Citizenship by investment programs administered governments require setting up Citizenship by investment units (CIU) to oversee proper functioning of the programs.
The citizenship by investment regulations require establishment of CIU’s as a separate agency to oversee smooth operations and and functioning of CBI programs.
CIU’s play a key role such as
- Application receiving, processing and approvals
- Policy changes and regulations to strengthen the schemes
- Approval of real estate projects
- Conduct due diligence operations and background checks of the applicants.
- Appointing Authorized Agents and marketing agents
- Enact Rules for Marketing and promotion of schemes.
- Recommend approved investor applicants for citizenship to the minister
- Issue Citizenship Certificate
- Notify Passport office to issue passport for approved investors.
- Organize events and conferences
- Provide training and consultation for agents
- Publishing reports and statistics pursuant to the CBI
- Cooperate with third party due diligence providers with vetting of applicants
- Sharing of applicant data with other Citizenship Units in other countries
- Provide a reason for application refusals
Below you will find the operations and functions of citizenship investment units and links their official websites are listed below
1. Dominica CBIU
The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU) of the Commonwealth of Dominica the Government authority within the Ministry of Finance that deals with all matters regarding citizenship by investment program.
.The CBI Unit will be dedicated to the effective management and processing of the applications that are received by the Government.
Dominica Citizenship by Investment Unit – www.cbiu.gov.dm
2. CIU St Kitts and Nevis
The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of St Kitts and Nevis was established in 1984 is responsible for processing of all applications and overseeing all matters concerning Citizenship by Investment in the Federation
CIU St Kitts and Nevis – https://ciu.gov.kn
3. CIU Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) was established by the Honourable Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda pursuant to the 2G of the Citizenship Investment Act and is the sole Government authority responsible for processing all applications for Agent’s Licenses, and all applications for Citizenship by Investment by applicants and their family.
CIU Antigua – cip.gov.ag
4. Grenada CBI Committee
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Committee (CBIC) is the Government body responsible for overseeing the processing of applications for citizenship by investment or by permanent residence. The CBIC assesses each application in accordance with the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, 2013. It then makes recommendations to the Minister, who has the final say on whether to approve, deny, or delay the granting of Grenadian citizenship.
The CBIC comprises of seven persons, all of whom answer to the Minister. One of these individuals leads the CBIC as committee chairman. This diverse group of professionals possesses a wealth of experience in areas such as law, finance, trade, and administration – allowing the CBIC to make informed decisions on citizenship matters.
Grenada CBI Unit – cbi.gov.gd
5. CIP Saint Lucia
The Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment (CIP) Unit established in 2015 is an official body responsible for the management of the CBI program, licensing agents and publishing annual reports to the Government.
The CIP Unit is responsible for receiving and processing applications for citizenship by investment and the CIP Board is responsible for granting or denying applications for citizenship by investment. The CIP Unit does not issue passports as such, but notifies Immigration Department of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force for issue of passports to CBI citizens.
Saint Lucia CIP Unit – cipsaintlucia.com
6. Citizenship by Investment Association (CIPA)
The Citizenship by Investment Programmes Association (CIPA) was established by the five Caribbean nations in 2015 to forge closer cooperation and coordination among CIU’s.
The CIPA association is a regional body made up of the heads of the Caribbean’s five citizenship by investment units.
- St. Kitts and Nevis,
- Antigua and Barbuda,
- St. Lucia and
- Commonwealth of Dominica.
European countries do not participate in CIPA
The Association has a mandate is to determine best practices in the area of citizenship by investment and to help implement them across all participating Caribbean jurisdictions.
CIPA aims to standardise due diligence processes, and to create a strong regulatory framework including sharing of information to ensure the industry’s integrity and competitiveness.
A new chairman is appointed for one year revolving term
7. Vanuatu Citizenship Office
The Vanuatu Citizenship Office and Commission (COC) is a statutory entity established by the Vanuatu Citizenship Act [Cap 112] administers two citizenship by investment programs (DSP and VCP). The agency plays a vital role in
- To enhance the efficiency of Citizenship Office in processing of applications
- Strict compliance of due diligence checking with all applicants
- Smooth line the procedures in issuing of citizenship certificates
- Better coordination with other governmental departments
- Protecting the integrity of Vanuatu Citizenship
- Appointing agents
The Unit is empowered with legal powers to consider and approve or differ or reject applications for Vanuatu citizenship, and revoke a citizenship if it was not granted according to the provisions of the Citizenship Act [Cap 112]
Vanuatu Citizenship Office and Commission – vancitizenship.gov.vu
8. Malta Community Agency
The Community Malta Agency was established in 2020 to administer the operations of Malta’s citizenship by investment programme replacing the previous IIP Agency.
The Agency is responsible for the processing of applications, the carrying out of an in-depth due diligence process and putting forward recommendations to the Government regarding the granting of citizenship. The Agency also plays a key role in transparency, good governance and maintaining integrity of the scheme.
To enhance operational procedures, the Maltese Government in April 2018 made the amendments made to the Public Administration Act (Ch. 497), split the functions of Identity Malta into three separate agencies
- Identity Malta (immigration office)
- Malta Residence & Visa Agency (MRVA) oversees Malta Residency Visa (Golden visa) scheme
- Community Malta Agency – https://komunita.gov.mt/en/home/
The IIP Regulator (ORiip) reviews all aspects of the IIP and annually reports on his functions to the Minister. Article 25A of the Maltese Citizenship Act requires the Office of the Regulator of the IIP (ORiiP) to investigate complaints about the IIP.
The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency founded in 2007 is the national investment promotion agency of Cyprus with the mandate to enhance the nation’s investment appeal abroad
The Ministry of Finance is also responsible for examination of investor applications, conducting a study and assessing the application of the Cyprus Investment Programme and its effects on the economy and providing information to the Council of Ministers, under the provisions of the Council of Minister’s Decision dated 21 May 2018.
The Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer of the Republic of Cyprus is the competent authority for the Oath of Allegiance to the Cypriot Republic.
Bulgaria does not have a dedicated citizenship by investment unit, but decisions related to citizenship by investment is taken by Ministry of Justice, Invest Bulgaria Agency and specifically Migration directorate
The important decision-making authorities are:
- The Migration Directorate (a structure within the Ministry of Interior) is responsible for processing the applications for permanent residence permits.
- The Minister of Justice supported by Bulgarian Citizenship Commission and Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate is in charge of making a proposal to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to issue a decree on the acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship. The Minister of Justice makes the proposal based on the opinion of the Council for Citizenship, which includes representatives from various government institutions.
- The President of the Republic of Bulgaria issues a decree or refuses to issue a decree for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship. If the President refuses to grant Bulgarian citizenship, the refusal is final and cannot be appealed.
Invest Bulgaria Agency issues certificates under Investments Promotion Act, This agency is an executive agency to the Bulgarian Minister of Economy. The Invest Bulgaria Agency supports the Bulgarian Minister of Economy in the application of the state policy in the field of encouragement of foreign investments.
The State Agency for National Security (SANS) provides its opinion on the applications on the basis the checks (security checks and checks on the origin of the funds) under both investors’ schemes.
The Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate checks whether the application for acquisition of Bulgarian citizenship and the documents attached thereto are in accordance with the applicable law. In case of irregularities, the Bulgarian Citizenship Directorate and the Bulgarian Citizenship Commission have the authority to request that the facts and circumstances are clarified and the established irregularities are corrected.
Turkey does not have a dedicated citizenship by investment unit but several public offices work together to grant citizenship for investments.
The Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (Invest Turkey) has setup special joint citizenship by investment offices in Ankara and Istanbul to over smooth operations of the CBI program. Directly reporting to the President of Turkey, the Investment Office is in charge of encouraging investments that further enhance the economic development of Turkey.
- General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadaster of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization issues the certificate of eligibility
- Provincial Directorate of Immigration Administration issues residence permit for investors
- Apply for Citizenship at the Provincial Directorate of Census and Citizenship Affairs and forwards to NVIGM
- General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs (NVIGM) checks applicants file for security checks and recommends to to the Minister of Interior
- The Minister sends approved applications to Office of the President of Turkey.
The Government of Montenegro has appointed Investment promotion Agency (mia.gov.me) responsible for administering and overseeing special citizenship by investment program. This agency performs the functions of citizenship by investment unit (CIU) in Montenegro, responsible for selection of applications, issuing licenses agents and due diligence service providers.
The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism will be responsible for selection of approved real estate tourism projects for the purpose of citizenship investment program.
The Ministry of Economy will be responsible for selecting development projects in the field of manufacturing for the purpose of investor citizenship program.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development will be responsible for selection of agriculture and wood processing projects for the purpose of citizenship program
The Moldova citizenship by investment Unit long with Public Service Agency is responsible for administering CBI program of Moldova.
Moldova Citizenship by Investment Program (“MCBI”, or “Program”). The Program is governed by the Law No. 1024 of June 2, 2000 on the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova and the Government Decision No. 786 of October 4, 2017 on acquiring citizenship by investment.
The program provides for the granting of citizenship of the Republic of Moldova for an economic contribution defined to the Sustainable Development Fund of Moldova (Public Investment Fund). Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure is responsible for tender invitation of due diligence firms.
Once the review of a applicant file has been satisfactorily completed, the Secretariat will issue a recommendation letter to the Commission. If the Commission decides positively, the Secretariat will send the successful file to the Citizenship Commission to the Office of the President of the Republic of Moldova for the preparation, signing and issuing of the decree granting citizenship by the President of the Republic of Moldova.
The Samoan Citizenship Investment scheme is administered by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour under the provisions of the Citizenship Investment Act 2016 and its Regulation 2016.
The Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) is responsible for administering and promoting the citizenship scheme for investments
16. North Macedonia
The Ministry of Interior, in association with FITD is responsible for citizenship applications. The official website is available here