Citizenship by investment has proven to be a literal life saver to some people, and at the very least has given freedom of movement and access to the free world to others. There is a difference however between EU Citizenship by Investment, EU passport by investment and European residency by investment. Here’s how to get yours.
Earlier this century a handful of European countries including Ireland and Hungary set up their own form of European residency by investment, a good decade before ambitious business people from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, China and India began to realize the incredible benefits of gaining an EU passport by investment.
Today ten European nations have EU citizenship by investment programs and EU passport by investment programs, with still others offering EU residency by investment.
What Is EU Residency By Investment?
Although they are both highly desirable, and a “game-changer” to millions, there is a major difference between EU Citizenship By Investment and EU Residency By Investment.
EU Citizenship by Investment
The former, along with an EU passport by investment is the “Holy Grail”, the ultimate achievement for an ambitious foreign entrepreneur, because they no longer need to be weighed down by their nationality, be it Iranian, Iraqi, Somali, or any other nation with seemingly more enemies than friends. Nor will they need to travel with a stack of visas and have to spend hours in airport interview rooms.
Instead, they can legally say they are from Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Austria, even German, French, Italian or Spanish, because that is what their passport says they are. Instead of having visa-free access to maybe 80 countries, none of them worth visiting, their EU passport will give them visa-free access to on average 175 countries, including all of the free world.
Of course, the investor would first have to complete an EU Citizenship by Investment program, pass a stringent background test, prove they have substantial assets to both make an investment purchase but also live in their new country without being a burden. But once they complete the program, their new EU citizenship and passport is theirs forever.
EU Residency by Investment
EU residency by investment differs from EU citizenship by investment in that the financial outlay will normally be substantially less, the demands on the applicant in terms of time spent in their new country will be more, and while their residency card should give them full access to the 26-nations of the Schengen Zone, they will be able travel and even work there, but must live in the country that is giving them residence.
Most EU residency by investment programs, such as those of Spain, Portugal, Germany and France, are seen as a precursor to first permanent residency, then full citizenship of that country. The process normally takes about five years. Some countries such as Spain will expect you to renounce your original citizenship if you wish to become a Spanish citizen and passport holder.
Others like Germany and France have no problem with applicants hanging on to their original passports and claiming “Dual Nationality.”
Which Countries Offer EU Citizenship by Investment?
Officially there are only four EU countries that have citizenship by investment programs. They are:
The Austrian citizenship by investment program is the most expensive in the world, and ranges from a nonrefundable charitable donation of €3 million, to a €10 million investment into an Austrian-based business.
The Austrian citizenship by investment program is considered the “Rolls-Royce” of the second citizenship industry, but would you want to buzz around doing your daily errands in a Roller? There are other programs that do the same job but are far better value.
The Austrian passport currently ranks joint-fifth in the world, with visa-free access to 187 countries.
If you are interested in Austrian citizenship but not at those prices, a top citizenship broker with the right inside contacts may be able to get you a better deal. Check out https://www.buysecondcitizenship.com/austria/
The Bulgarian citizenship by investment program offers far better value than its Austrian counterpart, especially considering they are both EU member states. Bulgarian citizenship, passport and driver’s license can be yours for just €65,000.*
The Bulgarian passport is the 18th strongest in the world, with access to 171 countries around the world, visa free.
*This price is exclusive to BuySecondCitizenship.com
The Cyprus citizenship by investment program is currently available at €2 million, making it the second most expensive CBI program behind Austria. The Cyprus CBI program was originally priced at €5 million. The €2million must be used for a real estate purchase within Cypriot boarders and maintained for 5 years.
Both Cyprus and Malta are both EU members and members of the British Commonwealth. The Cyprus passport is the 16th most powerful in the rankings, with access to 174 countries visa-free.
The Mediterranean island of Malta is the smallest nation in the European Union, with a landmass of 316 km2 and a population of less than 500,000. Malta’s citizenship by investment program is currently available at €1.2 million, to be used to purchase both real estate and government bonds. These purchases can be sold after five years of ownership.
The Malta CBI program might be the most popular EU CBI program of them all. Originally introduced in 2014 as a “limited edition”, the first batch of citizenships and passports sold out with two years, and Malta shows no sign of ending its CBI program any time soon.
The Malta passport is the 8th most powerful in the world, with visa-free access to 184 countries.
Unofficially there are six other EU countries that offer citizenship by investment programs. They are:
Croatia became an independent country following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. They became an EU member in July 1, 2013, and are the last nation to be accepted into the European Union. While Croatia is not a member of the Schengen Area, it’s citizens have full access to it.
The Croatian citizenship by investment program is available in return for a real estate purchase of €175,000.
The Croatian passport has visa-free access to 170 countries and is the 19th most powerful in the world.
Holland are one of the latest EU countries to offer citizenship by investment to the right candidate. The Netherlands offer their citizenship and passport in return for a €200,000 real estate purchase within Dutch borders.
The Netherlands passport is the 6th most powerful in the world, with access to 186 countries.
A recent addition to the CBI sector, the Italian program requires an investment of a €190,000 real estate purchase anywhere within the Italian borders. As well as Italian citizenship and its passport, the Italy CBI program also includes an Italian identity card, driver’s license, Naturalization Certificate and tax number.
The Italian passport is the 4th most powerful in the world, and has visa-free access to 186 countries.
Poland are offering their citizenship and passport through the right citizenship broker and after thorough investigation in return for an investment of €175,000, made in the form of a real estate purchase within Poland’s borders.
The Polish passport is the 11th most powerful on the planet, with visa-free access to 181 countries.
While Slovakia may not be an obvious choice for a CBI program but as an EU member state, achieving Slovakian citizenship and its passport will be as effective at granting the holder freedom of movement and access to the free world as a far more high profile and expensive CBI program.
Slovakia is a young country of less than six million people, and have only existed since 1993. Since then they have been making rapid progress in catching up with the rest of Europe. In 2004 Slovakia became part of the EU, and in 2009 joined the Eurozone.
Slovakian citizenship can be achieved with a real estate purchase to the value of €150,000.
The Slovakian passport is ranked 11th in the world and has visa-free access to 181 countries.
If you thought Slovakia was small and unheralded, welcome to Slovenia. Slovenia is a tiny country with a population of two million located in the Western Balkans and bordered by Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy. Slovenia is not quite landlocked, and has 45km of coastline to the Adriatic Sea.
Slovenia has a landmass of 20,100 km2 and very little of that is not easy on the eye. In fact, Slovenia always ranks high in “World’s Most Beautiful Countries” lists. It also has a rapidly growing economy and a highly educated workforce.
Slovenia offers the best value of any EU member state’s CBI program. Slovenian citizenship can be achieved with an investment of just €50,000 in the form of a real estate purchase.
The Slovenian passport is the 12th most powerful in the world, and has visa-free access to 180 countries.
Will More Nations Offer CBI Programs?
Citizenship by investment (CBI) has been with us since the mid-1980s, when St. Kitts and Nevis introduced the first such program in 1984, the year after they were granted independence by the British. Times were tough for the tiny Caribbean island, but in a stroke of pure genius, they figured out how they could make money from their one true asset – their citizenship.
The genius didn’t stop there; today an investor expects real estate or government bonds in return for their investment, but in 1984 St. Kitts and Nevis granted their citizenship in return for a substantial financial donation to the retired sugarcane workers fund. Sugarcane is the island’s no.1 form of produce. That option still stands today, although now applicants can also buy a prime piece of real estate on the island as part of their investment.
St. Kitts paved the way for several other Caribbean island nations to produce their own CBI programs, including Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda.
First European CBI Programs
By the dawn of the 21st century, countries such as Ireland and Hungary were following the Caribbean model and introducing their own CBI programs. While both drew immediate interest and plenty of applicants, pressure from the EU would bring an end to the experiment. For more than a decade the demand for EU citizenship grew but no EU country had a program, until Malta announced theirs in 2014.
Despite constant sniping by rival EU nations, Malta have persevered with what has proved an extremely profitable CBI program, inspiring several other EU nations to follow suite, some officially, others more covertly.
Latin America & Beyond
Currently the most rapidly expanding CBI market is in South and Central America, with countries ranging from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua and Costa Rica offering their own versions of citizenship by investment.
Surely, the next market will be the Far East, where the citizenships and passports of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia would all be highly desirable, especially to the hugely lucrative Chinese market.
Citizenship By Investment Programs
|Austria Citizenship Program||€250,000|
|Belgium Citizenship Program||€200,000|
|Bulgaria Citizenship Program||€65,000|
|Croatia Citizenship Program||€175,000|
|Czech Republic Citizenship Program||€200,000|
|France Citizenship Program||€200,000|
|Hungary Citizenship Program||€200,000|
|Italy Citizenship Program||€190,000|
|Mexico Citizenship Program||€120,000|
|Holland Citizenship Program||€175,000|
|Poland Citizenship Program||€175,000|
|Slovakia Citizenship Program||€52,000|
|Slovenia Citizenship Program||€50,000|
|Spain Citizenship Program||€200,000|
|Turkey Citizenship Program||€75,000|