Citizenship should be based on a ‘genuine link’. As defined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Nottebohm case (1955), citizenship is ‘a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests, and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties’. It is one of the basic foundations for becoming a ‘Responsible and Good citizen’.
Investor applicants for Citizenship by investment programs do not consider establishing genuine link or bonding with the state. They simply acquire passport and think that their relationship with the state is over after making the designated investment, be it donation to state fund or purchase a property. It doesn’t end there. Malta in one such country where it is impossible to acquire citizenship without satisfying genuine link criteria (it does not matter how much you invest). All other countries do not strictly enforce this criteria with CBI. It is not required for the main applicant to reside constantly.
The problem with not establishing deep bonding with the state is the newly acquired citizenship becomes ‘weaker’ with no ties to the country. This also makes a good reason to get citizenship revoked. We always tell our clients to learn a thing or two about the country, atleast they should be able to locate the small country in the map.
In his paper by Marco Mazzeschi, warns Second passport seekers without establishing a genuine, real and effective bond of attachment with the State which grants the second nationality (especially when the acquisition of a second citizenship is mostly driven by fiscal reasons) their costly shopping can result in an empty bag.
Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner said Member States should only award citizenship to persons where there is a “genuine link” or ‘genuine connection” to the country in question.
So, how to establish genuine link?
A genuine link can be established the following actions
- Visit or frequent trips to the country, or Long term resident with permanent resident status
- Invest in real estate (eg. buying or rent a home)
- Pay utility bills (eg. gas, water, electricity)
- Pay local taxes (personal, corporate or duties),
- Invest in healthcare sector (eg. hospitals)
- Investing in state issued debt (eg. government securities, bonds and shares)
- Knowledge in history and Integrating fully to culture and people.
- Speaking and writing the local language
- Donations to charity or philanthropy work (possible through consulates abroad)
- Club memberships
- Blood donation camps (eg. Redcross)
- Education sector (establish colleges, schools and universities)
- Invest in climate resilience and disaster management (eg. hurricanes)
- Participation in public life, serving government or politics
- Establish Family ties with the country (eg. marrying)
- Bring Innovation, Research and development, and new technologies benefiting local people
- Incorporate a new company and creating jobs for local citizens (eg. shops)
- Serve in Police, Armed forces or military service.
- Shipping, Yacht registration and ownership.
- Private jet and aircraft services
- Manufacturing plants (eg. water distillation, mining, wood processing)
- Investing in Transportation and logistics (eg. courier)
- Advisory in Information Technology services towards a digital future
The concept of genuine link can only be explained through Nottebohm case which shook the foundations of modern citizenship for decades.
Citizenship should be based on a ‘genuine link’. As defined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Nottebohm case (1955), citizenship is ‘a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests, and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties’.