Citizenship by Investment – a Summary

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The typical applicant for Citizenship by Investment are high net worth individuals who are looking for a second home and to either obtain a second citizenship or to renounce their current citizenship.

For investors, the benefit of having citizenship in two countries is the ability to own property in another country, diversify their assets and gain asset protection.

Other benefits of a second citizenship include:

  • Eliminates the need for long-stay visas and work permits
  • Avoids being questioned about the purpose of your trip
  • Access to countries with different political systems and rules of law

To become a ‘Global Citizen’ is very affordable and is a simple process. 

The following 14 countries offer direct entry to Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs, i.e. without first needing to be a Permanent Resident of the country.

Careful selection and using a professional Citizenship adviser is highly recommended.

 

The ‘best’ CBI program depends on your objectives.  Factors include:

1/ The type of passport that will be issued (Honorary Citizen vs. Full Citizen)

2/ Speed of processing time

3/ Investment amount

4/ Visa-free travel and length of stay to other countries

5/ Requirement to travel to the country before obtaining Citizenship

6/ Requirement to live in the country before or after obtaining Citizenship

7/ Standard of living in the country (if you are intending to live there)

8/ Tax on company profits, income tax and capital gains and double tax treaties

9/ The rule of law and protection offered to citizens

It is useful to compare a long-standing CBI program, e.g. Dominica, with a relatively new CBI program, e.g. Vanuatu.

Firstly, where in the world are these two countries?

Dominica is located between North and South America.

*Dominica is politically and economically stable

* It has a low crime rate

* It is a mountainous island with natural hot springs and tropical rainforests

Vanuatu is located to the East of Australia

* Only 3.5 hours flight from Sydney, Australia

* Vanuatu’s legal system is based on English common law

* It is a volcanic island with tropical rainforests

Therefore, if you lived in SE Asia then it is more convenient to travel Vanuatu (e.g. to make investments and enjoy a holiday in your second home) than it is to travel to Dominica.  As can be seen from the below table, Vanuatu offers similar benefits to the Dominica. 

In the below table we compare Dominica and Vanuatu against several factors:

Factor

Dominica

Vanuatu

Investment cost – single applicant USD 200,000 real estate or USD 100,000 donation USD 135,000 donation
Include family members Spouse, children, financially dependent children (up to 25 years old) and financially dependent aged parents (65) Spouse, children, financially dependent children (up to 25 years old) and financially dependent aged parents (65)
Citizenship Full Citizenship Full Citizenship
Validity period 10 years 10 years
Report new citizenship to other countries No No
Processing time 6 months 1.5 months

Residence requirement

None

None

Visit to country required No Yes, but virtual meetings now being conducted during the Covid-19 global pandemic crisis
Language test None None
Visa free access 139 countries, including UK and EU Schengen. 130 countries, including UK, EU Schengen states and Russia.  Citizens of Vanuatu can visit Australia through Online Visitor e600 visa.
CBI program established 1993 2015
Rule of law Democratic system, based on English Common Law Democratic system, based on English Common Law and French civil law and indigenous customary law
Tax No income tax for companies or individuals. No capital gains tax. No estate taxes. No inheritance taxes. No income tax for companies or individuals. No capital gains tax. No estate taxes. No inheritance taxes.

 

No country with a CBI program offers visa-free travel to either USA or to Australia.  This is understandable when we consider the benefits of obtaining Citizenship in these two great countries.

However, there is another pathway for ‘Global Citizen’ investors to obtain USA travel, work and residence rights. 

A citizen of a country who has signed into the E-2 visa treaty can apply for the USA’s E-2 Investor visa. 

There are currently only six (6) countries with a CBI program who have signed into the E-2 treaty with the USA.  These are:

1/ Austria

2/ Bulgaria

3/ Grenada

4/ Jordan

5/ Montenegro

6/ Turkey

Amongst these six, if democratic rule, cost effectiveness and visa-free travel, were high up on your selection criteria, then only Grenada would be a good match.  Grenada and Dominica are very similar in their requirements.

In summary, it is relatively cheap to obtain a second passport and there are very low barriers. The choice between the 14 countries depends on your selection criteria. 

If you want to take advantage of being a Global Citizen with a second passport then please contact us for further information.

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