During 18th century, the world’s first special citizenship-by-investment program prevailed in Scotland, a century before St Kitts started the idea, which continued long after the Union with England in the 18th century: a share investment of GBP 83 in the Royal Bank of Scotland allowed a foreign citizen to become a citizen of Scotland and, by extension, the UK.

During the 18th and 19th century in England, there were a large number of mainly German and Italian merchants and wealthy investors, who acquired citizenship for merely economic reasons, and did not necessarily settle in England.

St Kitts and Nevis pioneered the idea of citizenship by investment in 1984 and since then as many as 15 countries officially have active CIPs running  as of 2018.

 

History of Citizenship by Investment

The economic citizenship programs existed in several countries well before 2010.

  • Scotland 18th century – £83
  • St Kitts and Nevis 1984 for $250,000
  • Dominica 1993 for $50,000
  • Belize 1985-2001 $40,000
  • Ireland 1984-1994 for £1million, citizenship scheme closed in 2002 replaced with immigrant investor scheme
  • Grenada 1997-2001 for $50,000 reopened in 2015 for $200,000
  • Montenegro 2010 (EUR 500,000)  reopening in Oct 2018 for EUR 250,000
  • Nauru 1998-2002 for $50,000
  • Tonga 1982-1996 for $50,000
  • Vanuatu 1996-1997 for $50,000 relaunched in 2016 for $200,000

 

From just two CIPs in 1990’s,  proliferated to 15 countries implementing it and the concept of  citizenship by investment is being widely embraced globally, despite criticisms on due diligence.

It is estimated that CBI-citizenship by investment industry is $3 billion industry and by 2020, the industry is predicted to become $5 billion and more countries expected to offer citizenship through economic investment.

 

Country Inception  Minimum Investor Residency Requirements  Citizenship time
1 St Kitts and Nevis 1984  $150,000  –  3-6 months
2  Dominica 1993 $100,000  –  4-6 months
3 Cambodia 1996 $250,000 3-6 months
4 Bulgaria 2009 €1 m  1 year 15 months
5 Cyprus 2011 €2 m 6 months  8 months
6 Grenada 2013 $150,000 3-5 months
7 Antigua and Barbuda 2014 $100,000**  5 days 4-6 months
8 Malta 2014 €1.15 m 1 year 15 months
9 Saint Lucia 2015 $100,000  – 5-7 months
10 Samoa 2016 $1.65m 3 years 3 months
11 Turkey 2017 $1m unknown 3 months
12 Vanuatu 2017 $150,000 3-4 months
13 Jordan 2018 $1.5m 5 years 3 months
14 Moldova 2018 €100,000  –  3 months
15 Montenegro 2018 €350,000 3 weeks 3 months
16 Bulgaria 2010 €1,000,000 18 months 3 months

In 2018, Egypt and Mauritius announced opening of economic citizenship program in the future.

  • Egypt ($390,000)
  • Mauritius ($500,000)