In the past few years, Citizenship by Investment (CBI) schemes have been doing rounds. Investors from across the globe are eyeing such schemes offering lenient citizenship requirements in exchange for investment in select forms.
Often referred to as Golden Visas, they are essentially a gateway to citizenship and hence, the name. Yet, there are a lot of discussions, and often heated debates, regarding the legitimacy of these schemes. Our focus, however, is not on the controversial aspect today. Instead, we shall be exploring the various basics of the scheme.
In case you are curious to know about the various creative ways of acquiring citizenship, then you should read along. I am going to enumerate a few pointers on the CBI schemes. From what they are to what benefits they accrue, you shall know all the essential details below.
- What precisely is a CBI scheme is
To substantiate the aforementioned introduction, a CBI scheme is a government-approved scheme that is primarily aimed at attracting foreign investments. Under the said scheme, typically, the applicants are required to invest a certain sum in certain forms within the local jurisdiction. In consideration of the investment, the applicant will be eligible to apply for fast-track acquisition of citizenship. Either the duration of acquisition will reduce considerably, or the applicant will be immediately granted citizenship.
Based on the same principle, there is also a Residence by Investment (RBI) Scheme. However, unlike the CBI, the scheme does not immediately grant citizenship. In most cases, the process of the acquisition remains intact but what is fast-tracked is the grant of a residence permit.
- Common forms of investment
Most CBI schemes across the globe share the areas of investment. But, there may be differences nevertheless. Generally, investment options include real estate investment, a donation to a designated fund, or investment in a local business or establishment of a company in the country. For instance, Antigua’s qualifying investments cover donations to the National Development Fund (NDF) or West Indies Fund Option, investments in a real estate property, or investments in the business. In any CBI scheme, you will most likely find a minimum investment sum.
- Extension of benefits to family
What makes CBI schemes attractive is the fact that they are usually designed to extend citizenship benefits to the family members added to the application. It is, however, to be noted that there is always a restriction on the type and number of family members. Generally, the scheme allows the addition of the spouse or partner, dependent children under 18, and parents of the applicant. Siblings may be added to the application, but there are not many schemes that include such an option.
- General eligibility criteria
While investment is the primary condition under the scheme, other eligibility conditions must be met. These include:
– The applicant must be above 18 years of age.
– He must come with a clean background with no criminal antecedents. For the same, a police clearance will have to be submitted.
– He must possess sufficient funds to sustain himself and his dependent family members in the country.
– All the sources of his income must be legal, the proof of which must be submitted.
– Additional fees are stipulated for every family member added to the application. The proof of payment must be submitted.
– Certificate of kinship, such as a marriage certificate, if applicable. ‘
- Processing time
The idea is to attract investors through a fast-tracked grant of the citizenship process. But, the processing time may differ. For instance, St. Lucia grants the quickest citizenship under the scheme; in about 46-50 days. Vanuatu grants citizenship within 60 days. Turkey, however, may take up to 100 days. Most Caribbean countries which run the scheme grant citizenship the fastest and have a very seamless processing framework. Europe, however, maintains such schemes but has a larger processing framework and may not be as seamless as its Caribbean counterpart.
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