Both Residency by Investment (RBI) and Citizenship by Investment are both modern concepts which have emerged in the last 20 or so years, enabling individuals from one country to relocate to another country, by meeting certain criteria which usually involves making an economic contribution to the country’s domestic economy. Such programmes provide mutually beneficial facets for both countries and investors alike. Countries benefit from incoming investment and increased spending, which can be used to improve infrastructure and other services. Investors benefit by having the opportunity to relocate, oftentimes with their family to a highly desirable location, improved personal freedom and access to greater opportunities.
Many countries throughout Europe, the Caribbean, the Americas and the South Pacific offer residence by investment & citizenship by investment programmes, however such schemes have crucial differences. The focus of this blog post will be to highlight differences between residence by investment & citizenship by investment programmes in order to aid in your decision making process regarding which type of programme best suits your needs.
Residency by Investment
Residency by investment essentially enables an individual to gain permanent residency in a particular country by making a qualifying investment. Upon approval, the applicant is granted permanent residency, meaning they are legally entitled to reside, work, do business in, and access local services in that country. However, they do not have the same rights as citizens of that particular country.
Most countries have requirements in place that ensure only applicants with a connection to, and a desire to live in that country is granted PR status. Such test often involves local language tests and an understanding of the country’s culture etc. Upon completion of your PR period, many countries provide the option of naturalisation, whereby one can then apply to become a citizen of said country.
Citizenship by Investment
Citizenship by investment is slightly different from RBI. Under citizenship by investment legislation, investors can become citizens of a country by making certain qualifying investments, as well as meeting other requirements. These requirements vary from place to place, but typically speaking, are relatively standard and are in place to ensure only reputable applicants are accepted. Although many countries offer citizenship after lengthy periods of residency, there are only several which directly offer citizenship by investment programmes.
In addition to granting one the right to reside, work and engage in any business/study activity, citizenship by investment programmes have the primary benefit of providing the investor with additional personal & business travel opportunities, as, once approved, the applicant is granted a passport of the country in question. This opens up a world of opportunity, especially when one acknowledges the fact that most countries offering citizenship by investment schemes rank very highly on relevant passport indexes. In addition, many countries confer dual citizenship, meaning you do not have to forfeit your previous citizenship/passport.