There are several options for citizenship by investment or residency by investment around the world. Each program has its advantages and disadvantages, sometimes making it difficult to choose among them. There is no “one size fits all” solution. It ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.
As economic citizenship becomes more and more popular, new residency by investment programs emerge. This makes the plainfield more competitive and increases the variety. Here is a list of 10 programs around the world that investors should take a look at before making a decision
Portugal’s Golden Visa program, launched in 2012, is one of the most popular residency by investment programs in Europe. Provided that the main applicant is not a European Union (EU), European Economica Area (EEA) or Switzerland citizen, anyone can apply for the program through a qualifying investment in Portugal.
The qualifying investments are:
- A minimum investment of €500,000 in any type of property, located anywhere within Portugal, (€400,000 if the location is a low-density population area,)
- A minimum investment of €350,000 in a property at least 30 years old, provided that it will be rehabilitated, (€280,000 if the location is a low-density population area,)
- Capital transfer of €1,000,000 to Portugal,
- Creation of a minimum of 10 full-time jobs in a registered Portuguese company,
- A minimum investment of €350,000 in a qualifying Portuguese venture capital fund,
- An investment of €350,000 to scientific or technological research within Portugal,
- A minimum donation of €250,000 to national heritage, arts, or culture.
– Straightforward process
– Right to live and work in Portugal
– Free travel within the Schengen Area
– An easy path to European Citizenship
– Family Reunification allows family members to be part of the program
– Short stay requirement; an average of seven days per year
– Affordable lifestyle
– Investment opportunity in an EU country with high potential
The process of getting a Portugal Golden Visa typically takes around six months.
The Golden Visa program in Spain launched in 2013. Spain’s rich culture, delightful cuisine, sunny beaches, and desirable lifestyle makes it a top destination for relocation. Any individual, apart from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and Swiss citizens, can apply for the Spanish Golden Visa program through a qualifying investment.
The qualifying investments are:
- A minimum investment of €500,000 in Spanish real estate,
- Capital transfer of €1,000,000 in Spain
- A minimum investment of €1,000,000 in a Spanish company
- €2,000,000 investment in Spanish government bonds.
– Fast processing time
– Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area
– Right to live, work, and study in Spain
– Family inclusion in the program
– No stay requirement
Spain does not require residence for the renewal of the residency permit. It only requires the residents to enter the country at least once every year. There is, however, a residency requirement for Spanish citizenship.
Spain’s Golden Visa process typically takes one to two months.
Launched in July 2013, the Greek Golden Visa program grants a five-year residency visa through an investment in the country. Any non-European Union (EU) citizen, above the age of 18 with a clean criminal record can apply for the program.
A minimum investment of €250,000 in Greek real estate qualifies the investor to the residency program.
– Fast and easy process
– Visa-free travel within all Schengen Area countries
– Right to live in Greece
– Access to public health and education system in Greece
– Low investment requirement
– Family inclusion; spouse, children, parents and spouse’s parents
– No minimum stay requirement
A five-year residency visa is granted, and it is renewed every five years, as long as the property investment is sustained. Greek citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency in the country. The application process for the Greece Golden Visa takes around two to three months.
To benefit from the quickest and most assured path to European citizenship, applicants need to invest €2.15 million in real estate in Cyprus. Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program offers EU citizenship within six months after applying. A passport from Cyprus allows its holder to work, travel, study, and live anywhere in the EU. The citizen can have visa-free access to countries like Germany, France, and the UK. Moreover, the investment amount can be reduced to €500,000 after three years spent in the Cyprus CIP.
It’s important to note that the Cyprus citizenship by investment program was halted at the end of 2020. It is unclear if it will be activated again in the future.
Malta’s Citizenship by Investment Program is a scheme aimed mainly at high net worth individuals. Also known as Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP), the program requires a minimum contribution of €750,000 to the national development fund set up by the government. In addition, the applicant has to invest €150,000 in government-approved financial instruments and commit to a purchase or rent of a property in Malta for five years. The property value for purchased real estate needs to be a minimum of €350,000. After one year of residency, the applicant can apply for Maltese citizenship and obtain a European passport. A Maltese citizen can live, study, and work anywhere in the EU.
Malta also has a separate residency program. The investment amount is much more affordable; however, it does not lead to Maltese citizenship.
The MIIP went through some changes at the end of 2020. You can find the updated requirements in our Malta Citizenship by Investment page.
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Program, launched in 1984, is the first citizenship by investment program there ever was. The scheme accepts investments for real estate or donations. To benefit from the program, applicants must make a minimum donation of $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). Alternatively, an applicant can make an investment of $400,000 in real estate in St Kitts and Nevis. The process leading to citizenship usually takes around three to six months.
Antigua & Barbuda
The citizenship by investment program of Antigua and Barbuda provides an economic passport to investors. There are a few options applicants may choose to benefit from the program. Investors may choose to contribute $100,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund. They may also invest $1,500,000 in establishing a business. Alternatively, they can invest $400,000 in a government-approved real estate project (can be reduced to $200,000 for connected investors). Antigua and Barbuda passport grants visa-free travel to over 150 countries, including the Schengen area. Moreover, the country requires only five days of residence per year. The Antigua and Barbuda citizenship and passport can be issued within four to six months.
Citizenship by investment in Dominica is available through two options. The first is by making an economic contribution (donation) to the country under the government investor visa program. The second option, available since January 2015, is through real estate investment. With a minimum investment threshold of $100.000, the Dominican passport is among the cheapest. It takes around three months after the application to get the passport.
Until 1993, it was not possible to gain Dominican citizenship without residing in the country. This rule has been changed by the Dominican government. Through its changes, Dominica citizenship by investment program became not only the cheapest but also one of the most flexible options. Holders of Dominican passport can travel freely to around 140 countries, including the UK and Schengen zone.
To be able to become a citizen of the Republic of Turkey, there are several options investors might benefit from. They can make an investment of at least $250,000 in real estate. They can also invest in a company with a minimum capital of $500,000. Finally, they can prefer depositing $500,000 in State investment instruments or state banks operating in Turkey, provided that they do not withdraw such amount for three years. Also, employing 50 personnel is determined as a criterion for applying for Turkish citizenship with the new regulation.
The process of Turkish citizenship by investment usually takes around 3 to 6 months.
Through investment government-approved projects across the United States of America, investors can get the EB-5 visa. This visa gives permanent U.S. residency. It also provides the holder with the right to education, live, work, study, and retirement in the USA. It also enables receiving the investment back upon the completion of the project. The US government requires the main applicant to reside in the USA for at least half of each year.
The US passport has a minimum investment threshold of $900.000. As being one of the programs which have a rather long processing period, it takes around 20 to 26 months until getting the residency.