The Golden visa programs and Citizenship by investment (CBI) schemes both are completely different and should not be confused with each other. The important difference here is Golden visas (GV) offer only residency (no citizenship) while CBI schemes offer instant citizenship (with golden passport) from day one.

GV residency schemes may be slightly expensive because it involves a property investment of atleast 250k euros. With CBI schemes, the minimums are $100k or more in the form of donations, these are not recoverable investments. Residential or hotel investments are always recoverable, you wont be wasting much your money plus bring rental yields.

For example Portugal is a very good investment scheme for residency and if you to pursue EU citizenship option. There are compelling reasons behind for Portugal being so popular.


Golden Visas (GV)Citizenship by Investment (CBI)
What you GetResidencyDirect Citizenship/Passport
Investment optionsReal Estate / Business / Bonds / Bank depositDonation / Real Estate / Bonds
Minimum InvestmentUSD 150,000 onwardsUSD 100,000 onwards
Permanent ResidencyPossibleNot required
Processing times3-8 months3-4 months
Free movementLimited (Regional for example schengen)Worldwide
Personal visitrequirednot required
Living or residency requirement1 dayWaived

Here is a quick summary of countries offering CBI/RBI schemes

List of Countries

Golden Visas (GV)Citizenship by Investment (CBI)
United Kingdom
United States
Cayman Islands
Antigua and Barbuda
St Kitts and Nevis
St Lucia

How to decide between residency and citizenship? 

Well. this depends on specific to your needs. Sometimes you are more than happy with just residency, and you dont need citizenship at all, you already have a powerful passport (eg. UK, US, EU, Canada)

Check dual nationality

If citizenship interests you, first you need to check you are legally allowed to have more than one citizenships (dual nationality). Many developed nations are open to dual nationality, in this case you are free to apply for second citizenship through CBI schemes. If you are from nations that forbid holding more than one nationality, then probably GV residency schemes are your best bet!

It is important to remember than GV schemes also offer full path to permanent residency (or green card) and citizenship after some years. (You also need to put some effort to become for example EU citizen). Please seek legal advice before you pursue citizenship options abroad.

Wisely consider Family and Education options

Investing in family may be the single most important thing in the 21st century. Make sure all your family members including siblings, parents and grandparents get perks with residency and citizenship programs. Well designed GV/CBI programs allow family members to be included for some additional costs.

Education for children is the No.1 criteria for many asian families before picking a country for immigration. It is a well known fact that US, Canada, Australia, UK have some of the best established universities in the world (also can be quite expensive). European countries are also not far behind in terms of high quality education (also not very expensive).  For example Germany has free education system, Portugal and Greece offer free school education.

Geographic proximity

Take into consideration the proximity of the country where you invest from home. If you live in Middle east, Caribbean could be far away compared to Greece. It could be tiring to fly far away countries, with the distance air fares also high. For US and UK nationals, Portugal and Spain are great for summer vacation getaways and owning a home with golden visa may come in handy.

Do your homework before selecting the country and program of your choice.