Traditionally, citizenship is granted based on country of birth, inherited from parents, or through marriage. Nowadays, an increasing number of people desire to become a citizen of a country other than their own for many reasons. Therefore, the citizenship business is booming, and attracts lots of foreign investors.
Citizenship by Investment
Citizenship by Investment became a popular way of acquiring a second citizenship, meaning investors are now able to gain a second citizenship by investing in a particular country.
There are plenty of countries offering Citizenship by Investment programmes, the cost of which varies significantly – they can be as low as around $100,000 or as much as about $2.5 million. Most of these programs are structured to ensure the investment is contributing positively to the economy, society or culture of the country.
Citizenship by Investment programmes are commoditised and open for all people of reputable standing. Generally, the application process is relatively quick and straightforward. The programmes are established with explicit investment amounts followed by a clear procedure such as what documents are required, when to allocate the investment and how quickly it leads to citizenship. However, it must also be noted that these programmes are running under strict regulation and transparency.
However, it must be noted that countries are usually rather selective in the type of individuals granted citizenship rights. Investors are usually required to meet certain criteria, included but not limited to being over 18 years old, being able to prove the source of investment asset, having no criminal record, having basic knowledge of language of the country etc.
Citizenship by Investment countries
The Caribbean is the region that is home to the majority of countries providing Citizenship by Investment programmes. For example Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia all have such programme. More recently however, European countries such as Mata and Cyprus started developing successful programmes, thereby providing additional choice for the investors.
Who should consider Citizenship by Investment?
People may develop an interest in Citizenship by Investment programmes for family, social and business perspective. Each country’s passport has a limit on mobility. Being a citizen of a country employs that you are free to live and do business in that country. Moreover, most Citizenship by Investment programmes allow family member to accompany the principal investor. This provides spouse and child the access of world-class health care, high quality of education and a highly desirable lifestyle. It is estimated that each year, hundreds of wealthy people spend a collective $2 billion to gain a second citizenship.