Lots of countries attract foreign investment through immigration programmes as a secure way to enhance economic activity and entice affluent investors to their shores.
However, choosing the optimal citizenship by investment programme requires expert insights into the benefits on offer and the level of investment needed.
In this guide, the Astons consultants have short-listed some of the most popular programmes for 2021 to showcase the value available by acquiring a second passport, investing in stable real estate markets, and securing global travel mobility.
Investing in a European Second Passport
Investors keen to acquire full EU citizenship status often opt for destinations like Montenegro, Malta or Bulgaria.
Other options include residency programmes, whereby the investor becomes eligible for permanent residency or citizenship after a certain period. These schemes are available in several prime EU countries, including Greece, Spain and Portugal.
However, there is an alternative option, allowing passport holders to travel freely throughout the EU, without the higher contribution thresholds in many European countries.
For example, investors can look at programmes in the Caribbean and Vanuatu. These options are more financially accessible, with investment requirements from $100,000, and offer second passport processing in as little as one to two months.
Benefits of European Citizenship by Investment
There are advantages to each investment route, but the benefits available to EU passport holders are highly desirable, including:
- Secure status as a European citizen
- Freedom to travel around the Schengen Zone
- Family member citizenship
- The option to travel to the US through an E2 visa
Below we've summarised some of the most attractive programmes, each hand-selected by Astons' immigration efforts as offering outstanding benefits.
Malta: Investments from €700,000 – €1.46 million
Investors can obtain Maltese residency, followed by a passport after three years. There is an accelerated route available, offering a passport within one year, depending on the level of investment.
The Maltese Investment Process
- Choose to invest €600,000 in a government fund to access to the standard citizenship pathway, or invest €750,000 to qualify for the accelerated second passport service.
- Rent property for €90,000 for five years, or purchase real estate for €700,000. Investors renting a property must maintain the lease for five years, at a minimum of €18,000 per annum.
- Make a charitable donation of €10,000, either to one or several charities in Malta.
Bulgaria: Investments from €512,000 – €1.024 million
Bulgaria also offers a standard and expedited route. Standard investments qualify for citizenship within six years or accelerated applicants in only two years.
The exact period depends on the value of the investment, and there are several options available.
Bulgarian Residency by Investment Options
- State bonds
- Shares in Bulgarian companies
- Intellectual property investments
- Trust fund deposits
Montenegro: Investments from €350,000
Real estate investments in Montego qualifying for residency must be at least €250,000, with an additional €100,000 non-refundable investment into a public fund.
The process takes three months from the point of application.
Turkey: Citizenship by Investment from €250,000
With a two month timeframe, the most popular route to Turkish citizenship is to purchase a property for €250,000. That may be a rental property, which the investor can sell after three years to recoup the investment.
Investors may also obtain a Turkish passport through other routes, including purchasing government bonds, launching a new business, or depositing funds in a Turkish bank.
Benefits of a Turkish Passport
- Visa-free entry to 110 countries, including Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
- Options to relocate quickly to the UK and open a business.
- Easy relocation as a passport holder of an E2 Treaty nation, enabling citizens to move to the US through a business visa.
Citizenship by Investment in Caribbean and Pacific Countries in 2021
Caribbean passports allow visa-free travel to the EU and UK, tax-friendly regimes, with no taxes payable on foreign income, dividends and inheritances, and whole family citizenship.
Grenada: Investments from $150,000 – $220,000
Grenada citizenship has a three to four-month application period and requires an investment of $150,000 in a government fund. Alternatively, investors can purchase real estate for $220,000.
Dominica: Investments from $100,000
This programme has a shorter two to three-month application process and requires either a $100,000 charitable donation or a purchase of a government-approved property for $200,000.
After three years of ownership, investors may sell the property and recover their investment.
Antigua and Barbuda: Investments from $100,000
In three to four months, investors can secure an Antigua and Barbuda passport by making a non-refundable government contribution of $100,000. The second option is to purchase a property approved by the government for $200,000 to $400,000.
St. Kitts & Nevis: Investments from $150,000
The minimum entry threshold for St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship is $150,000, made as a donation to charity. Investors can also purchase real estate for $200,000 to obtain a passport in two to three months.
This lower real estate value must be for partial property ownership, such as hotel real estate or a villa. Full property ownership requires a $400,000 minimum investment to qualify.
St. Lucia: Investments from $100,000
The non-refundable contribution route for St Lucia citizenship requires a $100,000 donation. Other options include a real estate purchase from $300,000 or investments in government bonds from $250,000.
Passports are issued in three to four months.
Vanuatu: Investments from $130,000
Our final programme is Vanuatu, with investments required from $130,000 in the governmental fund. The exact donation required depends on the number of family members.
For example, one person would need to invest $130,000, rising to $150,000 for a married couple, $165,000 with one child and $180,000 with two children.
To be eligible, investors must demonstrate bank funds of at least $250,000 and will be granted a passport in one month.