Every country has its laws when it comes to citizenship. Allowing for double citizenship has been a debate over the years in many countries. Many developed countries allow dual citizenship while others restrict the double nationality. Other countries grant dual nationality but with special conditions and only on exceptional cases. Some countries grant citizenship in their country by monetary investment.
There are several countries that grant residence to wealthy individuals and investors. Currently, several countries give a direct route to citizenship through citizenship-by-investment programs (CIP). They include Malta, Grenada, Dominica, Cyprus, Austria, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda.
The CIP allows you to attain second citizenship not only simply and quickly but also legally with no disruptions to your life.
Citizenship based on an Investment
Malta, Cyprus, St. Kitts, and Nevis territories have provisions that grant citizenship in their states in return for significant contributions to the economy, the society, and other interests of the government. Henley and Partners helped these governments to set up the CIP programs.
Options Based On Citizenship by Investment Programs
The following CIP allows you to obtain a new nationality through an alternative or second passport.
1. St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts and Nevis CIP is the longest-running and was founded in 1984. Following the April 2018 amendments, there are two options you can obtain citizenship:
- Real estate investment
It’s a real estate investment for the principal applicant, and the minimum required by law is USD 200,000, which is only resalable after seven years of purchase. A non-refundable USD 35,000 government fee is also applicable to the principal applicant, USD 25,000 for the spouse, and USD 10,000 for every dependent child. The condition is that you cannot sell your property before five or seven years have expired, and doing so will have your citizenship revoked.
- The sustainable growth fund
The option requires a donation of USD 150,000 non-refundable for every single applicant or a contribution of USD 195,000 for a four-member family. Any additional member of the family is required to pay USD 10,000 each. Other governments fees are included, but with the exception of due diligence fees.
Under both the above two options – real estate and fund, investors pay USD 7,500 as due diligence fee for the principal applicant and USD 4,000 for additional persons above the age of 18.
Following several law amendments, foreign investors can obtain citizenship in Cyprus by an investment of 2,000,000 EUR and an additional contribution of 150,000 EUR, which is non-refundable. The legal basis is called naturalization by exception. There are two investment options available:
- Direct investment
It includes either Cyprus companies securities, land for development, property, etc., or combined investments of various types of assets which should amount to a minimum of 2,000,000 EUR.
- Business activities
Include purchasing a business service where the applicant established a company in Cyprus and made payments such as taxes to the authorities of not less than 500,000 EUR per year and not less than three years before applying for citizenship. The amount is reduced to 350,000 per year if the company has a central office in Cyprus and has employed five Cypriots. The amount is further reduced to 200,000 EUR per year if the company employs ten Cypriots.
The 2,000,000 EUR investments must be kept in Cyprus for the first five years after the grant of citizenship. Private property worth 500,000 EUR must be kept forever, and if sold, an equivalent property cost must be purchased. That means, after the three years, you can sell your investment but only recover 1,500,000 EUR of investments.
In addition to the above conditions, you must:
- Have a clear criminal record
- Confirm the applicant’s name is not in the list of those whose properties have freezing orders within the EU.
- Have a privately-owned residence in Cyprus, which exceeds 500,000 EUR excluding VAT.
- Must have had at least visited Cyprus once.
The Malta Individual Investor Program started in March 2014 and was purposed to offer citizenship to any EU country that is stable. The program provides life citizenship that is transferable to future generations.
- Eligibility by investment
To be eligible for Maltese citizenship, you must be 18 and above years of age and should in good health. The principal applicant and other dependants must be free from contagious diseases and must have a clean criminal record.
- Financial conditions for citizenship by investment
The investor must have a valid address and must also maintain a property. The applicant must have a property investment worth 350,000 EUR or rental property of not less than 16,000 EUR per year. The investment must be there before the application and approval of the applicant’s citizenship.
The principal applicant is required to invest in bonds approved by the government of Maltese of at least 150,000 EUR, which must be maintained for not less than five years. The investment in bonds must be made before the citizenship application.
To qualify, the applicant must contribute not less than 650,000 EUR to the National Development and Social Fund. Spouses and children should contribute 25,000 EUR while the unmarried dependent children from the age of 18 to 25 and parents older than 55 years must contribute 50,000 EUR each. However, these contributions are made after the citizenship approval of the principal applicant’s application.
- Due diligence fees
The due diligence fees for the principal applicant is 7,500 EUR and 5,000 EUR for the spouses, adult dependent children, and parents. Children between 13 to 18 years old are charged 3,000 EUR. The due diligence fees are non-refundable regardless of whether the application is approved or not.
- Physical residence requirements
The law requires a genuine link with Malta, and that can be shown through visiting Malta, opening a bank account, or renting or purchasing a property in Malta. However, the law doesn’t specify the minimum days an applicant must be in Malta for the application to be approved. It takes one year for the citizenship to be granted effective from the date of genuine link with Malta.