What is Citizenship by Investment?
Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs were created to encourage foreign capital investment in host country economies. Also known as immigrant investor program, CBI gives citizenship to foreign nationals in return for their investment in the host country’s economy. St. Kitts and Nevis were the first countries to offer this pathway to citizenship in 1984.
How Does It Work?
Unlike residency programs, CBI provides a direct route to citizenship without demonstrating years of residency. Once secured, the investor’s citizenship is permanent, no matter where they decide to live.
Foreigners can choose from a menu of investment options, including
· Real estate development projects (approved by the government)
· Business development initiatives
· Government bonds, capital, and investment funds
What Countries Give Citizenship By Investment?
Most countries have authorized mechanisms to confer citizenship in return for an investment in their culture, society, economy, and other priority areas. More affluent nations, such as Great Britain, are not in such great need of foreign investment from individuals, although they welcome it. Therefore, the bar for investment for citizenship is much higher, typically in the tens of millions of dollars. Some countries have discontinued their CBI programs, having met their economic objectives.
The countries with the most active CBI programs are Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Cambodia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Malta.
Grenada, located in the West Indies of the Caribbean, created its citizenship by investment program in 2013. The time from investment to citizenship is around two months. CBI is fostering economic development and growth in Grenada. Strategic investments, especially in sustainable agriculture and real estate development, is helping to develop a more sustainable and diverse stream of income for Grenada.
How Do Citizenship By Investment Programs Benefit Host Nations?
CBI programs promote significant investment in emerging economies. Further, by offering citizenship, host countries increase their intellectual capital, gaining expertise from a broad range of corporate, industry, and philanthropic leaders.
As we live through the new reality of COVID-19, we observe the economic devastation the pandemic has caused. For countries like Grenada and other Caribbean nations that depend on tourism, the pandemic has been particularly devastating. Programs such as citizen by investment create a robust infrastructure that fosters the development of diversified industries able to weather global disruptions.
What Are the Benefits for Investors?
Citizenship is typically acquired by birth, parentage, or marriage to a citizen, or by the process of naturalization. The latter usually requires many years of residency in the host country. Citizenship by investment offers a faster pathway to citizenship without a lengthy wait.
Unlike passport and visa programs, CBI creates a much stronger relationship between the investor and the state. Citizenship implies mutual responsibility. Investors and their families receive the same civil rights granted to those born in the country.
Having a second citizenship can be beneficial if one wants to move to a better education and lifestyle environment or take advantage of a more nurturing entrepreneurial climate.
Citizenship by Investment is one of the rare programs that are mutually beneficial to both foreigners seeking citizenship and host countries eager to secure capital to improve their economic climate. Foreign investments trickle down through the entire socio-economic structure. Host countries improve their capacity to compete in the global marketplace.