of renouncing your original citizenship, such as potential limitations on acquiring property or conducting certain business activities in India.

  • Q. How much does it cost to buy citizenship through investment?

    A. The cost of obtaining citizenship through investment varies depending on the country. Different programs and investment options may have varying price ranges. It is advisable to research the country’s requirements, investment options, and associated costs to make an informed decision.

  • Q. Are there any risks involved in buying citizenship through investment?

    A. While countries have implemented citizenship-by-investment programs worldwide, inherent risks are involved. It is essential to exercise caution and conduct thorough due diligence before engaging in any such programs. It includes researching the country’s reputation and stability, understanding the program’s terms and conditions, and consulting with immigration professionals to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

  • Q. Can minors also buy citizenship through investment?

    A. In most cases, minors cannot directly apply for citizenship through investment programs. These programs typically require the applicant to be of legal age or have their parents or guardians undertake the application process on their behalf. It is advisable to review the specific rules and regulations of the citizenship-by-investment program to determine if acquiring citizenship for minors is feasible.

  • Q. Can buying citizenship guarantee better educational opportunities for your children?

    A. Obtaining citizenship through investment in a particular country may provide your children with improved educational opportunities. However, the extent of this benefit varies between countries. Researching and exploring the educational provisions and quality in the country you are considering is advisable to ensure it aligns with your desired aspirations for your children’s education.

  • Q. Will acquiring citizenship through investment affect your tax obligations in India?

    A. Acquiring citizenship through investment in another country may affect your tax obligations in India. It is recommended to consult with tax professionals and experts who can provide guidance on the tax implications of acquiring dual citizenship and ensure compliance with Indian tax laws.

  • Q. Will owning property in a country grant automatic citizenship?

    A. Owning property in a particular country, usually through real estate investment, does not automatically grant citizenship. Some countries require additional criteria, such as residency requirements, holding periods, or further investments, even if they offer accelerated pathways to citizenship for property owners. Understanding the citizenship-by-investment program’s particular rules and regulations is crucial to knowing if property ownership alone is sufficient for citizenship acquisition.

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Lalitha Manjunath

My 8-year long journey as a SAT trainer has been paved with considerable success, excellent feedback, and extremely satisfactory learning outcomes.

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