By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.
Citizenship with no commotion: Which countries offer a passport without migrating?
The vast majority of people believe that the process of obtaining a second citizenship or another nationality is long and tedious. Most look to countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and the UK, along with other European countries, only to be faced with their stringent requirements.
These requirements are both costly and time-consuming, often demanding people to reside in the country for a significant period of time, assimilating the culture and learning a new native language. However, another solution exists that many are not be familiar with.
A few countries in the world grant individuals full citizenship without the trouble of moving there and all other difficulties associated with it. Under such programs, these countries simply require a financial contribution or real estate investment in exchange of providing individuals and stakeholders a second citizenship in a period of two to six months.
For wealthy and affluent businessmen and entrepreneurs who do not have the option of immigrating without disrupting their lives, these programs are ideal as they can provide them and their families with the ability to obtain a second passport in a swift and convenient manner.
The following are the most prominent countries in the world that provide people with full citizenships without ever residing there:
Number one on the list is Cyprus. This is due to the fact that it is the only country that grants investors a European passport in only 6 months without ever re-locating. The passport allows access to 145 countries visa-free and most importantly the possibility to live and work anywhere within the European Union. Obtaining a Cypriot nationality comes with a price tag of Euros 2 Million in luxury real estate, however, for wealthy businessmen becoming a European national is the best option for their families and businesses, certainly well worth investing in.
These individuals have also realized the investment power in Cyprus’ booming real estate market. In addition, according to the Cypriot citizenship law, an investor is eligible to sell the property after 3 years, keeping one lower in value for Euros 500,000. This provides investors with the opportunity of making a profit while retaining full citizenship status.
Grenada is a Caribbean country that has seen a great surge in demand for its citizenship. Grenada is special because is the only country in the Caribbean with a citizenship program which allows citizens to apply for an E-2 visa which grants them residency in the USA. The Grenadian passport is the only Caribbean passport that allows visa-free access to China, which can be a major advantage for stakeholders with business operations and ties with China.
Grenada grants its passport for a USD 200,000 financial contribution to the country’s National Transformation Fund. The country’s passport holders do not need to relocate to Grenada, and they will also get visa-free access to 120 countries including China, Schengen states, and the United Kingdom.
The citizenship by investment program being offered by this beautiful island in the Caribbean has become a major international player. It namely rose to fame because with a recent change in the legislation the citizenship program became more affordable and because it does not require you visit the country at any point in time.
A USD 100,000 contribution to St. Lucia’s National Economic Fund or an investment in a Government-Approved project in St. Lucia will lawfully grant you a second passport allowing you instant visa-free travel to 123 countries worldwide including the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom as well as other notable international business and tourist hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong. With the launch of The Ritz-Carlton Resort in St. Lucia, that is set to open its doors in 2021, the resort is set to be a major contributor to the country CBI program.
Another favorite country among citizenship by investment programs without the need to immigrate is the Commonwealth of Dominica. It is one of the most cost-effective programs and allows visa-free access to 118 countries. The program has been established since 1991 and it grants an individual full citizenship rights for a financial contribution of USD 100,000 to the country’s Government Fund. Another investment option is Dominica’s Government-Approved real estate projects such as Kempinski Hotel, through which investors have a tangible investment with a profitable potential.
Saint Kitts & Nevis
This Caribbean country allows you to acquire its citizenship without immigrating and living in it at any point in time. It requires a financial contribution of USD 250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) or a real estate investment of USD 400,000 in any Government Approved project. St. Kitts passport offers visa-free travel to 129 countries included Schengen states and United Kingdom.
Antigua & Barbuda
Unlike other countries in the Caribbean, Antigua does require you to visit the country for at least 5 days before granting you its citizenship, which is certainly worthwhile as the country is stunning. The citizenship program requires a minimum financial contribution of USD 250,000 to the National Development Fund or a USD 400,000 in the country’s Government-Approved project. Its passport allows you visa-free access to 129 worldwide including all of the Schengen zone, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other first world countries.
This is the last country on our list. We chose to mention Portugal in this list because it technically could grants you citizenship without moving or living in the country. The major difference with Portugal and the rest of the countries on the list is that an individual need to obtain a Residency card in Portugal and maintain the card for a period of 5 years, subsequently obtain Permanent Residency and after year 6 he or she could be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship, provided that they have a basic knowledge of Portuguese language. The initial residency card is granted after an initial investment of Euros 500,000 in real estate anywhere in Portugal and must be renewed a couple of times over the first 5 years.
Once your citizenship is granted, according to the law your passport is irrevocable. Each country, with the exception of Portugal, process the citizenship in a timeframe of two to six months, the period varies from one country to the other and from case to case.