Countries where you can buy Citizenship or Residency (By Investment)

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Citizenship by investment programs, also known as economic citizenship programs, allow individuals to acquire citizenship or residency in a country by making a significant financial contribution or investment. These programs have gained popularity in recent years as a way for individuals to obtain a second citizenship or residency in a different country.

Several countries around the world offer citizenship or residency through investment programs. These countries typically set certain criteria and requirements that applicants must meet in order to be eligible. The financial contributions or investments required can vary significantly from one country to another.

List of Countries where you can buy Citizenship or Residency

Dominica

In accordance with the Commonwealth of Dominica Citizenship by Investment Regulations, the Citizenship by Investment Programme enables reputable investors and their qualified family members to gain citizenship by paying a sizeable investment in Dominica. 

Eligibility Criteria

Presently, there are two qualifying investments:

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Countries where you can buy Citizenship or Residency (By Investment)
  • A direct donation to the government, starting at USD 100,000 (82,67,050 INR) for a single applicant (often referred to as the contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund route).
  • Purchasing pre-approved real estate at a minimum value of USD 200,000 (1,65,34,100 INR).

How to apply?

There are certain steps to apply for citizenship,

Step 1: You must choose an authorised agent

Step 2: You must contact your authorised agent to discuss the best way possible

Step 3: There will be background checks made for the application you make

Step 4: There will be discussions made with the Dominica Citizenship By Investment Unit (CBIU)

Step 5: If your application is accepted, you must pay the government the required amount and receive the certificate

For further information, visit here.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda is an independent Commonwealth country in the Eastern Caribbean. The balmy, tropical islands of Antigua and Barbuda are usually listed as some of the most beautiful places on Earth. They are a lush refuge. With crystal-clear blue waters, they have about 365 beaches. Since tourism generates around 60% of the island’s economy, the U.S., Canada, and Europe are the key target markets for the island.

In addition to numerous other international groups, Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the British Commonwealth, the Organisation of American States (OAS), Caricom, and the United Nations. Visa-free entry is available to Antigua and Barbuda passport holders in about 150 nations, including the UK and those in the Schengen region.

Honourable Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda established the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), the government agency in charge of processing all Agent Licencing applications and all Citizenship by Investment applications submitted by applicants and their families.

Those participating in Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by investment initiative receive an additional passport allowing them to travel without a visa to over 160 nations, including the UK, the EU Schengen region, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.

Eligibility Criteria

There are numerous ways to invest to become an Antiguan citizen. Investors can choose –

  • To contribute $100,000 (82,66,050 INR) to the Antigua National Development Fund
  • Investment of $400,000 (3,30,64,200 INR) in a development that has received government approval. The investment can be decreased to $200,000 (1,65,32,100 INR) for linked investors. 
  • Additionally, applicants can choose to spend $1.5 million (1,24,004,250 INR) or $5.0 million for two or more investors (41,33,47,500 INR) in starting a firm.

How to apply?

  • The ability of authorised representatives to sell, promote, and spread information about the Citizenship by Investment Programme is a factor in their appointment. We advise that you speak with a representative first because of their wide-ranging global reach, professionalism, and capacity to vet applications before submission.
  • The agent gives you professional advice, thoroughly explains the application process, and helps you prepare your application and related paperwork.
  • To assess your application and make arrangements to submit it in person, together with the necessary payments, they will work with a licenced agent based in Antigua and Barbuda. The point for interacting with the CIU will be the agent, and they will be informed of the results of all applications.
  • Documents required
    • Citizenship by Investment Application
    • Photograph and Signature Certificate
    • Medical Certificate
    • Investment Confirmation Form
    • Agent Form

For more information, visit here.

Grenada

Grenada, also called the “Isle of Spice,” is one of the most fascinating islands in the West Indies. Its wild, craggy mountain peaks, secret coves, spice farms, and lush, verdant jungles surprise tourists who visit this unspoiled, exotic location. With palm trees, white or golden sand,  and the subtle scent of the island’s native spices, its beaches are picture-perfect.

Grenada is the ideal location for living, working, and playing since it offers the scenery and the culture, enjoyment, and friendliness typical of real Caribbean life.

Act No. 15 of 2013, also known as the “Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, 2013,” was passed by the Grenadan Parliament in August 2013, establishing the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Eligibility criteria

For citizenship or permanent residency, only two forms of investments are permitted:

  • “A payment into the National Transformation Fund;” – Applicants choosing the NTF path must make a minimum donation of USD 200,000 (1,65,32,100 INR).
  • They must pay “a payment towards an approved project in Grenada” – Applicants choosing the approved project (real estate) option must invest a minimum of USD 220,000 (1,81,85,310 INR). After being granted citizenship, they must maintain asset ownership for at least five years.

How to apply?

There are certain steps to apply for the citizenship

Step 1: The first stage in the citizenship application process is choosing an authorised international marketing agent. Agents must only handle citizenship applications. They cannot be filed directly to Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Committee (CBIC). To communicate with an Authorised Local Agent, applicants must first speak with an Authorised International Marketing Agent. Contact between applicants and authorised local agents is prohibited.

Step 2: Contacting an Authorised Marketing Agent, whose job it is to help the applicant with document preparation for submission to the CBIC, is the second step in the citizenship application process. The applicant will have to fill out official paperwork, go to a medical exam, and gather a few supporting documents; all of these things must be done in English and properly legalised. A contract of sale and purchase must be signed if the applicant is planning to buy real estate. The applicant can receive advice on document preparation and legalisation procedures from the Authorised Marketing Agent.

Step 3: The Authorised Local Agent sends the application to the CBIC Executive Office once all paperwork has been completed. After that, it is the Authorised Local Agent’s responsibility to communicate with the CBIC Executive Office on any letters, inquiries, or questions that may come up regarding the applicant’s file. An interview is not currently required for the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Step 4: The government thoroughly investigates each application during a background check, reviewing and verifying all of the provided information. The CBIC evaluates application materials in the context of this due diligence examination before making a recommendation about the application. The Minister, who often follows the CBIC’s advice, has the final say.

Step 5: If the application is accepted, the CBIC sends the applicant (or their authorised local agent) a letter asking them to pay the contribution (for the NTF option) or finish the real estate transaction. If real estate is bought, the applicant must show that all required paperwork has been signed in addition to completion.

For more information, visit here.

St. Kitts and Nevis

The oldest programme of its sort in existence, the Citizenship Programme, was founded in 1984. The St. Kitts citizenship programme is well-known worldwide and is regarded as the Gold Standard in Citizenship by Investment programmes.

If you fulfil the requirements, you are granted full citizenship for life, which includes a Saint Kitts passport, the ability to live permanently there, and the ability to work there.

Eligibility Criteria

The St. Kitts and Nevis government raised its current investment amount in January 2012. There are two direct ways to become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis under its Citizenship-by-Investment Programme:

  • Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF)

After the Hurricane Relief Fund expired, St. Kitts and Nevis established a new Sustainable Growth fund, which will be operational as of April 1, 2018. One candidate must contribute US$125,000 (1,03,32,563 INR), including government costs, to the Sustainable Growth Fund. Following gradual steps, a household of up to four will contribute US$170,000 (1,40,52,285 INR). St. Kitts and Nevis will gain from the money in sustainable fields like healthcare, education, alternative energy, heritage, infrastructure, tourism, and culture, as well as the encouragement of indigenous entrepreneurship, climate change, and resilience.

  • Real Estate 

Real estate investors that are designated as recoverable and have a value of

  • Only hotel shares worth US$200,000 (1,65,32,100 INR) were held for seven years before being sold.
  • US$400,000 (3,30,64,200 INR) complete title deed retained for five years before being sold again, plus the payment of various registration and other expenses

The shares are totally refundable and can be given back to the same developer.

How to apply?

Step 1: Create the original documentation (police certificate, copies of birth and passports, a CV/Resume).

Step 2: To send the file to CIU through an approved agency, pay only the necessary diligence cost and fifty per cent of the attorney’s fee.

Step 3: Wait three months for the letter of government permission.

Step 4: Pay the remaining investment after approval. You have no obligation to pay if you are rejected.

Step 5: The St. Kitts embassy or consulate nearest you can help you obtain your passport and citizenship certificate.

For more information, visit here.

Belgium

As per the Belgium Residency Act, international entrepreneurs can get Belgian citizenship by investing in the country’s industry. A residency visa is required to start a new enterprise or expand an established one.

You can put your funds into one of Belgium’s three territories: Brussels, Wallonia, or Flanders. After five years of continuous presence on Belgian land, the ability to earn Belgian nationality by investing is given. The entrepreneur must demonstrate mastery of one of Belgium’s primary languages and be involved in the country’s business and cultural activities.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The primary candidate must be 18 years of age
  • No criminal convictions and no immigration law infractions
  • Possess good morals
  • Business background need to gain permanent residency
  • Adequate resources for the investment
  • An individual visit is required

How to apply?

  • Applicants must invest by forming a Belgian company. 
  • You must submit the investment documentation to the Belgium Embassy or Consulate
  • You must register the company
  • You must acquire the residence permit
  • After five years, qualified candidates may be granted citizenship and permanent residence. Typical investment throughout the five years is €350,000 – €500,000 (3,08,96,250 INR – 4,41,37,500 INR).

For more information, visit here.

Also Read: Talent Boost Program in Finland for International Citizens

Malta

Malta, a Mediterranean island nation south of Italy that offers international investors Maltese citizenship, a passport that’s recognised to be one of the world’s strongest in an attempt to strengthen the country’s economy.

The people of Malta have access to a wealth of top-notch social services, including free healthcare and education. A passport from Malta also carries the same rights and privileges as passports from any other member state of the European Union (E.U. ), Germany, or France. Holders of Malta passports are permitted to reside, work, or study in any nation that is a member of the European Union.  

International business leaders, investors, VIPs, and wealthy people from all over the world view Malta citizenship as a valuable asset and safety net in the event that conditions at home worsen. Most applicants receive an additional passport from Malta (E.U.) in addition to their home country’s citizenship because Malta permits dual citizenship.

Eligibility Criteria

The requisites for applying are:

  • Certify that you have lived in Malta for at least twelve (12) months, with the exception that this period may be shortened by an exceptional direct investment of six hundred thousand (600,000) or seven hundred fifty thousand (750,00) euros, which must be made before the certificate of naturalisation is issued.
  • Purchase or contract an apartment or other immovable property in Malta with a minimum assessed value of seven hundred thousand euros (€700,000) or pay a minimum yearly rental fee of sixteen thousand euros (€16,000); the property must be sufficient and appropriate for the applicant and his dependents, and it must be leased for a minimum of five years from the date the certificate of citizenship was issued.
  • Implement an exceptional direct investment in Malta in compliance with the S.L. 188.06 Regulations for the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services.
  • Donate at least ten thousand euros (€10,000) to an institution or society registered for charitable, cultural, sporting, academic, animal welfare, or artistic purposes before the certificate of naturalisation is issued or as the Agency may otherwise authorise.

How to apply?

  • The applicants must fill out some forms to register themselves in accordance with the government policy

For more information, visit here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, citizenship by investment programs has become an option for individuals seeking to acquire a second citizenship or residency in a different country. While these programs offer an opportunity for global mobility and access to various benefits, they also raise ethical and moral concerns regarding the commodification of citizenship.

Countries such as Malta, Cyprus, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda are among the popular destinations where individuals can obtain citizenship or residency through financial contributions or investments. These programs often require substantial financial investments, such as donations to national development funds or investments in real estate projects.

While these programs can bring economic benefits to the participating countries, they have faced criticism for potentially undermining the concept of citizenship and allowing wealthy individuals to bypass traditional pathways to citizenship. The commodification of citizenship raises questions about fairness, equality, and the potential for abuse.

It is essential for countries offering citizenship by investment programs to establish robust due diligence procedures to ensure that only individuals of good character and reputation are granted citizenship. Additionally, international cooperation and regulation are necessary to prevent abuses and maintain the integrity of citizenship.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What is citizenship by investment?

    Citizenship by investment refers to the process of acquiring citizenship or residency in a country by making a significant financial contribution or investment.

  • How does citizenship by investment work?

    Countries offering citizenship by investment programs outline specific requirements and criteria that applicants must meet. These typically include financial contributions, investments in real estate or government bonds, and sometimes additional requirements like background checks or residency periods.

  • Which countries offer citizenship by investment programs?

    Some countries that offer citizenship or residency through investment include Malta, Cyprus, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Vanuatu, and Portugal, among others.

  • What are the benefits of obtaining citizenship through investment?

    The benefits can vary depending on the country, but they may include increased global mobility, access to better healthcare and education systems, favourable tax regimes, business opportunities, and a potential safeguard against political instability.

  • What are the financial requirements for citizenship by investment?

    The financial requirements can vary significantly from country to country. Some programs require a donation to a national development fund, while others may involve investments in real estate, government bonds, or other designated sectors of the economy.

  • How long does the citizenship by investment process take?

    The processing time can vary depending on the country and the complexity of the application. It can range from a few months to over a year.

  • Are there any restrictions or limitations with citizenship by investment?

    Countries may impose certain restrictions, such as prohibitions on dual citizenship, residency requirements, or limitations on the ability to participate in politics.

  • Is the citizenship obtained through investment permanent?

    In most cases, the citizenship obtained through investment is permanent and can be passed down to future generations. However, it is advisable to review the specific laws and regulations of each country.

  • Are there risks or downsides to citizenship by investment?

    There can be risks associated with investing in real estate or other sectors, as well as concerns about potential abuse or exploitation of the programs. Additionally, some individuals may question the moral and ethical implications of “buying” citizenship.

  • How much does citizenship by investment cost?

    The costs associated with citizenship by investment programs can vary greatly depending on the country and the specific requirements. They can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, including application fees, due diligence costs, and the required investments or donations.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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