Foreign citizenship via a donation or a secure investment?

Would you like to have a second passport? The fastest way to obtain one is to ‘purchase’ it. Several countries in the world offer the opportunity to acquire second citizenship whether in exchange for a non-returnable donation to the state fund or for a returnable investment into the economy. Which of the options is preferable? You will have to give your own answer to this question and the text below will hopefully help you come to the right conclusion.

Most countries running citizenship-by-investment programs offer two basic alternatives to foreign nationals who wish to become their citizens. First, there is an option of donating some money to the state and thus saying goodbye to it forever. Second, there is an option of making an investment and hoping to return it after some time. The largest advantage of the first option is that the required donation amount is always smaller than the required investment amount. The largest obvious advantage of the second option is the opportunity to get your money back one day while keeping foreign citizenship. Let us discuss these options in more detail.

Foreign citizenship

Where can you acquire the cheapest foreign citizenship for money?

You can literally ‘buy’ a second passport by making a non-returnable donation to the state funds of some countries. The total donation amount will depend upon the number of dependent family members applying for foreign citizenship together with the main applicant. In most cases, additional payments are required such as the due diligence fee and the application processing fee. These fees are unrecoverable even if the application for citizenship is declined.

A single person can acquire foreign citizenship at the lowest price in the Caribbean state of St Lucia. The least expensive citizenship for a family of four is found in Antigua and Barbuda located not far away from St Lucia.

The tables below show the costs of acquiring foreign citizenship in exchange for a donation in six countries that ‘sell’ their passports to foreigners at the lowest prices.

The least expensive foreign citizenship for a single parson

If a single person is applying for foreign citizenship, he or she will have to pay the smallest price in St Lucia and the second cheapest jurisdiction is the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Country with citizenship-by-investment programDonation to the state fundDue diligence fee + application processing feeTotal
Saint LuciaUS$ 100,000US$ 9,500US$ 109,500 
DominicaUS$ 100,000US$ 9,750US$ 109,750 
AntiguaUS$ 100,000US$ 37,500US$ 13, 500 
VanuatuUS$ 145,000US$145,000
Saint Kitts and NevisUS$ 150,000US$ 7,750US$ 157,750 
GrenadaUS$ 150,000US$ 8,000US$ 158,000 

The quoted costs do not include the cost of the licensed immigration agent’s services. All the countries require that applications for their citizenship be submitted via such an agent.


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The least expensive foreign citizenship for a family

If a family of four people (husband, wife, and two children below 16 years of age) are applying for foreign citizenship, Antigua will charge less than any other country. Then go St Kitts and Vanuatu.

Country with citizenship-by-investment programDonation to the state fundDue diligence fee + application processing feeTotal
AntiguaUS$ 100,000US$ 45,000 *US$ 145,000 
St LuciaUS$ 150,000US$ 17,500US$ 16, 500 
VanuatuUS$ 175,000US$ 175,000 
DominicaUS$ 175,000US$ 13,500US$ 188,500 
St KittsUS$ 185,000US$ 12,500US$ 197,500 
GrenadaUS$ 200,000US$ 20,000US$ 220,000 

* If the children are below 12.

Again, the quoted costs do not include the cost of the licensed immigration agent’s services.

Please note: St Kitts and St Lucia offer discounts to those applying for their citizenship before the end of 2020. These are limited time offers. Please contact us to learn more about them.

In some jurisdictions, you have to pay the due diligence and application processing fees in full before the authorities start considering your application. In other jurisdictions, you have to pay only part of the sum to initiate the process.

After the application has been processed and the due diligence checks conducted, the foreign applicant receives an official letter confirming that the application has been approved (if it has). Then he or she has to make the donation in the required amount and thus obtain foreign citizenship. Normally, the application processing takes between two and three months but the timeframes can vary.

Where can you acquire foreign citizenship in exchange for a secure investment?

Are you reluctant to give money away? Most countries (with the exception of Vanuatu) offer the opportunity to acquire their citizenship in exchange for a returnable investment. You can invest a larger sum into real property or a business venture in the target jurisdiction thus qualifying for citizenship. However, you have to retain the property/ company in you possession for a few years and who knows how much they are going to be worth when the period expires?

We have some good news for you here. There are a few countries that grant citizenship to those foreigners who make bank deposits at an interest there. In this way, you can acquire foreign citizenship without wasting a penny, as the interest should let you at least compensate for the inflation if not earn some money. Please be prepared, however, that the required deposit amounts are going to be significantly higher.

Three jurisdictions offer such a citizenship-by-investment opportunity: Bulgaria, Turkey, and Egypt. This offer is especially inviting in the times when the pandemic has wreaked havoc in the securities markets. Let us discuss the opportunities one by one.

1. Citizenship of Bulgaria in exchange for a bank deposit

The Law ‘On Citizenship of the Republic of Bulgaria (article 14a) regulates the granting of citizenship of the country to foreigners. Foreign nationals can become citizens of Bulgaria if they make a bank deposit in the country.

You can put 1 million euros in a Bulgarian bank and this will make you qualified for citizenship of the country. You can start by depositing 500,000 euros thus obtaining a permanent residence permit. When you add the second half to the deposit, you qualify for full citizenship of Bulgaria but the application can be filed only after one year of holding the residence permit. Please mind that you cannot use the deposit as security for a loan.

The application for citizenship of Bulgaria is going to be processed over one more year. Thus, two years will have to pass before you can become a citizen of an EU member state. Moreover, you will have to keep the deposit intact for five years if you do not want your Bulgarian citizenship annulled.

Please mind: Even though Bulgaria is an EU member, it is outside the eurozone. The official currency in the country is the Bulgaria lev.  

Bank deposits are insured in Bulgaria for up to 196,000 levs, which is equivalent to 100,000 euros.

2. Citizenship of Turkey in exchange for a bank deposit

Turkey will immediately grant citizenship to you if you make a US$ 500,000 deposit in a local bank. The deposit can be made in Turkish liras or in any other national currency. It will have to remain intact for three years.

Bank deposits are insured in Turkey only up to 150,000 liras, which is around 13,000 euros only. Besides, the Turkish lira is notoriously volatile so you will be well advised to make the deposit in another national currency if you plan to acquire economic citizenship of Turkey.

The Turkish passport may not be the best passport in the world but at least, it gives access to the USA if you need it. (Turkish passport holders are entitled to apply for an E-2 visa to the US.)

3. Citizenship of Egypt in exchange for a bank deposit

In June 2019, the Egyptian Parliament passed amendments that regulate the procedure of granting citizenship of the country to foreigners and that are aimed at attracting more foreign investments.  

Economic citizenship of Egypt will be granted to the foreigner who deposits US$ 750,000 in an Egyptian bank. The deposit has to remain in the bank for five years. This option is attractive for wealthy individuals from the Middle East.

Apply for a free consultation on acquiring second citizenship during the pandemic!

Would you like to choose the best way of acquiring citizenship of a foreign country? InternationalWealth portal experts will gladly help you make the best choice.

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened unique opportunities to those seeking foreign citizenship. Quite a few countries that run citizenship-by-investment programs are offering serious discount trying to survive through the hard times. Please contact us via email, WhatsApp, or live chat and we will display the most attractive options for you.

What is the total turnover in the citizenship-by-investment market?

According to the research data, the economic citizenship market turnover has doubled since 2011 and reached US$ 25 billion. Currently, there are around 100 national programs allowing to acquire foreign citizenship in this or that way. Half of them appeared after 2000.

What impact does the COVID-19 pandemic have on the economic citizenship industry?

Specialists in investment immigration agree that the industry will not only survive through the pandemic but it will also become stronger. The number of people who realize that they do need a ‘plan B’ has increased and many wealthy individuals are looking to relocate to the countries where the situation is not so severe and where high-quality medical services are readily available. Even citizens of such prosperous countries and the USA and Great Britain are starting to buy more second passports trying to minimize the consequences of the pandemic.

What does the future have in store for investment immigration?

Citizenship-by-investment programs will probably grow in number. The IMF experts expect that the demand for second citizenship will grow and more and more people will want to buy second passports to enhance their mobility, manage their taxes, increase their safety, and find new investment options abroad.

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