Citizenship is one of the few rights that ostensibly everyone gets just for the sake of being born. Although there are other avenues to becoming a citizen like marriage or employment those are often arduous and unsuccessful. But in the handful of countries getting citizenship is actually quite simple. It’s as easy as writing a check. So we want to know where can you buy citizenship.
Well as of 2016, nine countries are effectively selling citizenship. And these countries are as under:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
Most are these countries are small islands in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. And all are relatively cash strapped. Allowing foreigners to buy citizenship as the obvious effect of raising the country’s Gross domestic product (GDP). But it can also culminate in long term economic prosperity through investments and housing and infrastructure. With that in mind many countries have made it easy and even affordable for people to buy their way in.
The cheapest option is the Caribbean island of Dominica where citizenship can be purchased for just a $100,000 or real estate investment of at $200,000. This program has existed for more than twenty years. However it became particularly important to Dominica in 2015 after a tropical storm wiped out roughly ninety percent of the country’s GDP. Today citizenship sales are one of the country’s primary sources of revenue. However the program is set to be mismanaged. And public officials have been accused of pocketing much of the profits.
A similar program exists nearby in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Two tiny Caribbean islands that formed one nation. Like Dominica Saint Kitts relied on citizenship sales after series of hurricanes decimated their economy in the late 1990’s. Today citizenship can be procured for a $250,000 flat rate or a $400,000 real estate investment. The deal also includes visa-free travel to roughly 130 countries that except a Saint Kitts passport. At one point Saint Kitts was selling an estimated 2,000 passports a year and as a result the country was seeing rapid development. However sales of plummeted since 2014 when Canada and the U. S. issued warnings about the program. For example business people have reportedly used visa free travel through those passports to avoid international sanctions were to flee the country where they’re wanted for a crime. This concept is not unique to far flung island nations. In fact a dozen other nations including the United States offer permanent residency or golden visas to foreigners who invest in property businesses or public asset. However the price tag is usually much higher. The United Kingdom requires a minimum investment of nearly $3,000,000.
Golden visa programs are extremely popular among wealthy Chinese nationals seeking to invest in offshore real estate so what makes dual citizenship so attractive. Well for people from countries that face travel restrictions in alternate passport opens up an entirely new world of visa-free travel. For wealthy Americans citizenship in Saint Kitts or Dominica can mean huge savings as neither country taxes foreign income or capital gains. So despite the high cost of citizenship it may be more financially beneficial than it seems. But having citizenship is not infallible nearly every country has strict rules about when they can strip you of your passport.