Citizenship By Investment Programs: The Definitive Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

Having a second passport is often one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Imagine having the benefits of more options for traveling around the world, conducting business, and investing. In some cases, you might even be able to save a fortune in taxes.

There are many ways you can obtain a second passport. Doing so through legitimate citizenship by investment program is the fastest, safest, and occasionally the most profitable way.

The unfortunate recent global pandemic might be bleak, but it is the best time to invest in a second passport. Many countries in the Caribbean region currently offer discounted citizenship by investment programs. These programs are also referred to as “Economic Citizenship Programs” (as you’ll see later in this article).

The term “Pandemic passports” has been given to these citizenship by investment programs. Some countries offer economic citizenship programs because it’s a quick and easy way to boost the economy.

Keep in mind that there are many predators online trying to prey on those seeking a second passport by offering empty promises. This is why we wanted to present this guide for you to know if second citizenship is right for you.

In this article, we’re going to look at 20 countries currently offering citizenship by investment. We will also dive into details such as:

  • The Investment Amounds
  • Which Countries Offer an “Economic Citizenship Program”
  • Timelines
  • Benefits of various Citizenship by Investment Programs

What is Citizenship By Investment?

Citizenship by investment programs are exactly what they sound like. They are programs that allow foreign individuals to obtain second citizenship through various investments.

These programs differ dramatically in costs depending on the country. They can have a minimum investment of $100,000 (St. Lucia and Dominica) to over $2,500,000 (Cyprus) plus processing and due diligence fees. So if you’re looking for economic citizenship, you might have to think about the minimum investment and the overall cost.

Think of citizenship by investment as a fast track to a second citizenship. We advise you to proceed with caution, as these tracks largely vary in various aspects. Throughout this guide, you’ll find all the information you need. Whether you’re investing with a few hundred thousand or a few million, it’s always good to be well-informed.

Additionally, while all these programs are called “investment” programs, some of them won’t have any return on your investment. On the other hand, there are some cases where you can get your investment back with some profit.

In many cases, like with various Golden Visas, the real estate investment option is still the most popular.

Finally, a few countries offer passports that allow visa-free travel to over 150 countries around the world! The Portugal Golden Visa, for example, is quite famous for that reason, other than having a good profit regarding some investment options.

There are four traditional ways of obtaining a second passport and citizenship:

Having Ancestors In A Country

Some countries offer second citizenship, which is known as “citizenship by descent.”

If you have parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents in those countries, you might already be eligible for second citizenship there. Check out the FAQ section for a comprehensive list of the countries that offer citizenship by descent.

Spending Time In A Country

There are some countries where if you live there long enough, you can become eligible for second citizenship through naturalization.

This option tends to take longer to achieve, usually a few years. That said, it does stand out as the only option that anyone can do. There are usually some qualifications, such as having a clean criminal record and passing a citizenship test.

Miscellaneous Qualifications

These options include various circumstances to obtain second citizenship, such as:

  • Getting married to a foreign citizen
  • Giving birth in a foreign country
  • Being a specific religion (Sephardic Jews in Spain and Portugal)
  • Having a family member (usually a parent) who becomes a citizen of a foreign country

Investment

In this option, an investor can take advantage of “investment citizenship programs” to legally buy a nationality and acquire a second passport.

Type of Citizenship By Investment Programs

There are essentially two different kinds of citizenship you can obtain:

  • Instant citizenship
  • Residency by investment, which eventually leads to citizenship.

Instant Citizenship

These are programs that allow you to get citizenship quite quickly. They are possible when you invest in a government fund or a government-approved business, local real estate, or government bonds. After the corresponding country completes the application process, you can obtain your passport.

You can get on the fast track to obtain citizenship in some Caribbean countries within just a couple of months. We will go through a list of all the countries offering citizenship and their timeline in this guide.

Benefits of Instant Citizenship By Investment

  • Quick to obtain with little change in your everyday life
  • Getting the chance to move your entire family to a stunning location.

By stunning location, we mean that many countries that offer instant citizenship by investment are in the Caribbean region. That region is the most well-known for instant citizenship programs.

In these countries, you can get citizenship for as low as $145,000 for a family of four. Additionally, you can get citizenship pretty quickly (between three and twelve months.)

Furthermore, due to the COVID-19 sales and new COVID bond options, “pandemic passports” in the Caribbean are even cheaper than usual.

All of the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs give you visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone (visa-free area of Europe).

Finally, keep in mind that the “strength” of the Caribbean passports isn’t as high as some other European passports. Especially if you’re looking at the number of visa-free countries you can visit.

Residency By Investment (Golden Visa) Leading To Citizenship

Many countries in Europe, such as Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Malta, offer a potential route to citizenship through a residency by investment program. These programs are often referred to as “Golden Visas” or “Golden Passports.”

These European countries offer a very high-quality second passport. However, it’s usually more expensive and takes longer to obtain.

A Golden Visa is not precisely the same as citizenship by investment. This is a residency which can eventually lead to citizenship through naturalization.

You can join a Golden Visa program in Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, or Portugal, to become a resident and eventually a citizen there. However, there are some requirements for naturalization, such as learning the local history and language.

How To Value A Passport or Citizenship

There are many points on which you may evaluate the “strength” of a second passport. When choosing from citizenship by investment programs, the ideal one for you may depend on many factors:

  • Your budget
  • The speed at which you’d like to receive the second passport (some programs grant you the passport within four months, some within a few years)
  • Whether you’re prepared to part with a donation
  • Whether you prioritize the option to have a good return on your investment
  • Whether you’re looking for “economic citizenship”

Of course, you’ll also consider how much you like the country of citizenship you’re choosing.

That being said, we’d like to suggest two relatively objective factors to be taken into account:

How Many Countries Can You Visit Visa-Free With Your New Passport

Unfortunately, not all passports are created equal. Some countries which offer citizenship by investment also possess a passport that allows visa-free travel to more countries.

Namely, countries like the United States, Canada, and many European countries have passports that offer visa-free travel to more than 180 countries around the world. For reference, the world’s “worst” passport provides visa-free travel to only 26 countries.

So a passport from the countries mentioned above opens a variety of opportunities. Specifically, in most of the world’s developed countries and critical parts of the developing world, such as Southeast Asia.

The “Complement” Effect

This is basically the visa-free countries you can access through your new passport but not your current one.

If you wish to keep your original citizenship and passport, this is a crucial factor to consider. If you combine the two passports effectively, you may unlock many new avenues. Namely, when it comes to working, investment, and travel.

Take as an example; someone from the United States. If they get a European passport, they can enjoy unencumbered access to the European Union. So they can choose to live in Greece. Have a business in Ireland, taking advantage of the low taxes. Consequently, enjoy passport-free access to the 26 countries in the Schengen Area.

On the other hand, someone from Singapore, who already has visa-free access to 190 countries, will not benefit much from another European passport. Of course, international diversity is usually a good idea. Yet, a passport from St. Kitts and Nevis won’t be quite the leg up.

Other Factors To Consider

There are some other factors that you might want to consider when getting a new passport, such as:

How Well Do You Fit In With Your New Country Of Citizenship

Culture shock is a real phenomenon. Sometimes you can visit a country a few times, love the program, and go through the application process smoothly. Then, you move to that country and realize that the culture doesn’t fit with what you’re used to.

Some countries have longer working hours. Some have particular culinary practices that you might not like. Additionally, in some countries, it might be more difficult to access certain products (alcohol, for example.)

Sometimes even the definition of a weekend may change from country to country.

Many Middle Eastern countries have their weekends as “Friday and Saturday.” So we recommend that you do some research before you choose which country you want to move to.

Taxes

One of the best benefits of your new passport would be to minimize your tax burden.

Keep in mind that sometimes your second passport might add to your taxes. Some foreigners in the United States opt out of pursuing American citizenship. This is because citizenship in the United States would subjectify the holder to taxes on their worldwide income forever.

Take this following scenario as an example:

A Canadian citizen moves to Hong Kong. After fulfilling certain obligations set by the Canadian revenue service, they’ll be liable to pay taxes only in Hong Kong. However, a US citizen that moves there might have to pay taxes in both the US and Hong Kong.

Luckily, the US tends to be the rare exception here. Most other countries exempt you from taxes if you don’t reside there, and some even offer Double Taxation Prevention treaties.

Military Service

This might be an odd one to think about. Some countries require all their male citizens of a certain age, usually 18 or above, to fulfill military service. These may range from a few weeks of basic training to a few years of active duty.

Luckily, most countries won’t require you to fulfill military service if you don’t live there.

In conclusion, while the above factors are relatively objective, it all comes down to what works best for you specifically. And that’s why we’ll have a brief view of the investment options and which one may work better for you and your family.

The Investment Options Of Citizenship By Investment Programs

Most countries over various investment options to obtain a second passport, such as:

Donation to a Government Fund

Some governments that need capital will usually present citizenship in exchange for money.

They use this to boost the economy and increase the budget of infrastructure, education, or healthcare. The downside here is that you will never see your money again.

This option is popular with those looking for economic citizenship, as it tends to have a smaller minimum investment threshold than other options.

Investment in Government-Approved Real Estate

The real estate option in citizenship by investment programs typically requires a large purchase of local real estate. When you also think of the due diligence fees, property taxes, and realtor fees, these will add up to a handsome sum.

The upside of this option is that many countries allow you to rent out your property. Some even allow you to resell it when you become a citizen. In the meantime, if the local real estate market booms, you can get a good return on your investment.

Investment in a Government-Approved Business

This option may be a bit of a double-edged sword. The main attraction point for this option is that you can invest in various businesses. That way, you have access to industries that can potentially generate a decent return. However, business ventures don’t always work, and sometimes a company might go belly up.

One thing that we should mention here is that Caribbean countries that offer citizenship by investment typically do not permit you to invest in a local business.

Purchase of Government Bonds

There are a few citizenship by investment countries that present the option of buying government bonds. By doing so, your capital will be locked in an interest-free account for several years.

This could be a straightforward option to obtain citizenship, yet it comes with certain setbacks.

To begin with, this is not precisely an investment. Your money wouldn’t be in a cash-flowing real estate or business. Instead, it would sit in a government bond offering little to no return.

Secondly, bonds can be volatile in nature. The bond you purchase may not stay efficiently solvent to return your capital once the required hold period is over. Furthermore, quite a few countries where you can buy government bonds to get citizenship are in serious debt. This means that they won’t be able to get out of trouble through borrowing in case the economy tanks.

This is an essential point to consider especially right now, in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Countries that rely on tourism, such as those in the Caribbean, have taken a painful financial hit recently. That lead to a reduction in the minimum investment threshold.

In St. Lucia or (Saint Lucia), for example, you’re going to need $287,500 to buy the recently released government COVID-19 relief bonds ($250,000 for the bond and an additional $37,500 in government and due diligence fees). That is a significant reduction compared to the $500,000 bond requirement prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a happier note, the St. Lucian government promises to pay you back your $250,000 bond amount after five years. So technically, the final cost for one passport would just be $37,500.

20 Countries Currently Offer Citizenship By Investment

There are currently 20 countries which offer citizenship or residency by investment programs, and these are:

Caribbean Citizenship By Investment Programs 

European Citizenship By Investment Programs

Other Citizenship By Investment Programs

We’ll go through each option listing the total cost, including government fees. Keep in mind, though, that in addition to the donation or investment amount and the fees, you may need to pay a commission to an agent, a fee to an advisor, or a legal fee to a law firm. These parties will liaise your application process with the corresponding government.

You have many options of service providers.  It is very important to chose the agency wisely and steer clear of inexperienced or mal-intended companies.

Caribbean Citizenship By Investment Programs

So here comes the big question, where to buy a second passport?

The Caribbean countries are currently the stars of the citizenship by investment program show. What they can offer is quick citizenship and often the best value for your buck.

While European countries like Malta, Greece, and Portugal may have stronger passports, they tend to cost more.

Caribbean Passports Are On Sale

The horrific event of the 2017 hurricanes horribly damaged a lot of the islands. Countries in the Caribbean realized they needed a large sum of money to rebuilt the destroyed infrastructure. That’s when the passports started dropping in value.

The government in those countries decided to slash the price of their citizenship by investment programs, which they offer to earn capital.

St. Kitts and Nevis introduced a discounted donation option that saves applicants $100,000. Grenada reduced it’s donation option by $50,000 (from $200,000 to $150,000 plus fees).

St. Lucia also lowered the cost of investment to $100,000 (plus fees). Antigua and Barbuda cut their donation minimum in half.

But now, due to the COVID-19, they are even lowering the prices further.

St. Lucia now competes with Antigua and Barbuda for the lowest cost of application. Especially when it comes to family applications, government fees included, a family of four will pay about $145,000 for a passport in Antigua and Barbuda.  St. Lucian passports come at a close second place with just $167,500.

Here’s a rundown of the Caribbean countries in-depth:

St. Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program: The Best Value Donation Option For Single Applicants

Started in 2016, Saint Lucia offers various investment options for applicants to their citizenship by investment program. Additionally, the Saint Lucian passport boasts visa-free access to 123 countries, including the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.

The cheapest option to get a second passport in St. Lucia is a donation to their National Economic Fund (NEF). You’ll spend $109,500 everything included for this second passport route. That is one of the cheapest citizenship programs that you can find anywhere.

If you wish to invest rather than donate, you can invest in a government bond, real estate, or the newly created Covid-19 relief bonds.

Real Estate

You’re required to spend a minimum of $300,000 to invest in real estate. You’re also limited to high-end hotels, resorts, or boutique properties.

The overall costs of the application process for a family of four should be around $372,500.

Government Bonds

This option requires the investor to keep bonds for a minimum of five years. These bonds don’t pay interest and are relatively high priced; $500,000 for a family of four.

COVID-19 Relief Bonds

This relief bond was recently introduced into the investment program in St. Lucia. These passports will be offered until the end of 2020.

A single investor will pay $287,500 and must hold the bond for five years.

In Conclusion, St.Lucia remains the best deal for any single applicant and is a strong competitor for families, thanks to its COVID sale.

Antigua And Barbuda Citizenship By Investment Program: Cheapest Option For Large Families

Like most Caribbean countries, the donation to the National Development Fund is the cheapest option to obtain a second passport. This option starts at a meager $100,000 donation (with another $37,500 in fees for single applicants and $45,000 for a family of four). The passport from Antigua and Barbuda gives you visa-free access to 129 countries, including the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Brazil.

Recent changes in the law have made the program even cheaper for large families. For example, a family of four (if the children are younger than 12 years of age) needed to pay about $145,000 in total.

Luckily, recent changes in the law in the country allow a family with at least six members to donate to the expansion of the University of the West Indies fund. The donation amount is just $150,00 for the family of six. This price increases by an additional $15,000 for each additional family member past the sixth.

If you add up all the applicable government fees, then the entire cost for a family of six (with children younger than 12 years of age) will be about $165,000. And that is the best value you can get from citizenship programs for a family of that size.

You may also want to invest rather than donate, in which case the country offers investments in real estate and local businesses.

Real Estate

The minimum requirement for a government-approved real estate investment is $200,000 (plus fees of $45,000 for a family of four). You may eventually exchange this property for another government-approved one. Remember that you must hold your initial property for a minimum duration of five years.

Local Business

There’s a very unpopular option to invest in a business that requires $1.5M before fees. If a group invests collectively, then the minimum is $400,000 per person. Due to the unpopularity of this option, there isn’t much information about it.

To sum up, if you have a large family, then Antigua and Barbuda might be the right option for you.

Dominica Citizenship By Investment Program

The Dominican passport is a competitively strong one. It grants visa-free access to 122 countries, including the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Brazil.

As with the countries we went through above, the investment option is the cheapest.

You can donate to the Economic Diversification Fund, which requires a single applicant to donate a meager $108,000 in total. A family of four will need $212,500.

As for investment options, Dominica only offers a government-approved real estate investment. The minimum investment for this option is $233,500 when you include all the fees.

What’s particularly attractive about this option is that you can resell your property after five years of receiving citizenship.

In conclusion, Dominica’s program might be the best for you if you’re willing to make a relatively small donation to get your second passport.

St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program: The Highest Number of Visa-Free Access in Any Caribbean Country

St. Kitts and Nevis hold a proud badge of being the leader in the field of economic citizenship for 35 years! Having citizenship there grants you a second passport, which gives you visa-free access to 131 countries.

Let’s start with the donation option. In St. Kitts & Nevis, you can donate to the Sustainable Growth Fund. This fund requires a donation of $150,000 from a single applicant, plus the added Government fee of $7,500.

The great news about this is that as of 2020, a family of up to four can get St, Kitts & Nevis for the same price: $150,000. Of course, the fees are a bit higher at $11,500. That only comes to $161,500 for the whole family, which used to cost $206,500 before.

The discount is set to expire on December 31, 2020. So the time to take advantage of this discount in St.Kitts & Nevis is right now.

For investment, St. Kitts & Nevis gives you the option to invest in government-approved real estate in the country. The minimum eligible investment amount starts at $224,050, including all the fees. Up until recently, this was $400,000 plus fees.

Finally, keep in mind that you are allowed to sell the property after seven years.

To recap, St. Kitts has the highest number of visa-free travel in addition to a reasonably low investment/ donation threshold. This might just be the best bang for your buck when it comes to freedom of travel if you have a big family.

Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program

Grenada’s passport offers visa-free access to 122 countries, including the Schengen area, UK, and Brazil. It is also unique because it provides visa-free access to China, which makes it the only Caribbean passport to do so. Additionally, holders of Grenada’s passport may work and live the US under the E-2 Investor visa treaty.

The donation option, as you know by now, is the cheapest option to get citizenship. A single applicant will have to invest $158,000, all fees included.

Furthermore, if you opt to invest in real estate, then the minimum amount is $408,00. That is made up of $350,000 for the property plus $58,000 in fees.

This could be an excellent option for you if you plan to work or live in the US. This option technically counts as a roundabout way to live visa-free in the US if acquiring such a visa is difficult for you.

European Citizenship By Investment Programs

European citizenship by investment programs are divided into two types.  Some are direct, like those of Malta or Cyprus.  Some are indirect, like those of Spain, Portugal, and Greece.  The indirect ones require the investor to first invest in a residence by investment program called a Golden Visa. One important thing to note about these programs is that they’re not directly citizenship by investment programs. Instead, they’re residency by investment programs that eventually qualify you to obtain citizenship and a second passport.

Remember that to be eligible for European citizenship by investment program, you shouldn’t be a citizen of the EU or Switzerland.

Suffice it to say, any European passport stands as one of the best passports in the world. This is why the Golden Visas have been extremely popular, with the Portuguese Golden Visa alone bringing over 9,015 investors with a total of €5,431,263,518.27 in investments.

Let’s take a deep dive into European Citizenship by investment programs:

Malta Citizenship By Investment Program

Malta is one of the first GoldenVisa programs to be introduced. It offers you a passport that has visa-free access to 185 countries. As we’ve mentioned earlier, this is technically a residence program that leads to citizenship. This means that you have to reside in Malta for 12 months to qualify for citizenship.

The Maltese program requires you to make a donation and an investment, which consists of:

  • €650,00 donation to the National Development & Social Fund (plus €25,000 for a spouse and each minor child)
  • Additionally, you’ll have to purchase a real estate property valued at €350,000 and keep it for a minimum of five years. Alternatively, you can rent a property for five years with a €16,000 minimum annual rent.

Your total cost should run to about €1,150,00, which is quite steep. The upside here is you can get your second passport in a European country within 12 months.

It is important to note that the MIIP citizenship by investment program in Malta has reached its quota in July 2020.  The country launches another program in October 2020, in which the investment amounts increased.

Cyprus Citizenship By Investment Program: The Fastest Way To A European Passport

The Cypriot passport grants visa-free access to 152 countries. Moreover, citizenship by investment program in Cyprus offers multiple investment options. The downside to this is that it has a comparatively high cost €2,150,000 plus VAT.

You can invest in various options such as:

  • Real estate
  • A Cypriot business that employs at least five local citizens
  • Bonds or securities of a Cypriot business that is licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the country
  • A combination of the above

Whatever you choose to invest in, you also need to acquire a residence valued at a minimum of €500,000.

If you choose to invest in real estate, this residence will be included in the€2,000,00 (plus fees) overall investment. On the other hand, if you invest in other Cypriot assets, then the price of the real estate is added to the €2,000,000.

Similar to the situation in Malta, this is a relatively high price. However, you’ll be able to get your European passport and citizenship within just six months.

Bulgaria Citizenship By Investment Program

Bulgaria’s passport boasts visa-free travel to 150 countries. To qualify for citizenship, you first need to deposit 1,000,000 Bulgarian Lev (around $560,000) Into a government bond portfolio. This money will be held for five years and then returned to you without interest.

The Bulgarian government will issue your permanent residency upon your arrival and receipt of investment. After that, you’ll need to invest an additional 1,000,000 Lev into government bonds in the country. Alternatively, you can invest in a Bulgarian company that’s carrying out a priority investment project. These projects are defined in Bulgaria’s Investment Promotion Act.

Bulgaria’s citizenship takes about two years, which is slightly slower than that of Malta and Cyprus. Keep in mind that your first deposit of $560,000 will be returned entirely to you. This means that the overall investment will be a meager $560,000 in exchange for a European passport.

Spain Citizenship By Investment Program: The Best Passport

Spain has the strongest passport amongst any other country that offers a residence by investment program. The Spanish passport has access to 188 countries!

The program is known as the Spain Golden Visa, which leads to citizenship.

The qualifying investments are as follows:

  • €500,000 investment in Spanish real state
  • €1,000,000 Capital transfer to Spain
  • €1,000,000 investment in a Spanish company
  • €2,000,000 investment in Spanish government bonds

The investor will be given a residence permit in Spain within one to two months. You are only required to enter the country once per year to maintain the residence permit. The citizenship, however, might take longer.

Technically, you’ll need to be a resident in Spain for ten years to receive citizenship. Keep in mind that during that time, you’ll be a legal resident of Spain. This means visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, family inclusion, and the right to live and work in the country.

In conclusion, Spanish citizenship might take longer to arrive, but residency there is granted almost immediately. Furthermore, the minimum investment is just €500,000.

Portugal Citizenship By Investment Program: The Most Investment Options

Portugal holds one of the strongest passports in the world. The Portuguese passport offers visa-free access to 186 countries.

As we mentioned above, the Portugal Golden Visa Program is the most popular in Europe, with 9,015 investors since 2012 (As of 2020).

What’s particularly attractive about this program is that it has a large variety of investment options, such as:

  • €500,000 investment in any type of property, located anywhere within the country (€400,000 if the location is a low-density population area)
  • €350,000 investment in a property at least 30 years old, provided that it will be rehabilitated (€280,000 if the location is a low-density population area)
  • €1,000,000  Capital Transfer to Portugal
  • Creation of a minimum of 10 full-time jobs in Portugal
  •  €350,000 minimum investment in a qualifying Portuguese venture capital fund
  • €350,000 investment to scientific or technological research within the country
  • €250,000 donation to national heritage, arts, or culture

To maintain your residence permit, you only need to reside seven days per year on average. After five years, you can apply for citizenship, provided that you pass the Portuguese Language Test.

To sum up, Portugal offers a high-quality life and a booming real estate and technological investments. It also offers many investment options in addition to a strong passport.

Greece Citizenship By Investment: The Cheapest Option For European Citizenship

The Greece Golden Visa program is also prevalent among citizenship and residency by investment programs. Greece boasts a passport which allows visa-free access to 184 countries worldwide. The minimum investment for the Golden Visa program is €250,000 in Greek real estate.

This investment grants the investor a five-year residency visa, which can be renewed every five years. After seven years of full time residency in Greece, you become eligible to apply for citizenship. However, you will need to pass the Greek Citizenship test to obtain citizenship.

The Greek Golden Visa offers an unparalleled price for Europen citizenship. Plus, a competitively strong passport, which gives it considerable popularity among Golden Visa Programs. This might be a brilliant option for those who are looking for second citizenship.

Austria Citizenship By Investment Program

The Austrian passport grants you visa-free access to 177 countries. However, the program is quite vague and is not stated in the law.

It requires an enormous contribution of €10 million. Additionally, you need to secure the patronage of a high-ranking local politician who will petition for you before the government.

Because of its vague rules and complicated process, this isn’t a popular program, and there isn’t much information on it.

Montenegro Citizenship By Investment Program

Montenegro’s program had a rough start. It was introduced in November 2019. After that, it was put on a four-month hold shortly. However, it was relaunched in May 2020.

The passport in Montenegro grants visa-free access to 111 countries, including the European Union but excludes the UK, US, China, Canada, and Japan.

Residence in Montenegro requires you to donate €100,000 to a government. In addition to that, you need to purchase real estate, for which you have two options:

  • 250,000 investment in real estate outside of the country’s capital Podgorica, in the northern or central region of Montenegro (which is less developed)
  • €450,000 investment in the country’s coastal area or Podgorica.

Keep in mind that Montenegro is expected to join the EU in 2025, which means that the value of its passport will be significantly higher.  That is, however, only an expectation.  There are no guarantees that it will join the EU.

Moldova Citizenship By Investment Program

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Government has temporarily suspended this program. It used to offer citizenship through a donation of €135,000, plus costs.

The Moldova passport grants its holder visa-free access to 122 countries, although it’s not part of the EU.

Until the program is reactivated, we suggest looking at other programs in Europe, such as those of Portugal or Greece.

Other Citizenship By Investment Programs

Anguilla Citizenship by Investment Program

Anguilla is a British overseas territory and falls under the UK sovereignty. The Anguillan passport is a British passport and has the same benefits, such as access to 185 visa-free countries. Keep in mind that the program in Anguilla is a residency by investment program, leading to citizenship after five years.

There are two options to qualify for permanent residence in Aguilla. The first is a donation to the Capital Development Fund. This fund is set up by the government to grow and diversify the economy.

The applicant must donate a minimum of $150,000 plus $50,000 for each spouse and dependant. Additional processing and due diligence fees apply.

Anguilla also allows investment in real estate with a minimum of $750,000 and an additional $100,000 for each additional family member. The property needs to be retained for a minimum of five years until the applicant can apply for citizenship.

Cayman Islands Citizenship by Investment Program

The Cayman Islands is another British overseas territory and falls under the UK sovereignty. The Cayman Island passport offers access to fewer countries than the UK passport. Yet it still stands strong with 146 visa-free countries.

To qualify for this program, you need to invest $2.4 M in real estate. This is relatively steep, but it does come with the unique benefit of having to spend only one day a year to maintain the residence. Besides, it is a tax haven since it has no corporation, income, capital gains, inheritance, or sales taxes.

You need to live in the Cayman for five years to obtain your citizenship, after which you can apply to the British Nationality Act for Naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories Citizen.

Jordan Citizenship by Investment Program

Jordan does have a citizenship by investment program. However, the Jordanian passport offers visa-free access to only 50 countries, excluding all the major developed nations. That is why this program has never really been a popular one, mainly because the minimum investment is $1,000,000.

Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program

Turkey’s citizenship by investment offers a relatively powerful passport. While it does provide visa-free access to 112 countries, these exclude the US, Canada, the UK, the Schengen Area, and China.

This program has drawn 2,600 applicants. Most of them being individuals from middle eastern countries relocating to Istanbul for business.

To qualify for citizenship, you need to make a $250,000 investment in real estate in Turkey and keep it for at least three years.

Alternatively, you can deposit $500,000 in a local bank for three years.

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Program

Vanuatu is an archipelago located about 1000 miles east of Australia.

To qualify for this program, you need to donate $180,000 in Vanuatu’s Development Support Program. In return, you’ll get citizenship there. This gives you a passport with access to 116 countries visa-free, including all of Europe, the UK, Russia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Furthermore, this tends to be the fastest citizenship by investment program in the world. You can receive your passport in as little as two months.

United States Citizenship By Investment Visa

The US doesn’t exactly offer a direct route to citizenship. However, through investment government-approved projects, investors can get the EB-5 visa.

This is known as the Immigrant Investor Program. It requires an investment of $1.8M or $900,00 if the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).

This isn’t a direct route to citizenship, but it does grant a Green Card. This allows the holder to apply for US citizenship after five years of Permanent Residency.

Keep in mind that during those five years, you’re allowed to live and work in the US. It’s essential to note here that the US passport grants visa-free access to 185 countries.

Conclusion

As you’ve read in this article, there is a wide range of countries and investment routes that can lead to a second passport. With many variables to consider while choosing your option, such as:

The number of countries you can travel to

The period until you receive your citizenship

The size of the investment

Hopefully, this guide can get you well-informed in making your decision.

FAQ

What Is The Strongest Second Passport That I Can Acquire?

The Spanish passport allows visa free access to 186 countries, followed by the Portuguese (186) and then the Greek (184) in Europe.

How Long Does It Take To Acquire Second Citizenship?

That period depends on the country and varies dramatically. It can start from three-four months in a country like St. Kitts up to ten years in a country like Spain.

Which Countries Offer Citizenship by Decent? And How Do I Qualify For One?

Argentina

You can qualify if you have one parent who is an Argentinan citizen at the time of your birth.

Australia

You can qualify if you have a parent who was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth.

Austria

You can qualify if you have a parent who is a citizen of Austria.

Brazil

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Brazillian citizen at the time of your birth.

Canada

You can qualify if you have a parent who is born in Canada or became a naturalized citizen before you were born.

Cape Verde

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent with Cape Verdean citizenship at your time of birth.

Chile

You can qualify if you have a Chilean parent who can prove one of their parents or grandparents was granted Chilean citizenship by birth or naturalization.

Colombia

You can qualify if you have a parent who is  Colombian by birth or naturalization.

Costa Rica

You can qualify if you have a parent who is  Costa Rican.

Croatia

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Croatian citizen at the time of birth, so long as you’re registered with the Croatian government before your 18th birthday.

Alternatively, you are eligible for citizenship if both of your parents are Croatian citizens — even if you don’t register.

Czech Republic

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent who is a Czech or Czechoslovak citizen.

Denmark

You can qualify if you have a parent who is Danish.

Dominican Republic

You can qualify if you have a parent who is Dominican.

Estonia

You can qualify if you have a parent who was Estonian at the time of your birth.

Finland

You can qualify if you have a Finnish father who is legally married to your mother.

France

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a French citizen at your time of birth.

Germany

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a German citizen at your time of birth, though there may be other exceptions to allow for citizenship.

Greece

You can qualify if you have a parent with Greek nationality. Citizenship can be transmitted from generation to generation indefinitely.

Hungary

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent who is Hungarian and pass a basic Hungarian language test.

Ireland

Have a parent or grandparent with Irish citizenship. If grandparent, he or she must have been born in Ireland.

Israel

You can qualify if you have a parent who is an Israeli citizen at your time of birth or claims citizenship through the Law of Return.

Italy

You can qualify if you have Italian heritage; there is no limit on the number of generations, but some restrictions are in place.

Kenya

You can qualify if you have a  parent who was a Kenyan citizen at the time of your birth.

Lithuania

You can qualify if you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who had Lithuanian citizenship between 1918 and 1940 and left the country during Soviet occupation.

Luxembourg

You can qualify if you have a parent who was Luxembourgish at your time of birth.

Mexico

You can qualify if you have a parent who is a Mexican citizen born in Mexico.

Mongolia

You can qualify if both your parents were Mongolian citizens at your time of birth.

Netherlands

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Dutch citizen at the time of your birth.

Norway

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Norwegian citizen at the time of your birth.

Nigeria

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Nigerian citizen at the time of your birth.

Phillippines

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Filipino citizen at the time of your birth.

Poland

You can qualify if you have parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who resided in Poland after 1920 or whose address can be found in various registers and held Polish citizenship until the day of your birth.

Portugal

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent who was a Portuguese citizen. If grandparent, you must be familiar with the Portuguese language and have ties to the local Portuguese community.

Romania

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent who was a Romanian citizen at some point in their lifetime. Or, have a great-grandparent who was a Romanian citizen and lost citizenship involuntarily.

Singapore

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Singaporean citizen at the time of your birth.

Slovakia

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a  Slovakian citizen at the time of your birth.

Slovenia

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent who was a Slovenian citizen.

South Africa

In South Africa, You can qualify if you have a parent who was a  citizen of South Africa at your time of birth.

South Korea

You can qualify if you have a South Korean parent.

Spain

You can qualify if you have a parent or grandparent who was a Spanish citizen, with some restrictions.

Sweden

You can qualify if you have a Swedish mother or a Swedish father who is married to your mother.

Switzerland

You can qualify if you were born to a Swiss parent regardless of their place of birth, although the child must be registered at the local Swiss consulate by age 22 if born abroad.

Taiwan

You can qualify if you have a father who is a Taiwanese citizen at your time of birth.

Thailand

You can qualify if you have a Thai mother or a Thai father who is married to your mother.

Tunisia

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a  Tunisian citizen at the time of your birth.

Turkey

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a  Turkish citizen at your time of birth.

Ukraine

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a Ukrainian citizen at the time of your birth or if a direct family member was born by August 24, 1991, on territory that later became part of Ukraine

United Kingdom

You can qualify if you have a parent who was a  British citizen at the time of your birth.

United States of America

You can qualify if you have a parent who was an American citizen at the time of your birth.