Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs are popular with entrepreneurs and investors keen to get a second passport. The CBI market has become a billion-dollar industry, with $2 billion invested in 2022.
Why the need for a second passport? Some of the reasons business people give for ‘paying for citizenship include:
- Security – some countries are safer
- Movement – visa-free travel in more countries
- Investment – the genuine interest in more investment options
- Tax and Politics – favorable tax conditions and political stability
Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
The qualification rules for citizenship by investment, including background checks specifically for anti-money laundering (AML).
Investopedia provides a layperson’s overview of AML including commitment from governments and businesses to know your customer (KYC) to prevent profits from crime.
5 Attractive Countries For CBI
There are only 15 countries offering citizenship by investment. This article looks at five countries and how their CBI application process works.
1. St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis are a few countries offering a cheap program for investing in a second passport in the Caribbean. The process of acquiring St Kitts golden visa can include a couple of options to choose from once the application paperwork is complete:
- Purchase real estate for $270K+ and own it for 7 years+
- Or buy real estate for $400K+ and own it for 5 years+
- or donate $150K+ to the SGF – (Sustainable Growth Fund) as an individual
The benefits of enjoying St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship require no minimum stay in the country at the time of your application.
Plus, you can enjoy visa-free traveling to 157 countries, including Russia, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc., and a short processing time for your application, which is 3 to 6 months.
Montenegro is a country that’s still on the list to join the European Union. The Montenegrin passport does not allow you to work within the Schengen Area for more than 90 days in a row. However, one of the main benefits of having this passport is the visa-free travel to 120 countries. Additionally, you can obtain a passport within 3 months and enjoy its natural beauty.
However, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll still need a visa to enter Ireland and the UK and an E-2 visa for the United States.
Favorable Tax Rates
The taxation system in Montenegro is favorable for every citizen. And the real estate market is booming in the region. Here are some insights on the tax:
- The inheritance tax is 3%
- The dividend and income tax is 9%
- Real estate tax takes 0.1-1%
The investment options in this European country are:
- 100K+ donation to the government in government-regulated bodies and entities
- 250K+ in real estate – though this investment depends on the number of applicants
The Montenegrin citizenship by investment program is popular among investors for financial reasons. It’s worth looking into it quickly, though, as when Montenegro joins the European Union, its cost will increase proportionally.
Spain also has one of the best citizenship by investment programs, and by applying and becoming a citizen, you can instantly get a European residency. This visa will help you work and travel within the Schengen Area visa-free or obtain a visa on arrival. You can renew it after 2 years.
Permanent residency can be obtained after 5 years, while citizenship is applicable after 10 years.
So, what are the requirements for becoming a citizen via the investment route?
A minimum investment of 500K euros in real estate – however, you might have additional costs due to taxes and fees.
4. St. Lucia
In 2017, St. Lucia amended the citizenship laws and decreased its costs for obtaining a dual passport. The law made the country one of the most competitive in the Caribbean.
St. Lucia’s residency via citizenship by investment includes:
- $100K as a contribution (government donation)
- $300K investing in real estate
One of the main perks of becoming a citizen includes no required stay in the country during the application, visa-free traveling to more than a hundred countries, and a fast processing time.
Grenada is in the CBI program, one of the best in the Caribbean, due to the benefits gained after obtaining the passport. The requirements for obtaining the passport are:
- $150K as a contribution to the government
- $350K investing in real estate
Application processing takes a couple of months, and you don’t need to reside in the country to get citizenship.
Why You Should Apply For a Second Passport?
Business people, entrepreneurs, and investors can obtain a second passport and enjoy many benefits when willing to meet the investment criteria. It’s a golden opportunity for individuals to guarantee their safety and that of their families and secure a better education for their children.
Global mobility enhanced living standards, and faster relocation in case of an unforeseen event are some of the other attractive reasons for obtaining an alternative or dual passport.,
Plus, for investing in commerce, there’s the ability to register and operate a business entity and enjoy favorable tax conditions.
With economic uncertainty due to high inflation, war, and political instabilities in parts of the world, maybe now is the time to consider either St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Grenada, Spain, or Montenegro as the country of your second nationality.