Multimillionaires who have been minting money by the minute have found it excessively necessary to maintain a good-looking collection of two or three or even four passports in their travel packs. Call it a fetish or a rush to be seen as an elite who can travel across countries without following the norms of a commoner. Just like an iPhone that provided services to individuals who could ‘afford’ the fancy phone, citizenship-by-investment programmes also catered to a distinct audience that could afford their conditions. Well, let’s just say that the norm has seen a drastic change in 2018 as the Caribbean countries have become incredibly cheap and affordable for even small-time businessmen (just like how an iPhone is now open to selling to the mass instead of the elite) and offer an opportunity to attain dual citizenship for Indian passport holders.
Citizenship-by-investment programme is a booming market with schemes that are attractive, affordable and lucrative. Basically, these deals state that the investor put money in their government bonds or development funds or real estate, with a view to expanding their country’s development plans, in return for the said country’s citizenship and perks involved with the citizenship. If you think about it, it’s a pretty good deal as it broadens a businessman’s investment opportunities and gets them perks of dual citizenship.
The most expensive ones that you can probably consider if you’re a stinking rich tycoon include the United States of America (for an EB-5 US visa, investors have to pay around $1 million), Australia (AU$1.5 million and a net worth of AU$2.5 million for residency) and most of the European countries, who usually expect investment in development funds. However, recently, the Caribbean countries have amended their Citizenship-by-investment law with a view to attract more investors from across the globe.
Most of their investments are centered around development and real estates as this poses one of the best ways for them to revamp their countries that are afflicted by hurricanes that hit them every year. With that, we present five countries that provide cheap and affordable Citizenship-by-Investment programme.
- ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Antigua and Barbuda have sprung up in the news as it is sheltering absconded diamond merchant Mehul Choksy (he’s involved in the PNB scam with jewellery designer Nirav Modi). The Caribbean’s in general, have been known for their cheap investment programmes. And at Antigua and Barbuda, individuals are entitled to get citizenship for money worth Rs 1.3 crore to be invested in the Antigua National Development Fund. The businessman also has other alternatives to acquire the citizenship, it includes an investment of Rs 2.7 crore in real estates.
Another such alternative, a rather expensive one, would be to make an investment of approximately Rs 10.3 crore in an enterprise based out of Antigua and Barbuda. Their most recent addition in the citizenship-for-investment programme includes purchasing citizenship with bitcoin and other relevant cryptocurrencies! The amendment in the Citizenship By Investment Programme Act states that a payment of $7618.83405317 + 0.28% in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is also accepted.
Apart from the citizenship, the businessman is entitled to get a visa-free passport across 132 countries, including the United Kingdom and countries surrounding Schengen. Another big perk includes their liberal rule to spend only five days in five years in order to sustain their citizenship.
- ST KITTS AND NEVIS
Situated in the Caribbean, St Kitts and Nevis also provide a very cheap rate of investment-for-citizenship programme. The entrepreneur is expected to invest Rs 1.03 crore to the St Kitts Sustainable Growth Fund or put Rs 1.3 crore worth investment in their government or a real estate project. In fact, in St Kitts and Nevis, a passport can be made for a donation of Rs 1.2 crore (approximately) to the hurricane relief fund.
In return for the investments, the citizen gets visa-free travel access across 141 countries, including India and the UK.
To attract more investors on their turf, Dominica (not to be confused with Dominican Republic) recently slashed their prices on the Citizenship-by-Investment programme to a meager Rs 68 Lakh, which should be paid to the Dominica Government Fund. The businessman can also invest Rs 1.03 crore on real estates.
There is no requirement for the investor to visit the country or provide physical residency as proof of his/her citizenship! The citizenship and passport of the individual who fails to visit the country shall not be revoked. Besides this, the individual will also be entitled to get visa-free travel or visa-on-arrival option across about 115 countries! The countries also include Singapore, Hong Kong, some European countries (which includes Switzerland).
- ST. LUCIA
Apart from Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, even St. Lucia truncated prices of citizenship that’s on sale. Investment worth Rs 68 lakh to the National Economic Fund or buying St Lucia’s government bonds worth Rs 3.4 crore would be enough to make you a citizen of the country. Just like its other Caribbean counterparts, even St. Lucia encourages investment in real estate (of around Rs 2.06 crore) to get the citizenship.
The dual citizenship provided by St Lucia is flexible and the citizenship acquired is for a lifetime! It provides a visa-free travel to more than 135 countries.
Malta can be considered as the pioneer of cheap rates in the Citizenship-by-Investment programme. However, due to the price drop by the Caribbean countries, Malta may have become an expensive option, especially around the other four alternatives. The small European country expects the entrepreneur to invest a non-refundable Rs 4.4 crore in the National Development and Social Fund and spend minimum, Rs 2.4 crore on purchasing a residence in the country. Basically, an investment of around Rs 7 crores. Clearly, it is three times more than what the other countries on the list have to offer.
The biggest benefit of Malta, as compared to the other citizenship programmes mentioned above, is the EU passport and visa-free travel to about 160 countries, which also includes the United States of America.
The cost of lawyers will bring up the price a little as will the fact if you apply for a whole family, but for the perks associated this investment is absolutely worth it for many Indians!