Immigration series | 9 countries that offer citizenship-by-investment
Mar 15, 2022
Worldwide, nearly 30 countries offer residence- and/or citizenship-by-investment programs. Currently, there are only nine countries that provide a direct route to citizenship based on investment.
Know in detail about investment, processing time, key benefits of citizenship-by-investment program of the nine countries.
1. ST KITTS & NEVIS
Established in 1984, the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is the oldest of its kind in the world. The main applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements, and select one of the two following investment options:
- A non-refundable contribution of USD 150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund for a single applicant or a family of up to four (valid until December 31, 2021). An additional USD 20,000 for each sibling and USD 10,000 for each additional dependent.
- The purchase of real estate with a minimum value of USD 200,000 (resalable after seven years) or USD 400,000 (resalable after five years) from an approved real estate development.
Processing time: Three-six months
- Dual citizenship is allowed by the nation.
- There is no minimum stay required.
- A St Kitts & Nevis passport allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 157 destinations, including Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area.
- Citizenship-by-descent is available to future generations.
- Applicants are able to include a spouse, children under 31, parents, grandparents aged 55 and above, and unmarried dependent siblings under 31 with no children. They can also add dependents after they have been granted citizenship.
2. ST LUCIA
St Lucia launched its citizenship-by-investment program in 2016.
- An investment in an approved real estate development with a minimum value of USD 300,000, which must be held for a minimum period of five years.
- An investment in an approved enterprise project (as set out in the regulations) with a minimum investment of USD 3.5 million, plus the creation of no less than three permanent jobs. Alternatively, a joint contribution of USD 6 million (with each applicant contributing a minimum of USD 1 million), plus the creation of no fewer than six permanent jobs.
- A non-refundable contribution to the St Lucia National Economic Fund (NEF) of USD 100,000 (for a single applicant). An applicant may make the contribution under one of the four following categories: Main applicant (USD 100,000); Main applicant and spouse (USD 140,000); Main applicant, spouse, and up to two other qualifying dependents (USD 150,000); Each additional qualifying dependent applying with the main applicant, spouse, and two other qualifying dependents (USD 15,000); Each additional qualifying dependent (USD 25,000).
- Already approved citizens may add dependents within five years of their application being approved. A donation of USD 35,000 applies to spouses, while a donation of USD 25,000 applies to each additional qualifying dependent of any age. In addition, there is a USD 5,000 due diligence fee for each qualifying dependent aged 16 and older. The government processing fee is USD 1,000 for each qualifying dependent.
Processing time: Three-four months
- A St Lucian passport provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 146 destinations, including Europe’s Schengen Area, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and many others.
- No residence or visitation is required.
- Applicants are able to include a spouse, children under 31, siblings under 18, and parents aged 56 and over, as well as to add dependents after they have been granted citizenship.
- St Lucia recognises dual citizenship.
Dominica established its citizenship-by-investment program in 1993. There are two options for citizenship-by-investment in Dominica. Investors can get full citizenship for themselves and their family.
Investment: Minimum donation of USD 100,000
Processing time: Three months
Key benefit: Visa-free travel to over 152 countries, including Europe’s Schengen Area, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, and the UK, among others.
The Grenada Citizenship-by-Investment Program was launched in August 2013.
- USD 150,000 as a donation, or USD 220,000 in a government-approved real estate project and maintain the property investment in Grenada for at least five years.
Processing time: Three–four months
- Visa-free travel to over 153 countries, including China, Russia, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area, among others.
- Grenada also offers access for its citizens to the USA E2 treaty investor visa.
5. ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
- Contribute USD 100,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund.
- Invest USD 1.5 million in establishing a business (USD 5 million for two or more investors), or
- Invest USD 400,000 in a government-approved real estate project (can be reduced to USD 200,000 for connected investors).
Processing time: Three–four months
Key benefit: The right of free movement to Antigua & Barbuda, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area, among places.
The Turkey Citizenship-by-Investment Program allows investors to access both the European and Asian markets, as well as gain lifelong citizenship to a country that is in the process of full membership negotiations with the European Union.
- The real estate options entails property purchase of a minimum of USD 250,000 + fees. Originally set at USD 1 million, it was reduced to its current rate in 2018.
Processing time: Approximately six–nine months from submission of the application to approval
- Visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 111 destinations worldwide, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore.
- Successful applicants are eligible for an E-2 Investor Visa in the USA for a five-year renewable period.
Situated on the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe, Montenegro is known for its unparalleled natural beauty. Though Montenegro is geographically in Europe, it is not a part of the EU.
Minimum financial requirement of Euro 350,000 (real estate investment of Euro 250,000 and a donation of Euro 100,000 to the country)
Processing time: Approximately three months from submission of the application to approval
Key benefit: The right of free movement to Montenegro, the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area, Russia, and Turkey, among others.
Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta enjoys an excellent reputation for its splendid climate, friendly people, low crime rate, and superb quality of life.
Euro 738,000 (or Euro 888,000 by exception) depending on the residence status length (36 or 12 months, respectively)
Processing time: Applicants and all adult dependents must hold Maltese residence status for a minimum of 36 months (or 12 months by exception) before they can apply for citizenship
Key benefit: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 186 destinations.
Austria is the only western European country that offers the possibility to obtain citizenship-by-investment and an EU passport without prior residence requirements.
Minimum contribution of Euro 3 million
Processing time: Varies per application, but usually takes 24–36 months.
Key benefit: Visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 189 destinations including Canada, Hong Kong, the rest of the EU, and Europe’s Schengen Area.
Good to know:
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