How Do Citizenship by Investment Programs Work?

  • When you enroll in a citizenship by investment program, you are essentially gifted citizenship in exchange for an economic contribution. This is an entirely legal process in what we call the CBI countries, such as Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Vanuatu, Malta and Turkey.

1. Gather the necessary documents

We are talking about a complex bureaucratic process, so expect to be asked for many documents of your current condition such as financial statements, personal documents, business documents & medical. It is important to get expertise on this as a bad submission with forgotten documents may lead you to getting rejected.

2. File your application through an agent

Once you have all those documents, find an agent who would act as your liaison. You will have to file your application exclusively using them. Depending on the program and country – you would need to notarize the originals and send copies. At this point of the application, again depending on the program – you would need to pay initial professional and Govt. fees to get the due diligence process started.

3. Wait for the letter of approval

The Government appointed entity will comb through your application and conduct its internal due diligence for a period of 90 days for most programs (some are shorter). During the period, they may ask for supporting documents or they may not, it is entirely left up to their discretion

  • Make the necessary payment

If everything is OK, you will receive an approval letter after which you must pay the donation or real estate investment and any outstanding Govt. or professional fees.

5. Obtain your certificate of citizenship

At last! After going through all those steps and waiting months between each one, your certificate of citizenship will finally be issued. In this case, you are going to be naturalized as the newest citizen of the country. Nowadays, you will be delivered the citizenship certificate by post together with your new passport.

pros and cons for citizenship by investment

Pros and Cons of Citizenship by Investment

At a first glance, citizenship by investment programs are excellent. They allow you to do business in other countries, they create an opportunity to obtain a passport which is often stronger than your birth one. You even end up contributing to the development of a country! However, we know that nothing is perfect. While those programs are perfectly legal, we have to learn their weak points too.

In this article, we are going to navigate all the pros and cons of entering a citizenship by investment program. Each host country has slightly different rules for you to participate, such as accepting real estate investments, donations, or both. However, those programs are generally similar enough for us to compare them. We hope that you get a better understanding of the process after reading this.

Pro: Help make a whole country better

Citizenships by investment increases funding for the country’s improvement through infrastructure development, job creation, and other projects. It is a matter of the government applying the money the right ways. That is why most countries that offer such programs are currently underdeveloped.

  • More attractive tax conditions

Some countries do not charge global income tax or inheritance tax. Many people seek citizenship by investment there so they can apply their capital in better conditions. Some people dislike programs like those because they facilitate money laundering, but that is a matter of each person’s intention.

  • Easy way towards international travel

It’s possible to get a passport that grants you more opportunities. Making international travel easier is highly useful for people who have many business partners around the world and for people who want to travel to many countries. Those passports offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to them.

  • High costs everywhere

First of all, the citizenship by investment program is about donating and/or investing a large sum of money in the host country. Besides that, you will have to pay agent fees and due diligence. And if it gets refused, most of all these fees will not be refunded. Be prepared if you are serious about that.

  • Not everyone is allowed to participate

Countries such as Belarus, Iran, North Korea, and Russia have international sanctions. Their citizens are automatically forbidden from acquiring a citizenship by investment. Parallel to that, you will be subjected to background checks as soon as you file your application, which might lead to a refusal.

  • There are no miracles

In essence, citizenship by investment programs are a way to legally buy the citizenship of the host country. Over time, that tends to harm the country’s international image and, as a result, weaken its passport. In other words, one of its strongest favorable arguments is bound to fade in the future.

After reading all those pros and cons, our best recommendation is to talk to an expert. This person may perform a preemptive analysis and provide you with valuable tips to decide whether it is good to even start the process. This way, you will be better prepared for the next steps and/or will avoid spending on a failed project. Informing yourself and acting carefully is the best way to do this right!

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