Immigrant investment programs, also known as investor visa programs, are government initiatives that allow foreign individuals to obtain residency or citizenship in a country by making a substantial financial investment. Participants typically contribute to the host country’s economy through investments in businesses, property, or other approved ventures.

Foreign investment programs allow individuals to live, work, and study in another country, stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. Examples include the EB-5 program in the US and Golden Visa programs in European countries like Portugal and Spain.

If you’re interested, this guide explains everything you need to know.

What is an immigrant investor program?

jewish community regional centers eb 5 green cards national security alien investor chosen investment net worth form i 526 immigrant 526 immigrant petition u.s economy citizenship and immigration services job creation encourage foreign investment targeted employment area investment requirements conditional permanent resident gain permanent residency investor program direct investment immigration process job creation requirements approved applicants congress created immigration status economic impact conditional green card adjust status average unemployment rate homeland security employment opportunities regional center residency status priority date immigration policy green card holder long term investment potential investors high unemployment areas two year period residence by investment immigrant petition by alien lawful source spouses and unmarried children hundreds of thousands at least three years remove conditions recent changes years depending set number department of homeland securityCommonly referred to as citizenship by investment or residency by investment, this program is a visa framework introduced by governments to attract foreign capital by offering residence visas or citizenship in return. These investment visas are implemented to stimulate the economy through foreign direct investment and job creation.

The specific eligibility requirements and advantages of each immigrant visa can vary widely from one country to another, but they usually involve the following key elements:

  1. Applicants must use foreign capital to make a substantial financial investment in the country.
  2. Each investor program sets a minimum investment threshold that applicants must fulfill to be eligible for residency or citizenship.
  3. Some investment programs require foreign investors to maintain their investments for a specified minimum period.
  4. Investor visa programs generally offer one of three types of legal status: Citizenship, resident, or permanent resident status.
  5. There may be other criteria for applicants, such as having a clean criminal record, good health, sufficient financial resources, and a proven investment or entrepreneurial track record.
  6. The time it takes for the visa application to be processed and approved can vary depending on the nation and the complexity of the application process.

Entrepreneur programs in some countries require external funding instead of personal finances. Canada and UK programs require entrepreneurs to present innovative business ideas, create jobs, and secure funding from approved entities in the country.

To be eligible for an investor visa, you need to show financial capacity. These programs offer mobility, business opportunities, and access to global markets, but regulations can change. Do your research before applying.

Investor Visa Requirements

There are a few investor visa requirements to consider before picking a country’s visa program or determining whether you fulfill the edibility criteria. All countries have distinct social and economic needs; therefore, the requirements for each program can vary significantly.

Singapore investment migration eligibility criteria, for example, require that applicants possess a track record of at least three years of entrepreneurial and business success. The one common requirement is to have liquid funds and make a qualifying investment to receive a residence permit or citizenship via an investment visa program.

Minimum investment amount: Investor programs worldwide have varying minimum qualifying investments, from bank deposits of $5,000 to capital investments of £10 million. The investment amount also depends on whether the program offers residency or citizenship. The cheapest citizenship by investment program starts at $100,000 before government fees.

Investment options: The investment choices on offer are primarily shaped by the economic requirements of each country. Standard investment options include:

  • Real estate investment
  • Purchasing government bonds
  • Bank deposits
  • Capital investment in approved funds
  • Establishing enterprises in areas of high unemployment
  • Non-refundable contributions to a national development fund

Character requirements: The general requirements concerning character and personal background for most investors programs include:

  • Being over 18 years old
  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Possessing good health and passing a medical exam
  • Submit all required identity documents for the visa application process

The World's Best Immigrant Investor Programs in 2024

From St. Lucia’s attractive passport by investment scheme to Antigua and Barbuda’s affordable citizenship program that grants you a passport in under four months, here are some of the best foreign investor programs to consider.


dominica citizenship by investment net worth national security permanent residence capital investment regional centers immediate family members application form citizenship and immigration services other countries residence by investment successful applicants eb 5 immigrant investor Dominica’s immigrant investor scheme is internationally acclaimed for offering the most value to foreign investors and business people. With investments starting from $100,000, investors can gain citizenship by investing in this slice of paradise within three to six months.

With excellent real estate options, world-class beaches, delicious cuisine, and proximity to the US, living in Dominica is perfect for people looking to retire in the Caribbean and live in peace.

A Dominica passport gives you visa-free travel and visa-on-arrival access to over 140 destinations, including Australia, Europe’s Schengen Area, and Hong Kong.

For more information, take a look at our guide to getting citizenship in Dominica.


Malta residence by investmentThe Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services program is another popular investor visa scheme attracting dozens of investors yearly. As a safe and stable EU country, Malta’s passport is extremely powerful, ranking amongst the top passports in the world regarding travel freedom.

Thanks to Malta’s investor visa scheme, qualifying investors can get passports in under a year in exchange for a capital contribution of €750,000 plus a real estate purchase of €700,000 or a property leased for a minimum of €16,000 annually and a philanthropic donation of €10,000.

The EU passport that immigrant investors can acquire facilitates borderless travel within Europe’s Schengen Area.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia’s investment visa program offers a quick path to citizenship through foreign investment. The lowest investment is a donation of $100,000 to the National Economic Fund (NEF). Investment can also be achieved by purchasing pre-approved real estate with a minimum investment of $200,000 or by establishing a new commercial enterprise.

Take a look at our Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment

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The Spain immigrant investment scheme — also known as the Spain Golden Visa — is one of the most popular European residence by investment programs granting immigrant entrepreneurs and their families Spanish residency in exchange for a real estate purchase of €500,000.

Spain is one of the best EU countries to consider if you’re looking for residency since it boasts a high quality of life, affordable living costs, and a low crime rate. The Spain investment migration program can lead to permanent residence after five years, provided the program’s eligibility requirements are met.

Potential citizenship is available in Spain after acquiring permanent residency and living there for ten years. Citizens of former Spanish colonies can apply for citizenship by naturalization after two years.


sailing in portugalConsidered one of the planet’s best investor visa programs Portugal Golden Visa has been a godsend for expats worldwide over the last ten years. This immigration investment visa provides countless benefits for foreigners, from an abundance of lucrative investment opportunities to becoming a non-habitual tax resident and enjoying huge tax savings.

Non-EU/EEA nationals can qualify for the Golden Visa program with an investment of €250,000, and investment options include:

  • Donating to cultural and heritage projects
  • Establishing businesses that create jobs
  • Contributing to investment funds
  • Investing in scientific research
  • Investing in a company’s share capital


The Greece Golden Visa has been highly sought-after to obtain long-term residency in an EU country.

The nation provides the lowest minimum investment for real estate purchases, with investments starting from €250,000.

Under Greece’s Non-Dom tax regime, investors can make substantial tax savings by paying an annual tax fee instead of traditional income taxes.


Cyprus provides one of the few immigration programs offering permanent residency status in the European Union by investing. With a property investment of €300,000 and a three-year bank deposit of €30,000, investors secure permanent residency with the option to obtain citizenship after seven years. For more information, look at our guide to the Cyprus Golden Visa.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda offers a popular investment migration program that grants citizenship to investors in exchange for a $100,000 donation to the National Development Fund. Other investment options include approved real estate projects worth $200,000 (held for at least five years) and donating to the University of the West Indies Fund. Passports are typically issued within three to six months, and family members are also eligible. For more information, check out our Antigua and Barbuda citizenship guide.

St. Kitts and Nevis

real estate citizenship st kittsSt. Kitts and Nevis offers the most flexible program for immigration investment. Acquiring a St. Kitts and Nevis passport starts with a minimum contribution of $250,000 to the Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC). Families typically opt to invest in property at the minimum value of $800,000 for a single-family private house, which can be reduced to $400,000 for joint ownership.

You don’t need any business experience to apply for citizenship by investment, nor is there a residence requirement before, during, or after the application. A key bonus of the program is that you can include a dependent spouse and children in the application, as well as enjoy visa-free access and options for eVisas to more than 150 countries with a St. Kitts and Nevis passport. Check out our St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment guide for more information.


immigration law immigration services uscis Grenada citizenship by investment department of homeland security green card terminated regional centers investor's admission preference visa necessary investment participants receive spouses and unmarried children admission to the united within two years least 10 remove conditions may apply immigrant petition by alien indirect jobs alien entrepreneur designated regional center employment based green cards capital invested priority date commercial enterprises direct jobs may apply unmarried children appropriate fees congress created permanent residents within two years form i 526 create or preserve u.s workers 5 immigrant investor program immigration services uscis least 10 immigration law rural areas green card rural areas immigration services regional centers foreign national eb 5 visa years old application form investment funds economic activity new company visa application visa applications consular processing golden visas immigrant visa application new commercial travel freely further information permanent resident status filing date golden visa program immigrant entrepreneurs targeted employment area visa free travel visa application process may apply required amount high unemployment national visa center new commercial enterprise obtain citizenship immigrant visa applications 5 immigrant investor program eb 5 immigrant investor direct job creation either a rural area unmarried children appropriate fees form i 526 visas obtain established lawful permanent visa program offers subject businesses responsibility economic employment maintain commitment seek designated pay services additionally obtaining securities successful billions aware programme guidelines eligibility person example conduct transition arrival limit purchase enhance preserve regulation residing required reside area with high unemployment category engaging contact adjudication screening filled interview pathway converted page create or preserve teas individuals designed requirement questions purposes recent faqs case hold source today removed time months right long facts applicants must choice way experiencedGrenada’s economic citizenship program is internationally recognized as one of the best family investment programs. Investment requirements start with a contribution of $150,000 to the country’s National Transformation Fund (NTF). There is also the option for a joint or sole property purchase.

The country provides excellent approved real estate projects for investment and a world-class lifestyle in a Caribbean paradise. Furthermore, Grenada is the only Caribbean country offering investors the chance to settle in the USA through the US E-2 Visa Program.

Check out our Grenada citizenship by investment guide for further information on investing in Grenada.


turkey immediate citizenshipTurkey offers a compelling CBI program for several reasons, one of the main ones being its program’s affordability.

Compared to many other CBI programs, Turkey’s investment thresholds are relatively low, and coupled with the low cost of living, it’s ideal for expats looking for more accessible CBI options.

Investments start from $400,000 in real estate, and different to Caribbean citizenship by investment programs, real estate purchases are not restricted to specific locations or government-approved real estate projects.

For more information, check out our Turkey citizenship by investment guide here.


Vanuatu has one of the most cost-effective CBI programs globally, making it an attractive option for investors seeking second citizenship at a reasonable investment level. The program boasts a straightforward application process, with just one investment option:

A contribution of $130,000 to the government fund. Due to the simplicity of the application process and qualifying investment, the country offers the fastest CBI program available, with citizenship granted within two months.

For more information, explore our Vanuatu citizenship by investment guide.

United States

usa investor visa st lucia citizenship real estate net worth other countries commercial enterprise visa category two years filing date targeted employment area integrity act employment based 1 million golden visas promoting economic growth permanent resident status immigrant petition permanent resident lawful permanent residence regional center program high unemployment investor program integrity act visa holders approved applicants green card immigrant visa eb 5 lawful permanent residents visa application visa applications consular processing golden visa job creation foreign investors residence permit immigrant visa application commercial enterprise permanent resident status filing date security concerns targeted employment area residence by investment employment based obtain citizenship lawful permanent residence visa holders lawful permanent visa program offers remove conditions permanent residents In 1992, US Congress established the EB 5 Immigrant Investor Visa, also called the Regional Center Program, which grants EB-5 residence visas to foreigners who invest in commercial business associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on business proposals promoting economic growth. The EB-5 requirements are twofold. Firstly, you must make a capital investment in a new commercial enterprise of no less than $1,050,000.

You can invest in areas of high unemployment, also known as Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), to qualify for a reduced investment amount of $800,000. However, your business must be established in a TEA to qualify for the reduced amount. A TEA is typically a deprived or rural area with high unemployment, defined as having an average unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average.

The second requirement is job creation. You must plan to create or save at least ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. Meeting these requirements can lead to the freedom to leave and enter the USA as a permanent resident, as well as the opportunity to become a conditional green card holder.

As an alien entrepreneur, you can remove the conditional status on your Green Card after holding it for two years. Green Cards provide a path to US citizenship for successful investors and their family members.

United Kingdom

United-Kingdom-London-Big-BenThe UK has its own version of an investor program, allowing entrepreneurs who establish innovative commercial enterprises that create jobs to obtain a temporary residence visa leading to permanent residency in just three years.

In exchange for their contributions to promoting economic growth, eventual citizenship is possible.

The Home Office, the government agency that manages citizenship and immigration services in the UK, requires applicants to secure a letter of support and investment from an approved endorsing body in the country. The investment must also be in active and trading UK-registered companies.

After three years, investors can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). For more details, look at our UK citizenship by investment guide.


Canadian immigration by investmentinvestment must u.s workers form i 526 employment based eb 5 program canadian citizenship and immigration services capital investment promoting economic growth permanent resident status targeted employment area job creation immigrant petition commercial enterprise net worth 1 million immigration status immigrant visa citizenship and immigration services consular processing golden visa eb 5 program new commercial targeted employment area employment based immigration services uscis form i 526 u.s workers investment must is undoubtedly possible for a foreign national. Widely considered one of the best countries in the world to live in, Canada has much to offer international investors and provides several visa options.

Successful applicants can become Canadian lawful permanent residents through the Canada Start-Up Visa Program. Like the UK Innovator Visa, Start-Up Visas in Canada require innovative business ideas that create jobs and are funded and supported by designated organizations.

Canada offers affordable, high-quality education, vibrant and multicultural cities, and a high welfare standard. The Start-Up Visa program is an excellent choice for those wanting to access the North American market.

Canadian law allows immigrant investors to apply for citizenship after five years. The previous option, QIIP, required a CAD 1.2 million government bond contribution for five years, but it is currently suspended until 2024.

What is the best investor visa program?

Malta immigration investment program

The best investor visa program depends on which elements of the program are important to you. This could be the fast application process, including additional family members in the application. Malta’s Residency by Investment program is considered one of the best, with numerous advantages, including:

  • A range of affordable investment options starting from €300,000 plus an economic contribution and donation
  • A high-performing real estate market, making a property investment for an visa extremely valuable
  • The right to live, work and study in Malta
  • Freedom of opportunity for you and your immediate family
  • The ability to travel anywhere in Europe’s Schengen Area
  • Special tax benefits
  • Granting you a life in a beautiful sunny nation with low crime rates and excellent quality of life

Taxes and Investor Programs

An immigrant visa can affect taxes in various ways, depending on the country’s tax laws and the specific terms of the program. Here are some common tax considerations for immigrant investors:

Tax residency: A different tax residence entails being subject to different tax rates concerning income, wealth, capital gains, and inheritance. Some countries allow investors to transfer their tax residence without relocating to the country.

Taxation of worldwide income: Tax residents in many places pay tax on worldwide income, including immigrant investors. They may need to declare and pay taxes on their income from both their home country and their new country of residence. Checking for a double taxation agreement is recommended.

Tax exemptions or incentives: Some investor programs offer tax incentives or exemptions as part of their investment packages. Special tax frameworks, like the Portugal NHR tax regime and the Greece Non-Dom tax regime, provide tax incentives that include tax breaks on certain types of income, capital gains, or other tax benefits to attract investors.

How Can Global Citizen Solutions Help You?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique migration consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship by investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we have helped hundreds of clients worldwide acquire citizenship, residence visas, or homes while diversifying their portfolios with robust investments.

We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application.

Frequently Asked Questions about Investment Immigration Programs

What is migration by investment?

Migration by investment is when investors are granted a visa for residency or the right to become a citizen in exchange for investing in a country’s economy.

Is investing in a visa worth it?

Investing in an foreigner visa depends on personal circumstances, financial objectives, and the terms of the program. Factors include becoming a permanent resident or citizen, accessing investment opportunities, or optimizing taxes.

What’s the best investor visa to obtain?

Malta offers an affordable investment option with potential returns and a straightforward process for obtaining a Permanent Residence Visa. Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment program offers Caribbean passports for investors and their immediate family members with a minimum investment of under $200,000.

What is residency through investment?

Residency through investment involves investing in a country in exchange for legal residency. Many countries offer ‘Golden Visas’ or ‘residency by investment’ programs. The prerequisites can be short or long-term investments in various options.

Will I be required to reside in the country where I invest?

Investor visa requirements vary by country, with some programs mandating a minimum stay to keep the visa. Others do not.

Can I eventually apply for citizenship through an Immigrant Investor Program?

Investor programs can offer citizenship through investment, such as Vanuatu’s program that grants citizenship within two months. Investment residence programs in many countries also provide a path to citizenship through naturalization.

Can I apply for an immigrant investor program as a tourist in the country?

Most investment immigrant visas require investors to submit visa applications to the country’s consulate or embassy in their country of residence or citizenship.

What happens if my application for an immigrant investor program is rejected?

If your visa application gets rejected, available consequences and options depend on the immigration policies and program’s terms of the country. Some programs offer an appeal process, while others may refund the initial investment if the application is unsuccessful.

Is there a quota or limit on the number of participants in investor programs?

Most countries have quotas or limits on their investor programs to control the influx of immigrants and manage the program’s impact on the local economy and society.

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