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Citizenship guide
Imperial experience

Citizenship by investment

Second passport with Imperial & Legal

Have you ever thought about investing in a second citizenship? There are a lot of countries at the moment that offer citizenship by investment programs, with some of them being more affordable than others.

In the modern world, a concept of citizenship is no longer associated with just a country of origin. We come across such words as “globalisation”, “global citizen” and “second passport” more and more often now. Going back 50 years, the only way to get citizenship and passport was either by birth right or by acquisition through marriage or naturalisation. However, for the last 30 years or so, we have seen the quantity of citizenship by investment programs picking up all over the world.

Citizenship by investment program is a way of obtaining a second passport and becoming naturalised in another country by making an investment there. The first official CBI program was launched in 1984 in St Kitts & Nevis to offer citizenship by investment to foreign citizens in exchange for their investment in local economy.

Citizenship by investment programs normally have a quick and straightforward application process of getting a second citizenship without previous residence requirement. You can get your citizenship for life in as little as one and a half months.

Citizenship by investment programs

If you wish to know which countries offer CBI programs to foreign investors, Imperial & Legal will be happy to provide information and advice based on your requirements and needs. The number of countries that offer CBI programs and the number of investment options in existing programs are constantly going up.

We provide support and advice for the following citizenship by investment programs:

Min. investment
$ 150,000
Processing time
1,5 – 2 months
Good to know
3-4 months without Accelerated Application Process
Min. investment
€1,150,000
Processing time
12 months*
Good to know
EU passport and visa-free entry to 168 countries, incl. USA and Canada
Min. investment
$100,000
Processing time
4 months
Good to know
Eligible dependants include children under 30 and parents over 55
Min. investment
$200,000
Processing time
3-4 months
Good to know
Visa-free travel to China and E2 work visa to the USA
Min. investment
€2,000,000
Processing time
6 months*
Good to know
Combination of investments is allowed
Min. investment
$100,000
Processing time
3-4 months
Good to know
Ideal for a big family
Min. investment
$100,000
Processing time
3 months
Good to know
Ideal for single businessmen

* Malta requires 1-year residence prior to granting citizenship, and Cyprus – 6 months.

For more detailed information on each citizenship by investment program, please refer to corresponding pages.

Reasons to invest in a second passport

Everyone has their reasons to invest in a second citizenship. Generally, people buy a second passport to increase their worldwide mobility and benefit from good living standards and high level of education and healthcare. Ultra-high and high net worth individuals get citizenship by investment to protect their assets, ensure better life for their families and benefit from 100% confidentiality and privacy offered by investment programs in most states.

Freedom of travel

As a rule, second passport offers visa-free access to many countries across the globe making it easier for you and your family to travel for business or leisure. For example, passport of St Kitts & Nevis gives visa-free entry to over 130 countries, and Malta offers its citizens by investment visa-free access to over 160 countries. It saves you a lot of time, stress and money when you need to go abroad. Second passport makes you a citizen of the world.

Quality of life

All CBI countries are quite famous for their high living standards, outstanding quality of education and healthcare. Second passport guarantees personal security, economic and political stability and low crime rate.

Citizenship for the whole family

CBI programs offer citizenship to eligible family members for life. And second citizenship is passed down to future generations. Moreover, citizens have access to world-class healthcare and educational institutions at lower costs.

Confidentiality

The whole CBI application process is strictly confidential and secure, and second passport is not reported to other countries. However, it is important to check whether your country permits dual citizenship because not all of them do.

Business

Countries that offer citizenship by investment programs are pro-business fully-developed or fast-growing economies providing access to endless business opportunities and qualified English-speaking workforce. Second passport can be used to register local companies and assets.

Tax optimisation

Generally, most states do not have inheritance, gift, capital gains or wealth taxes. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda are not taxed on their personal income. Investing in a second citizenship provides tax benefits to wealthy investors and businessmen that are looking for more efficient ways to manage their wealth.

Benefits for the countries that grant citizenship by investment

The main reason for a country to grant citizenship by investment is to boost the economy with foreign investments. They aim to attract money, talent and expertise. Dominica, for example, uses funds received through the Economic Diversification Fund to finance public and private projects, including construction of schools and sports arenas, hospital refurbishments, promotion of the offshore sector as well as tourism, IT and agriculture initiatives.

In exchange for your investment in real estate, state fund, an approved project or government bonds you have a chance to get a second passport and become global citizen.

Requirements of the citizenship by investment programs

There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled under all citizenship by investment programs, such as investing in one of the approved options or projects, passing due diligence checks, as well as clean criminal record and good health.

Some countries have different residency and visitation requirements as well as the requirement as for how long the investment must be maintained before it can be recovered. Every CBI program offers citizenship to family members of the main applicant based on their eligibility and age, and these requirements vary from program to program.

Only when all the requirements are met by the main applicant and their family members under the citizenship by investment program, the government of the state that grants citizenship by investment will be able to process and approve the application for citizenship.

Interesting facts about passports and citizenship

A passport has always been used as a travelling document and historically was called safe conduct and certificate of citizenship. At the beginning of the 20th century it started to be used as an identity document. Recently, it has become a very sought-after commodity creating a whole industry of forging and stealing passports. Apart from existing black market, we know that an increasing number of countries offer to sell their passports in a lawful way through their citizenship by investment programs.

The origin of citizenship by investment programs lies in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland, though it was more like a residence program because it applied to foreigners only, without leading to citizenship. At the end of the 19th century, cantonal authorities created a tax system to start taxing wealthy foreign citizens that were resident in Switzerland without contributing to the maintenance of the system. The tax system was called lump-sum taxation and is still used in Switzerland, though not in all cantons. A foreign national that decides to take up residence in Switzerland can benefit from lump-sum taxation and decrease their tax burden. To benefit from this form of taxation, a high net worth individual cannot work in Switzerland and cannot apply for Swiss passport.

German and Singapore citizens have visa-free access to 165 countries making these passports the most powerful in the world. The worst passports for global mobility are passports of Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The colour of your passport can tell a citizen of which country you are, and likewise you can always spot citizens of other countries by just looking at their passports. For example, a passport of Switzerland is bright red to reflect their national identity. Turkey has recently changed the colour of a Turkish passport to burgundy, same as an EU passport, as they hope to join the EU.

The first citizenship by investment program was established in 1984 in St Kitts & Nevis, as has been mentioned already. Seeing how beneficial and advantageous it can be to the economy of the country, other Caribbean and European states have followed introducing their own CBI programs.

1984 – St Kitts & Nevis citizenship by investment program

1993 – Dominica citizenship by investment program

2011 – Cyprus citizenship by investment program

2012 – Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program

2013 – Grenada citizenship by investment program

2014 – Malta citizenship by investment program

2015 – Saint Lucia citizenship by investment program

Imperial & Legal works on the global market providing citizenship and residence advice and services to our clients. We support high net worth individuals and their families in obtaining a second passport or residence in a country of their choice.

We strongly believe in offering our valued customers only tailor-made and personal advice, that’s why we know which investment program for residence or citizenship is best for you and your family. Be it increased global mobility, beneficial taxation or security, there is a program and a country for you.

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