Can You Buy Citizenship With Cryptocurrency?

Updated: 28 March 2023

A popular question among expats and investors is if they can make a real estate investment with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. 

Before moving on, let us give you the answer: It’s not possible to obtain citizenship by investing directly in cryptocurrency. Although there have been rumors that some countries are accepting Bitcoin for their citizenship by investment programs, it’s not verified information.

In most countries, digital assets are treated as a commodity rather than a currency or money. This means that you’ll need to sell your crypto assets first before they can be used to invest in citizenship by investment programs.

Another reason why you’ll need to cash out your coins before applying for citizenship by investment is because of the transactions you’ll need to do through banks. You’ll need to pay investment fees, as well as other fees, in order to apply for a citizenship program. Banks, on the other hand, can only take fiat money.

Using Bitcoin To Buy Citizenship: Legality

Another concern arising from cryptocurrency is legality. Even if you decide to sell your coins to apply for citizenship by investment programs, you’ll need to pass Due Diligence checks which require you to prove the source of your money. This means that you’ll have to prove that you’ve earned that money legally.

You’ll need to show the legality of the source of the funds with which you bought the cryptocurrency. Plus, you’ll need to show documents on how much you sold it for and if you’ve paid any taxes. In short, having sufficient funds will not suffice to apply for a citizenship program.   

Authorities may require additional information and documents depending on the situation. 

Possibility of Buying Citizenship With Bitcoin

Several sources have reported that some governments allow foreigners to apply for citizenship programs using cryptocurrencies. However, this has not been verified. One of these countries is Vanuatu. The country was reported to have accepted cryptocurrencies as a method of payment for citizenship by investment program. However, the authorities made an official declaration on the official website and stated that the US dollar was the only form of acceptable payment method.

The same is valid for Antigua and Barbuda. The government made a declaration in 2018 and stated that they’d accept cryptocurrencies for citizenship by investment applications. However, no implementation has been made since then. 

The Future of Buying Citizenship With Bitcoin

Although there is no specific rule or regulation right now, it’s possible that the countries will start accepting cryptocurrencies in CIB programs applications. Once cryptocurrencies are recognized as payment methods by regulators, this will broaden crypto investors’ options and make the Due Diligence process easier for them.

We know that Caribbean governments want to improve their reputation in the crypto field and this is why they’re working on new regulations to implement the use of cryptocurrencies in money transfers. Regulators in Europe are likewise attempting to integrate cryptocurrencies into the existing banking system.

The good news is that many countries are already on good terms with cryptocurrencies. For example, Portugal is crypto-friendly and cryptocurrency transactions are held exempt from VAT in the country. There are also many other crypto-friendly countries that offer benefits for crypto traders. These countries might soon announce that they accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies in their citizenship by investment program.

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