A Short Guide to Citizenship by Investment
Citizenship by investment is something many people have heard of but they may not necessarily understand what it involves. How much does it cost? How much paperwork does it involve? What do I get out of it?
This quick guide gives you the basic process of most CBI programmes.
What is Citizenship by Investment?
In short, it is gaining citizenship in a country by investing into their government fund or real estate. Countries ask for an investment in return for the various perks a citizenship in their country may afford. This process will vary depending on the country, as does the size of the investment requested.
In most cases it is the reputable process of inviting investors with good character to make an economic contribution to the country and in return. Should all of the legal documents be correct, they receive a citizenship within that country.
How much does Citizenship by Investment cost?
Dominica is one of cheapest countries to offer citizenship by investment (CBI). The Dominican government require an investment into the Government Fund of USD 100,000. Alternatively, a designated real estate investment of USD 200,000 is required. Other Caribbean islands require more than Dominica but still remain low in comparison to bigger countries, such as Grenada CBI which requires a real estate investment of USD 350,000.
Countries such as Malaysia and Ecuador also offer relatively low cost CBI programmes as well as being friendly to expats, and Malta is amongst those quoted as being relatively low cost.
At the higher end of citizenship by investment programmes are countries like Canada costing around 800,000 CAD, whilst requiring you to have a networth of over 1.5 million CAD.
What are the benefits of Citizenship by Investment?
‘Just like you diversify an investment portfolio, you want to diversify your passport portfolio’ reads a recent article on BBC news.
Much the way investors will hedge less secure investments, citizenship in another country is a recognised way of taking precautions against a potentially less stable economy or political environment in your current country of residence.
Alternatively, if you have a lump sum of retirement money it may be that you want to move somewhere warmer without having to repeatedly apply for various visas.
Often certain citizenships will come with perks such as visa-free travel to designated countries or the opportunity to invest in growth industries and do business in that country.
What is the application process?
The process varies from country to country. However, there are usually five main steps needed to apply for citizenship by investment.
Step one – The prospective citizen must find an authorised agent from a list usually provided by the government’s programme to apply for citizenship by investment with.
Step two - The authorised agent will present the applicant with the correct documentation to complete. They will also often have to attend a medical assessment and retrieve the supporting documents.
Step three – The agent will submit the required documents and correspond with the CBI programme on the prospective citizen’s behalf. Even if interviews are not mandatory they may be requested.
Step four – The application will be vetted through a due diligence background check and the applicant will then be notified of their application status.
Step five – If the applicant has a successful application they will be instructed to make an investment payment or to make payment on their property. Once the CBI committee has received proof of payment the applicant will be able to apply for a passport via their agent.
What happens next?
Once the applicant has their passport what happens next is really up to them. One can still enjoy some of the benefits of citizenship, such as the visa-free travel to selected countries and certain business opportunities, without moving to the country permanently.
It remains up to the citizen’s discretion what they use their citizenship for – whether it is to build a business or simply to enjoy the beauty of life if a new country. If you’ve got the capital it can be a great way to retire in style, moving to warmer climes, or to expand your business enterprise.