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9 countries where you can easily buy citizenship and how to do it

Cyprus
With a minimum $2 million investment, Cyprus is the most expensive "Citizenship by Investment" program on this list.
  • The Henley Passport Index is an annual ranking of the most "powerful" passports in the world based on how many destinations the passport holder can enter without a visa.
  • A handful of those passports can be purchased — several countries in the Caribbean and a couple in Europe have programs where citizenship is awarded in exchange for a significant investment.
  • Wealthy Americans could also seek out secondary citizenship as a form of "voting with their feet," as the coronavirus pandemic has essentially rendered visa-free travel "useless."
  • Business Insider rounded up a list of the countries where you can secure dual citizenship, how much it'll cost to do so, how long the process will take, and how powerful the passport is.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Lavish superyachts and flashy timepieces were once the bonafide status symbols of the wealthy. Now, the rich are prioritizing more intangible concepts — especially as anti-wealth rhetoric ratchets up in the US.

One such concept? A second passport.

As we approach election day, many ultrawealthy Americans are "voting with their feet," according to one lawyer who helps people secure secondary citizenship. David Lesperance recently told Business Insider's Graham Rapier that the current political climate puts the wealthy in "wildfire zones" — and they should "engage in fire-prevention techniques," like securing residence somewhere with lower taxes.

A number of countries in the Caribbean and Europe offer "Citizenship by Investment" programs, where the elite can invest in a country in exchange for citizenship. That investment varies from country to country, but can range from a donation to a developmental fund to a real-estate purchase in a government-approved area.

Henley & Partners, a citizenship planning firm, releases an annual ranking of the most powerful passports in the world, based on how many destinations a passport holder can visit without a visa. Among that ranking are a handful countries with "Citizenship by Investment" programs. Visa-free access to other countries was previously one of the main reasons for securing dual citizenship, but the coronavirus pandemic has rendered that reasoning "useless," according to Lesperance.

That doesn't mean dual citizenship isn't worth it for "fire-escape plan" purposes.

We've rounded up nine countries with "Citizenship by Investment" programs below, along with the minimum cost, the expected timeframe for the process, and how powerful the passport is. If you hold a US passport, you are generally eligible to seek dual nationality.

All of the countries below do not require you to renounce your prior citizenship, so you can hang onto your American passport too. This list is ordered from smallest minimum investment to largest, with alphabetical order implemented in the event of ties.

Antigua and Barbuda — $100,000 minimum investment
antigua
The Caribbean island is a hotspot for billionaires and their superyachts during the holiday season.

There are three different avenues for securing citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda:

Each avenue listed above is the cost for a single applicant or a family of up to four. The fifth and any other additional dependents increase the cost of any application by at least $15,000 per person. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees can total $60,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $160,000 toward the National Development Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take between three and four months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Antigua allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Antigua passport allows visa-free access to 151 countries and is ranked the 29th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Dominica — $100,000 minimum investment
Dominica
The Caribbean island nation of Dominica has a mountainous landscape; not to be confused with the Dominican Republic.

There are two different avenues for securing citizenship in Dominica:

Each avenue listed above shows the cost for a single applicant. The cost increases by at least $75,000 for a spouse or family of up to four for the Economic Diversification Fund option or by $35,000 for a spouse or family of up to four for the real-estate option. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees can total $15,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $190,000 toward the Economic Diversification Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take three months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Dominica allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Dominica passport allows visa-free access to 140 countries and is ranked the 38th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

St. Lucia — $100,000 minimum investment
Rodney Bay St Lucia
St. Lucia is yet another small Caribbean island.

There are four different avenues for securing citizenship in St. Lucia:

Each avenue listed above shows the cost for a single applicant. The cost increases by at least $25,000 per additional dependent and avenue chosen. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees vary between avenues but can surpass $50,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $207,500 toward the National Economic Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take three months from the initial submission of the application to issuance of citizenship. Then, you can apply for a passport, which will take two weeks and can be expedited. St. Lucia allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The St. Lucia passport allows visa-free access to 146 countries and is ranked the 33rd strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Moldova — $100,000 minimum investment
Moldova

 There is one avenue for securing citizenship in Moldova:

The avenue listed above shows the cost for a single applicant. For a couple, the contribution would be €115,000 ($135,000) and for a family of four the contribution would be €145,000 ($170,000). It is also important to note that additional pre-approval government processing fees can total $15,000 ($17,000). Furthermore, secondary post-approval fees of €35,000 ($41,000) per application will apply.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four: €195,000 ($229,000) toward the Public Investment Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take no more than three months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Moldova allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Moldovan passport allows visa-free access to 120 countries and is ranked the 49th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Grenada — $150,000 minimum investment
Grenada

 There are two different avenues for securing citizenship in Grenada:

A $150,000 contribution to the National Transformation Fund covers the cost for a single applicant; a contribution of $200,000 covers the cost for a family of up to four, with each additional dependent incurring a cost of $25,000. A $350,000 real-estate investment covers the cost for a family of up to four members, with each additional dependent incurring a cost of $25,000. It is also important to note that additional government processing fees start at $8,000 and can total $70,000.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $222,000 toward the National Transformation Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take two months from the initial submission to approval of citizenship. You can then apply for a passport, which is typically issued within days of the request. Grenada allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The passport allows visa-free access to 143 countries and is ranked the 35th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

St. Kitts and Nevis — $150,000 minimum investment
Kittian Village, St. Kitts

 There are two different avenues for securing citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis:

A $150,000 contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund covers the cost for a single applicant; A contribution of $195,000 covers the cost for a family of up to four, with each additional dependent incurring a cost of $10,000. A $200,000 real-estate investment covers the cost for a family, with each member incurring extra processing fees. It is important to note that additional government processing fees start at $7,500 but can surpass $19,500. There is also a post-approval fee for the real-estate track, which varies based on the number of dependents but starts at $35,050.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: $214,500 toward the Sustainable Growth Fund, including fees.

The process is estimated to take two months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of passport. St. Kitts allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The St. Kitts passport allows visa-free access to 156 countries and is ranked the 26th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Turkey — $250,000 minimum investment
Istanbul Turkey

There are multiple avenues for securing citizenship in Turkey:

Each avenue listed above is the cost for primary applicant, their spouse, and any children under the age of 18.

The process is estimated to take two to three months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Turkey allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Turkey passport allows visa-free access to 111 countries and is ranked the 55th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Malta — $900,000 minimum investment
Valletta, Malta
Maltese citizenship doesn't just cover a family; it can also be passed on to future generations.

There is only one avenue for securing citizenship in Malta and it includes three financial requirements:

Each requirement listed above amounts to the cost for a single applicant. Any additional dependents increase the the contribution to the development of Malta by €25,000 ($29,000) per person. It will also increase additional government processing fees. For one person, it is important to note, those fees hover around €100,000 ($117,000).

The Maltese process is different in that it requires applicants to be residents of Malta for a full 12 months before being granted citizenship. The citizenship by investment application process, which can happen simultaneously, takes around eight months. All in all, the process, from submission of application to receipt of passport, takes somewhere between 12 and 18 months. Malta allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Malta passport allows visa-free access to 184 destinations and is ranked the 8th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Cyprus — $2 million minimum investment
Cyprus
With a minimum $2 million investment, Cyprus is the most expensive "Citizenship by Investment" program on this list.

There are two requirements for securing citizenship in Cyprus:

Then, in addition to those initial donations, applicants must choose one of the following options:

Each avenue listed above is the cost for a primary applicant and all additional family members.

  • Total minimum cost for a family of four choosing the most economical option: €2.15 million ($2.53 million)

The process is estimated to take six to eight months from the initial submission of the application to receipt of the passport. Cyprus allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship. The Cyrus passport allows visa free access to 174 countries and is ranked the 16th strongest passport in the world by the Henley Passport Index.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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