Top Citizenship By Investment Programs 2021

Citizenship-by investment programs attract a number of high net worth individuals in developing nations, looking to add a second passport  in their investment portfolio. A second passport provides a greater mobility along with visa free travel freedom. The CBI passport market has turned into a $5 billion industry annually.

Joachim Stern (2011) coined the term jus pecuniae for acquisition of citizenship through financial contributions and to describe the bureaucratic fees for citizenship applications.

St Kitts introduced the first citizenship by investment program in 1984, then Dominica joined in 1993 and it was only in 2014 many more countries joined the CIP club and the market for investment citizenship gained momentum giving rise to a $2 billion dollar industry. Recently St Lucia and Vanuatu joined the citizenship by investment market along with Malta and Cyprus in Europe.

According to IMF article   “Offering citizenship in return for investment has been a “win-win” for some small Caribbean states. The substantial inflows of funds from these programs have helped boost employment and growth. Inflows to the public sector alone in St. Kitts and Nevis had grown to nearly 25 percent of GDP as of 2013”.

Another IMF article says Citizenship by investment is a growing phenomenon –  The rapid growth of private wealth, especially in emerging market economies, has led to a significant increase in affluent people interested in greater global mobility and fewer travel obstacles posed by visa restrictions, which became increasingly burdensome after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This prompted a recent proliferation of so-called citizenship-by-investment or economic citizenship programs, which allow high-net-worth people from developing or emerging economy countries to legitimately acquire passports that facilitate international travel in Europe and Schengen Area. Christian Kalin, Chairman of Henley and Partners says, “A second citizenship is like an insurance policy of the 21st century”

Benefits of Economic Citizenship

  • Mobility and visa free travel freedom (visa waiver)
  • Safety, privacy and protection from war, political problems
  • Dual citizen status
  • Better education for children.
  • Opportunity to invest in international real estate markets.
  • Tax planning on worldwide income
  • Ease of doing business

The most important reason why these ‘citizen by investment’ programs gained so much popularity recently, citizenships are approved  very fast within 2-3 months without any trip to the country and there are no residency requirements. Exceptions are Malta requires one year residency, Cyprus requires 6 months prior residency.

Quick summary

CountryPriceYou GetInvestmentTime (months)
Antigua and Barbuda$100,000CitizenshipDonation3
St Kitts and Nevis$150,000CitizenshipDonation3
St Lucia$100,000CitizenshipDonation3
Portugal€280,000ResidencyReal Estate6
Greece€250,000ResidencyReal Estate6
Egypt$250,000CitizenshipReal estate3
United Kingdom£2mResidencyShare Capital1
Spain€500,000ResidencyReal Estate3
United States$900,000ResidencyBusiness12
Bulgaria€1mCitizenshipCapital Investment18
Turkey$250,000CitizenshipReal Estate3
Cyprus€300,000ResidencyReal Estate3

Investment Options

There are number of investment options available under citizenship-by-investment.

  • Contribution to Government fund
  • Approved Real estate investment
  • Approved Business/Enterprise investment
  • Approved Government bonds, Share capital or Investment funds
  • Bank deposit

In 2019, there are some 14 citizenship by investment available in the world.

The following list of countries that have official and legal citizen by investment programs. We will also compare the value of these passports using three different passport ranking indexes.

  • Dominica and St Lucia are the cheapest citizenship programs for single persons
  • Antigua is the cheapest citizenship program for families
  • Vanuatu has the fastest passport times 1.5 months among all schemes
  • St Kitts is the most powerful caribbean passport in terms of visa free travel.
  • Grenada, Turkey, Montenegro have E-2 treaty with United States, so becoming a citizen you have the chance to apply for E-2 non immigrant visa to United States

Government bonds

The Government bonds/stocks are debt securities issued by governments is a very popular investment route for those who want a peace of mind with their investments. These are risk free investments fully refunded after 5 years without interest. Only a few nations offer bonds for the purpose of citizenship or residency.

  • St Lucia – USD 250,000 (Covid bonds)
  • Portugal – EUR 1 million (Residency)
  • Spain – EUR 2 million (Residency)
  • Turkey – USD 500,000 (citizenship)
  • Italy – EUR 2 million (Investor Visa)

Buyback Hotel shares

The Buyback shares is a very interesting option. You can also invest in buyback shares in five star hotels/resorts in Portugal, St Kitts, Grenada, Dominica etc. for Residency/Citizenship.

The developer usually guarantees 3-4% returns and the entire share is redeemed by the same developer after 6 years.

Top CBI Schemes

These are the best citizenship by investment programs for 2021

Top CBI Rankings 2021

As of 2021, two programs Moldova and Cyprus suspended. Travel has become impossible due to global pandemic. As a result CBI programs that dont require a personal visit for passport have become extremely popular. Caribbean countries has slashed prices for investors applying for citizenship by investment programs. Many of these small countries have been desperate to raise revenues as a result of economic fallout caused by pandemic.

Let us take a look on the most popular programs as of 2020.

1. St Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts and Nevis has the oldest citizenship by investment program in the Caribbean. St Kitts and Nevis requires USD 150,000 one time contribution or USD 200,000 real estate investment to qualify citizenship. There are no residency requirements, nor a visit required to get the Kittitian passport.

Eligible Investments Minimum investment
SGF donation USD 150,000 (one time non refundable) (single or family of 4)
Real EstateUSD 200,000 (held for 7 years) or USD 400,000 held for 7 years – Refundable buyback shares

There is 60 day fast track application processing (accelerated)  available with St Kitts and Nevis for an additional fee.

There is also Covid-19 discount (upto $45,o00 offered by Govt) applies to families. It is a limited time offer extended in 2021

St Kitts passport issued under CIP is valid for 10 years.

St Kitts PassportRanking
CBI Index#2
Best CBI Rankings#4
Arton Passport Index#28
Nomad Passport Index#47
Henley Passport Index#25
Best Passport Rankings#37

In 2020, St Kitts passport has visa free access to 154 countries in the world, one of the best caribbean passports in the world..

2. St Lucia

St Lucia requires USD 100,000 (contribution) or USD 300,000 (real estate investment) to get citizenship. The citizenship processing time is 2-3 months. St Lucia in 2017 amended their citizenship laws to decrease the investment amount $100,000 making it one of the competitive and attractive CIP’s in the Caribbean. There are no residence requirements and no visit to St Lucia required to get the St Lucian passport.

Eligible Investments Minimum
National Economic Fund USD 100,000 (one time non refundable)
Real EstateUSD 300,000 (share or titled property in resort/hotel)
Covid Govt BondsUSD 250,000 (refunded after 5 years)  Limited option available until Dec 31, 2021
Business InvestmentUSD 3.5 million

Saint Lucia launched Covid-19 relief government bonds for USD 250,000 held for 5 years (50% discount limited offer until Dec 31, 2020).  After this period, the minimum Govt bonds will be available only for USD 500,000. These are risk free investments, fully guaranteed and returned by the SL Govt after the 5 year holding period. The Government has waived additional processing fees. A family of 5 can apply for $250,000 covid bonds only increasing the holding period.

As of 2020, Saint Lucia has made number of changes to the CIP regulations to make the program simple and  more accessible. These changes are

  • Average CIP application processing times reduced to 56 days making Saint Lucia fastest CBI program in the Caribbean.
  • The category of ‘qualifying dependant’ has been expanded and now includes the option to “add-on” qualifying dependants in all investment options for the granting of citizenship. Besides your spouse, you can now include children up to the age of 30 as well as parents over 55 if they are fully supported by you. An unmarried sister or brother who is under 18 can also be included in your application.
  • E-Payment platform launched cutting delays for payments.

The St Lucian passport is valid for 10 years.

St Lucia PassportRanking
CBI Index#4
Best CBI Rankings#1
Nomad Passport Index#59
Arton Passport Index#33
Henley Passport Index#32
Best Passport Rankings#49

In 2020, Saint Lucia passport has visa free access to 145 world countries, according to Henley passport index.

3. Vanuatu

Vanuatu has the fastest citizenship by investment program in the world and only CIP in the South Pacific offering a commonwealth passport. Vanuatu is extremely popular for its speed of processing, easy and simple application process. Approvals are issued within 20-30 days compared to 2-3 months taken by Caribbean countries

Vanuatu operates two citizenship programs for investments

  1. Development Support Program (DSP)
  2. Honorary citizenship contribution program (VCP)
  3. Real Estate Option (REO)

Both programs have same investment requirements.

Vanuatu requires USD 130,000 for one person(one time contribution for DSP/VCP scheme) to receive citizenship and passport.  The contributions rise for families The minimum selling prices set by Government is all inclusive, officially published by the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission. No other additional fee apply.

All inclusive Prices DSP/VCP
Single Applicant$130,000
Married Couple$150,000
Couple  + 1 Child$165,000
Couple + 2 Children$180,000
Additional Dependents (child)$10,000 per person

Source: Vanuatu Citizenship Commission

Vanuatu has reduced passport processing time is fastest in 1.5 months. One main advantage of Vanuatu passport is it has visa free travel to Russia. There are no residence requirements but there is a personal visit required to Vanuatu for receiving the passport. You can start the application process by just paying $5,000 towards due diligence and the  rest after approval (standard procedure)

Vanuatu has visa free access to 130 countries in the world, according to Henley visa index 2019. Vanuatu CIP passport is valid for 5 years and validity can be extended.

Vanuatu has been a largely a tax free countries in the world (no income, no wealth or no inheritance tax and non-FATCA)

Vanuatu PassportRanking
CBI Index#6
Best CBI Rankings#4
Nomad Passport Index#69
Arton Passport Index#39
Henley Passport Index#40
Best Passport Rankings#53

4. Dominica

Dominica is the most popular citizenship program in the Caribbean. Dominica requires USD 100,000 (contribution) or USD 200,000 real estate investment to qualify for becoming a Citizen of Dominica. The processing time for passport is 6 months. There are no residence requirements nor visit to the country required to become a ‘Dominica Citizen’. Dominica passport issued under CIP is valid for 10 years.

Eligible Investments Minimum required
 EDF donation USD 100,000 (one time non refundable)
Real Estate USD 200,000 (held for 3 years)

Dominica also slashed family prices due to Covid-19  applying for citizenship by investment program. Post citizenship additions now possible and Dominica CBI program is more accessible for family members.

Dominica PassportRanking
CBI Index#1
Best CBI Rankings#2
Nomad Passport Index#64
Arton Passport Index#32
Henley Passport Index#35
Best Passport Rankings#44

In 2020 Dominica passport has visa free access to 139 world countries, according to Henley passport restrictions index.

5. Grenada

Grenada’s CBI program one of the best passports in the Caribbean that comes with extensive passport benefits for the right price. Under the CBI program, Grenada requires USD 150,000 (contribution) or USD 350,000 (real estate investment ) to become a ‘Grenadian citizen’. The processing time for passport is 2 months. There are no residence requirements and no visit to Grenada required to get the citizenship.

Eligible Investments Minimum Required
National Transformation Fund (NTF) USD 150,000 (one time non refundable)
Real Estate USD 220,000 (held for 5 years) as refundable buyback shares in five star resorts

Grenada has small advantage compared to other caribbean passports for these reasons.

  • Only CBI passport which has visa free waiver with China, Russia.
  • Only CBI passport which has option to apply for E-2 treaty visa to US.  (E2 is cheaper EB-5 alternative which is a non immigrant visa )

The Grenada Government has not provided special offers under the CBI program for Covid-19

Grenada PassportRanking
CBI Index#3
Best CBI Rankings#3
Nomad Passport Index#66
Arton Passport Index#35
Henley Passport Index#33
Best Passport Rankings Index#38

Grenadian passport has visa free access to 142 countries in 2020. Grenada passport issued under CBI program is valid for 5 years currently has visa free access to China, Russia, United Kingdom and EU schengen area.

6. Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda requires USD 100,000 (contribution) or USD 200,000 (joint real estate investment) to become a Citizen under the CBI program. The limited time 50% discount will apply until Oct 2019. There are no residence requirements when you apply for passport for the first time but when you renew your passport after expiry, you must have visited Antigua for 5 days in the previous 5 year period.  There is also no requirement to visit the country for receiving citizenship or passport initially. The passport processing time is 4 months. Antigua CIP passport is valid for 5 years before expiry. After first renewal the passport is valid for ten years.

Eligible Investments Minimum required
National Development Fund USD 100,000 (one time)
Real Estate USD 200,000 (5 years)
University of West Indies Fund (UWI) USD 150,000 (one time donation, only family of 6 can apply)
Business Enterprise Investment USD 1,500,000

Antigua remains one of the cheapest CBI passport scheme out there for families. The Government in a decision taken by cabinet in Oct 2019 has permanently extended the limited time 50% discount offer for citizenship investors.

Antigua Cabinet launched University of West Indies (UWI) fund as an additional option offering a huge savings for big families (six or more).

The Government has made some changes to the program in 2020 making it easier and affordable.

Antigua & Barbuda PassportRanking
CBI Index#5
Best CBI Rankings#5
Nomad Passport Index#56
Arton Passport Index#29
Henley Passport Index#29
Best Passport Rankings#38

Antigua and Barbuda passport has visa free travel to 150 countries according to Henley passport index 2020.  Antigua and Barbuda recently lost their visa waiver agreement with Canada causing its passport to drop its value.

7. Montenegro

Montenegro opened a brand new special citizenship by investment program from Jan 1, 2018. Foreigners must invest EUR 250,000 in real estate (north of montenegro) and also donate to government EUR 100,000 in application fee. So in total Montenegro will require EUR 350,000 plus other fees and investors issued permanent residence within a month and citizenship within 6 months. Each application must pay $100,000 for citizenship.

Eligible Investments Minimum required
 Real Estate  (Northern Montenegro ) EUR 250,000 (hotels, resorts etc)
Real Estate (Southern Montenegro)EUR 450,000 (hotels, resorts)
 Tourism Five star hotel projects (construction)EUR 5 million
Agriculture projects EUR 2 million
Wood processing projectsEUR 4 million
FisheriesEUR 3.5 million
  • Govt application – EUR 100,000 per family application (Goes to Government Donation fund)
  • Govt processing fee – EUR 15,000 for main applicant and EUR 10,000 per dependant
  • Additional costs – Due diligence fee and lawyer fee

It is important to understand Montenegro is a leading candidate for achieving EU membership on 2025 or later.  Investing in Montenegro is a great future investment considering the real estate prices lowest in the Europe.  Montenegro is also a low tax country.

Only investing in Govt approved hotels or resorts will qualify for citizenship (not residential properties). Remember if you want to invest in southern parts of montenegro where it is beautiful with resorts and sea side areas the minimum investment increases to EUR 450,000. There is also a provision to invest EUR 5 million creating 60 jobs in developing new five star hotels and resorts.

This is a limited economic citizenship scheme to 2000 applicants. The scheme will run only for 3 years and will permanently close in 2022.

CIP now open for applications from 202o onwards. 

Montenegrin passport has visa free travel to 124 countries, according to Henley passport index 2020. Citizens can travel to EU schengen area. Montenegro has not signed visa waiver with United Kingdom.

Montenegro PassportRanking
CBI Index#8
Best CBI Rankings#9
Nomad Passport Index#84
Arton Passport Index#44
Henley Passport Index#44
Best Passport Rankings#58

8. Malta

Malta has the official citizenship by investment program (Malta IIP)  in Europe. This program officially known as Individual Investor Program of Malta (“IIP”). The scheme was suspended after reaching 1800 applicants as a whole.

This scheme was replaced by Exceptional naturalization for direct investments which was launched in Nov 2020 with a limited quota of 400 investors naturalized annually for economic investments. There is a total cap of 1500 investors.

Under this new scheme, Malta requires a total EUR 600,000 non refundable contribution to Government fund to become a Maltese citizen (also EU citizen) after 3 years of living. There is another quicker path if you pay EUR 750,000 to the agency, 3 years is reduced to one year. Dependants pay another EUR 50,000 per person plus there are several additional costs for Due diligence (10K euro), residence permit (5K euro), agency fee (10K euro) etc..

Malta citizenship program has very strict due diligence and vetting policy and application refusals are very high (refusal rates hitting 25-30%) .  They are very careful who they grant citizenship.

Malta passport issued is valid for 10 years.

Maltese passport is one of the best and highly respected travel documents in the world with visa free access to 183 world countries, according to Henley passport index 2020.

Malta PassportRanking
CBI Index#7
Best CBI Rankings#7
Nomad Passport Index#8
Arton Passport Index#7
Henley Passport Index#8
Best Passport Rankings Index#12

As of 2020, this scheme has expired and the government will be introducing a new program with limited 700 applications every year.

Malta also offers cheapest golden visa residency program through financing government bonds. This is a permanent residency in the schengen area. This program will be perfect if you are happy with residency and dont want citizenship.

9. Cyprus

Cyprus also has a legal and official citizenship by investment program in Europe. Cyprus requires EUR 2,200,000 investment in Real estate, Bonds or in Enterprise projects. You have to visit the country to receive citizenship and there is a new 6 month residency requirement (hold residence card) before applying for Cypriot passport.

Effective Nov 1, 2020, the Cypriot Government has discontinued the CIP investment scheme. No applications will be accepted

You become a full EU citizen by getting a citizenship in Cyprus. The application processing time is about 3 months. It takes all in all 6 months to get the Cyprus passport after making the investment.

Cyprus has made a number of changes to the citizenship scheme tightening the vetting process in 2020 after negative publicity in the media. The prices also increased by EUR 200,000 (must donate to development of cyprus) in 2020 besides buying a permanent home for EUR 500,000 plus VAT.

The Cyprus investor citizenship scheme has a limited to only 700 passport applications annually. Another important change made was parents can be included if they buy additional home for EUR 500,000 plus VAT

Cyprus passport is one the best travel documents highly respected in the world with visa free travel to 174 world countries in 2020.

Cyprus PassportRanking
CBI Index#10
Best CBI Rankings
Nomad Passport Index#38
Arton Passport Index#8
Henley Passport Index#16
Best Passport Rankings Index#19

10. Samoa

Samoa has a citizenship by investment program in the Pacific and a commonwealth country. Samoa requires US$ 1,000,000 investment in Tourism, Real estate, Manufacturing or in a Government fund under the Citizenship Investment Act 2015 and its Regulations 2015.  Initially permanent residence card is granted to the investors which is then converted to Samoan citizenship after 3 years. Citizens of Samoa also qualify for a Samoan passport.

The Samoa passport has visa free travel to Russia, Canada, Schengen Area, United Kingdom etc, a total 131 world countries according to Henley passport index 2020.

The Samoa program remains largely unpopular and the Government reported in 2018 no applications were received for citizenship

Samoa PassportRanking
CBI Index
Best CBI Rankings#10
Nomad Passport Index#80
Arton Passport Index#40
Henley Passport Index#39
Best Passport Rankings Index#50

11. Turkey

Turkey launched a new citizenship by investment program  under Official Gazette on January 12, 2017.  In 2018 Turkey reduced the investment prices for citizenship. Foreign investors qualify for Turkish citizenship buying $250,000 worth of real estate in Turkey or $500,000 enterprise investment in Turkey or $500,000 worth of Government bonds or Bank deposit.

The Turkish CBI scheme is very popular with Arab investors and more than $1 billion already invested in Turkish real estate market through the citizenship scheme.

Eligible Investments Minimum required
Real Estate USD 250,000 (5 years)
Bank deposit USD 500,000
Government bonds USD 500,000
Business or VC funds USD 500,000

Turkish passport has visa free access to a total of 111 world countries in 2020.

Turkish citizens (passport holders) still need visas to travel to Schengen Area, Canada or United Kingdom.

In 2020, Turkey has made the program simple and accessible. Citizenship can be applied through Turkish consulates anywhere in the world by purchasing real estate without visiting Turkey.

Turkey PassportRanking
CBI Index#11
Best CBI Rankings#8
Nomad Passport Index#95
Arton Passport Index#24
Henley Passport Index#51
Best Passport Rankings#66

12. Cambodia

Cambodia offers citizenship against cash donation USD 250,000 to economic rebuilding of Cambodia, according to Article 12 Law of 1996 Nationality Act. No residence requirements. An investment of USD 1.5 million also qualify for citizenship by investment in a Asian country.

Cambodia is probably the only Asian country that has a citizenship by investment program. This program largely remains unofficial.

Cambodian passport has visa free access to 54 countries in the world  in 2019 including Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore etc.. according to Henley visa index.

Cambodia PassportRanking
CBI Index#13
Best CBI Rankings
Nomad Passport Index#147
Arton Passport Index#63
Henley Passport Index#86
Best Passport Rankings#109

13. Bulgaria

Bulgaria offers fast track citizenship strictly through residency. Foreign investors are required to invest EUR 1 million in Government bonds locked for five years.

Update: Bulgaria removed Govt bonds for citizenship by investment legislation in 2021. Currently only business capital investment route is the only possibility for fast track citizenship

The Bulgarian citizenship is fast tracked within two years or in 18 months. Bulgaria offers full EU citizenship as Bulgaria is a member state of the EU.

Another route apply for residency investing just EUR 250,000 in real estate or business and then naturalize for Bulgarian citizenship after 5 years.

There are couple of things you should know about Bulgaria

  1. Full EU member country
  2. Does not participate schengen area (like Cyprus)

Bulgarian passport is also very valuable since it offers full rights of establishment in EU member states and United Kingdom and also has visa free travel to Canada. Language requirements also apply as Bulgaria recently tightened their citizenship rules.

Bulgaria strictly requires to maintain EUR 1 million investment for atleast 5 years else citizenship will be stripped under the constitutional laws. This program has been largely unpopular for a number of reasons.

Financing option is also possible for bond or treasury securities investment.

Bulgaria PassportRanking
CBI Index#11
Best CBI Rankings#6
Nomad Passport Index#41
Arton Passport Index#10
Henley Passport Index#17
Best Passport Rankings Index#38

In 2020, Bulgarian passport had visa free travel to 171 countries.

14. Moldova

Moldova opened new citizenship by investment program in Nov 2018. It is the cheapest citizenship by investment program in eastern europe which requires EUR 100,000 one time contribution with processing time 3 months. There are no residence requirements. Moldova is not a EU member state and neither participates in Schengen area. Moldova passport has visa free travel to Turkey, EU schengen area and other countries. Moldova has E-2 treaty investor visa with US

This Program is suspended as of 2020 by the Government. No applications will be received

Moldova PassportRanking
CBI Index
Best CBI Rankings
Nomad Passport Index#90
Arton Passport Index#45
Henley Passport Index#46
Best Passport Rankings Index#62

In 2020, Moldova passport has visa free access to 120 countries in the world

15. Egypt

Egypt opened a new fast track citizenship by investment program in 2019 after amending citizenship laws. Foreigners could become Egyptian citizens buying a real estate for $500,000. There are other investment options for citizenship such as bank deposit, Govt bonds, capital investment also available.

As of 2020, Egypt passport has visa free access to only 49 countries in the world.

Egypt PassportRanking
CBI Index
Best CBI Rankings#10
Nomad Passport Index#161
Arton Passport Index#64
Henley Passport Index#90
Best Passport Rankings#113

16. Jordan

Jordan launched a citizenship by investment scheme in Feb 2018 and then the investment requirement further reduced in 2019. The threshold is quite high for Jordan compared to other countries

  • Bank deposit of zero interest, of $1 million at the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) instead of $1.5 million for 3 years instead of years.
  • Treasury bonds valuing $1 million, instead of $1.5 approved by CBJ.
  • Securities at a value of $1 million instead of $1.5 million, from an active investment portfolio.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  $750,000 instead of $1 million in SMEs and for a period of at least three years, instead of five years
  • Significant Investments: Make $1.5 million investment in any location in the country, or $1 million if the project is registered in any Governorate other than Amman, provided such a project creates at least 20 job opportunities and remains operational for at least three years.

As of 2020, Jordanian passport had visa free access to 51 countries and territories in the world.

Jordan PassportRanking
CBI Index#14
Best CBI Rankings#11
Nomad Passport Index#158
Arton Passport Index#62
Henley Passport Index#89
Best Passport Rankings#112

Golden Visas / Residency

If you are not interested in citizenship, we offer residency residency schemes.  We suggest going for residency schemes, for investors coming from countries, who are prohibited from holding dual nationality.

Portugal is extremely popular because it does not impose ‘live in the country’ requirement, with a path to EU citizenship. Note that from Jan 1, 2022 Portugal will increase minimum GV investments to 350k euro (from 280K euro) and these investments will be shifted to inner regions.

  • Malta – 145K euro (permanent residency)
  • Portugal – 280K euro (real estate) (Citizenship after 5 years)
  • Greece – 250K euro (real estate) (Citizenship after 7 years)
  • United Kingdom – £2M tier1 investor (Citizenship after 5 years)
  • Spain – 500K euro (real estate) (Citizenship after 10 years)

Best Golden Visas 2021

These are the top programs for 2021 according to rankings by  Best Citizenships

  1. Portugal
  2. Ireland
  3. Greece
GV Rankings 2021

17.  Portugal

Portugal is No.1 residence and citizenship program in Europe. Portugal is a schengen state within the European Union. Portugal is very popular with nationals from US, UK, Canada and Latin America due to its geographic proximity to these countries and possibility to receive EU citizenship after 5 years without compulsory living requirements. Applicants have to meet 7 day residency during first year and 14 days from second year onwards.

Portugal does not offer instant citizenship, only instant residency.

Portugal offers a number of interesting investment options for investors.

GV Residential properties – EUR 280,000 onwards
GV Hotel buyback shares – EUR 280,000 onwards (refunded by developer after 5-6 years)
GV Investment funds – EUR 350,000 onwards
Bank deposit / Bonds – EUR 1 million

Please note Portugal grants Permanent residence permits (PRP) valid for 5 years for 500k euro and above investments, all investments below this will receive Temporary residence permits (PRP) valid for one or two years with extensions. GV scheme offers path to become portuguese citizen after 5 years, while maintaining all investments plus passing A2 language test and no criminal record. There is no civic citizenship test in Portugal.

Due to Covid pandemic, the processing times for GV applications average 10 months plus. We expect significant last minute rush towards end of 2021.

New regulations implemented from Jan 1, 2022 will make significant changes to GV program. Property investments in Lisbon/Porto/Algarve will be removed for Golden visas.  The Minimum investments for GV will increase to 350,000 euros.

18.  Greece

The Greece GV program is immensely popular among middle eastern investors. It is a simple and straightforward residence and citizenship program. Greece is part of schengen zone and also EU member state.

The important difference you should know is Greece issues permanent residence permits valid for 5 years with extensions and also for family members. The Greek GV program has a number of investment routes.

Real estate – EUR 250,000 (residential, commercial or hotel buyback shares)
Bank deposit -EUR 400,000 (held for 1 year)
Government bonds – EUR 400,000 (held for 3 years)
Strategic investment – EUR 250,000 (business capital)

It is also possible to apply for Greek citizenship (not instant) after 7 years of strict living. You have to pass, language and civic test and evaluation of applications takes another 2-3 years.

Greece has zero residency requirement, but if you want citizenship option, you have to spend considerable amount of time living in Greece.

Due to Covid, please expect delayed processing times of atleast 6 months. It is possible to apply for GV through Greek consulates abroad due to Covid situation.

19. Ireland

Ireland is full EU member state but has opted out of schengen area. Ireland operates a GV immigrant investor program which has gained more popularity over the years.  The Irish EU passport remains most powerful in the world and has been most sought after post Brexit.

Ireland offers immediate 5 year permanent residency (stamp 4 permission) from day one through the following investment routes.

Charity donation – EUR 400,000 (joint investment)
Investment fund – EUR 1 million (refundable with yields) held for 5 years
REITs – EUR 1 million (refundable with payback yields) held for 5 years

Ireland does not allow loans for applicants.

Irish citizenship is possible after 5 years after holding stamp 4 permission.

20. Canada

Canada’s Quebec immigrant investor program have been running for almost three decades.  This scheme attracts rich families who invest CAD 1.2m (financing costs $

250,000) plus prove net assets of atleast $2 million.

The Quebec government has announced the QIIP has been suspended until April 2023 for review of the programme.

21. United Kingdom

UK provides red carpet welcome to HNWI families. Despite brexit UK is still attractive for investment with world class living, health care and education for children.

The Tier1 investor route offers entry clearance approved within 1-2 weeks for an investment of GBP 2 million invested as share capital in UK businesses.

UK has the fastest GV schemes in the world.

GV / Q&A

What is Golden visa?

Golden visas are residence programs issued for qualifying investments (eg. real estate, bank deposit or securities). Only a few nations in the world known to operate GV schemes. (eg. US, Canada, UK, Portugal etc.)

Which is the cheapest GV program?

Malta has the cheapest GV program. It will cost you EUR 100,000 in Govt processing and administrative fees. You also have to prove EUR 350,000 in net assets plus 150,000 EUR in liquid savings.

How to decide between GV and CBI programs?

If you are not interested in citizenship or your home national prevents you from holding dual citizenship, GV schemes will be the best fit for you.

How to apply for GV?

You can start the process through a lawyer and then apply for a visa at the nearest consulate in your country. Once you arrive in the country, you will receive residence cards.

Which GV programs issue permanent residence cards for investments?

Only these countries offer PR cards – Malta, Portugal (500K euro), Ireland

Which are refundable GV investments?

You can invest in the following investment routes. These are fully refundable investments bringing also yields on top.

  • Hotel buyback shares (paid back by developer after 6 years),
  • GV Investment funds (fund management costs may vary)
  • Bank deposits (benefit from fixed bank interest rates )
  • Government securities and bonds (benefit from bond interest rates fully refunded after 5 years guaranteed by state)

Due to Covid, many investors are particular with stable investments, important not waste money from depriciation or risky investments.

Are there any restrictions on why can apply for GV programs?

There are no restrictions. Some GV countries do not accept clients from North Korea, Iran, Sudan etc.


1. Which countries have Active citizenship by investment programs?

At the moment there 8 countries have actively running Citizenship by investment (CBI) schemes. These countries are Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, Montenegro, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu, Turkey.

 2. Which is the cheapest citizenship by investment?

Saint Lucia and Dominica are the cheapest for one person. Antigua and Barbuda cheapest for families

 3. Which is the Best citizenship by investment program?

Vanuatu, St Kitts and Grenada are the best CBI programs. These programs are also extremely popular.

4.  Which is the fastest citizenship by investment program?

Vanuatu is the fastest program for its speed and simple application process. The entire process can be completed within 1.5 months.

 5. How much it costs to get a passport through investments?

Prices start from USD 100,000 onwards. You can start the process paying a small chunk of initial fees (10%). The rest 90% of the investment you will pay only after government issues approval letter. Be ready with initial set of documents ( police clearance, health certificate, passport copies and birth certificates)

6. How much it costs to get citizenship buying real estate?

Prices for real estate investment start from USD 200,000 plus additional costs.

7. Can i get a refund if my application is not approved?

First you start the process with initial 10% of the total (DD fee + 50% lawyer fee). The rest 90% you will ONLY pay after application is approved by Govt. You don’t pay if your file is not approved. These are Government rules, applies for all real estate and donation option.

8. Which CBI programs do not require personal visit?

Antigua, Dominica, St Kitts,  Vanuatu, Turkey, Grenada do not require personal visit to get citizenship and passports.

9. How do i start the citizenship application process?

You have to apply through a Govt authorized agent. We will help you with this. Our platform is free of charge.

10. Can i include family members?

Yes, you can include all family members in one application. Please note prices increase for each family dependent.

11. What are the investment routes available to get citizenship?

Most popular investment routes are donation, real estate, government bonds (state debt)

12. What are the processing times?

Please expect 2-3 months in general for the process to complete, if all documents are in order. Below is the minimum processing times of the most popular programs, from the time you apply (submit file) to the issue of passport

  • Vanuatu – 45 days
  • St Kitts – 90 days
  • Antigua – 90 days
  • St Lucia – 90 days
  • Dominica – 90 days
  • Grenada – 90 days
  • Malta – 12 months
  •  Turkey  – 90 days
  • Bulgaria – 24 months

13. What documents are required to apply?

You must keep these documents ready to start the application process online: Birth certificate, police certificate, medical health certificate, passport and ID cards. Original birth certificate is required during the issue of passport.

14. Which CBI passport has the most visa free access?

EU passports have visa free access to most countries in the world. St Kitts passport is a very powerful passport in the Caribbean.

15. What are the applicable fees?

There are three types of fees you must be aware of: Govt donation (or real estate) plus due diligence fee plus law firm fee. For example Saint Lucia you have to pay $100,000 plus $7500 CIP due diligence plus lawyer fee for one person.

14. What affects Covid-19 had on investor citizenship schemes?

Many world countries have closed borders for tourism and travel. In addition to visa checks, citizens are required to undergo 14 day quarantine and two covid negative tests. To revive economy, many caribbean countries slashed prices for families applying for CBI. All Applications can now be filed online cutting processing times. Personal visits waived for passport programs.

15. Which CBI schemes are suspended?

Three citizenship schemes are suspended. Moldova (since 2019), Cyprus (Nov 2020) . No applications accepted for these schemes

15. Which CBI programs offer full citizenship rights?

St Lucia, Grenada, Malta, Turkey, Montenegro and other programs are complete citizenship programs offering all rights including the right to vote, holding public office and exercising political rights. Keep in mind that Antigua, St Kitts, Vanuatu do not offer these rights.

16. Please explain the application and payment process to apply for citizenship schemes?

Most of the programs will only require you to 10% initial fee to start the application filing by lawyers. The rest 90% you pay only AFTER your application is approved by Citizenship Investment Unit (CIU) of the Government. Do not pay the full investment before your application is approved.

Citizenship shop does not charge any fee to clients. Our platform is free of charge.

17. How to apply for E-2 visas through CBI programs?

Grenada, Montenegro, Turkey, Bulgaria are the only CBI countries that have E-2 investor visa agreement with United States. Therefore if you become a citizen of these countries you and apply for E-2 visa to US. E-2 visas are cheapest alternative to EB-5 immigrant investor program which requires $900K investment. EB-5 wait times can take years while E-2 visa (issued for 2 years) wait time is only 3 weeks.

The cheapest route is Grenada. Prepare to spend $175K for Grenada citizenship plus $100K investment in US for E-2 visa. You will also need a US immigration lawyer to prepare the filing. The important condition for E-2 visa is creation of atleast 5 jobs.

18. Who cannot apply for CBI programs? 

Nationals of some blacklisted countries such as Iran, Sudan, North Korea etc. cannot apply for CBI programs. These restrictions vary depending on where you live and also which program and country they apply.

19. How are background checks done?

All applicants and their family members must undergo strict due diligence checks done by agents, governments and third party due diligence firms who will verify all background information including source of funds, criminal record and other checks.  These checks take months to be completed.

20. What are the common reason for CBI refusals?

Applicants and family members who apply for CBI programs may be refused for several reasons. These include ineligible country, failing background checks, visa denials, failing to prove source of origin of funds,  sanctioned list, false information in application, wanted list, imprisonment etc.

Once you are refused by one country, you could be automatically refused by all other CBI countries.

21. What the are visa free benefits that come with passports?

Visa free travel is also one of the important deciding factors for many investors, especially they want to travel for business, holidays, visiting family and friends and pursuing overseas education for children.

The comparison of passport power of the CBI countries with visa waivers is below

Countries and Territories Details
Malta184United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, UAE etc..
Vanuatu130United Kingdom, EU Schengen Area, Russia, Israel etc.
St Kitts and Nevis156United Kingdom, EU Schengen, Russia, Turkey, Israel, South Korea etc.
Antigua and Barbuda151United Kingdom, EU Schengen, Russia, South Africa, Brazil etc.
Dominica140United Kingdom, EU schengen, Russia, Israel etc..
Grenada144United Kingdom, EU schengen, Russia, China, Cuba etc.
St Lucia144United Kingdom, EU schengen, Israel, Cuba, South Korea etc.
Montenegro124EU schengen, Israel, Ukraine, UAE, Panama, Singapore etc.
Turkey110Brazil, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Serbia etc.
Samoa130United Kingdom, Canada, EU schengen, Russia etc.
Egypt49Malaysia, Hong Kong, Jordan, Indonesia etc..
Jordan51South Africa, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon etc.
Cambodia53Brunei, Seychelles, Singapore, Thailand etc.

Source: Wiki

These are the important differences you should be aware of when it comes to visa waiver perks..

  • Malta is the only country that has visa waiver agreement with United States. (No other CBI country has this unique benefit)
  • Grenada is the only country that has visa waiver agreement with China
  • Montenegro does not have visa waiver agreement with United Kingdom and Ireland
  • No Caribbean country has visa waiver agreement with Canada
  • Turkey is the only CBI passport with visa waiver to Japan.

22. What is the validity of passports issued under CBI programs?

Long validity passports only benefit investors and also important deciding factor. Upon expiry, passports can be renewed at nearest consulates.

  • Vanuatu – 10 years
  • St Kitts – 10 years
  • St Lucia – 5 years
  • Dominica – 10 years
  • Antigua – 5 years
  • Grenada – 5 years
  • Montenegro – 10 years
  • Turkey – 10 years
  • Malta – 10 years

Note: We do not assist clients with Cambodia, Jordan, Samoa, Egypt etc.

Please contact us for a private consultation and we can offer you free pricing quote..

About us

Citizenship shop is an online platform.  Our platform is free of charge. We do not charge any fee to clients. Our digital business model makes it cheaper, faster and easier for clients applying for citizenship or residency. We work directly with Government authorized law firms and CIP approved property developers in 15 countries, without any brokers or middlemen, making the whole process cheaper, faster and easier for clients.

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