Citizenship-by-investment is a program to obtain a passport in another state by investing in its economy. The first such program was launched by the small island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean in 1984. Now, this is no longer such a rarity, but countries are more willing to issue residence permits for investment. In this article, Global CitiZen agents describe the countries where you can get such an offer.
Second citizenship opens up new opportunities for business, study, and travel. According to the Bloomberg ranking, the list of countries that allow investment for citizenship includes seven countries in Europe and the Caribbean.
It was possible to obtain Maltese for exceptional merit in the field of investment through naturalization. This means that the contributor first receives a residence permit for 1 or 3 years — the period depends on the amount of investment (738,000 EUR for three years and 888,000 EUR for one year). A residence permit immediately gives the right to visit all EU countries without a visa, but not more than 90 days.
According to Bloomberg estimates, investors wishing to obtain Maltese citizenship, on average, contribute about €1 mln to the country’s economy. Most of the money is an irrevocable gift to the state. However, the Maltese passport gives an opportunity to enter 185 destinations without a visa.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Residents of Saint Kitts and Nevis must not get a visa to visit 157 countries, including the Schengen nations, and may apply for a long-term visa to Canada and the USA in a short period of time. Furthermore, a Saint Kitts passport holder may apply for a residence permit in a number of European states.
Some significant sources of income are not subject to taxes under this island government’s tax system, including dividends, inheritance, and worldwide income, and neither capital gains tax nor income tax is levied. Also worth noting are the low property tax rates.
Additionally, Saint Kitts does not impose any residence restrictions, so the investor is free to visit the island at any time and leave whenever it is most convenient.
The program has been operating since 1991. To obtain citizenship, investors buy a piece of real estate or make a contribution to a government fund. Dominica’s citizenship-by-investment policy is among the most straightforward in the world. According to the CBI rating, its economic citizenship program is the best in the world.
According to the Global CitiZen agents, the benefits of this tax haven country include the following:
- no necessity to pay taxes on income, wealth, inheritance, gift, etc.;
- visa-free travel to 145 countries;
- opportunity to get the document confidently;
- passports for the investor’s family, including children and parents;
- no minimum stay is needed.
The program for obtaining a residence permit of the Portuguese Republic by investment has been successfully operating since 2012. The investor is offered three options as an investment for a residence permit: the purchase of the residential or commercial real estate, the creation of 10 jobs in Portugal, or investment in local businesses, as well as direct investment in the Portuguese economy.
After five years of residence permit, the investor and their family can apply for citizenship. Living in Portugal is not required for citizenship — you only need to spend at least seven days a year in Portugal in order to maintain a residence permit. The participant of the Portuguese Golden Visa Program receives permission to travel in the countries of Europe’s Schengen Area without a visa and the right to reside, work, and study in the country.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is renowned for its tropical forests, the cleanest sea with coral reefs, and yacht clubs. The nation’s primary source of revenue is tourism.
The nations provide citizenship by investment programs that stand out for requiring far smaller investments and showing a lot more support for applicants. The whole family can obtain citizenship: husband and wife, their children, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters.
Citizenship-by-investment in Antigua and Barbuda helps passport holders to travel in 151 states, including Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area.
The Spanish residence by investment or Golden Visa program is designed to motivate investors outside the EU to invest in local real estate, job creation, and government securities. The most popular option for obtaining a residence permit in Spain is the purchase of real estate.
It is not possible to obtain Spanish citizenship directly by investment. An investor can become a Spanish citizen by naturalization — get a residence permit in Spain for investment, move to the country, get permanent residence in a few years, and only after that a citizenship.
The initial residence permit is issued for two years. Then the residence permit can be renewed every five years. Also, obtaining a residence permit can be the first step towards obtaining permanent residence and Spanish citizenship. 5 years after obtaining a residence permit, the investor can count on permanent residence, and after ten years of residence in Spain, citizenship.
Greek citizenship can be obtained by investment, but not immediately, only through the residence permit program — the Greece Golden Visa Program. Applicants invest in real estate, shares, or a deposit. The money can be returned after five years.
Unlike other residents, investors have no obligation to live in the country: they can come and go as they please. They will retain their residence permit even if they do not come to Greece. But to become a citizen, one must live in the country. However, the Greece passport gives a possibility to travel freely (without a visa) across Europe’s Schengen Area and the opportunity of owning shares and earning money through dividends of a Greek firm.