Over the past few decades, the number of citizenship by investment (CBI) and residence by investment (RBI) schemes has increased tremendously. Europe and the Caribbean have been at the frontline in terms of these schemes as they roll out competitive schemes to attract investment in exchange for citizenship/residence along with other benefits. The idea is to increase foreign investment through giveaways that are otherwise not easily delivered. Investors, on the other hand, want to belong to the particular economic, political, and cultural life of a country but hesitate because of administrative hassles. All in all, these schemes enforce a favorable law of equivalent exchange.
That being said, these schemes come with their own terms and conditions. It is not necessarily a pick-and-choose scheme. Every country offers its own version of these schemes. You will have to consider a range of factors before you zero in on one scheme for your purposes. In this article, I will highlight some of these factors that can help you make an informed decision.
Here are a few things to consider for CBI or RBI schemes.
- Investment Amount
The core requirement of any of these schemes is an investment. The quid pro quo is the investment the applicant will make in the country. It is upon the said investment, along with the fulfillment of other conditions, will the investor be granted or be eligible for expedited citizenship or residence. The investment amount can range; there are countries with a minimum investment requirement of USD 100,000 and others may stipulate the threshold at USD 250,000 and beyond. Moreover, the nature of investment varies. Most countries allow for real-estate investment but exceptions are there. Donations to a government-instituted fund are quite common.
- Due Diligence Requirements
The Due Diligence Process is conducted by the designated authority that oversees the management of the scheme. The strength of the process varies from country to country. Some countries exercise an especially strict due diligence process for applicants from certain countries. Malta, for instance, is known for its four-tier due diligence process. On the other hand, there are countries in the Caribbean with a simple, surface-level due diligence process. Stricter due diligence, and stricter compliance expectations. So, keep this aspect in mind.
- Family Members
It is quite common to find these schemes extending benefits to the family members of the applicant. There are riders attached to the same, however. Not all family members can be added to the application; many schemes limit the facility to spouses/partners, dependent children and, parents. A few schemes are known to extend the facility to dependent siblings. Moreover, with every addition of a family member to the application, additional investment sum and fees are included.
- Procedural necessities
Now, these schemes can be really easy to go about or very complicated. Although these schemes are created to reduce administrative hassles, hassles remain nevertheless. These hassles may come in the form of longer processing time, bulky documentation processes, and stringent residential requirements. There are schemes that grant individuals with a permanent residence permit under the scheme citizenship upon writing and qualifying a paper on language, culture, and geography.
Countries can offer a wide range of benefits under these schemes. As an applicant, you should consider the state of the educational, health, and commercial sectors. It is important to know how much travel mobility the residence or citizenship of a country provides; this is reflected in the number of countries where you will have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access. Safety is also an important factor. The tax regime of the country plays a key role in determining the popularity of the scheme. If you are investing such a large amount, you should receive proportionate benefits.
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