The popularity of citizenship by investment programs has been rapidly increasing in the last couple of years. These legal schemes allow foreign investors, meeting all requirements, to get a second citizenship and passport in exchange for investment.
Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs vary from state to state; rules and regulations, as well as investment thresholds, might be different, but the main concept remains the same: you get second citizenship through the straightforward and quick application process.
Reasons for attaining alternative citizenship are reflected in the perks a second passport can bring. Although, a large part of these advantages might be intangible benefits. You may have a desire to secure a safe future for your family – so-called ‘Plan B’, in case of possible political, social, or economic unrest in your home country; or just want a hassle-free international travel, as a second passport, generally, allows visa-free access to around two-thirds of all countries. The CBI programs can help you in diversifying your wealth portfolio and strategic tax planning.
The Caribbean nation of St Kitts & Nevis was the first to launch the CBI program back in 1984. This twin-island federation still maintains the scheme and boasts ‘Platinum Brand’ among such programs. In the latest update of the CBI Index, developed by the Financial Times publication – Professional Wealth Management (PWM), St Kitts & Nevis was ranked with the highest scores, like the Commonwealth of Dominica. Remarkably, the CBI Index puts the Dominican CBI program at the top of the ranking for the fifth consecutive year.
The top five positions in the CBI Index 2021 are occupied by the Caribbean nations, along with St Kitts & Nevis and Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, and St Lucia. Followed by Vanuatu, Malta, Montenegro, and Turkey. In total PWM has evaluated 14 jurisdictions. It is anticipated that the CBI Index 2022 will include one more Balkan country, as North Macedonia has recently launched a special program, allowing foreign investors to get North Macedonian citizenship if they make a non-refundable contribution to the government and pass the due diligence. This program is capped to 100 applications.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, the best option is probably Dominica citizenship by investment. For the single applicant, the investment starts from USD 100,000, which is a non-refundable contribution to the special government fund. This threshold increases by USD 50,000 If you want to include a spouse in the application. For each addition dependent (children or siblings) additional USD 25,000 or 50,000 implies.
You can also qualify through a Real Estate investment option. The threshold stands at USD 200,000 and you have to find a realty approved by the government under the CBI scheme. The processing fee for the main applicant is USD 25,000 and for a spouse – USD 35,000, while for a family of up to four persons (excluding siblings) is also USD 35,000. For the family of six, it stands at USD 50,000 and so on.
Other applicable fees include the application fee of USD 1,000 (per application); Due Diligence Fees USD 7,500 or 4,000, other minor costs, and Professional fees of your selected Authorized Agent.
Remember, that you cannot apply directly to CBI programs, instead, you should find and sign a retain agreement with an Authorized Agent – a legal entity licensed by the government to promote the CBI program internationally and submit applications on behalf of investors to it.