7 affordable citizenship by investment programs

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is a fast track to acquiring a second passport. It allows investors to gain citizenship by investing in a country’s economy, and several nations across the globe offer these ‘Golden Visa’ schemes.

Once achieved, second citizenship allows you to travel as a citizen of your adopted country and enjoy benefits including visa-free and visa-on-arrival global travel and the right to live, work, study, and receive health care in that country. Many Golden Visa schemes also deliver tax breaks and other financial incentives.

Even better, CBI can take as little as 3 to 6 months from application to passport delivery, in contrast to citizenship through residency (naturalisation), which tends to take at least five years.

In this article, we look at seven of the best CBI schemes available in 2023. We have chosen a diverse selection of affordable programs spanning Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania, setting out the essential facts and costs in the following sections:

  • Citizenship by investment in Antigua and Barbuda
  • Citizenship by investment in Saint Lucia
  • Citizenship by investment in Vanuatu
  • Citizenship by investment in North Macedonia
  • Citizenship by investment in Egypt
  • Citizenship by investment in Greece
  • Citizenship by investment in Turkey

Citizenship by investment in Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda’s CBI program has a particularly low entry-level investment of USD 100,000, paid as a contribution to the Antigua National Development Fund. This fee covers the main applicant and up to four dependents. Alternatively, you can invest USD 200,000 in a real estate project approved by the Antigua and Barbuda government. This option includes hotel shares, villas and condos.

The Antigua and Barbuda passport allows you visa-free travel to over 160 countries, including the Schengen area of the EU. Citizenship can be yours in around six months, and the country requires just five days of residence per year.

As a passport holder, you will enjoy significant tax advantages including no capital gains tax, no estate tax and no taxation on worldwide income. The Antiguan dollar is also very stable, having been fixed to the US dollar for long-term stability. Citizens also enjoy duty-free trading throughout the Caribbean islands.

Citizenship by investment in Saint Lucia

There are four options when applying for CBI in Saint Lucia. You can donate a minimum of USD 100,000 to the government National Economic Fund, purchase real estate for at least USD 300,000 or invest at least USD 250,000 in Government bonds. A more expensive alternative is to invest USD 3.5 million in a government-approved local enterprise.

Citizenship of St Lucia gives you visa-free access to 146 countries and the significant benefit of the country’s super-low tax rates. Citizens pay no capital gains, inheritance or wealth tax on worldwide income or assets. What’s more, it takes just three to six months to process the CBI application, making St Lucia citizenship one of the fastest turnarounds of all the CBI Golden Visa schemes.

Citizenship by investment in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a fantastic choice for anyone seeking a Pacific island location, with fabulous beaches, a tropical climate and zero income tax. Applying for Vanuatu citizenship involves a minimum non-refundable donation of USD 130,000 to the Vanuatu Government. This amount is for a single applicant, and the full contribution will depend on the total number of people included in the application.

A Vanuatu passport gives you access to more than 135 countries, and there is no requirement for applicants to reside in Vanuatu before, during or after the application. The process is one of the simplest and swiftest. Following the due diligence process, citizenship is granted after you swear an Oath of Allegiance to the country, and the procedure is completed after 30 to 60 days.

There is no income, inheritance or capital gains tax in Vanuatu, and there is no requirement to learn the native language. The three main languages spoken on the island are English, French and Bislama.

Citizenship by investment in North Macedonia

There are two options for the North Macedonia CBI program – a EUR 200,000 (USD 212,000) donation to a government fund or a EUR 400,000 (USD 425,000) investment in new facilities in the country. Both options involve additional due diligence, application, processing and agency fees. You will also pay more depending on the number of applicants – for example, under the donation scheme, a family of four will pay EUR 310,000 (USD 330,067).

The CBI scheme in North Macedonia has a quick processing time of two to five months. No minimum residence period in the country is required, and there is no requirement to speak the local language.

As a citizen, you will enjoy residency and citizenship in an upper-middle-income European country with a welcoming social and business culture and a favourable tax environment. If business is your game, you will benefit from getting an early foothold in the country’s growing markets.

Citizenship by investment in Egypt

The Egyptian CBI program offers five routes to citizenship. The cheapest option is to make a non-refundable donation of USD 250,000 to the public treasury. Alternatively, you can purchase property from a government-approved list, with a minimum value of USD 500,000. The property must be held for at least five years.

CBI applicants can also invest USD 400,000 in an approved project, and this must represent at least 40% of the project’s capital.

There are two other CBI possibilities in Egypt, both involving large cash deposits in an Egyptian bank. The first of these options allows you to deposit USD 1 million for three years, and the second involves a sum of USD 750,000 for five years.

In most cases, an Egyptian passport will not open the door to many more countries than the ones on your existing passport (unless you are seeking access to the African continent). However, it is a location steeped in history, with many cultural and culinary riches. It also offers a relatively cheap CBI program, and the country has thriving tourism and foreign investment sectors. The economy could not be described as entirely stable, but Egypt is an important crossroads in global trade, as it has been for many centuries.

Citizenship by investment in Greece

You can become a citizen of Greece, but only after seven years as a resident. So, this is actually a residency by investment scheme rather than a CBI program. The upside is that Greece’s residency visa scheme is the fastest such program available. Greek Permanent Resident Cards can be fast-tracked and issued in under 30 days. Residents who maintain their cards for seven years can then apply for Greek citizenship.

Applicants for the residency by investment scheme must make a Greek real estate investment of at least EUR 250,000 (USD 265,000). This will enable you to apply for a five-year residence permit, which will be renewed indefinitely on a five-year rolling basis.

It’s well worth the wait – with an average of 300 days of sun per year and endless riches of natural beauty, fabulous food, history and culture across the mainland and dozens of islands, Greece is the perfect location for entrepreneurs and families alike. You will also enjoy all the benefits of being an EU passport holder.

Citizenship by investment in Turkey

There are several CBI options in Turkey. The cheapest route is a real estate purchase of at least USD 400,000 (excluding taxes), involving one or several properties. This is a popular choice for investors, as house prices across Turkey have been growing consistently for many years and prices are relatively low (the average price of a house in Istanbul was USD 130,000 in September 2022).

Another option is to deposit USD 500,000 in a Turkish bank for a minimum of three years without withdrawing any of the funds during that time. Alternatively, USD 500,000 can be invested in a government-approved investment vehicle or in stock bonds. The same amount can also be invested in a real estate investment fund or venture capital fund, or can be offered as a fixed capital contribution.

There is no obligation for applicants to learn Turkish and no rules for how long you need to stay in the country once the CBI process is completed. The full process generally takes up to 120 days.

Turkey is a prosperous and relatively stable nation, with a low cost of living and many sites of cultural interest. Not to mention its thriving tourist trade, beautiful coastline and gentle, warm climate.

With the requisite investment of money, citizenship by investment in one of many countries across the globe can be yours in one month or seven years, depending on where you choose to invest. So, gaining citizenship can sometimes be a lengthy process, but Huriya Private will make it as easy as possible for you. We will also keep you informed of the progress of your application every step of the way.

Contact Huriya Private now to learn more about citizenship programs and how you can start your journey towards securing a valuable second passport.