Residency vs. citizenship by investment: What’s the best option?

Although the world is a global village that is connected in so many ways, there are different rules that come to play when a person is trying to stay and settle in a country.

These sets of rules allow the government (through its agencies) to control its borders and account for those in it. Often at times, people look to make their lives better by applying for a second residency or citizenship in a new country they have grown to love both for business purposes and the local lifestyle.

By doing this, they can open several doors of opportunities for themselves and their loved ones like healthcare, education and business opportunities. Here will investigate the benefits of residency and citizenship by investment to support you and your family’s direction of investment in the near future.

From Malta to Portugal to the USA, Countries across the globe make provisions for residency and citizenship by investment programs. These programs allow foreigners to invest domestically in return for a status of permanent citizenship or residency; this is either in the form of real estate or other forms of commercial investments.

This article will take a look at residency by investment as well as citizenship by investment. This article will be presented in a bid to help you better understand and potentially make a crucial decision concerning residency and citizenship all over the world.

What is residency-by-investment?

This is simply the process whereby a foreigner obtains permanent residency in a foreign land in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy. This process is not only quicker than the traditional method of applying; it is also much more effective.

Check out the most popular residency by investment schemes in Europe.

Reasons to invest in permanent residency

There are many reasons why individuals invest in permanent residency, it is made for purposes such as; education, long-term work, running a business enterprise, lifestyle, a love of the culture and many more. Residency by investment opens up doors through which individuals can enjoy increased global mobility throughout the world.

Permanent residency is a visa status that allows the bearer to legally reside in the host country without being a citizen. As a permanent resident, you have the liberty to live, work, attend school and access health care in the host country.

We’ve already shared detailed information on how healthcare works for foreigners, in Portugal.

Live in a safer place

People who live in countries where there is war or any form of social unrest can ensure that they are safe through a residency-by-investment scheme in a safer, more stable part of the world. Not only will this ensure their safety, but it would also open them up to a world of new opportunities perhaps not previously presented to them.

Which countries offer this program?

A lot of countries offer residency by investment programs in a bid to attract foreign direct investment. Examples of countries that offer residency programs include:

  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Portugal
  • UAE
  • USA
  • and the UK

Each country has varying sets of requirements that applicants must fulfill, for example, some countries require that you must have traveled a number of times to the host country while others don’t.

Some of the more generally found requirements include:

  • Having a clean criminal record.
  • Clearly showing the legal source of the funds that are to be invested into a host country.
  • Investing in a government-approved option such as; real estate or government bonds.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of countries where this is arranged and their terms:


Brazil’s residency-by-investment program is relatively inexpensive and it requires a minimum investment of $160,000. Once this minimum investment is met, then you can acquire your permanent residency visa.


Malta boasts of a lot of potential benefits to foreign investors due to the Mediterranean lifestyle of the locals and the relatively high standard of living. Apart from not having a criminal record; you also need to be in good health to be considered. You need to invest at least 150,000 euros in bonds, stocks, and debentures and sustain such investments for at least 5 years to achieve residency.

Understanding how citizenship by investment works

Becoming a citizen of a country can either be achieved traditionally by marriage or staying in the country for several years and personally applying as an individual. Citizenship by investment goes a notch higher than residency by investment; the former allows you to enjoy the same benefits as other citizens of the host country. Often at times, acquiring citizenship by investment means that you will become a dual citizen and have passports for both your country of origin and the country which you are investing in.

Residency vs citizenship by investment: Pros and Cons

There are similar pros and cons when it comes to residency by investment and citizenship by investment. Here we will outline both the pros and cons and then give a short explanation to account for their differences thereafter.


  • You enjoy social services and privileges from both countries;
  • This allows you to enjoy voting rights in such a country;
  • You have the right to own property.

Depending on the terms of the countries involved, you can maintain your existing citizenship and become a fully-fledged dual citizen.


  • You might have to pay taxes to your country of origin and also pay tax to your adopted country.
  • There are certain instances when the laws of your country of origin will clash with those of your adopted country. A good example of this is the US and Nigeria where both countries have different laws concerning LGBTQ rights. A dual citizen with passports from both countries will face a conflicting set of laws.
  • The cost of securing residency or citizenship by investment as well as the time and effort required is often long if this process is pursued individually without expert consultancy and legal support.

Residency vs citizenship by investment: Which is the better option?

When comparing residency and citizenship by investment it’s not exactly fair to assume that one option is ‘better’ than the other because it depends on certain factors and individual circumstances, and everyone is different in their personal requirements.

It’s important to consider different factors

When considering which option suits you better, you need to consider factors such as; family, personal interests, terms of the country involved, income, lifestyle, business enterprise opportunities and so on. Just for example, if you are someone who is interested in the political state of where you reside, you would most likely want to vote in your host country, therefore citizenship by investment is the more suitable option for you.

Residency permits may expire if certain conditions aren’t met

Residency by investment differs from citizenship by investment because the former specifically refers to a person’s visa status. Residency by investment is issued for a particular period of time after which it stops being valid and/or expires.

Citizenship allows you to carry a second passport

Another important difference to take note of is the fact that being a legally recognized citizen allows you to carry a passport of such a country – a huge benefit for those that require constant travel for work or business.

Ordinarily, you might want to assume that citizenship by investment is the way to go and you will probably be right. On the other hand, if your country of origin has better living conditions that your adopted country then it might be better to opt for residency by investment.

Residency vs. citizenship by investment: what should you invest in?

The advantages of both residency by investment as well as citizenship by investment are numerous. Taking either step can mark the beginning of a new life for you and yours; you will enjoy travel benefits as well as other benefits that ordinarily pass you by.

Through permanent residency and citizenship investment programs, investors can save a lot of stress by avoiding visa applications.

To conclude, its highly advised that for the quickest and most efficient process, you consult experienced citizenship lawyers and tax accountants for expert advice before going on to make a decision. Residency and citizenship by investment may seem like a complex decision to make with regards to your specific desired investment channel, but a consultancy with experience in both paths will be able to understand your personal situation; exactly what you wish to invest, how much you wish to invest and how you wish to process this investment.

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