Citizenship by Investment Amendments 2019

CBI passports

A lot of new changes and amendments happened to citizenship by investment programs in 2019, some countries have tightened the rules while others simplified the acquisition of citizenship through investments.

Here is a quick summary on changes that happened:

Montenegro will be officially opening for applications only in late 2019 or early 2020, until then you have to wait. The Government has appointed 3 agents and CIU will be established soon.  Apart from EUR 350,000 investment, there is also provision for big investors eligible for citizenship by making EUR 5 million -10 million in five star hotel projects in Montenegro. Montenegro CBI unit appoints 3 authorized marketing agents and 2 due diligence providers.

Cyprus make significant changes such as compulsory schengen visa requirement to investment citizenship scheme which comes into effect May 15, 2019.  CIP prices also increased by EUR 150,000. This money must be donated to research and housing developments. Applicants cannot buy government bonds or treasury securities and will be subjected to Enhanced due diligence (EDD) checks through third parties.  There are close to 600 authorized agents for Cyprus.

St Lucia just announced family members (dependents) can be included post granting citizenship, but only within 5 years. Processing times have been cut to just 80 days under 3 months.

Grenada also made some simplified changes to the citizenship by investment scheme to keep up with the competition. The prices remain the same, the most important change is unmarried siblings can be included in the family application and real estate minimum reduced to $220,000 (per share) from $350,000. Grenada tightened real estate rules requiring property developers who cannot invest 20% into the project wont be able to sell shares to CBI investors for $220,000. Grenada has the best CBI program in the Caribbean.

Dominica Citizenship Unit has clarified that the government does not offer special discounts to applicants. The investment and fee remain the same.  New real estate developments have been approved. Dominica also signed visa waiver with Russia. It is the cheapest passport by investment scheme for single applicants.

Antigua discount offer for families, currently stands at 50% for $100,000 will close on Oct 31, 2019, after that prices will double. Antigua reduced real estate to $200,000 under the offer. Antigua recently signed visa waiver with Russia. It is the cheapest family citizenship by investment scheme among all CBI countries.

St Kitts introduced biometric fingerprinting for citizenship by investment applicants in 2019. The Donation option remains at $150,000. St Kitts CIU has assured previous citizenships wont be revoked and strengthened real estate route stricter escrow policies protecting CBI investors. The real estate requires $200,000 investment but must be held for 7 years.

Malta‘s individual investor program, ranked best among CBI programs in the Best Citizenships Rankings 2019.  Malta approved close to 1000 citizenships under Individual investor program (IIP). Malta has made few changes like those who come from Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Chad, Venezuela, Yemen, Libya, Syria and also those under US travel ban cannot apply for IIP citizenship scheme. Maltese citizenship granted under IIP can be revoked if imprisoned abroad for more than 12 months.

Moldova is currently processing first applications under citizenship by investment program and more than 7 agents are approved. Besides donation EUR 100,000, there are also options for Real estate and Government bonds/securities for EUR 250,000.

Turkey publishes official guidelines offering property investors in Turkey of atleast $250,000 will be given citizenship under presidential order within six months. Turkey further simplified acquisition of real estate by foreigners and now citizenship and residence permit applications can be launched together. Citizenship can be acquired within 6 months.

Bulgaria Golden visa scheme is active and running costs EUR 500,000 investment in bonds/share or rea lestate.  The Bulgarian fast track citizenship scheme requires EUR 1 million investment and citizenship possible after 12-15 months. Bulgaria offers EU passport with full citizenship rights in the Union, as it is a full EU member state. Bulgaria offered 29 fast track citizenships in 2018. There is a declining interest after bulgaria tightened the citizenship acquisition rules.

Vanuatu citizenship commission announced investing in real estate does not lead to citizenship. Currently only two programs: VCP (contribution program) and DSP(development support program) offer fast track citizenship to foreign investors for $150,000. No real estate option attached to citizenship and no bitcoin accepted. It has easy simple application process. Vanuatu joins Interpol and tightens the citizenship checks and has issued over 4000 CBI passports to over 1,200 applicants.

Cambodia has an interesting citizenship for investment scheme in Asia. Currently requires $250,000 one time donation or $2.5 million business investment for cambodian passport.

Anguilla just launched Residence by investment (RBI) scheme (not citizenship) offering permanent residence status. You have to pay $150,000 as donation or buy a property worth $750,000 in the british caribbean island. You can qualify for British overseas citizenship after five years of living

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