By Clemence Fournier
What is Citizenship-by-Investment?
Citizenship-by-Investment is a program that offers the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality and an alternative or second passport quickly and simply. Established in 1984, it has distinguished itself from many other similar programs by rigidly enforced investment requirements and meticulous due diligence procedures.
Most countries had programs in place at different times, which were specifically designed to attract foreign investors in return for citizenship. These investors are then given the opportunity to apply for citizenship within the strict guidelines of the law and the relevant regulations, in return for major contributions to society culture, the economy and other interests of the State.
As a matter of fact, the Citizenship-by-Investment program is implemented by a country to attract foreign capital and business people by providing the right residence and citizenship in return.
How does it work?
The conditions under which the privilege of naturalization is granted vary from state to state.An applicant may invest $1,500,000 to establish a business and qualify to apply for citizenship. Two or more applicants can make a joint business investment where the individual threshold must equal a minimum of $400 000 and the total investment must equal a minimum of $5,000,000.
While residence is granted to investors and wealthy individuals in most countries, there are currently only six countries which offer citizenship-by-investment programs that provide a direct route to citizenship based on investment which are: Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Dominica, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis; but the pros, cons and conditions of each country’s citizenship or residency scheme vary widely.
How to get one?
The application to a Citizenship-by-Investment program depends on the country the citizen would like to apply to for residence, this is why all the documents needed will be on the affected country website. The applicant can obtain a reputable second passport in 3 to 4 months.
Usually, authorised representatives are appointed due to their ability to market, promote and disseminate information on the Citizenship-by-Investment program. They will provide their expert guidance explain the application process in detail and assist the citizen in preparing his application and associated documentation.
Which are the benefits?
By means of the Citizenship-by-Investment, the applicant doesn’t need to reside in the country and to give up his nationality and when it is required, it is easy to obtain reputable passports. The Citizenship-by-Investment enable you not only to travel to over 130 countries but also to get a visa free travel to the world (EU, UK, Canada).
Open to all nationalities, more countries are constantly added to the list. The Citizenship-by-Investment allow for a generous tax regime (no wealth, Inheritance, foreign income or capital gains tax), in addition to no personal income tax and finally no restriction on the repatriation of profits and imported capital. To finish, the Citizenship-by-Investment insure the family against unforeseeable circumstances, provides security if the country is politically unstable and establish businesses, open bank accounts and expand investments worldwide.
Making an active decision with regard to the citizenship, gives more personal freedom, privacy and security. As well as helping rich people obtain second or third passports, the idea of the Citizenship-by-Investmentis about“how to attract high-net-worth individuals”. This is why this is compulsory for all citizens because all the countries that offer or hope to offer Citizenship-by-Investment, have very low income tax rates, which makes them particularly attractive.