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Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by Investment (CBI)

What is CBI

Citizenship by investment is an exceptional route that permits individuals to obtain a second citizenship via an investment to develop the economy of a sovereign country. Therefore, by investing into a foreign country (as established in that country’s Constitutional Laws), a person is granted citizenship rights in such country, while keeping their home country’s nationality. Thus, holding dual nationality.

Citizenship by investment is also the means to fast-track immigration processes, in case of relocation to another country, starting a business there, or in any of the countries that country has residency agreements with (i.e. European Union, CARICOM, etc.).

A similar alternative to CBI is residency by investment also called Golden Visa. This is a process by which individuals obtain permanent residency rights in a country after making a a direct investment within the country.

What Countries Offer CBI?

Thera are more than 30 countries worldwide offering a CBI or Golden Visa scheme, however not all of them are sound programs and some are too recent to prove a successful track record.

Focusing on citizenship and residency programs, which do not require living in the country, yet still allow dual nationality. In such countries, no specific qualifications are expected from applicants other than holding a clean criminal record and clear source of funds, as well as, making a substantial investment, usually in an amount above USD 100,000.

Citizenship by investment programs legally grant you citizenship and a passport in only a few months without ever travelling or residing in the country. No specific qualifications are required from applicants and there are no interviews or language tests.

While the Golden Visa, is a residency permit allowing you to legally reside in the host country without being a citizen. Residents are entitled to live, work, attend school and access health care in the host country. After complying with certain requirements, such as living in the country for a specific amount of time and learning the language, some countries grant citizenship.


There are three major regions that offer reliable CBI and Golden Visa

Caribbean programs

Currently, five Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment programs: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis and St Lucia.

These programs have the following distinctive features in common:

  • Fast processing times of 3 to 5 months to obtain the citizenship and passport
  • No interview or language test required
  • No need to reside in the country to obtain or maintain the citizenship
  • Visa free travel to Schengen countries and several major destinations
  • Allows a stay in the United Kingdom for 6 months at a time
  • Citizens are not liable for taxes - No Wealth, Gift, Inheritance, Foreign Income or Capital Gains Tax
  • No restrictions on the repatriation of profits and imported capital

The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program has been in operation since 1984, allowing foreign investors to acquire citizenship under certain conditions. This makes it the oldest existing citizenship-by-investment program and one of the most reputable. Applicants obtain an irrevocable St Kitts and Nevis passport without having to reside in the country or renounce their current nationality.

  • Processing time: Average 4 months and accelerated application process 45 to 60 days
  • Visa free travel: 156 countries, including Schengen countries, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong
  • Investment type: Donation to Sustainable Growth Fund or Real Estate Investment in a Government Approved Project
  • Investment cost: Donation USD 150,000 for a single applicant, real estate USD 200,000 in shares or USD 400,000 in a unit
  • Family dependents: Spouse, children under 31yrs old and parents of main applicant or spouse over 55 years old and unmarried siblings 18- 30 years
  • Passport validity: For persons above 16 years of age it will be valid for 10 years, for children under 16 it is valid for five years


European CBI Programs

Only four countries in Europe have citizenship by investment offers: Malta, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Cyprus. Of these four countries, only Malta has closed or announced its closing.

Several European countries offer residency programs by investment, and these are Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom (under revision).

Selected countries in Europe grant a second citizenship by investment. Some are members of the European Union therefore allowing passport holders to live, work and study anywhere within the 27 EU countries. Other countries with citizenship programs are part of the Schengen Area which have a common travel visa policy, and some countries belong to both.

European residency by investment programs have the following distinctive features in common:

  • Fast processing times of 6 to 12 months to obtain the residency card
  • Most residencies give access to citizenship after some years
  • No interview requirement
  • Visa free travel to over 150 countries worldwide once citizenship is obtained
  • Inclusion of family members, such as spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents

Maltese Citizenship by Exceptional Services may be granted under an amendment passed in 2020 to the Maltese Citizenship Act. By virtue of Legal Notice 437 of 2020 (Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations) the rules providing for affluent persons of impeccable standing and repute to be naturalised and to receive Maltese citizenship on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta were promulgated.
Applications under these regulations by direct investment shall not exceed four hundred (400) yearly and one thousand five hundred (1,500) in total.

  • Processing time: 1 year (EUR 750,000 Direct Investment) or 3 years (EUR 600,000 Direct Investment)
  • Visa free travel: 184 Visa free countries
  • Investment type: Non-refundable Investment + Property Purchase or Rental + Philanthropic Donation
  • Investment cost: Non-refundable Investment of €750,000 after completing 1 year of residency or €600,000 after completing 3 years of residency and €50,000 per additional dependent + EUR 700,000 on a real estate investment or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 p.a for 5 years + EUR 10,000 on a Philanthropic Donation
  • Family dependents: Spouse, unmarried and financially dependent children below 28 years old and dependent parents and grandparents over 55 years old
  • Passport validity: Ten (10) years for both Adults and minor children


North America CBI Programs

Both Canada and the United States have citizenship and residency programs. However, the United States residency program does not require the applicant to reside in the country, which makes it very attractive for individuals who want their children to study or be raised in the USA.

The United States has two major investment programs: the EB-5 program which leads to citizenship; and, the E-2 Investor Visa program through which an individual and their family (children up to 21 years old) can obtain the residency card within three months.

This permanent residence card allows an investor to live and do business in the United States of America in exchange for a substantial investment (minimum recommended threshold is US $150,000). This investment must be in an enterprise of which, at least, 50% is owned by the investor


An E-2 treaty investor visa is the fastest form of obtain a visa which allows residing in the USA. The E-2 is a non-immigrant visa reserved for foreign entrepreneurs of countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. E-2 investor visa allows foreign investors to enter and work inside of the United States based on a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise.

  • Processing time: Average of 3 months
  • Investment type: new business or franchise in the USA
  • Investment cost: approximately USD 150,000 (and above without specific limit)
  • Family dependents: Spouse, dependent children below 21 years old and business employees

Other CBI Programs

Besides the above-mentioned major programs, both Turkey and Vanuatu (an Oceania Island country) offer citizenship by investment programs. Both programs are unique in some sense; the Turkish CBI program is the fastest program by investment I real estate, and Vanuatu has the fastest program by donation.

The Turkey Citizenship-by-Investment Program was launched in January 2017 to attract foreign direct investment and to boost growth in the country’s real estate sector. This program allows foreign investors to acquire citizenship under certain conditions.

Applicants obtain an irrevocable citizenship and passport without having to reside in the country or renounce their current nationality.

  • Processing time: 2 – 5 months
  • Visa free travel: Instant visa-free travel to 111 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore and other major countries in Asia, Africa and South America
  • Investment type: Real Estate Investment in Turkey
  • Investment cost: Real Estate Investment of USD 250,000
  • Family dependents: Spouse and Children under 18 years old
  • Passport validity: For persons above 16 years of age it will be valid for 10 years, for children under 16 it is valid for five years


The Vanuatu Citizenship Program (Development Support Program - DSP) was created by the Government of Vanuatu in 2017. Vanuatu passports have the longest validity of 10 years for all family members regardless of their ages.

  • Processing time: 2 months
  • Visa free travel: Visa free travel: Instant visa-free to 130 countries including the Schengen States, UK, Singapore and Hong Kong
  • Investment type: Donation
  • Investment cost: USD 130,000
  • Family dependents: Spouse, children below 26 years old and elderly parents above 50 years old
  • Passport validity: Ten (10) years for both adults and minor children

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