Whether you believe that purchasing second citizenship is a good or bad thing, the Citizenship by Investment business – the practice of receiving a countries citizenship and passport in return for a financial investment – is on the up-and-up, with more countries offering programs, and a limitless line of waiting investors. In 2014 the CBI market was already $2 billion, with the figures for 2015 and 2016 set to be significantly higher.
Although Citizenships by Investment (CBI) was first developed by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis way back in 1984, it has come into its own in the past decade, both as a means for a country to stimulate its economy, and also as way an individual with sufficient financial capital can acquire a second passport for the purposes of freedom of movement, and/or to take advantage of tax shelters. CBI has had its critics, mainly from the US – whose concern would seem related with US citizens using the Caribbean to harbor wealth, and the EU, whose concerns are mainly centered around the potential abuse of such programs by criminal and terrorist organizations.
The latter concerns are unfounded; countries that provide CBI programs must comply with a battery of rules and regulations laid down by the British Commonwealth and the European Union, and all applicants are thoroughly vetted by the nation offering its citizenship, who will also contact the authorities of the donor country for an in-depth background check.
As for the US government’s concerns on its citizen’s looking for more favorable banking and taxation options for the assets they have worked so hard to procure, there’s an old saying that goes “You Reap What You Sow.” If the US banks protected the rights of their clients, and the US tax system wasn’t so harsh on big business, maybe more money would stay stateside.
CBI Helping To Rebuild The Caribbean
The CBI business is booming in the Caribbean, and investors aren’t just from the US: more and more are coming from China and the Middle East, and these investors aren’t only in it for the use of Caribbean banking, they are putting huge sums into the redevelopment of the infrastructure of countries like Jamaica, who will soon benefit from a $600 million, 67 kilometer 4-lane road system (already Christened the “Beijing Highway”) that will connect the east and south of the Jamaican mainland. In return, Jamaica have granted the Chinese access to 1,200 acres of land, on which they intend to build three luxury 1,000 room hotels.
In 2015 the Caribbean collectively sold 2,000 passports to new investors, that’s a 100% increase from the figure five years earlier, and with no shortage of US, Asian and Middle Eastern investors, that figure will surely be surpassed in 2016. The programs on offer in the Caribbean are in general substantially cheaper than those of the EU and vary in cost from a $90,000 investment to secure Dominican citizenship to a $290,000 real estate purchase in return for a St. Kitts and Nevis passport. The average time duration between application and receipt of citizenship is 4-6 months.
CBI In Europe
By comparison, the cheapest CBI programs in Europe are those of Hungary (€75,000) and Greece (€95,000), which are extraordinarily good deals considering both are EU countries, and as a result those passports guarantee the holder the right to live and work anywhere within the EU indefinitely, with the exact same rights as those born to that country.
Belgium’s CBI program is still cheap at €300,000, but the processing period is five years. A Maltese passport can be yours for €1 million, while Cypriot citizenship will cost you €3 million. Austrian is citizenship is granted in return for a €10 million real estate investment, or a €3 million charitable donation, but aside from a background check there is no processing period, so as soon as you make your payment you will have your new passport.
Aside from the right of an EU passport holder to live and work without restriction in the European Union, there is the added appeal of such a passport’s global power. On average, an EU passport grants its holder visa-free access to over 160 countries worldwide. If you herald from Africa, Asia or the Middle East, you will be accustomed to passports that are heavily restricted, and you will be used to applying for visas every time you wish to travel abroad, With an EU passport you can kiss those complications goodbye.
CBI Boosting Economies And Changing Lives
While Citizenship by Investment may make up a small percentage of the economy of a wealthy country like Austria, it has given a huge boost to the economy of Malta, the smallest EU nation with a CBI program. Malta now earns more from passport sales than it receives in EU subsidies.
In the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis, the sale of passports helped slash their national debt by more than a third in just three years, and Citizenship by Investment is now that country’s biggest export. 50 % of purchases are now made by Chinese and Russians, and indeed Chinese investors are major purchasers of CBI programs throughout both the Caribbean and the EU.
Chinese investors also make up 80% of applicants for the US version of CBI, its American EB-5 Investment Visa program, which grants an individual and his family Green Cards in return for the purchase of a US business and the employment of Americans over a five year period.
As Chinese people are world-renowned for being extremely industrious and hard-working, and also for integrating extremely well wherever they settle, and adding to a community rather than detracting from it, the fact that more than any other group, the Citizenship by Investment industry is being propelled along by wealthy and ambitious Chinese business people is surely a positive factor.
If you would like more information on any of the Caribbean and EU CBI programs mentioned in this article, or are curious as to what else is on offer, why not check out the 2ndPassports.com homepage? There you will find all of the very best CBI programs from the Caribbean and Europe, plus investment programs for the UK, USA, Turkey, Russia and Guatemala.
For additional information you can contact us by email, WhatsApp or Telegram, or speak to an expert representative using our encrypted phone and Skype lines. All of our contact details are listed at the top of the 2ndPassports.com homepage.
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