16 Best Citizenship by Investment Countries

citizenship by investment countries
citizenship by investment countries

There are significant advantages of dual citizenship that one acquires by becoming a candidate for citizenship by investment countries. These advantages may not be apparent to those with strong passports and working countries but are very necessary to those in disadvantaged countries with associated problems.

In the quest for more fortunate economic prospects enabling them to afford the lifestyle they choose for themselves and their family, an increasing number of nationalities have added another citizenship to their existing citizenship in recent years. They do this through citizenship by investment countries or through immigration and naturalization.

citizenship by investment countries
citizenship by investment countries

As the quest for new citizenship continues, this article seeks to shed some light on the best citizenship by investment countries, what the requirements are, how long the process takes and what you would get at the end of the process.

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What is citizenship by investment countries?

Many countries across the world embrace businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and investors who bring wealth, talent, skills, and inventions with open arms.

Many nations across the world give visas, residency permits, and even automatic citizenship to foreign investors who make economic contributions. You might not even be aware of this.

Global figures show that more than 1 million people worldwide gave up their citizenship in the first nine months of 2021, and more than 800,000 did so in the previous five years.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals became citizens of citizenship by investment countries in 2021, an increase of around 14% from 2020. The most significant contributors to this were France’s absolute growth rates, followed by those of Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Austria.

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16 best citizenship by investment countries

As people worldwide seek new citizenship, these are the 16 best citizenship by investment countries. They are listed here with the benefits, the requirements and the time frame.

1 – Austria

The modern republican state of Austria, which was established in November 1918 as a result of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is known by the name Austria.

The current state of Austria includes the Länder of Vienna (Wien), Salzburg, Tyrol (Tirol), Vorarlberg, Styria (Steiermark), Carinthia (Kärnten), and the ‘orphaned’ Burgenland in addition to the Länder of Upper and Lower Austria.

As an Austrian citizen, you are free to live and work anywhere in the EU at any time. The Austrian passport has a stellar reputation and allows very broad visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel, including to Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong (SAR China), and the USA.

When you become a citizen of Austria under the terms of the Austrian Citizenship Act, you and your family are granted full citizenship for life, which can be descended from. Austria is one of the most profound citizenship by investment countries in Europe.

Requirements and time frame

  1. A candidate for citizenship by investment is expected to make a substantial financial contribution to the Austrian economy, such as through a joint venture or a direct investment in a company that expands exports or creates jobs. In general, substantial direct investment is needed. For example, passive investments in real estate or government bonds are not acceptable.
  2. All applicants must submit a thorough CV, detailed business background information, impeccable references, and a certificate of no criminal record in addition to the usual documentary requirements (such as passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates).

A comprehensive background investigation is part of the process. Following the approval of the citizenship application, citizenship documents are issued.

The typical application process takes between 24 and 36 months. By the decision of the Austrian government, successful candidates are granted full citizenship of the Republic of Austria and are then eligible to apply for passports. The issuance of passports takes only a few days.

2 – Türkiye

To draw foreign direct investment and spur growth in the nation’s real estate industry, Türkiye as one of the citizenship by investment countries with their program was introduced in January 2017.

The program gives candidates a variety of options for economic contributions to Turkish society that will advance the economy of the nation.

Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian nation, with the metropolis of Istanbul encompassing Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus Strait. It is a nation of enormous geostrategic importance because of its location at the intersection of Europe and Asia.

Requirements and time frame

The primary applicant must satisfy one of the following investment conditions to be eligible for citizenship:

  1. acquire property worth at least USD 400,000.
  2. Put down a minimum fixed capital investment of USD 500,000.
  3. Fund a Turkish bank account with at least USD 500,000, comparable foreign cash, or Turkish lira.
  4. invest at least US$500,000, equivalent in other currencies, or TRY in government bonds.
  5. Invest at least USD 500,000 (or an equivalent amount in another currency, Turkish Lira, or another currency) in shares of a real estate investment fund or a venture capital investment fund.
  6. Invest at least USD 500,000, comparable foreign cash, or Turkish lira for a minimum holding term of three years in a private pension scheme.
  7. As certified by the Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services, create at least 50 employment.

The investment may be finished and the paperwork submitted to the government once all application materials, including any necessary certificates and translations, have been produced.

Once the government has received the application, the review procedure will start, and an interview request may be made. Usually, it takes 120 days for applications to be granted, after which citizenship documents are provided. After that, the passport application may be turned in.

3 – Malta

Foreigners and their families who make significant contributions to the nation’s economic growth may be granted citizenship using a certificate of naturalization under the Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment procedure.

This is achievable after a 36-month (or, in certain cases, 12-month) period of residency. This makes Malta one of the best citizenship by investment countries.

Requirements and time frame

The application for Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services via Direct Investment goes through a rigorous four-tier due diligence procedure. The following conditions must be met to be eligible:

  1. age requirement of 18 for all candidates
  2. a contribution of at least EUR 600,000 for a residency commitment of at least 36 months, or EUR 750,000 for a residency commitment of at least 12 months.
  3. the acquisition of a residence in Malta for a minimum sum of EUR 700,000, which must be kept for a minimum of five years. Alternatively, a five-year lease on a residential property with a minimum annual rental value of EUR 16,000 may be used. Please be aware that for the first five years, the property cannot be rented. During the residency time, a 36-month (or 18-month, by exception) lease agreement or property purchase is necessary.
  4. a contribution of at least 10,000 euros to a non-governmental organization or association registered in the fields of sport, culture, science, philanthropy, animal welfare, or the arts, as authorized by the Community Malta Agency.
  5. Legally residing in Malta for at least 36 months (or 12 months, as an exemption), which includes holding a lease on a home with a minimum annual rental value of EUR 16,000 for the same time frame. A current resident card is necessary to submit a citizenship application.

After 36 months (or 12 months by exception), if successful, a citizenship application will be made to the Community Malta Agency.

4 – North Macedonia

North Macedonia is strategically situated in Southeastern Europe, making it an ideal place for prospective investors to profit from the country’s position as a crucial cross-European transportation route.

This makes North Macedonia one of the most popular citizenship by investment countries that many want to acquire.

The North Macedonia Citizenship by Investment Program is the most effective approach for anyone who wants to get citizenship in this expanding European economy.

Requirements and time frame

Under one of the two investment alternatives listed below, a foreign investor must deposit EUR 200,000 or EUR 400,000 to qualify for the North Macedonian Citizenship by Investment Program:

Choice 1:

To be able to petition for citizenship, each adult candidate must spend EUR 200,000 for a minimum of two years in a private investment fund set up in compliance with Republic of North Macedonia law.

Choice 2:

EUR 400,000 per adult applicant as a direct investment in new facilities (apart from hospitality facilities intended for dining or shopping), employing at least 10 people for an undetermined amount of time over at least one year.

The following records are necessary:

  1. clearance certificates from the police
  2. comprehensive curriculum vitae
  3. Evidence of financial stability

5 – Jordan

The most effective approach to obtaining citizenship in this multicultural and tranquil Arab nation is through the Jordan Citizenship by Investment Program. Jordan is one of the citizenship by investment countries in the middle east with a convenient program.

The Jordanian government invites affluent foreigners who want to spend a sizable amount of money in the nation in a manner that would strengthen the country’s economy through foreign direct investment. Under this scheme, people and the members of their immediate families can become Jordanians in three months.

Requirements and time frame

A foreigner seeking citizenship in Jordan, as one of the citizenship by investment countries, must invest in one of the following: a bank deposit, treasury bonds, securities, small- or medium-sized businesses, or a local initiative that would create jobs.

Candidates must complete one of the nation’s investment requirements, which are as follows:

  1. Deposits in banks and treasury bonds: Deposit $1 million in zero-interest funds with the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) for a minimum of three years; and buy government bonds worth USD 1,000,000 that will be held for a minimum of six years at an interest rate determined by the CBJ.
  2. Units or shares of the company: Invest in Jordanian firms by purchasing shares and/or units worth a minimum of USD 1.5 million, as long as you hold onto them for at least three years until the firms’ Control Department and/or the Jordan Securities Commission indicate that they are temporarily seized.
  3. Small and medium-sized businesses (local initiatives that create jobs): Establish an investment project with a minimum investment of USD 1 million in any Amman governorate location (USD 750,000 for a project registered outside of Amman), provided the project generates at least 20 employment opportunities (reduced to at least 10 opportunities for Jordanians for a project in a governorate other than Amman), in accordance with the Social Security Corporation’s statements.

After security clearance and verification of the applicant’s financial sufficiency, the qualifying requirements are applied to a maximum of 500 instances yearly. Every six months, the requirements are reviewed and appraised, and they are not implemented backwards.

6 – Montenegro

As part of the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program, applicants for the citizenship by investment countries offer in Montenegro must invest in a development project that has been approved and contribute capital to a fund set up by the government to advance underdeveloped areas in order to make a defined economic contribution to Montenegrin society.

Applicants and their families are given citizenship after a lengthy vetting and due diligence procedure, including background checks.

Requirements and time frame

The primary candidate must be above 18 years old, satisfy the eligibility conditions, and make the required qualifying contributions to the Montenegrin government in order to be eligible for the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program. There are two ways to become eligible for the program:

  1. a contribution of EUR 450 000 to Podgorica, the country’s capital, or to coastal districts for development initiatives
  2. an investment of EUR 250,000 on development projects in northern or central Montenegro, except the capital.

A government fee of EUR 200,000 is further charged for each application. This donation will go to the Innovation Fund of Montenegro (EUR 100,000) as well as a specific fund for the development of impoverished areas (EUR 100,000).

7 – Antigua and Barbuda

The initiative appeals to candidates looking for alternate citizenship by purchasing prized real estate or donating to the islands’ National Development Fund. As one of the distant citizenship by investment countries, Antigua and Barbuda is a splendid opportunity for many.

The primary candidate must be at least 18 years old, satisfy all application criteria, and choose one of the available four alternatives in order to be eligible for citizenship:

Requirements and time frame

  • Minimum non-refundable payment to the National Development Fund of USD 100,000
  • A minimum non-refundable donation to the University of the West Indies of USD 150,000
  • The acquisition of real estate from a project that has received approval, with a minimum purchase price of USD $200,000. Each application must spend at least USD 200,000 to be eligible to make a joint investment with another applicant. The property cannot be sold within the five-year window.
  • The direct acquisition of a qualifying firm by a person for a minimum of USD 1.5 million. Alternatively, a combined purchase in which each party pays at least USD 400,000 and the sum is at least USD 5 million.

If your application is accepted, you may pick up your passport in Antigua and Barbuda. Assuming there are no issues with the application, it is predicted that the procedure will take between three and four months from the time the application is submitted until the passport is issued.

8 – St. Kitts and Nevis

A dual-island country between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is Saint Kitts and Nevis. It is renowned for its beaches and cloud-covered mountains. Its numerous old sugar plantations are now hotels or picturesque ruins. African, British, Carib, and French influences may be found in its rich culture.

The dormant Mount Liamuiga volcano dominates Saint Kitts, the bigger of the two islands. It is home to a crater lake, green vervet monkeys, and a rainforest that is crisscrossed by trekking routes.

Requirements and time frame

The primary candidate must be over 18 years of age, satisfy the application criteria, and choose one of the following alternatives in order to be eligible for citizenship:

  • Fund for Sustainable Growth 1.

    The following non-refundable donations are applicable under a limited-time offer available through January 31, 2024:
  1. US$125,000 for the principal applicant
  2. US$150,000 for the primary applicant and their spouse
  3. USD 170,000 for the principal applicant, their spouse, and their two dependents.
  4. USD 10,000 for every extra dependant who is under the age of 18
  5. USD 25k for each extra dependant who is over the age of 18.
  • Option for Public Good Investment which is USD 175,000 non-refundable donation.
  • Real estate purchase: the acquisition of property from an authorized real estate development for at least USD 200,000, or for an authorized private residence for at least USD 400,000. After seven years, either option’s real estate acquisition can be resold.

9 – St. Lucia

Candidates for the St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment Program must significantly increase the nation’s economic output. In exchange, the candidates and their families are given full citizenship, subject to a rigorous application procedure and background checks. This makes St. Lucia, as one of the citizenship by investment countries, a very attractive opportunity for many.

Requirements and time frame

The program demands that candidates contribute significantly to the nation’s economy. In exchange, the candidates and their families are given full citizenship, subject to a rigorous application procedure and background checks.

To be eligible, a person must be at least 18 years old, complete the prerequisites for applying, and choose one of the following investment options:

  1. Purchasing property from an authorized real estate development for a minimum of USD 200,000, which must be kept for a minimum of five years.
  2. Contribution of at least USD 3.5 million to an authorized economic initiative and the creation of at least three permanent jobs. Instead, a combined investment of USD 6 million (with each applicant contributing a minimum of USD 1 million) and the establishment of no less than six permanent jobs are acceptable.
  3. A single candidate must provide a non-refundable $100,000 to the National Economic Fund. Alternatively:
  • For a primary applicant and spouse, USD 140,000
  • USD 150,000 for the principal candidate, their spouse, and a maximum of two eligible dependents
  • USD 15,000 for each extra dependant applying along with the primary applicant, spouse, and two other qualified dependents.
  • 25,000 dollars for each eligible dependent

10 – Dominica

The Commonwealth of Dominica, one of the most picturesque islands in the Caribbean, developed its citizenship-by-investment program in 1993 to encourage investment.

Formerly a British colony, Dominica is now a part of the Commonwealth of Nations, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, CARICOM, and other international groups.

Citizenship by investment countries like Dominica has a well-developed program that caters to candidates who want a shot at Dominican citizenship.

Requirements and time frame

Single candidates may select from the following two methods to meet the requirements for citizenship under the existing regulations:

  • A $100,000 nonrefundable donation to the Economic Development Fund
  • An investment with a minimum amount of USD 200,000 in a real estate project that has been given the go-ahead

The Ministry of Finance’s Citizenship by Investment section, a specialized government agency in charge of the program’s administration, processes applications. Currently, it takes three months to process an application from the moment it is received with all the required information.

11 – Grenada

The Citizenship by Investment Act, 2013, which was enacted by the Grenadan parliament in August 2013, marked the beginning of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program.

Citizenship by investment countries like Grenada requires that candidates for the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program either make a substantial financial donation to the nation or purchase a government-approved eligible item.

The candidates and their families will be given citizenship in exchange, subject to a comprehensive vetting and due diligence procedure, including background checks.

Requirements and time frame

The principal candidate must be at least 18 years old, complete all application criteria, and meet one of the two main conditions for citizenship.

  1. Option to donate to the National Transformation Fund: For single candidates, a minimum non-refundable payment of USD 150,000 is required.
  2. Real estate option: Buying a minimum of USD 220,000 worth of property from a development that has received official approval. For this option, a minimum extra non-refundable donation of USD 50,000 is required.

The government typically responds to an application after receiving it in 90 days. Successful candidates will receive their passports in 10 working days. Passports do not have to be picked up by the applicants in person. The passport(s) will be sent to the customer.

The time range under the real estate option might change based on the project. As a result, it’s critical to pick a real estate project that can deliver the required documentation from the developer.

12 – Samoa

Samoa, which is located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, has a 200,000-person population and a $1.2 billion GDP. Samoa (US territory) should not be confused with American Samoa.

The Citizenship Investment Act 2015 and associated Regulations 2016 mandate that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labour manage this program.

After the Samoan parliament approved the Citizenship by Investment Act, in 2015, the Samoan Citizenship as one of the citizenship by investment countries, was established in 2017.

The Samoan citizenship program was added as a fifth way to become a citizen, in addition to birth, descent, marriage, and permanent residency. The initiative, which was formally launched in 2017, is still going strong but remains divisive.

Requirements and time frame

The primary candidate must be above 18 years old, satisfy the eligibility conditions, and make the required qualifying contributions to the Samoan government in order to be eligible for the Samoan Citizenship by Investment Program.

All investors are required to invest a minimum of $1.5 million USD in real estate, key sectors of the Samoan economy, or government funds, and must have a net worth of at least SAT $2.5 million ($1 million).

13 – UAE

The legislation governing UAE citizenship underwent substantial revisions in February 2021 in the United Arab Emirates. The government will let qualified investors and individuals with unique abilities and their families become naturalized citizens.

Requirements and time frame

  1. In the UAE, investors must make a minimum investment of AED 10 million.
  2. Entrepreneurs must exhibit a history of profitable business endeavours and make a minimum investment of AED 500,000.
  3. Talented people need to have a track record of success in their profession, the necessary academic credentials, and endorsements from reputable worldwide organizations.

You can begin your application as soon as your investment is finished. The application may be submitted in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. You can also use the appropriate portal to begin your application online.

You’ll get an email and an SMS when you finish this procedure informing you of the status of your application. Citizenship by investment countries typically reach out to you when they make a decision.

#14 – Vanuatu

The sole program in the South Pacific was introduced in 2017 and is called Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment. It is also referred to as the Vanuatu Citizenship Development Support Program (DSP), and it is the quickest way to acquire alternative citizenship as one of the citizenship by investment countries.

You may obtain a passport within a month of applying for it, allowing you to travel visa-free to over 100 countries, including the UK, Singapore, and many other strategically important locations, for a minimum payment of $128,000 into a local development fund.

Citizenship in Vanuatu is a good choice for people who want to travel more and pay less in taxes. Vanuatu has a benevolent tax system with no taxes on earnings, inheritances, or profits. This places it as number 14 on the list of the best citizenship by investment countries.

Requirements and time frame

Option 1 / USD 128,000 non-refundable donation

  1. For a single application, USD 128,000
  2. USD 148,000 – application for a married couple
  3. A married couple with one child making USD 163,000
  4. A married couple with two kids, USD 178,000

Option 2 and/or additional conditions

  1. Applicants must present evidence of finances totalling at least USD 250,000.
  2. Candidates must be free of any felony convictions.
  3. Nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, or Yemen are not eligible for the Vanuatu program unless they have a permanent residency outside of those nations and have done so for more than five years.

The primary applicant (and their spouse, if applicable) are the subjects of first due diligence investigations by the Vanuatu Government to determine eligibility for the program. A copy of the applicant’s passport and police clearance certificate must also be sent, along with the requisite due diligence expenses. The duration of the pre-approval process is two days.

15 – Laos

The Asian nation of Laos has granted “honorary” citizenship to foreigners who invest in the nation, as one of the citizenship by investment countries, and make exceptional contributions economically. The new initiative will bring in much-needed foreign investment, particularly in the real estate sector.

According to the September-issued Decree No. 14, honorary citizens would have complete entry and departure rights, the ability to dwell permanently and work, and the freedom to own land. They can also lease in the public and private sectors, as well as purchase public land.

Requirements and time frame

Foreigners must invest a total of USD 1.5 million in the nation — USD 500,000 for socioeconomic development and USD 1,000,000 for capital investment in real estate — to be eligible to become honorary citizens.

All foreign nationals are eligible for this program without any limitations. To apply, candidates must be at least 18 years old and have a spotless criminal and medical history. Within 30 days, after reviewing the applications, the Ministry of Justice will submit them for approval.

16 – Cape Verde

Due to Cape Verde’s noteworthy economic progress and increase in living standards despite the absence of natural resources, neighbouring nations and international organizations frequently offer development aid.

It is no longer considered a least developed country by the UN; instead, it is now categorized as a developing country and as one of the best citizenship by investment countries.

A substantial portion of the economy relies on subsistence agriculture, but efforts are greatly impeded by a shortage of water. Although agriculture employs around 80% of the people, it only contributes about 12% of the GDP.

Requirements and time frame

  1. Possess no criminal history.
  2. Although Cape Verde does not have an official citizenship by investment program, the country’s laws permit citizenship to be granted to foreigners who make a sizable investment there without requiring them to live there.
  3. The minimum age for applicants is 18.
  4. The same investment might also qualify your wife and kids for citizenship.

Although Cape Verde does not really provide such programs, 200,000 EUR is often enough to qualify as a large investment for citizenship applications. This places Cape Verde as one of the best citizenship by investment countries.

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Citizenship by investment countries offers an unprecedented opportunity for people to switch up nationalities. The two main methods to become a citizen of a state are through birth and naturalization. This is one of the most popular ways to become a citizen. The next best option is to seek citizenship by investment countries that allow you to invest in the country you want to be part of.

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