Are you thinking of relocating to Switzerland with the intention to naturalize there and become a citizen of the country? We suggest that you should start with a task that is not so complicated. Investing in economic citizenship of Grenada in the Caribbean can be your first step on the way to building your passport collection.
The number of new Swiss citizens is growing but many expats give up halfway through
How many foreign nationals acquire citizenship of Switzerland per year? In 2022, the number was 41,566. This is a clear indication of the growth of popularity of Swiss citizenship with people from other countries. According to the official statistics, the number was by around 10.6% higher (+4 437) compared to the number of new Swiss citizens a year before.
At the same time, the percentage of new Swiss citizens in the total number of the Swiss (8.703 million people, World Bank data for 2021) was merely 0.48% in 2022.
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The number of expats in Switzerland who could theoretically improve the statistics is great. As of the beginning of 2023, around a quarter of people living and working in Switzerland are citizens of other countries.
Foreigners pay taxes in Switzerland and contribute to the development of the local economy but they cannot participate in the elections. Their other rights can also be restricted sometimes. This concerns the places where they can live and the things that they can do. So, why don’t they get rid of these limitations and acquire citizenship of Switzerland?
The matter is that the rules of acquiring Swiss citizenship are very strict and the procedures are complicated. The local laws governing the naturalization process are not only demanding but they are also among the most complex such laws in Europe and in the world. A foreigner has to legally reside in Switzerland for about ten years before he or she can file an application for citizenship by naturalization. What is more, the rules can be very different in different Swiss cantons.
The right choice of the canton is the key to success
According to the data published by the Swiss migration office, Zurich became the canton that granted citizenship by naturalization to the largest number of foreigners in 2022. More than 10.6 thousand people naturalized in the canton. The canton of Vaud holds the second place with 6.5 thousand new Swiss citizens.
The number of foreigners naturalizing in Bern was 3,739 in 2022. This is a considerable growth in comparison to 2021 when only 2,184 foreigners obtained red-colored Swiss passports in Bern. Moreover, the canton outperformed Geneva last year. 3,119 foreigners naturalized in Geneva in 2022 (2,348 in 2021).
The canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden is the least populated canton in Switzerland. Only 22 foreigners became Swiss citizens in this canton in 2022 (19 passports were issued to foreigners in 2021). The migration authorities of Basel issued Swiss passports to 1,526 foreigners in 2022 (1,275 in 2021).
As you can see, different cantons demonstrate different levels of performance as far as issuing Swiss passports to foreigners is concerned. Why is it so? The explanation is quite simple, as a matter of fact. There are over 2.1 thousand different immigration procedures in Switzerland – one per each commune. Communes are administrative units within cantons. The number of Swiss cantons is 26 while the number of the communes is 2,172. The rules of obtaining Swiss citizenship are often unclear and some requirements are very hard to meet.
Let us give you an example. Suppose a foreign national naturalized in Basel some time ago. If he or she grows tired of the noisy city life and/ if finds the living costs a bit too high, he/ she may want to move to the countryside. Now, if the person relocates to another commune, he/ she will have to naturalize there again. That is to say, when you naturalize in a Swiss commune, it does not mean that you naturalize in the whole of Switzerland. So you’re tied to one place for years.
One of the requirements that a prospective candidate for Swiss citizenship has to meet is as follows: he or she has to integrate into the local community. What does ‘integration’ mean? The definitions are often highly ambiguous, which leaves many opportunities for interpretations. Thus, it actually depends on the local government official whether you should be considered ‘integrated’ or not when applying for Swiss citizenship.
For these reasons, many foreigners living and working in Switzerland refuse to go through the complicated naturalization procedures. The process disheartens them. So they simply acquire Swiss residence by tax agreement and leave the matter there. Signing a job contract with a Swiss employer is another way of legalizing your prolonged stay in the country.
Obtaining citizenship of Switzerland by naturalization is a long and complicated process. However, there are countries that make acquiring their citizenship a much easier task. One of such countries is Grenada, an island state in the Caribbean.
Grenada offers a clear, fast, and simple path to its citizenship
The Grenadian citizenship-by-investment programme has been in operation for nearly ten years. As the name of the programme suggests, it offers an opportunity to foreign nationals to become citizens of Grenada in exchange for investments. You can basically ‘buy’ a Caribbean passport. Please note that only law-abiding foreigners can apply for Grenadian citizenship.
There are two investment options that you can use to become a citizen of Grenada: make a returnable investment or an unreturnable donation. In the first case, you have to bring at least US$ 220,000 and put it in real property on the island. Please note that the housing unit has to be approved by the local Government for citizenship-by-investment purposes. Besides, you have to retain the property in your possession for at least 5 years. Afterwards, you can sell it back, return (part of) your investments and keep the Caribbean passport. The second option is to make a non-returnable donation of US$ 150,000 to the National Transformation Fund of Grenada.
You don’t have to travel to Grenada to obtain citizenship of the country: everything can be done remotely. You can add your relatives to the application for citizenship including your spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents, and grandparents. If your application is approved, all the family members will obtain Grenadian passports within 3 to 6 months (if the conditions are normal). With these passports, you can enter China, the Schengen zone countries, Great Britain and dozens of other jurisdictions without a visa.
The Grenadian ‘golden passport’ is in high demand with foreign investors. In 2022, applications from 453 foreigners were approved. Because most of them filed family applications for citizenship, 1,486 foreign nationals in total became citizens of Grenada last year.
According to the World Bank data, the population of Grenada was 124.6 thousand people in 2021. Therefore, the percentage of foreigners becoming Grenadian citizens in 2022 alone in the total number of citizens of Grenada is around 1.2%.
We must note that the number of foreigners obtaining Grenadian citizenship could have been 3 times as high. Actually, 1,251 foreign investors filed applications for citizenship in 2022 but the local immigration authorities did not have enough resources to process the applications in a timely manner. The remaining applications will have to be processed in 2023.
The abrupt increase in the demand for Grenadian citizenship by investment was unexpected for the local immigration authorities. However, it has an explanation. Grenada is the only Caribbean country that continued issuing passports to investors from Russia after a military conflict started in Ukraine in February 2022.
Assistance in applying for the Grenadian ‘golden passport’
The Grenadian citizenship-by-investment programme attracts not only Russians but also a large number of Chinese as well as many Americans and people from other countries. The conditions that Grenada offers are extremely clear and inviting indeed. High speed of application processing; no qualifying period of residence, not even a personal presence requirement; no tests to pass; affordable prices.
These characteristics of the Grenadian citizenship-by-investment opportunity make it look friendlier in comparison to the opportunity of acquiring citizenship of Switzerland by naturalization. If you share our views on the matter, you are welcome to request a free professional consultation from Offshore Pro Group experts. Take the first step towards your dream and apply for citizenship of Grenada!
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