Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.

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global citizen in the 21st century… and how you can join the movement.

CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT

Discover where and how you can take the fastest path to second citizenship in the world.

What you’re about to read may seem mind-boggling.

Just ask Jelena, our strategy associate, or Jovana, our client relationship manager. When we explain the same concepts on this page to our high-net-worth clients, they act like we’re rocket scientists.

But here at Nomad Capitalist, we’re not in the business of launching people to the moon.

Our mission is a little different…yes, we’re still in the business of helping you go somewhere. But we want to help you “go where you’re treated best”. So that you can enhance your personal freedom and grow and protect your wealth.

One of the most powerful tools we use to achieve this goal is the second passport, the ultimate backup plan and surest means of geopolitical diversification.

If dual citizenship and second passports already sound inconceivable to you (Wait, what?! You can have more than one citizenship?), you can head on over to our second passport page to learn the basics.

If you stay on this page, we’ll take you deeper into the realities of what you thought was only the stuff of fiction novels, where international spies like Jason Bourne and James Bond carry around half a dozen personal passports and wads of cash.

These days, second passports have leaped out of the pages of fictional spy stories and are increasingly showing up in the pockets of successful businessmen, immigrant investors, and otherwise regular, globally-minded folks looking to be global citizens.

How?

There are many ways to obtain a second passport, but the quickest path is to simply buy one.

Yes, you read that right: whether you refer to it as ‘buying a passport’, ‘economic citizenship’, or ‘citizenship by investment’, they all mean the same thing.

Certain governments are willing to grant you citizenship and a passport in as little as three months in exchange for a sizable investment or donation in their country.

Passport Collage - Citizenship by Investment

Why Get Citizenship by Investment Programs?

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1. Tax Planning

Citizenship by investment programs will not automatically change your tax situation, but if you want to create a tax-free lifestyle, this is a good first step.

2. Travel Planning

Economic passports can fill travel gaps in your passport portfolio with visa-free travel to hard-to-access countries like Russia, China, South Africa, and more.

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3. Insurance

If you need a Plan B or want a second passport quickly so that you can renounce your US citizenship, buying a passport is your fastest option compared to traditional immigration processes.

ALERT

There are numerous ways to get a second passport. If you prefer slower, less expensive options, click here.

The Citizenship Contract

What is a Citizenship by Investment Program?

It’s easiest to understand citizenship programs when you break them down to their most basic elements.

First, what is citizenship?

At its heart, citizenship is the embodiment of the social contract (see diagram) – an agreement between individuals and society to work together to achieve mutual benefits.

In this symbiotic relationship, the citizen accepts certain responsibilities such as obeying the law, and in return, the state grants them rights such as property ownership, the vote, and the ability to work in the country.

As the world has developed and grown ever more interconnected, the state has come to rely on passports to control who has the right to enter and leave the country.

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Because of this, a nation’s passport has become one of the most powerful benefits it can offer in return for each citizen’s contributions to society.

Every passport varies in its strength and desirability, just as the rights and responsibilities of each citizenship will differ to some degree depending on the country.

Whatever the terms may be, the ideal situation is one in which both the citizens and the state can enjoy peace, prosperity, and freedom.

Everyone benefits.

Traditionally, citizenship (and its accompanying passport) has been granted through birth, naturalization, and marriage. But beginning in 1984, various countries around the world have introduced another path toward citizenship – the second half of our breakdown – investment.

As shown in the diagram above, one of the main responsibilities of a citizen is to contribute to the economy of their country of citizenship. Many western countries tend to abuse this right by exacting high levels of taxation, made worse by onerous reporting requirements.

But not all countries are like this.

Countries that offer citizenship by investment have determined that individuals who contribute to the economy by making an initial investment or donation fulfill this responsibility and merit citizenship in return.

These are citizenship programs – specific means set out by a government through which an individual can obtain that nation’s citizenship by making a qualified investment in the country.

This citizenship process is designed for wealthy people who want a fast track to dual citizenship and a second passport, or even multiple citizenships and an entire passport portfolio.

But it’s as simple as that: you make an investment and you get citizenship.

There are, of course, exceptions and important nuances between and within programs. And because not all citizenship by investment programs are the same, there is often confusion about which programs are legitimate citizenship by investment offerings versus residence by investment programs or even scams.

So, let’s clarify.

There are just four criteria you need to keep in mind to judge whether or not any given program is legitimately offering citizenship by investment:

1. There is a fast timeline to citizenship

The big draw of citizenship by investment is that it is a quick process.

Once you apply and make your investment, you can generally expect to have your new citizenship and passport in less than six months (the record being 57 days).

2. The Passport is Commoditized

The commoditized nature of most citizenship by investment programs means that almost anyone – regardless of their nationality, religion, or language skills – can become an economic citizen for the same price. 

But some citizens from particular countries apply more for citizenship by investment programs than other countries. More than 75% of Canada’s former Quebec Immigrant Investor Program applicants were Chinese. 

All citizenship by investment programs will accept you just the same as long as you pass the due diligence.

Time may vary to do the due diligence.

Other than that, they don’t really care where you’re from. You make the payment, you get the passport.

3. The Application Process is Structured

All citizenship by investment programs should have a clear structure. That means fixed investment amounts and a clear path to citizenship.

These citizenship programs operate almost like a business; any country that offers a murky path to a second passport most likely falls under another category.

Expect a process that is streamlined and structured.

4. The program is 100% legal

This seems obvious, but there are plenty of economic passport scams out there. If someone tells you that they have a buddy inside the government who can get you a passport in exchange for your payment, run!

Real citizenship by investment programs will be enshrined in the country’s constitution or clearly and obviously stated somewhere in its law.

The Benefits of Economic Citizenship

INSTANT PASSPORT

You can obtain a second passport via investment in as little as 3-4 months.

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ENABLES RENUNCIATION

US citizens can use their CBI passports to renounce their citizenship and save on tax.

TRAVEL PRIVILEGES

Visa-free access to the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, the EU, Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia.

Generic Passport Cover - Transparent
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NO NONSENSE

A streamlined process for individuals in good health with a clean background.

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LOW RISK

No need to travel to or live in the country. Your citizenship is guaranteed.

HARD-TO-ACCESS COUNTRIES

Different CBI passports grant access to Russia, China, South Africa, and even the US.

second citizenship by investment -Image of a vintage globe

What Countries Offer Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by investment programs come and go on a regular basis.

The two exceptions are the original citizenship by investment programs in St. Kitts and Nevis, which has lasted more than 35 years, and Dominica’s program, which has been around for more than 25 years.

All the rest of the investment programs are less than a decade old.

And many have come and gone within this last decade as well, including the Comoros Islands program that I took advantage of during its short lifespan.

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If one of the programs below sounds like a fantastic deal, click on the “Learn More” button to get more details, and then reach out to us so we can help you create a holistic offshore strategy that incorporates your second passport goals into your banking, investment, business, tax, and lifestyle goals as well.

Vanuatu

🇻🇺 Time to Citizenship: 2 Months

🇻🇺 Minimum Investment: $130,000

🇻🇺 Investment Options: Donation

🇻🇺 Visa-Free Access to 125+ Countries

🇻🇺 Best Passport for Speed and Due Diligence

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment
Turkish Citizenship by Investment

Turkey

🇹🇷 Time to Obtain Citizenship: 3-4 Months

🇹🇷 Minimum Investment: $250,000

🇹🇷 Investment Options: Real Estate, Bank Deposit, or Business (hiring locals)

🇹🇷 Visa-Free Access to 110+ Countries

🇹🇷 Best Passport for Real Estate Investors and E-2 Access to the United States

Grenada

🇬🇩 Time to Citizenship: 3-4 Months

🇬🇩 Minimum Investment: $150,000

🇬🇩 Investment Options: Donation or Real Estate

🇬🇩 Visa-Free Access to 140+ Countries

🇬🇩 Best Passport for Visa-Free Access to China and E-2 Access to the United States

Grenada citizenship by investment
Budva Montenegro Low Tax Country

Montenegro

🇲🇪 Time to Offer Citizenship: 3-6 Months

🇲🇪 Minimum Investment: $350,000

🇲🇪 Investment Options: Hybrid Donation and Real Estate

🇲🇪 Visa-Free Access to 120+ Countries

🇲🇪 Best Passport for European Living

Dominica

🇩🇲 Time to Grant Citizenship: 3-9 Months

🇩🇲 Minimum Investment: $100,000

🇩🇲 Investment Options: Donation or Real Estate

🇩🇲 Visa-Free Access to 145 Countries

🇩🇲 Best Passport for Single Applicants (tied)

Dominica citizenship by investment
Citizenship by Investment in St. Lucia

Saint Lucia

🇱🇨 Time to Acquiring Citizenship: 3-6 Months

🇱🇨 Minimum Investment: $100,000

🇱🇨 Investment Options: Donation, Real Estate, Bonds, or Enterprise Project

🇱🇨 Visa-Free Access to 145+ Countries

🇱🇨 Best Passport for Single Applicants (tied)

Antigua and Barbuda

🇦🇬 Time to Citizenship: 3-6 Months

🇦🇬 Minimum Investment: $130,000

🇦🇬 Investment Options: Donation, Real Estate, or Business

🇦🇬 Visa-Free Access to 145 Countries

🇦🇬 Best Passport for a Family

Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Options
Saint Kitts citizenship by investment

St. Kitts and Nevis

🇰🇳 Time to Citizenship: 3-6 Months

🇰🇳 Minimum Investment: $150,000

🇰🇳 Investment Options: Donation or Real Estate

🇰🇳 Visa-Free Access to 150+ Countries

🇰🇳 Best Passport for Access to the Americas

Malta

🇲🇹 Time to Acquiring Citizenship: 12 Months to 3 Years

🇲🇹 Minimum Investment: €600,00

🇲🇹 Investment Options: Hybrid Model Requiring          Donations and Real Estate

🇲🇹 Visa-Free Access to 180+ Countries

🇲🇹 Best Passport For Visa-Free Access to the United States and the EU

living in Malta
Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment

BULGARIA

Time to Citizenship: 1-2 years

Minimum Investment: €500,00

Investment Options: Investment

Visa-Free Access to 175 Countries

Best Passport For Visa-Free Access to the EU

Russia

Russia Emoji (U+1F1F7, U+1F1FA) Time to Citizenship: 3 Years

Russia Emoji (U+1F1F7, U+1F1FA) Minimum Investment: approx. $130,000

Russia Emoji (U+1F1F7, U+1F1FA) Investment Options: Real Estate, Business, or Government bonds

Russia Emoji (U+1F1F7, U+1F1FA) Visa-Free Access to 117 Countries

Russia Citizenship by Investment

How to Qualify for Citizenship by Investment Programs

As we discussed earlier, governments offer citizenship in return for your investment because they consider your economic contribution to be an act that qualifies you for that citizenship.

Both parties should benefit from the exchange.

You need a second passport to give yourself a Plan B, increase your freedom of movement, and create better tax planning opportunities, among other benefits.

Governments need foreign direct investment to stimulate their economy – whether that be for their real estate market, local businesses and employment, or government bonds and development funds that will allow them to direct the money to more country-specific projects, depending on the country and its specific needs at the time.

Here are the most common types of investments that will qualify you for citizenship in another country:

1. Donation

The most convenient way to qualify for citizenship is to simply make a donation. Donation amounts start at $100,000 in several Caribbean countries and go all the way up to €600,000 for Malta.

You make the donation and they give you a passport.

You do not get that money back.

Even though it is essentially a sunk cost, the donation is usually the cheapest and most straightforward route to take because you don’t have to deal with selling an asset later.

And while you may think it’s a waste of money, if you can go out and save a million dollars in taxes by having that passport, then who cares that you wasted $100,000?

If you can travel to Russia with your new passport and expand your business there, consider that $100,000 as an investment in your business.

Or if you’re an Arab who can suddenly travel to Europe withing needing visas all the time and you can do an extra half-million dollars in business, who cares about the $100,000 you gave away to get it?

That’s the donation route.

2. Real Estate Investment

Almost all citizenship by investment programs – with the exception of Turkey – require you to buy real estate that has been pre-approved by the government.

That means it’s overpriced and a rip-off.

With most Caribbean programs, the real estate isn’t even yours. It’s a timeshare. And even if it is yours, you’ll end up paying a partial donation anyway thanks to government fees.

For example, you can invest $220,000 in real estate in Dominica instead of donating $100,000, but you still need to pay a government fee for the real estate. In Dominica, the fee is $25,000 and the amount only goes up from there in other countries.

So, you’re not saving the full amount of the donation to the country’s Economic Diversification Fund.

And here’s the other issue: if you do decide to buy the real estate, what are you going to do with it? It’s on an island. Where’s the market to resell it? Your only opportunity to resell is probably to a new buyer who’s also doing the citizenship by investment program.

The one exception, as mentioned, is Turkey. You can buy almost any property in Turkey, and as long as you meet the investment amount, you can qualify for Turkish citizenship.

We have a full-time real estate person on our team who speaks Turkish and she finds the best deals on properties in the country that will qualify you for citizenship.

If you are interested, be sure to check out our article on how to buy real estate in Turkey, as well as our Turkish citizenship by investment guide.

Other than Turkey, we don’t recommend the real estate investment as it must be pre-approved by the government and, consequently, is overpriced.

3. Hybrid Model

Some countries like to complicate things and will require applicants to make several types of investments to qualify for citizenship. Most hybrid programs can be found in Europe.

Malta, for example, requires applicants to make a sizable donation, buy government bonds, purchase or rent a home, and live in the country for at least a year to establish a genuine link to the country.

This, of course, is because Malta is in the EU, which means that its passport is much more valuable but also subject to third-party oversight from the EU itself.

In St. Lucia, nobody cares that you have a genuine connection to the country. They’ll take your donation and you can be done with the process. Their passport is not as powerful, though, so there is a trade-off.

There’s always a trade-off.

Montenegro (the newcomer) is another hybrid model with both a donation and real estate requirement.

There are benefits to both programs, but you will be required to give more to get them.

4. Banks, Bonds, and Businesses

In recent years, governments have been coming up with more creative investment options for investors interested in citizenship.

In Turkey, for example, instead of investing $250,000 in real estate, you can put $500,000 in the bank for three years and still qualify for citizenship. Or, if you want to reduce how much money you need to put down, you can start a business and hire 50 people in Turkey and get citizenship that way too.

In both Antigua and St. Lucia, rather than start a business, you can invest in a local company and qualify. In Antigua, you’ll need to invest at least $400,000 plus fees if it’s a joint purchase (vs. the flat $100,000 donation) and in St. Lucia you’ll need to invest a whopping $3.5 million into a local enterprise project.

Finally, in both St. Lucia and Malta, you can buy non-interest-bearing government bonds and hold them for a given period of time to qualify for citizenship. In Malta, the bond investment is one requirement of many. In St. Lucia, it’s one of four different options. 

Who Should Get Citizenship by Investment?

The truth is that citizenship by investment is not the second passport solution for everyone. However, it is often the best option for people in three specific circumstances:

1. US Tax Planning

US citizens are among the only people on earth who must pay taxes on their worldwide income no matter where they live. Even if you are living abroad and have not set a foot in the US for years, thanks to citizenship-based taxation, you still must file and pay taxes to the US government.

Forever.

While there are many different strategies you can use to reduce your US tax burden, the only way for US citizens to completely liberate themselves of all reporting and tax obligations is to renounce their US citizenship.

Pragmatically, renunciation requires a second passport. And if your income is high enough, how quickly you can obtain that second passport can make a dramatic difference in how much you will save in taxes – even on the level of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

2. Travel Planning

Every passport has travel gaps. Even Germany – which has visa-free access to 189 countries – does not give its citizens the ability to show up in Russia without a visa, for instance.

Some passports have bigger travel gaps than others, but a second passport can often fill these gaps, no matter how big or small.

If you have a relatively decent passport, you may only need a second passport to complement your first. If you don’t want to wait to get that second passport, citizenship by investment is the fastest way to fill those gaps.

It is also a good solution for those who want to renounce their US citizenship but are worried about losing their travel privileges.

Most citizenship by investment passports offer visa-free access to the Schengen Area in Europe as well as to important business destinations like Hong Kong. Some also offer visa-free access to countries like China, Russia, South Africa, and Brazil that even the US passport cannot offer.

However, the people who benefit the most from investing in economic citizenships are those with passports from emerging world countries with bad visa-free travel.

Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Russian citizens make up a large part of the citizenship investor pool simply because they are losing more opportunities due to their bad passports and can afford the cost of citizenship by investment in exchange for the greatly increased travel benefits.

They can invest once and quickly obtain a passport that will save them from wasting weeks and months on expensive visas.

3. Citizenship Insurance

There are also people who simply want a second passport for peace of mind, protection, and as a backup policy in the event of potential political, economic, or natural disaster in their home country.

For these people, a second passport is essentially an insurance policy in the form of citizenship.

And if you’re a really wealthy person living in France with €10 million, what’s $100,000 to get a backup plan in case France goes nuts?

Citizenship by investment almost never comes with residence requirements, making it the most convenient solution for someone with a lot of money who doesn’t want to go live in another country or deal with (often exhausting) citizenship by descent paperwork just to get a passport.

People in France, Canada, Australia, Greece, and other western countries may not need a second passport to avoid the high taxes in their home country. But if they’re doing really well for themselves, they may ultimately decide that, in a time vs. money cost comparison, paying $100,000 to Saint Lucia or Dominica to get a passport in a matter of months is the better option.

Citizens from emerging countries may also use citizenship by investment as an insurance policy against the corruption and instability in their home country.

What is The Cheapest Citizenship by Investment?

The Most Cost-Efficient Passport

For many people, the cheapest passport is often the best option in terms of cost-benefit analysis.

For A Single Person: Both Dominica and St. Lucia are the cheapest options at $100,000 each.

For a Couple or Family: Antigua and Barbuda is the cheapest passport at $130,000 for a family of 4.

Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Piton Mountains

Best for Real Estate Investment

Turkey is the best for those who want to invest in real estate at a good value.

You can read more about Turkey’s citizenship program in our Ultimate Guide.

And you can dive into our Turkey real estate guide to know where to invest for the best deals.

Once you have determined that citizenship by investment is the right move for you, how do you choose which of all the programs is the best fit for your unique circumstances?

We’ve broken it down for you so you can review the benefits of each program and decide which one works best for you. 

Turkish Citizenship by Investment with Real Estate

Travel and Visa-Free Access

Most citizenship by investment passports provide visa-free access to the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Europe’s Schengen Area, Southeast, Asia and South America. 

Some, like St. Lucia, offer access to all of Central America. Others have hard-to-access countries like Iran, South Africa, and Macedonia.

Cape Town South Africa

Visa-Free Travel to China & Russia

With the exception of St. Lucia, all the Caribbean Citizenship by investment programs’ passports now grant visa-free access to Russia.

This can be beneficial to people from the West who do business in Russia and struggle with visas.

For access to China, Grenada is the only program that offers visa-free travel to the Middle Kingdom.

Compare travel for all economic citizenships.

Visa-free Access to Russia with Caribbean Citizenship by Investment

Access to Asia and the South Pacific

Vanuatu may be a good option for people who do a lot of business in Asia and the South Pacific.

It’s the only economic passport that grants visa-free transit through Australia and New Zealand.

Vanuatu’s program is also faster and applies less due diligence on applicants with past lawsuits.

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment

US Investors and Visa-Free Travel

E-2 Investor Visa: Citizenship by investment in Grenada or Turkey will allow you to enter the US on a non-immigrant E-2 investor visa.

Visa-Free Access to the US: If you want visa-free access to the US, Malta is currently your only option.

Malta Citizenship by Investment - Visa-Free Access to the US

Living and Working in the EU

Malta also offers the ability to live and work in the European Union. This also grants access to education and health care benefits.

Don’t want the high price tag? We favor exploring all the CBI programs or even residencies available. Read more on Bulgarian citizenship by investment, Russian citizenship by investment, Slovenian citizenship by investment, and Cyprus citizenship by investment while they revamp it.

Cyprus Street - European Living

The Best Country for Living

If you decide you want to live in your new country of citizenship, consider Montenegro. It offers luxury, peace, and European charm.

Malta or Turkey could be livable as well. One of our clients fell in love with Turkey. Then again, you might like the remoteness of Vanuatu.

Montenegro - European Living Citizenship by Investment

The Best Country for Tax-Free Living

If you’re going to live in the country, taxes become an issue as not all these countries are tax-free.

However, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Vanuatu are all tax-free.

But be careful. For example, it is very difficult for citizens of Antigua to get a bank account there.

Antigua and Barbuda Tax-Free Citizenship by Investment

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HOLISTIC OFFSHORE PLAN

“A second passport is essentially an insurance policy in the form of citizenship. Citizenship by investment is the fastest way to get it.

Just One Tool of Many

Citizenship by investment is not the perfect solution for everyone. Depending on your situation, you may have better options. But if you want a nearly 100% guarantee of getting citizenship in 4-12 months, citizenship by investment is the best way to go.

You may need to gather a lot of paperwork, but you don’t have to be flying all around the world. In most cases, you can get that much-needed second passport all from the comfort of your home.

Just remember, a second passport is not going to automatically solve all your problems. It won’t eliminate your taxes the moment you have it in your hands. It’s tax neutral.

But it is a valuable tool that you can wield to create a tax-free lifestyle.

Just remember that it’s not the only tool in the box. You also have offshore companies, international foreign investment, foreign banking, second residences, offshore gold storage, cryptocurrency, the Trifecta, and so many other strategies and tools at your disposal.

Here at Nomad Capitalist, we make it our business to help folks like you who understand the power of using tools like these to create a life of greater freedom and prosperity.

We understand that everyone’s situation is different. That’s why we create bespoke offshore plans that are tailored to you and you alone.

If you are an entrepreneur or investor interested in citizenship by investment or other ways to obtain a second passport that will allow you to “go where you’re treated best”, feel free to reach out to our team.

LET US CREATE YOUR

HOLISTIC OFFSHORE PLAN

Our experienced team can help you legally reduce your tax rate offshore, protect your assets, invest overseas, obtain a second citizenship, and improve your peace of mind. We've helped 1,000+ HNWI entrepreneurs and investors and we can help you, too.

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