There are many reasons why people might want to become citizens of other countries.
These can range from personal (better quality of life) to security reasons (a safe haven in times of political or social unrest), to business and financial reasons (for example better tax conditions for companies) and international visa-free travel.
A number of countries have programs where citizenship can be obtained by investment – through purchasing property, opening businesses and employing local people, or making a donation to government funds.
Below we list the cheapest citizenship by investment programs around the world.
Vanuatu, an island chain in the South-Western Pacific Ocean, has the cheapest citizenship by investment program in the world, requiring an investment of just $130,000 into its government’s Vanuatu Development Support Program. It also has a fast-track timescale delivering citizenship in just a month without requiring travel or residency on the island. Its favourable taxation system reinforces its popularity.
Programs for citizenship in the Caribbean states of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Kitts & Nevis offer easier routes to citizenship than European states, and their citizenship by investment programs are less expensive, ranging between $100,000 and $150,000. The timescale to citizenship is around 2 to 5 months. Investments can be made in real estate, business, securities or a donation to state funds. Antigua and Barbuda is the only state requiring investors to come to the country, but it only stipulates 5 days within 5 years. A passport to any of the above countries will enable visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone and the right to stay in the zone for up to 90 days in six months, or in the UK for 180 days in a year. It also helps in the process of applying for visas to visit the USA, particularly for holders of a Grenadian passport.
Turkey has been one of the less expensive countries to offer citizenship by investment. However, from 13 June 2022, the minimum required investment in real estate in the country rose from $250,000 to $400,000 with a requirement to retain ownership of the property for three years. There are no residency requirements and citizenship takes around 90 days if going through the property investment route. Benefits include easy travel in the Schengen Zone, 110 visa-free countries and a high standard of living and very good educational facilities.
Malta, though a more expensive route than Vanuatu or the Caribbean, is one of the only countries in the EU offering citizenship by investment. There is a requirement to invest a non-refundable 150,000 Euros and buy property with a value over 700,000 Euros or to rent at a rate of 18,000 Euros per year. Any real estate can be sold after 5 years with the investor retaining their Maltese citizenship. Although more expensive than the Caribbean and Vanuatu routes, Maltese citizenship opens up visa-free travel as well as business, education and health benefits throughout the European Union, making it an attractive destination. Citizenship takes 12-36 months.
Though not yet a member of the European Union, it is less expensive than its European counterparts, Malta and Cyprus to become a citizen by investment, with a requirement for a 100,000 Euro non-refundable contribution plus investment to the value of 250,000 Euros to 450,000 Euros in government-approved projects. Citizenship takes around 4-6 months. The program stops accepting applications and closes on December 31, 2022, due to the prospect of joining the European Union.
If you are looking to obtain citizenship through investment, our team of international experts can give you all the help and advice you need.