economic citizenship

Economic Citizenship

Confidential Consultation:

best economic citizenship program

Our team of professionals helps qualified individuals and families worldwide obtain second citizenship through reputable economic citizenship programs.

Top Economic Citizenship Programs

When it comes to generating economic growth, the benefits of economic migration are undeniable. As a result, dozens of countries have implemented immigration policy and laws designed to attract wealthy individuals. In today's mobile global economy, however, many high net worth individuals (HNWI) reside and conduct business at an international level. Consequently, for many of these "global citizens," investment immigration programs that include a mandatory physical residency requirement are simply not feasible.

In an effort to appeal to these international entrepreneurs, a small number of countries have implemented citizenship by investment programs that offer expedited second citizenship through naturalization without any substantive physical presence requirement. These economic citizenship programs are structured to incentivize foreign direct investment and are typically operated in a legal and transparent manner according to local laws. Obtaining a powerful second passport through a reputable economic citizenship program can provide business professionals with unparalleled freedom to travel as well as increased political and economic diversification. There are, unfortunately, a number of poorly implemented, rogue, or even blatantly fraudulent immigration and citizenship schemes in existence today. To help people make well-informed decisions when evaluating available international citizenship options, we provide information about highly distinguished economic citizenship programs.

Antigua and Barbuda Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 2012

Processing time: 4-6 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival access to 136 countries including UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Economic citizenship by financial contribution: non-refundable donation to the Antigua and Barbuda National Development Fund (NDF).
Solo applicant - $100,000 (plus $25,000 processing fee)
Family of 4 or less - $100,000 (plus $25,000 processing fee)
Family of 5 or more - $125,000 (plus $25,000 processing fee for family of 4 + $15,000 per additional dependent)

Economic citizenship by real estate investment: investment of at least $400,000 into approved Antigua real estate (5 years) as well as Government processing fees.
Solo applicant - $50,000
Family of 4 or less - $50,000
Family of 5 or more - $50,000 for family of 4 plus $15,000 per additional dependent

Economic citizenship by establishing business: investment of at least $1,500,000 into eligible local business

Residency requirement: must spend at least five days in Antigua and Barbuda during the first five years as a citizen

Cyprus Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 2011

Processing time: 2-3 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival access to 158 countries including UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Economic citizenship by investment: purchase of permanent residence in Cyprus for at least €500,000 + VAT plus one of the following fully recoverable investments (3 years).

  • Investment of at least €2,000,000 in Cyprus Government bonds
  • Purchase or creation of a Cyprus-based company for least €2,000,000 (5 employees)
  • Investment of at least €1,500,000 in residential real estate in Cyprus
  • Investment of at least €2 million in commercial real estate in Cyprus

Residency requirement: none

Dominica Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 1993

Processing time: 4-6 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival entry to 119 countries including UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Brazil, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Economic citizenship by financial contribution: non-refundable donation to the Dominica Government Fund.
Solo applicant - $100,000
Main applicant and spouse - $175,000
Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 children under 18 - $200,000
Additional dependents - $25,000 each

Economic citizenship by real estate investment: at least $200,000 investment into approved Dominica real estate (3 years) as well as Government processing fees.
Main applicant - $25,000
Spouse - $10,000
Family of up to 4 - $35,000
Family of up to 6 - $50,000
Family of 7 or more - $70,000

Residency requirement: none

Grenada Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 2013

Processing time: 2-3 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival entry to 124 countries including China, UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Brazil, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Also eligible for USA E-2 Visa.

Economic citizenship by financial contribution: non-refundable donation to the Grenada National Transformation Fund (NTF).
Solo applicant - $200,000
Main applicant and spouse - $200,000
Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 children - $200,000
Additional dependents - $25,000 each

Economic citizenship by real estate investment: at least $350,000 investment into approved Grenada real estate (3 years) as well as Government processing fees.
Solo applicant - $50,000
Main applicant and spouse - $50,000
Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 children - $50,000
Additional dependents - $25,000 each

Residency requirement: none

Malta Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 2014

Processing time: 6-12 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival entry to 167 countries including USA, UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Canada, Australia, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Economic citizenship by investment: purchase of Malta real estate for at least €350,000 or lease of apartment for at least €16,000 annually (5 years), AND investment of €150,000 in Malta Government bonds (5 years), AND non-refundable donation to the Malta National Development and Social Fund (NDSF).
Main applicant - €650,000
Spouse - €25,000
Children under 18 - €25,000 each
Children 18 to 26 - €50,000 each
Dependent parents & grandparents - €50,000 each

Residency requirement: genuine link with Malta (retaining a local residence combined with a visit to the country)

St Kitts and Nevis Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 1984

Processing time: 8-12 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival entry to 136 countries including UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Brazil, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Economic citizenship by financial contribution: non-refundable donation to the St Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF).
Solo applicant - $250,000
Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 dependents - $300,000
Additional dependents - $25,000 each

Economic citizenship by donation (temporary option): non-refundable financial contribution to the St Kitts and Nevis Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF)
Solo applicant - $150,000 (save $100,000)
Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 dependents - $150,000 (save $150,000)
Additional dependents - $25,000 each

Economic citizenship by real estate investment: at least $400,000 investment into approved St Kitts real estate (5 years) as well as Government processing fees.
Main applicant - $50,047
Spouse - $25,047
Children under 18 - $25,047 each
Dependent children 18 to 25 - $50,047 each
Dependent parents & grandparents - $50,047 each

Residency requirement: none

St Lucia Economic Citizenship Program

Established: 2015

Processing time: 2-3 months

Passport: visa-free or visa on arrival entry to 127 countries including UK, Switzerland, entire EU, Singapore, and Hong Kong

Economic citizenship by financial contribution: non-refundable donation to the National Economic Fund (NEF).
Solo applicant - $100,000
Main applicant and spouse - $165,000
Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 children - $190,000
Additional dependents - $25,000 each

Economic citizenship by real estate investment: at least $300,000 investment into approved Saint Lucia real estate (5 years) as well as Government processing fees.
Main applicant - $50,000
Spouse - $35,000
Children under 18 - $25,000 each
Dependent children 18 to 25 - $35,000 each
Dependent parents & grandparents - $35,000 each

Economic citizenship by business investment: at least $3.5 million investment into approved enterprise project that creates a minimum of three full-time jobs, as well as Government processing fees.
Main applicant - $50,000
Spouse - $35,000
Children under 18 - $25,000 each
Dependent children 18 to 25 - $35,000 each
Dependent parents & grandparents - $35,000 each

Residency requirement: none

Additional Economic Citizenship Countries

There are a few investment citizenship countries that offer informal second citizenship programs that do not have specific requirements. The Austria Economic Citizenship Program is one example. The Austria Economic Citizenship Program offers EU citizenship to qualified individuals that "provide extraordinary economic, cultural, scientific, or artistic benefits" to the country. Obtaining citizenship through investment under such ambiguous conditions is often perceived to be risky, however, and most international entrepreneurs prefer investor citizenship programs with formal stipulations and timelines.

There are also countries with investor immigration programs that include expedited citizenship. The Bulgaria Economic Citizenship Program is one such scheme. Foreign nationals that invest enough money in Bulgaria not only receive an EU Residence Permit in six to nine months but they can also potentially obtain European citizenship within two years. Such investment immigration programs require the participant to actually live in the country in order to obtain nationality, however, and are therefore more of an investor immigration program than an economic citizenship one.

We have chosen not to list economic citizenship countries with weak passports, such as the Comoros Economic Citizenship Program. Although Comoros offers one of the cheapest economic citizenship programs in the world, with a minimum investment of a mere $45,000 USD, a Comoros passport only offers visa-free travel to 47 countries and territories. The vast majority of qualified investors simply have zero interest in procuring citizenship in a country with such a weak passport. Comoros economic citizenship participants do not gain visa-free access to the European Union, for example, which is a key objective for almost all global business professionals evaluating second citizenship options. We have also chosen to not list citizenship through investment programs that are currently suspended, such as the Hungary Economic Citizenship Program.

There are also some brand new citizenship through investment countries such as Turkey. The Turkish Economic Citizenship Program was announced in January 2017, but until the scheme becomes more established we will not be providing an official review. If you would like to discuss economic citizenship news, curriculum or requirement changes, or new passport by investment programs, please give us a call.

Determining the Best Investment Citizenship Programs

When evaluating citizenship by investment countries to identify the best economic citizenship program for you, it is important to factor in reputational considerations. Many investors compare the legal and regulatory framework of jurisdictions they are considering, the current strength of each country's passport, as well as the various investment requirements, but can often overlook the estimated long-term value of each passport. In general, economic citizenship programs that perform stringent due diligence on all applicants are less likely to ever lose visa-free access to influential regions such as the European Union. On the other hand, countries that appear to accept almost anyone with enough money (whether or not this is actually the case) risk upsetting the international community which can damage the future power of their passport.

How Does an Immigration Lawyer Help?

An experienced immigration lawyer can help people interested in obtaining a second passport in two main ways. Firstly, they can help identify the best citizenship by investment program for an individual and their family, based on their exact situation. When evaluating economic citizenship countries, there is more to be considered than just the program’s investment criteria. Can eligible real estate be resold under the program? How long does the investor need to maintain ownership of the property? Do approved real estate projects in the country offer freehold units for sale, or just shares in the development? Is financing permitted and available? Does the jurisdiction allow you to include adult children in your citizenship application? How many economic passports has the country issued in the last decade?

Once you have decided on the ideal economic citizenship program, an immigration lawyer can represent you throughout the entire citizenship procurement process. An attorney can perform due diligence, complete necessary applications forms, and ensure you have all the correct supporting documentation required by the program. A lawyer can also negotiate with property developers, handle official Government communication on your behalf, review necessary financial agreements before you sign them, and represent your best interests while working alongside a local agent in that country.

Economic Citizenship vs. Immigration by Investment

Several countries operate residency by investment programs that can eventually lead to full citizenship. You can obtain Canadian economic citizenship through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), for example, but it requires an investor to live in Canada as a Permanent Resident for at least three years. US economic citizenship is also possible through the EB-5 Green Card by Investment Program, but similar to Canada it requires the investor to live in the United States as a Permanent Resident for a minimum of five years. Australian economic citizenship via an Australia Investor Visa and UK economic citizenship via a Tier 1 Investor Visa are two more examples of permanent residency by investment programs that can result in citizenship. Unless it is possible to obtain citizenship and a passport reasonably quickly, however, the jurisdiction should be classified as an investment immigration country, not an investor citizenship one. Many immigration by investment countries also have Government application processing times that are an order of magnitude longer than those of economic citizenship programs.

Industry News

November 2017 - Antigua Raises Maximum Age of Dependent Children
Economic citizenship is now possible in Antigua and Barbuda for dependent children up to 28 years of age, provided they are enrolled in a legitimate educational institution on a full-time basis and have at least six months of school remaining. Many economic citizenship programs do not allow dependent children older than 25 years of age to be included under their parent's second citizenship by investment application. Consequently, Antiguan economic citizenship may be the optimal program for global investors with children in their mid-20s.

October 2017 - Antigua Citizenship Program Lowers Minimum Donation
The Antigua and Barbuda Economic Citizenship Program has significantly reduced the minimum financial contribution required for second citizenship in the country. The National Development Fund (NDF) investment option now requires a donation of at least $100,000 for a solo applicant or family of up to four, or a minimum donation of $125,000 for a family of five or more. This is a massive 50% reduction from the program's previous endowment requirements. Consequently, the Antiguan Economic Citizenship Program is now one of the cheapest citizenship by investment programs on earth and offers tremendous value to global business professionals interested in an exceptional second passport.

September 2017 - Dominica Citizenship Program Lowers Real Estate Fees
The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program has announced a reduction of their Government fees for the real estate option. A main applicant alone will now need to pay a Government processing fee of $25,000 instead of $50,000. A main applicant and spouse will now need to pay $35,000 in fees compared to $75,000 previously. A family of up to 4 will now be required to pay a Government fee of $35,000 instead of $75,000.

September 2017 - St Kitts Offers Hurricane Relief Donation Option
The St Kitts and Nevis Economic Citizenship Program has introduced a temporary financial contribution option to assist with repairs to the country's infrastructure after the most recent hurricane season. The minimum donation amounts required to obtain second citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis are up to 50% lower for the Hurricane Relief Fund compared to the St Kitts Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).

March 2017 - Hungary Economic Citizenship Program Closes
The Hungarian Residency Bond Program has been placed on moratorium by the nation's Government. Consequently, EU residency by investment will no longer be possible in the jurisdiction effective immediately. Other European citizenship through investment programs are still open in Cyprus and Malta.

Interested in obtaining a second passport through economic citizenship? Contact our team of professionals for a private consultation.

Location


View Larger Map
Mailing Address:
100 King Street West, Suite 5600
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
M5X 1C9

Private Client Enquiry

All info will always be treated as highly confidential once received by our team!