Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs have become quite popular since the last decade. There are many countries, especially in Europe and the Americas that offer several such programs as part of their goals to boost the economy and attract foreign investments. Essentially, these programs require the applicants to invest a certain amount in certain areas in exchange for which they are extended permanent residence and ultimately citizenship (if applied for).

Top Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs

TOP Citizenship by Investment Programs

CountryMinimum InvestmentKey benefitTime
Antigua and Barbuda$100,000The right of free movement to Antigua and Barbuda, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area, among others3/4 months
Malta€690,000Visa free 182 countries14 months
Bulgaria€512,000Visa free 169 countries2 years
Montenegro€350,000Visa free 122 countries3 months
Grenada$150,000Visa free 131 countries4 months
Dominica$100,000Visa free 137 countries3 months
Saint Kitts & Nevis$150,000Visa free 152 countries2 months
Vanuatu$130,000Visa free 132 countries1 months
Saint LuciaUS$100,000Visa free 115 countries4 months
TurkeyUS$250,000Visa free 110 countries2 months
Montenegro€250,000The right of free movement to Montenegro, the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area, Russia, and Turkey, among others
5 months

TOP Residence by Investment Programs

CountryMinimum InvestmentKey benefitTime
Greece€250,000Europe’s Schengen Area2 months
Malta€175,000Europe’s Schengen Area6 months
Portugal€350,000Europe’s Schengen Area6 months
Spain€500,000Europe’s Schengen Area. apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years2 months
Ireland€500,000Europe’s Schengen Area2 months
Monaco€300,000Europe’s Schengen Area6 months
Austria€40,000Europe’s Schengen Area3 months
Italy€250,000Europe’s Schengen Area4 months
Latvia€50,000The right to live, work, study, and undertake business in Latvia. Residence valid for a five-year period.
Ability to apply for permanent residence after five years.
Ability to apply for citizenship after five years of holding permanent residence.
3 months
Turkey$250,000Europe’s Schengen Area2 months
Australia€1,500,0005 years to citizenship12 months
New Zealand€1,800,000Eligibility for citizenship after 5 years of residence6 months
Canada€1,000,0003 years to citizenship2 years
Jersey€1,000,000UK visa-free travel2 months
Mauritius€326,925The right to live, work, and retire in Mauritius6 months
Malaysia€70,00010-year multiple-entry visa6 months
United States€500,000Citizenship after 5 years of legal residenceVarying processing time
United Kingdom
€2,500,000The right to live, work, and study anywhere in the United Kingdom

1 months
Thailand€68,000Long-term, privilege multiple-entry permit as well as luxury, VIP treatment

3 months
South Korea
€300,000The right to live, work, and study in South Korea
2 months
SingaporeSGD 2.5 MILLIONEligibility for citizenship after 2 years of permanent residence12 months
Monaco€500,000The right to live, work, and undertake business in Monaco. Eligible for citizenship after 10 years of continuous residence in Monaco
2-4 MONTHS
SwitzerlandCHF 250,000The right to live and study in Switzerland.
Eligible to apply for permanent residency (C permit) after 10 years.
C permit holders may apply for Swiss citizenship.

But, the real question comes from the point of view of investors: Why should they invest in the first place? Nobody wants to put their money in places where there are no significant returns or rewards. Now, you should know that these programs are called ‘Golden’ visas for reasons, and I will enumerate a few of them.

Visa-Free Travel: Investors keep looking for opportunities to invest and keep their money growing. There are, however, countries that may not be readily accessible. Countries that offer these programs often offer visa-free travel to certain locations. For example, the Portuguese and the Spanish Golden Visa Programs allow visa-free access to EU and Schengen Area countries. There are programs that allow access to countries otherwise difficult to readily access such as Russia and China. Of course, the investment may not be the sole reason why you want a visa-free access but is surely one to consider.

Benefits to Family members: Generally speaking, Golden Visa Schemes extend the benefits not only to the successful applicant but also his family members. This is arguably one of the biggest perks of these programs as you can tag along with your family members who are guaranteed access to services and privileges to which you are. One thing, however, you should note is that coverage of family members is usually limited to your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents. Their antecedents are under inspection just like yours during the application process.

A portfolio of passports: Not many understand the power of holding multiple passports. There are countries that have the strongest passports and the ones with the weakest. Many investors go for either the stronger ones or a mix of both because a portfolio of passports can actually enhance their investment potential, allow them to experience a diversification of lifestyles, and engage in smooth and readily available socio-cultural exchanges. For example, Austria and Malta have strong passports and their citizenship can throw open doors to so many opportunities.

Business traveler

Access to public services: With the residence permit or citizenship, you become entitled to receive access to public services. These public services include public healthcare, education, and work opportunities. Understandably, however, there will be differences in the benefits offered to a resident and a citizen; for example, a citizen has the right to work whereas a resident does not. If you hold a passport of a highly developed country, you will be entitled to receive high-quality, reliable public services. Many applicants of these programs have a long-term goal of settling down with their families in the country because they will be able to enjoy a better, more secure, and more peaceful lifestyle.

Tax Benefits: Many countries, in order to attract investments, make very investor-friendly citizenship by investment programs. They understand that they must propose an offer not easy to refuse, and tax benefits are quite a dazzling aspect of these programs. You will often find that countries such as Antigua and Barbuda and many others in the Caribbean region do not tax personal income. Wealthy investors are drawn towards these countries as they have a better chance at managing their wealth here.