Expats living in UAE tend to travel a lot. For business but also because of the scorching heat during the summer months. From May to October, the population of the country decreases significantly, many of them preferring to spend those 6 months in a more temperate climate. Europe is the favoured destination with its warm climate and cultural beauties. Unfortunately for many expats, many of them need a visa to travel under their current passport. This has led Dubai to become one of the biggest markets for 2nd passports: countries offering expedited naturalization to those that invest a certain amount in their country. Most of the country offering those citizenship programs are small countries which can suffer greatly from natural disasters or economic crisis. They need to have solid cash reserves to help them combat those events.
As a global citizen, you now have many options on the market and for every budget. Here are all of them by priciest to the most affordable.
Since it’s launch in 2014, Malta has been the only citizenship by investment program (CBI) who’s passport enables visa-free travel to the US. It’s la crème de la crème of citizenship programs and with the temporary suspension of the Cyprus economic citizenship, Malta has now the only effective CBI in the EU providing freedom of movement across all the countries in the Union. The program has been modified in 2020. The Malta IIP now gives the possibility to donate more to reduce the waiting time for naturalization.
The Cyprus program was suspended in 2020 to be held for review. The program should restart somewhere in 2021 after revision on the due diligence process.
Montenegro made his citizenship by investment program operational in 2019 and the program is expected to sunset after 2,000 applicants for a three-year period. The program might be stretch further up until the point the country joins the European Union. Montenegro is closing up its chapter to ascend to the EU and it’s expected to happen in the next 5 years. This makes the program especially attractive since it will confer many of the advantages of Maltese citizenship in the future but at a fraction of the cost.
Grenada is the highest-rated program in the Caribbean. It’s the only one out of the other 4 to have a visa liberalization agreement with China and an E-2 treaty with the US. The E-2 treaty enables Grenadian to apply for the E-2 Visa which is a non-immigrant visa enabling an investor to easily reside in the US.
Vanuatu is a Pacific island in between the US and Australia. Its programs had known a few changes but in the last year, it has really picked up due to being very affordable.
St Kitts & Nevis has been running its citizenship program since 1984, the oldest one in operation. All Caribbean programs are relatively similar but the St Kitts program has the advantage of being able to process applications a little bit faster than the others, for an additional fee.
Dominica is one of the most popular options in the Caribbean. Fees for the Real Estate option are relatively low in comparison.
Antigua & Barbuda is one of the best options in the Caribbean. It requires the applicant to spend at least 5 days in the 5 years in the country to renew the passport but has the advantage to not levy any personal income tax.
St Lucia was the latest addition to the CBI Caribbean family. It’s the only one to offer a government bond investment option in addition to the other 2 traditional investments.
Launched in 2018, the program offers many different investment options, but the property investment is by far the most affordable and popular route. Its passport doesn’t offer visa-free travel into Europe.
All of these programs allow you to bring your spouse and children. The qualifying age of the children can vary between programs, but in the Caribbean, it’s usually up to 30 years old as long as they are unmarried. Some might also allow for parents and grand-parent to qualify as a dependent. Be aware that additional fees usually apply such as due diligence fees and other miscellaneous fees that are not significant but not negligible either.
There are other countries offering citizenship programs that are less mainstream such as Cape Verde, Mauritius, Jordan and Samoa. The problem with those is that you will find it much more difficult to find professional help. The programs we list are commonly worked by the investment migration industry and their process is well known.
The Global Residence Index has the most extensive database on the world’s residence and citizenship programs. Our purpose is to provide information, feel free to contact us if you need more. If you need professional help, let us know and we will direct you toward a trusted expert in your area.