The Existing Citizenship-By-Investment Opportunities
The current instability in the world clearly shows that no one can be sure what’s going to happen tomorrow no matter what part of the globe they live in. For this reason, it is not a surprise that the demand for foreign citizenship by investment is growing at an unprecedented pace. A few years ago, people ‘bought’ second passports because they wanted to diversify their assets, maybe save on taxes, and extend the list of countries that they could visit without visas. Today, having citizenship of a foreign country is a matter of personal security. So, using a citizenship-by-investment opportunity is a must if only you can afford it.
You have several options that you can choose from if you want a second passport. Every one of them will have its pros and cons. None is ideal and none is totally worthless. Below we will consider the main advantages (and some disadvantages) that each citizenship by investment opportunity has. Hopefully, our comparative analysis will help you make an optimal choice when you try to decide what country you’d like to be your second home.
Montenegro. It is still possible to apply for citizenship by investment in Montenegro even though officially, the program will be closed on January 1 next year. There might be a chance that it would be extended but we cannot say for sure. Having the passport of Montenegro would be beneficial indeed, as the country is located at the heart of Europe and it will eventually join the EU one day. When it does, you will have almost unlimited access to any destination in the world with an EU passport.
On the other hand, the required investment amount is rather high. While some other countries offer the foreign investor a choice of a non-returnable donation or a returnable investment in exchange for their citizenship, Montenegro requires making both a donation (of 200,000 euros) and an investment. If you want to invest into real estate in the country, the required investment amount will depend on where the property is located: in a better-developed region of the country or a lesser-developed one. You can also invest into agriculture, the fishing industry or wood processing but we are talking millions of euros in this case.
Malta. The Maltese passport is one of the strongest passports in the world and it is theoretically available in exchange for an investment. But it’s hard to get it. First, with all costs added, you will have to pay around a million euros. Second, you will have to answer multiple questions that the immigration authorities are going to ask you. Third, you will have to wait at least one year before you can become an economic citizen of Malta. If you are wealthy enough and ready to wait, you should consider the Maltese citizenship-by-investment program.
Turkey. Economic citizenship of Turkey was initially overpriced and for that reason unpopular. Then the price was reduced by four times and the program became overly popular. So, this summer, the price was raised again and it is now US$ 400,000. This amount of money has to be invested into real property in Turkey if you would like to become a full citizen of the country. What is nice about Turkey is that you can invest in any piece of property there to qualify for citizenship. This is not the case with Montenegro and most Caribbean countries (see below) that allow investing into Government-approved development projects only. If you put US$ 500,000 in a Turkish bank, you will also qualify for citizenship of the country. Not a bad option to consider but please bear in mind that the Turkish passport is comparatively weak.
Jordan. The program was designed primarily for wealthy citizens of other Arab countries. Put US$ 1,000,000 in a bank in the country at a zero-percent interest and you will qualify for citizenship of Jordan. Alternatively, you can invest US$ 750,000 in a small business or twice as much if the business is headquartered in Amman, the capital of the country.
Vanuatu. Citizenship of this island state in the South Pacific costs US$ 145,000. The country is hardly suitable for living as storms and hurricanes hit the islands often. However, the passport of Vanuatu gives visa-free access to Great Britain, China, and Russia, which is an infrequent combination.
Antigua and Barbuda. Dominica. St Lucia. These Caribbean countries charge the smallest amount of money for their citizenship. A non-returnable donation of US$ 100,000 (plus the immigration agent’s fee as well as application processing, due diligence, and passport issuance fees) will make you a citizen of any of the three countries. Each country also offers an opportunity to make a returnable investment into real property thus qualifying for citizenship.
Grenada. You can acquire citizenship of Grenada in exchange for a donation of US$ 150,000. In case you are applying with your family (say, your spouse and two children), the required donation amount increases to US$ 200,000. You can also become a citizen of the country by making a returnable investment of at least US$ 350,000 into real property in Grenada.
St Kitts and Nevis. Obtaining St Kitts and Nevis citizenship will also cost you US$ 150,000 if you choose to make a donation to the state fund. The returnable investment option is available too. The St Kitts and Nevis passport allows visa-free access to a larger number of destinations in comparison to other Caribbean states offering citizenship-by-investment opportunities. Besides, the national economic citizenship program is the longest-running such program in the world, which makes the immigration authorities of St Kitts and Nevis highly efficient.