Top 5 Countries That Offer Citizenship by Investment
Dual citizenship has several advantages, including increased global mobility, economic possibilities, enhanced standard of living, and better security. However, the process of obtaining dual citizenship may be tedious and usually has a long timeline. Usually, to naturalize (obtain citizenship) in any country, you need to be a resident of that country for at least 5 years. However, you can fast-track this process by investing in the country, usually as a donation to the government or by purchasing a house or other real estate in the country.
This process is known as citizenship by investment and is only offered by a few countries. Other countries offer fast-tracked residency by investment or “golden visa” programs that provide instant residency of the country, followed by accelerated citizenship.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 citizenship by investment countries.
1. St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis offer the cheapest citizenship by investment in the Caribbean with the best facilities. The process includes the applicant, who must be a minimum of 18 years old, meeting all application requirements, and then choosing one of the two available investment options:
- A donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund of $150,000 for a family of one to four individuals.
- Purchase of real estate, that is resalable after 7 years, for a minimum of $200,000
- Alternatively, a purchase of real estate that is resalable after 5 years for a minimum of $400,000
Some benefits of a St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship include a short processing time of 3 to 6 months, no minimum stay requirement, and access to 157 destinations including the UK, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other European countries in the Schengen area.
Turkey is a rare European citizenship by investment opportunity that also provides you with part-Asian citizenship since the country is located partly in Europe and partly in Asia. It is also in communication with the European Union (EU) for full membership. Once the membership is negotiated, you can obtain an EU citizenship by investment.
Investment options include purchasing real estate in Turkey worth a minimum of $250,000 plus processing fees. The amount was 1 million USD before being changed in 2018. The processing time for obtaining dual Turkish citizenship is between 6 and 9 months from the submission of the application to its approval.
The current key benefits of Turkish citizenship include access to over 111 destinations including almost all countries in Asia and a renewable USA E-2 investor visa for 5 years.
3. The UK
The UK citizenship by investment programs are not citizenship programs but residency programs, also known as the “golden visa” programs. The United Kingdom offers a Tier 1 (Investor) visa program.
The golden visa price is at least £2 million in the UK and the applicant must meet other visa requirements. Visa holders are allowed to stay in the UK for a maximum of three years and four months, with the option of applying for a two-year extension.
After 5 years or less, the visa holder can apply for residency. The waiting period is directly proportional to the investment made – the larger the investment, the shorter the waiting period to apply for citizenship.
Similar to the UK, the Portugal citizenship by investment program is also a golden visa program and provides accelerated residency of the country which can be fast-tracked for citizenship. Portugal introduced the golden visa program during the Great Recession to attract higher investments in the country’s housing market.
You can live and work in Portugal on a golden visa and also enjoy visa-free travel across the European Schengen area.
The Spanish citizenship by investment program is also a residency program just like Portugal and the UK and provides instant European residency. The golden visa is renewable every 2 years and you can get permanent residency after 5 years, and citizenship after 10 years.
The minimum investment is EUR 500,000 in real estate plus taxes and other fees. You can live and work in Spain and enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more than 100 countries including all the countries in the Schengen Area.
Apart from the top 5 countries mentioned here, you can apply for citizenship by investment programs in many other countries. You can also apply for golden visa programs such as the golden visa UAE. The cost of the golden visa differs by country but it offers all the residency benefits immediately including the ability to live and work in the country and access to many other countries.