What Is Citizenship by Investment?

What Is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs are relatively a fast way to become a citizen in a foreign country. Investors can obtain second citizenship and a passport by completing a qualified investment in certain countries. It’s basically buying citizenship by investment.

These citizenship programs offer a variety of investment options to become eligible. These options include real estate investment, donations to funds of governments, or business investment. 

Citizenship by investment programs also provides visa-free travel to many countries worldwide. 

Certain residency by investment programs can also lead to citizenship after a certain period of time. Portugal, Greece, and Spain are among these countries that provide residency at first.

In this article, you can find more information about how citizenship by investment program works . The benefits of these programs and the main eligibility criteria are also available in the next sections of this article.

What Is Citizenship?

Let’s first clarify what citizenship means. Being a citizen means that you are a member of a country. Your citizenship status allows you certain rights such as working or voting in that particular country. In return for these, you’re expected to obey certain laws and customs.

Typically, you become a citizen of a nation you were born in. There are also some ways to change your citizenship. Marriage or naturalization are among these options. When you become a resident in a country, and stay there for a certain amount of time, naturalization can occur.

What Does Citizenship by Investment Mean?

Citizenship by investment is a faster option to get citizenship, compared to other traditional methods. When you qualify for an investment option, you can apply for a country’s citizenship program. So, the host country grants investors citizenship in return for their investment. 

Why Investors Apply for Citizenship by Investment Programs?

Some investors prefer these programs both for themselves and their families. The main advantages of these programs include ease of mobility between countries, safety and business interests. 

It Offers an Extended Global Mobility

The countries offering citizenship by investment also provide powerful passports. Today, many passports restrict your visa-free mobility. So, you need to get a visa to travel to another country. However, countries like Malta offer visa-free travel to more than 180 countries for its citizens. These types of passports both save you time and lots of paperwork. They’re also quite useful for business people who travel a lot. 

To give an example, a Portugal passport provides its citizens visa-free access to 188 countries. Portugal does not offer direct country citizenship by investment. However, you can first apply for its residency through an investment program. When you fulfill the minimum required period of residency, you can apply for citizenship.

You Can Create New Business Opportunities

Because you have easy access to a wide range of countries, it becomes easier to do and manage new businesses. In this way, you’ll have an international business network. You can also do business in your host country as well. 

Your Family Can Also Apply With You

Citizenship by investment programs considers the family members of the main applicants as well. To this end, many of them allow the inclusion of immediate family members into the program, usually the spouse and dependent children. Some of them even allow for extended family inclusion and include the main applicant’s parents, grandparents, or parents-in-law. 

In this way, your family members gain most of the same rights as you do. Also, you don’t need to leave your family behind.

CBI programs may also become a good investment for children’s future. Many countries offering citizenship by investment provide world-class education systems. They also provide high-quality healthcare services for their citizens. 

Education Opportunities

Holding a second citizenship status means potential access to domestic education fees instead of international fees. Also, you’ll have access to some of the best schools and universities in the world. 

High Living Standards

Citizenship by investment offers you an alternative place to move to. Furthermore, you can choose this place. When you obtain a second citizenship, you’ll have access to top-notch health facilities and a quality lifestyle. 

Safety and Security

Some of the investors choose these programs because they’re uncomfortable with the conditions in their home country. So, a second passport provides them stability and peace. When you get a passport by investment from a peaceful country, you can enjoy stability in politics and society. Such developed countries also provide improved economies.

Tax Incentives

Some countries allow you to be taxed only on the income you earn in that particular country. Also, they do not tax capital gains. In this way, it becomes easier to manage your funds. So, you’ll not be subject to a tax burden. 

Note that you need to check the country’s specific conditions to make use of these benefits beforehand. 

How Citizenship by Investment Programs Benefit Countries

Citizenship by investment programs attract foreign direct investments. The programs allow the host countries to receive new sources of funds. 

Countries use such funds for real estate development, job creations, or projects like infrastructure. The programs are also good ways to attract talents from various countries. This enables the host country to improve its economy and diversify its certain markets.

In this way, both the host country and you as an investor benefit from these programs. 

How To Be Eligible For Citizenship by Investment

Not all countries require the same criteria to become eligible for these programs. For example, while some entail proof of medical examinations, others don’t. Still, certain requirements apply under most countries’ CBI programs.

Some common requirements to be eligible for CBI programs are:

  • Having a clean criminal record,
  • Demonstrating the source of the investment funds, and 
  • Investing in an approved investment option such as an investment in government bonds, capital transfer, or real estate investment.

Again, you need to check each requirement a country entails in detail. Consulting a professional in the very beginning will save you time and effort.

Countries That Offer Citizenship by Investment Programs

Today, many countries provide citizenship through investment programs. Their number keeps growing as well. 

You can find a list of some popular countries that offer CBI programs below.


Malta’s program requires a minimum investment amount of €690,000. The program grants citizenship within 12 or 36 months, depending on your investment choice. The Maltese passport has visa-free access to a total of 186 countries, including the USA. 

St. Kitts and Nevis

The country offers a fast-track process, granting you citizenship within three to six months. Its passport allows visa-free access to 157 countries. The minimum required investment amount is $150,000. You can maintain your citizenship status without staying here. 

Antigua and Barbuda

This is another program offering you fast-track citizenship. It takes between four two six months to become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. The minimum required amount is a donation of at least $100,000. Its passport provides visa-free access to 151 countries. You can maintain your citizenship by staying here only for five days within five years.


You can become a citizen of Dominica within three to six months following your investment. A minimum donation amount of $100,000 will be sufficient to apply. The passport allows visa-free access to 143 countries. You don’t need to stay in Dominica to maintain your citizenship status either. 


Turkey offers citizenship within three to six months following your investment. The country does not entail a stay requirement to keep your citizenship status. The minimum required investment amount is $250,000.