What is citizenship?
What exactly does citizenship mean? You are given citizenship by a state and are therefore automatically entitled to a number of rights and privileges you wouldn’t normally have.
- The right to live and travel freely in the country, as well as in other countries with which the nation has special agreements with
- The right to vote
- The right to work
In return, you accept the responsibility of complying with the laws and rules of the respective state.
What is citizenship by investment?
Citizenship by investment (CBI) is a process by which an individual obtains a second passport and second citizenship by investing in the country ― usually in the form of property investment. Depending on the country, there are specific requirements for the investment you can make, and different benefits associated with the passport you acquire.
Can I buy a passport?
Often when people talk about how you can buy a passport, they talk about citizenship by investment or CBI. However, no one can “buy a passport” legally, but with citizenship by investment programs you can ultimately obtain a second passport more quickly and easily than through other immigration methods.
Let’s face it, not everyone has the need nor the finances to seek economic citizenship. Citizenship planning takes time, money, resources, and effort. However, the rewards surpass the challenges, particularly if you have a weak-ranking passport, are in immediate or imminent danger, or are simply looking to protect your wealth and assets and safeguard your family members’ personal freedoms.
In a globalized world, the importance of citizenship planning is paramount and is not to be underestimated. Obtaining a second citizenship can be extremely rewarding, opening up countless opportunities for yourself and your family members. However, obtaining the wrong citizenship can cost you.
If you plan well, passport by investment offers safety, infinite possibilities, and unparalleled freedoms. Some key questions to bear in mind before you even begin to consider pursuing citizenship by investment (CBI) are the following:
- What am I looking to get out of my investment?
- How much money do I want to invest to acquire citizenship?
- Do I want to include my whole family in the application?
- Do I care more about obtaining a powerful passport, or am I ok with an ok-ranking passport that provides other perks?
- Do I want to relocate to the country I invest in?
- How much time can I set aside to dedicate to the application?
- Do I want to do this on my own or enlist the help of a qualified professional?
- Should I apply for citizenship or residency by investment program? (more on residency by investment programs further in the article).
These are just some of the questions that you should be asking yourself before choosing a country or program. It is also worth thinking about the benefits to family members, for example. Having the answers to these questions will ultimately help you decide which citizenship by investment (CBI) scheme to go for. A residency by investment program may also be better suited to you, so do some research into a residency by investment options available to you. An important piece of advice is to take your time. If you ever feel conceded, conflicted, or undecided, research all the possibilities and, if needed, ask a qualified industry expert.
Citizenship by investment overview
Let’s go back a few steps. What even is citizenship? Put simply, citizenship is a social contract between the individual and the state to work together to accomplish mutual benefits. It is a symbiotic relationship, where the citizen accepts legal responsibility and, in return, the state grants them rights to fully function and grow in society.
Naturally, a passport is an extension of this. Basically, a stamp of sorts that provides the citizen with the right to enter and leave the country freely and travel visa free to certain countries. Each passport varies in strength and desirability, although the general principle is the same. The passport provides the holder with evidence of their citizenship status and provides a myriad of opportunities for the person to travel around the world somewhat freely.
So, what about citizenship by investment? Traditionally, citizenship has been granted through birth, naturalization, and marriage. However, as mentioned, these are no longer the only options. Now, there is another pathway to secure citizenship, which is called citizenship by investment (or passport by investment). In essence, the investor will invest a lump sum of money into a country’s economy and, in return, they are rewarded with citizenship.
These are called citizenship programs. Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs have become increasingly popular, with several countries now offering some form of program. Each citizenship program will have its own specific criteria set forth by a government through which an individual is able to “apply” for and, in return obtain the nation’s citizenship via an investment for themselves and family members (for example into real estate, a capital transfer, an investment fund or through a donation into the development in a certain area). It is quite simple, really. You make an investment and you can obtain citizenship. Obviously, there are eligibility criteria, certain time processes in place, and other nuances, but this is the gist of it.
Considering not every citizenship by investment (CBI) program is the same, there is often confusion about which program legitimately provides direct citizenship versus residency by investment programs that allow citizenship through naturalization further down the line.
Don’t worry, you can get fully up to speed on the differences between residency and citizenship by investment.
What citizenship by investment is and isn’t
What it is:
- A structured application process
- 100% legal and backed by international law
- Fast-track to citizenship
What it isn’t:
- A scam
- A way for an investor to avoid tax responsibilities
- A way to “buy citizenships”
Why Do People Invest in a Second Citizenship?
Never has freedom of movement been so great. With travel and global mobility in its prime years, second citizenship and a second passport by investment is increasingly valued for the wealth of advantages it brings.
Second citizenship essentially offers twice the opportunities, including the right to travel, live, work, and study in two countries. It provides security — a ‘plan b’ — in times of insecurity and reduces your family’s exposure to personal and financial risk. Dual citizenship opens up doors to more visa-free travel, provides twice the social and tax benefits, as well as offering the ability to diversify your assets and acquire residency in a low-tax paying nation.