The Citizenship by Investment (CBI) industry is already a $5 billion annual industry with 10 countries actively running CBI programs today.
Global uncertainties fuel a great demand for second passports acquired through CBI schemes.
Failing economy, recession and changing political situations such as new governments have a dramatic effect on CBI schemes to come and go. While some countries have made billions, selling passport, more countries are thinking about it, while others completely oppose it. We have seen that in the case of Moldova, when the new government came in after elections, Moldova citizenship scheme was suspended with immediate effect.
Citizenship by investment schemes have come and gone and there is a history since the 1980’s
So which countries will likely open a new citizenship by investment in the future?
Take a look below..these countries have a strong likelihood to open a CBI scheme in the future.
Greece proposed a €2 million citizenship scheme for investors in 2019 to compete with Cyprus, but later announced that the scheme will no longer open due to EU pressure and criticism. The scheme proposed limited number of 200 citizenships granted to property investors. This proposal was cancelled in 2020.
Greece will funnel €400m investments raised from citizenship scheme into luxury property sector annually. Nobody knows if Greece will launch a CBI program anytime soon.
Currently Golden visa program that gives instant permanent residency from day one is very popular
Greek passport is also powerful document in the world with visa free access to 183 countries (US, Canada etc)
Albania passed new laws in 2019, offering a provision for citizenship granted to investments made in the country. Albanian passport will also be issued for investors in the interest of the state. The scheme was only talk but nobody knows when this scheme will officially open against the backdrop of EU against such scheme.
Albanian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 113 countries and territories include EU schengen states.
Georgia also may open citizenship by investment scheme in the future.
The President of Georgia may grant Georgian citizenship by exception to investors in the interest of state, who made a significant contribution to the state. Currently Georgia offers investor visas for buying real estate for $100,000. Last year, Georgia legalized permitting dual citizenship.
Georgian passport had visa free travel to 113 countries in the world, including EU schengen states, Turkey, Brazil etc.
Croatia may relax its laws in the future offering citizenship to investors who bring economic benefit to country including creating jobs. In 2015, Croatia explored citizenship for investment scheme for €300,000 but he scheme was abandoned.
Croatia is a EU member state but does not participate in the schengen area.
Croatia has a very good EU passport, as of 2019, Croatian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 167 countries and territories to Canada, Australia,
Serbia does not have any official citizenship by investment scheme, as of today. However a business investment of €100,000 creating jobs will lead to permanent residency. Considering Serbia is neither EU member state, nor a schengen country, the investment scheme is not very attractive.
Serbia may consider fast track citizenship option, in the future.
Serbian passport is not a bad passport after all, currently serbian nationals have visa free access to 131 countries. These include EU schengen area, Russia, China, United Arab Emirates etc.
6. North Macedonia
North Macedonia already offers citizenship for investments to foreigners who invest atleast €200,000 and create atleast 10 jobs. But the scheme is not widely promoted and the scheme is not widely popular. There are certain restrictions that investments cannot be made in hotel or trade sectors. The country could simplify its investment rules in future making it attractive to foreigners interested in passports.
As of 2 July 2019, citizens of North Macedonia had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 123 countries and territories including EU schengen states. Visa not required for China for passports endorsed on business.
Russia the biggest and largest country in the world with rich natural resources and oil wealth, currently offers simplified citizenship to investors investing $10m the far east. Another route is invest $160,000 in a russian company and naturalize for citizenship after 3 years.
Russia may offer fast track citizenship by investment scheme relaxing the above rules in the future. Russia is currently exploring to introduce a golden visa scheme to compete with european ones.
Russia significantly relaxed rules related to dual citizenship recently, allows to keep dual nationality with prior permission. Although russian passport holders need a visa to travel to Europe, UK, Canada etc, the passport has visa free access to Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Bahamas, almost all of South America.
The Russian government is committed to expand its visa waiver program (VWP) with many countries.
Mauritius explored the idea of opening citizenship by investment scheme in 2018 for $500,000 in sovereign bonds. The scheme was abandoned due to criticism within the country.
The country may further explore a CIP to boost economic growth.
The Mauritius passport is very interesting, because is as good as grenada passport with visa free access to China, Russia, UK, Europe etc. A visit required to visit Canada and United States.
As of April 2019, Brunei, Grenada, Seychelles and Mauritius are the only countries whose citizens may travel without a visa to China, Russia, Schengen Area and the United Kingdom.
Tuvalu is a polynesian island country located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. It is a small country only with a population of 11,000 residents. It is also smallest in terms of land area only 10 sq,miles. Tuvalu became fully independent within the Commonwealth on 1 October 1978
Tuvalu passport act allows Investment Passport Committee to grant economic investors a passport valid for 5 years. It wont be a surprise Tuvalu opening a citizenship by investment scheme in the future.
Tuvalu passport is interesting one, with visa free travel to 126 countries. These countries include Schengen states, United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong etc.
10. Marshall Islands
Marshall islands ran a citizenship for sale scheme back in the 1980’s and sold several hundreds of passports along with other pacific countries and later it was abandoned due to international pressure.
Marshall islands is a sovereign state in free association with the United States.
Marshallese citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 122 countries and territories including United States. Marshall Islands signed a mutual visa waiver agreement with Schengen Area countries on 28 June 2016.
In 2019, Citizenship by investment was suggested to Guyana for $300,000 per investor to bring numerous benefits to Guyana over the next decade and revenues from citizenship sales, could be invested in housing and infrastructure developments benefiting Guyanese.
The proposed scheme only limited to 300 foreigners annually, bringing US$900M annually. This sum could provide about 240,000 houses at $G7.5M each to low-income Guyanese families across the country.
There is a small possibility that Guyana could open the next citizenship by investment scheme in the future.
The Guyanese passport could be interesting for those who want to travel to Russia, South Africa and other 86 countries visa free. A separate visa is required to visit Europe, UK, Canada etc.
Slovenia has no minimum investment requirements, but citizenship may be granted in the interest of the state for scientific, economic, cultural, national or similar reasons. This provision requires a one-year period of actual residence in Slovenia.
Slovenia has granted a small number of citizenships for investment based on residence permits issued to investors between 2012 to 2017
It is possible the country may waive the residence period to grant immediate citizenship to significant investments. Hence there is a chance of citizenship by investment in the future.
Slovenia has powerful EU passport, as the passport has visa waiver agreements with United States, Canada, United Kingdom giving full citizenship rights to live and work in the EU member states.
Slovakia may consider you for exceptional citizenship if you invest €100 million and create 300 jobs for economic investment. This is a very discrete scheme is not widely known, for major investor. Slovenia already granted small number of citizenship for investments.
Slovakia may consider relaxing the investment rules for investors but it wont come cheap, probably in millions of euros.
The Slovak passport is a very powerful EU passport as it has visa free access to United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia offering full rights of establishment to live work and study in the EU member states.
14. St Vincent and Grenadines
St Vincent and Montserrat are the only countries in OECS that does not have a citizenship by investment scheme in the Caribbean. Five other OECS countries (St Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua) have benefited significantly raising millions from running a CBI scheme.
The Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is hotly debated in the country and the opposition have called for introduction of CBI scheme in the country.
We may see a new future citizenship by investment scheme in this country as the political climate changes.
St Vincent passport like other caribbean CBI passports, have visa free access to 144 countries. These include Russia, EU schengen area, United Kingdom, Ireland etc.
Romania is a great prospect for a citizenship by investment scheme in the future. Currently if you invest $1 million in Romanian companies, you probably will get passport after one or two years.
Romania has EU membership but does not participate in the schengen area. Romania passport is still EU passport.
Romanian passport has visa free access to Canada, comes with full EU citizenship rights of establishment in the member states and visa free access to UK/Ireland.
Tonga operated an unofficial citizenship by investment scheme in the 1990’s offering Tongan protected person passport for cash. The passport did not grant rights to enter or settle in Tonga.
Tonga, is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited, with a population of 100,000. The economy depends on foreign currency is the remittances of Tongans living abroad, followed by tourism.
A future citizenship by investment scheme in Tonga could bring much needed revenues for the economy, considering the GDP growth of only 1.9% expected for 2019.
In 2019, Tongan citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 123 countries. These countries include China, United Kingdom, EU schengen area.
Samoa already has an active citizenship by investment scheme launched in 2017 for $1.5m invested in the country. The only problem with the scheme gives only immediate permanent residency and citizenship possible only after 3 years. Because of the high investment and long time in getting passport, this scheme never took off.
If Samoa relaxes the citizenship time from years to months, this could become an interesting citizenship by investment scheme for investors.
Samoan passport is also a very good passport as the country has visa waiver agreements with Russia, Canada, EU schengen, United Kingdom and Ireland
Belize operated a citizenship by investment program was running from 1985 until 2002, after amendments were made to citizenship act offering passport to investors who made a substantial contribution to the economy. The security concerns in the US, abuses and financial issues forced Belize to close its citizenship for sale scheme.
As of today it is still closed, and a citizenship by investment scheme is unlikely to open in the future.
The Belize passport is not very appealing because as of 2019, it has visa free access to less than 100 countries.
19. Cape Verde
Cape Verde amended its citizenship laws in 1993 providing a path for foreigns who make invest, create jobs and actively participate in economic development.
Even Cape verde opens a citizenship by investment scheme in the future, its passport is not very exciting as it seems, recognized only in 65 countries for travel.
Seychelles currently offers permanent residency to foreign investors has invested $1 million US Dollars or more in a business or companies. Seychelles and citizenship possible if the investor has resided for just 1 year in Seychelles. One year is relatively a fast time to acquire a passport.
If the Government slightly simplifies this scheme to grant a fast track citizenship, then we have our citizenship by investment in Seychelles, considering Seychelles passport is very valuable and attractive.
Seychelles passport is a very good passport comparable with Grenada, for visa free access to 150 countries. These countries Russia, China, EU schengen area, United Kingdom etc.
Austria has citizenship laws that offer exceptional citizenship in the interest of the state for economic investment in the country. Probably if you invest $10m or more, create 100 jobs it may not be enough, you need to do much more to convince austrians and qualify for discretionary citizenship.
Austria wants to attract new technologies, new innovations that brings real benefits to austrian people.
As of now it is impossible to become Austrian without living 10 years through naturalization. Again the problem is the ordinary naturalization route require you to renounce previous citizenship (which is not the case with exceptional citizenship)
The future prospects of Austria opening a citizenship scheme for investments is quite bleak.
Ukraine currently offers immediate permanent residency for $100,000 investment in business or companies. The current path for citizenship is only through naturalization after 5 years.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in 2019 has ordered an overhaul of the process for granting Ukrainian citizenship, in response to a Russian decree expanding the number of Ukrainians who can apply for fast-track Russian passports.
With so many reforms going on, the idea of Ukraine opening a citizenship by investment scheme looks incomprehensible, may well happen, nobody knows. Doing so, Ukraine has also to relax dual citizenship laws.
Ukraine passport has visa free access to 126 countries in 2019 including Russia, EU schengen area.
Nauru is the third-smallest country in the world behind Vatican City, and Monaco in terms of land mass only 21 km2 and resident population of 11,200
Nauru operated a citizenship by investment scheme in the 1998 to 2002 and sold close to 1000 passports during that period. Considering it is a very small country, it is a big money!
The Nauru passport is only interesting if you want visa free travel to United Kingdom, Ireland, Russia. As of 2019, Nauruan citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to only 85 countries and territories. A visa needed to visit schengen area
Montserrat in the Caribbean, one of the 14 British overseas territories attempted to open a citizen by investment program in 2015 to raise $62 million selling 275 passports for hotel and villa developments , but the British Government rejected the proposal later. The proposals cited two citizenship sale prices £2m and £250,000 per passport.
Montserrat with only a 4500 residents struggles to revive its economy since the big volcanic eruption in 1995 covering much of the island in ash, since then has been heavily dependent on the UK.
There is a possibility that a new citizenship by investment program could open in Montserrat. Currently it is possible to secure residency by depositing $150,000 in a bank account or buying real estate
Montserrat offers a very interesting British overseas passport
Comoros already had oldest citizenship by investment scheme in Africa since 2001 and sold over 50,000 passports until the program was closed in 2016 by the new government. The Economic citizenship scheme remained the cheapest in the world requiring donation of $45,000 to the Government.
Comoros being the poorest country in the world, may well launch a reformed properly designed citizenship for sale scheme in the future with change in government to boost investments for economic development, tourism and real estate market in the small island.
26. Solomon Islands
Solomon islands floated the idea of opening a economic citizenship scheme back in 2020 to compete with other pacific countries such as Vanuatu, since legalizing dual citizenship in 2018. The Citizenship Investment Law is yet to be passed in parliament for approval before the actual scheme.
Solomon islands has a very powerful passport that has visa waiver agreements with Canada, UK,
Kazakhstan proposed a economic citizenship for investment scheme to raise foreign investment and pay off the country debts.
A draft bill was submitted by the government for public discussion calling for amendments in legislation of Kyrgyzstan. The new bill proposes to enable foreign citizens to acquire citizenship of the Kyrgyz Republic in a simplified manner of one time donation of USD 100,000 to a special account for the accumulation of funds to pay off the external debt of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Suriname proposed a new economic citizenship program for investors to drive foreign investments in the economy, revive property market and labor force. An expert committee has been setup to study the CIP program.
Armenia has proposed a draft law in 2022 to grant economic citizenship for investments. According to this proposal, foreigners will be granted citizenship for making USD 150,000 in government fund, property, debt securities and bank deposit.