Master the Path to Citizenship by Investment in 2024

Master the Path to Citizenship by Investment in 2024

Master the Path to Citizenship by Investment in 2024

March 22, 2024


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Key Takeaways

  1. Citizenship by investment (CBI) is a legal process whereby individuals can acquire citizenship or residency rights in a country
  2. Often related to a “Golden Visa” program, applicants make financial investments for automatic or fast-tracked citizenship
  3. Especially for those who come from countries with “weak” passports, many countries offering citizenship by investment offer visa-free travel and investment opportunities


In an increasingly connected world, the concept of citizenship has evolved beyond birthright or history. Citizenship by investment (CBI) has emerged as a viable pathway for individuals seeking to obtain citizenship in a foreign country through investment.

In 2022, Armenia amended its constitution to allow citizenship by investment, providing an option for wealthy individuals to purchase citizenship through donations to research or education initiatives as well as through investment in the local market. However, since then, other countries like Spain have considered rolling back or restricting their own “golden visa” or citizenship by investment programs.

Why these countries are considering or changing their minds on citizenship by investment programs can provide us with a view of their benefits, limits, and future for companies and individuals interested in expanding their global reach.


Citizenship by Investment Defined: A Closer Look


What is Citizenship by investment? Citizenship by investment (CBI) is a legal process whereby individuals can acquire citizenship or residency rights in a country by making a significant financial investment in that nation. This may come through charitable donations to important public projects, as in the case of Armenia, or through investing in a new company.

In some cases, such as in the case of the UK, Ireland, Portugal, and others, these programs do not offer instant citizenship by investment but instead provide residency status and a fast track to citizenship.

For those individuals seeking CBI, these programs offer quick and simple ways to live and work in countries where foreign investment programs would be otherwise subject to enhanced scrutiny or limits. Unlike traditional methods of acquiring citizenship, such as through birth, marriage, or naturalization, CBI programs offer a more streamlined and efficient route for eligible investors.

By offering this option, countries with CBI programs hope to benefit from foreign money, knowledge, and talent.


The 3 Biggest Benefits of Obtaining Citizenship Through Investment


Global Mobility and Visa-Free Travel


One of the most popular benefits of citizenship by investment is the enhanced global mobility it provides. Especially for those who come from countries with “weak” passports, many countries offering citizenship by investment have strong passport power. This grants visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a vast number of countries and territories worldwide.

This unrestricted travel facilitates business opportunities, leisure activities, and international networking, making it especially appealing to entrepreneurs, investors, and frequent travelers. Golden visa programs in Europe are highly sought after for this reason, as they may then also offer visa-free travel to the 26 countries of the Schengen area.

With a second passport obtained through CBI, individuals can cross borders with ease, bypassing visa application processes and potential travel restrictions.


Security and Stability


Citizenship through investment offers a sense of security and stability when mapping out a global investment strategy, particularly for individuals from politically or economically volatile regions.

With citizenship rights in multiple countries, investors can limit the risks associated with political change, downturns, or social unrest in their home countries. More than this, holding citizenship in a stable or wealthy nation provides access to protective legal systems, reliable public services, and social safety nets (often including healthcare). These options safeguard investors and their families against unforeseen challenges or crises.

The stability this brings fosters confidence in long-term financial planning, asset protection, and personal well-being, making it an invaluable asset for global citizens.


Access to Economic Opportunities


Citizenship by investment opens doors to a wealth of economic opportunities in the host country and beyond. Investors gain access to a new market ecosystem and lucrative investment prospects.

At the same time, citizenship in certain countries also grants access to prestigious educational institutions, research facilities, and innovation hubs designed to foster intellectual capital and talent development.

Furthermore, citizenship through investment may offer preferential treatment in terms of tax incentives, residency rights, and business privileges,


Overall, the economic benefits of CBI help individuals pursue their global aspirations, expand their horizons, and thrive in an ever more connected worldwide economy.


Key Criteria and Requirements for Citizenship by Investment Programs


While the specifics vary from one country to another, there are common criteria and requirements that applicants must fulfill to qualify for citizenship by investment programs.

These typically include substantial financial contributions to the host country’s economy, such as through real estate investment, government bonds, or direct donations to development and job creation funds.

Additionally, applicants must undergo thorough background checks to ensure they meet the program’s integrity standards.


Where are the Most Popular Countries Offering Citizenship by Investment?


Several countries worldwide offer citizenship by investment programs, each with its own requirements and benefits. The most popular citizenship by investment countries may differ depending on what factors are considered. However, a list can be created which considers many factors, such as quality of life, passport strength, and cost.

As a result, among the most popular destinations for CBI in 2024 are:



St. Kitts and Nevis


Renowned for having one of the oldest and most established CBI programs, St. Kitts and Nevis offer citizenship through investment in real estate or a contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund.

Minimum investments start at USD150,000 and increase when bringing family. In return, the country doesn’t charge tax on foreign income and visa-free travel to 150 countries worldwide.





Malta’s Individual Investor Program (IIP) grants citizenship to applicants who make a significant contribution to the country’s economy, such as through investments in government bonds, real estate, or a donation to the National Development Fund.

Citizenship can either be gained in 1 year by an investment of EUR750,000 or in 3 years by an investment of EUR650,000. At the same time, options exist for investment via property; however, this can take longer. As Malta is part of the Schengen agreement, this citizenship by investment thus provides visa-free access to the entire Schengen zone.





Known for its affordable investment options and visa-free access to over 140 countries, Grenada’s CBI program offers citizenship through investment in real estate (USD220,000) or by direct investment in the National Transformation Fund (minimum USD150,000).

Applicants gain all of the benefits of citizenship in this Caribbean country for a lower cost when compared to many other CBI programs.





While no longer technically classed as a citizenship-by-investment program due to the fact that investment now only guarantees residency, Portugal’s Golden Visa program provides a simplified pathway to citizenship for investors who contribute to the country’s economy through real estate investment or job creation.

Previously, residency was available through transferring money into a local bank or purchasing property. However, in 2024, the program has shifted to focus on investment in the country’s research and development or the creation of jobs. As a result, a 5-year residency can be obtained by donations of EUR200,000 to EUR 500,000 in national development funds.

After 5 years, residency (which provides visa-free access to Europe during this time) can be turned into naturalized citizenship.


The Application Process: 6 Steps to Acquiring Citizenship Through Investment


The process of acquiring citizenship through investment varies according to the country but typically involves the following steps:


  1. Research and Selection – The process starts by researching various CBI programs to determine which best aligns with your investment goals, lifestyle preferences, and required criteria. As CBI can be a way to integrate your business interests into a new market without the usual hassles of global expansion, choosing a country that suits your long-term needs is key.
  2. Due Diligence and Documentation – Complete the necessary due diligence checks and gather required documentation, such as proof of funds, identity documents, and investment details.
  3. Application – Submit your citizenship application along with the required documentation to the designated government authority or authorized agent. This can typically be done in your home country or in the country of interest, with many CBI programs having special or fast-tracked procedures for application.
  4. Review and Approval – Your application will undergo thorough review and vetting by the relevant authorities to ensure compliance with program requirements and criteria.
  5. Investment Fulfillment – Upon approval, fulfill the investment requirements outlined in the program, whether through real estate acquisition, financial contribution, or other approved investment avenues.
  6. Citizenship Acquisition – Once all requirements are met and investments are verified, you will be granted citizenship or residency status in the host country.


In many cases, it will require some time to convert residency to citizenship. However, residency in many CBI countries often confers many of the same benefits as citizenship.


Potential Risks and Considerations


While citizenship by investment offers numerous benefits, it is not without its risks and considerations. These may include:


Financial Risk


Investments in real estate or government bonds carry inherent financial risks, and most CBI programs require that investment is made through non-refundable means.

Investors should conduct thorough research to assess the potential and stability of their chosen investment avenue.


Reputation Risk and Changing Attitudes to CBI


Some CBI programs have faced enhanced scrutiny in recent years due to the potential risks of attracting those who are seeking citizenship for illicit purposes.

As a result, the status of CBI programs may be under threat in a number of countries, increasing the importance of research and understanding how investments could be affected.


Residency Obligations


Certain CBI programs may impose requirements on investors, such as regular visits or extended stays in the host country to maintain citizenship or residency status. This can place extra burdens on investors throughout the review period or beyond.


Tax Implications


Investors should consider the tax implications of acquiring citizenship in a foreign country, including potential obligations for worldwide income reporting and double taxation issues.


citizenship by Investment


Navigating the Path to Citizenship by Investment with Professional Support by INS Global


Citizenship by investment offers a new world of options for individuals seeking to obtain citizenship or residency rights in a foreign country through strategic investment. However, understanding and getting through the complex landscape of CBI programs requires careful thought and often benefits from guidance.

INS Global stands ready to assist investors at every step of the journey, providing expert advice, support, and tailored solutions to ensure a smooth citizenship by investment process.

With our full range of services (including Employer of Record services, recruitment, payroll management, and more) offered in our worldwide network of 160+ countries, we offer simplified ways to expand your market reach around the world.

So, contact INS Global’s teams of expert global advisors and compliance assurance professionals today to learn more about our list of solutions and support with a free consultation. 


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