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What’s the most affordable second citizenship programme?

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June 06, 2018

What’s the most affordable second citizenship programme?

What’s the most affordable second citizenship programme

Money. It might just be the deciding factor when it comes to second citizenship.

So what are the cheapest citizenship-by-investment programmes?

Let’s review the current investment thresholds so you can decide which best fits your needs. The Caribbean always wins when it comes to costs, so we’ll look at the top three programmes from that region first, then throw in the most affordable option in Europe and elsewhere.

Here we go:

1. Dominica

The Dominica Economic Citizenship Programme has been around since 1993, so it’s no new kid on the block. A big reason Dominican second citizenship is so popular is the affordable investment requirement, through two possible vehicles:

Non-refundable donation: Investment starts from USD 100,000 for a single applicant, or USD 175,000 for you and a spouse, or USD 200,000 for a family of four.

Real estate: Invest at least USD 200,000 into real estate, plus government fees depending on the number of applicants. They start from USD 25,000 for a single applicant, or USD 35,000 for you and a spouse, or a family of four. You have to hold this investment for at least three years, but after five years you can resell under the citizenship programme – so you can count on market demand.

The process to gain second citizenship in Dominica is simple. Like Saint Lucia, you’re looking at around three months, and you needn’t travel to or live in Dominica at any point.

Similar to Saint Lucia, the major benefits to citizenship in Dominica are increased global mobility (Dominican passport holders can travel to 120 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms) and wealth protection. This latter is especially attractive, with corporation tax at 25% for resident companies, VAT at 15%, and withholding tax at 15% for non-resident companies’ gross Dominican-sourced income. There’s no inheritance, estate, gift or new worth taxes.

Similar to Saint Lucia, the major benefits to citizenship in Dominica are increased global mobility and wealth protection.

Then the icing on the cake is the option to build your second home on Dominica, which is renowned for natural beauty and is a secure, stable environment.

2. Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda’s second citizenship programme was founded in 2013, and has since firmly established itself as competitive.

You have three investment options that have recently been reduced in price.

Non-refundable donation: For philanthropically-minded investors, investment here starts from USD 100,000 plus USD 25,000 processing fees. That includes a family of four, making this the best affordable option in the market for families

Real estate: The most popular investment stalwart, this normally starts from USD 400,000 plus processing fees of USD 50,000 but until October 31st2018, this entry level has been reduced to USD200,000 – and includes a family of four. Like Dominica, you must hold your investment for five years before resale.

This is a favourable choice, as applicants can effectively apply through real estate investment at a reduced individual figure. These properties must be selected from the extensive range of preapproved real estate development areas and once more must be held for five years. An important benefit of note in this process is that fees for property registration, processing fees and applicable taxes are covered in the single fee. Many interested 5star hotel brands are amongst the preapproved developments.

Business investment: Businesspeople might find this option attractive but it’s not the most affordable. Total investment here must be USD 1.5m as a sole investor. Alternatively, there can be a joint investment totalling at least USD 5m, with each investor contributing at least USD 400,000.

Whichever option you choose, the process is straightforward, fast and remote. And once you’ve got your new passport, you can travel to 129 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms.

Like our other Caribbean options, Antigua and Barbuda is also a world-renowned tax haven. The islands abolished personal income tax in 2016, and residents are exempt from worldwide income tax. There’s no capital gains or inheritance tax. Corporate tax is 25% plus there’s a 50-year exemption programme for international businesses which proves very competitive in the global arena.

Finally, you can’t miss Antigua and Barbuda’s stunning beaches – all 365 of them. Beaches are unlikely the main reason to consider investing, but they’re definitely an added bonus.

3. Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is new on the second citizenship scene, launching in 2016. Since then, the programme has quietly picked up pace, and is considered to be more exclusive with a lower number of passports being issued – largely thanks to its price-tag.

So let’s cut to the chase. What does second citizenship in Saint Lucia cost? You have four investment options:

Non-refundable donation: Investment starts from USD 100,000 for a single applicant, plus fees. An additional USD 65,000 adds your spouse, or a total USD190,000 secures citizenship for a family of four.

Real estate: Investment starts from USD 300,000. Projects must be approved by the government and include high-end hotels, resorts and boutique properties.

Enterprise projects: This isn’t your most affordable option. Investment starts from USD 3.5m for a sole applicant, or USD 1m as part of a total joint venture of USD 6m. There are seven approved areas – from speciality restaurants to pharmaceutical products – that fall in this enterprise category.

Government bonds: Investment starts from USD 500,000 into non-interest-bearing government bonds that you hold for five years. Add a spouse for an additional USD 35,000 plus fees, or a family of four for a total investment of USD 550,000.

The process is simple and can be done remotely – you can secure second citizenship with minimum disruption to your everyday life. And faster than you think, as you should have your new Saint Lucian passport in-hand within three months.

And once you do, you can travel to 126 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms. The tax benefits of Saint Lucia also set the programme apart, with corporation tax at 30%, VAT at 15% (or 8% within the hotel industry) and zero capital gains.

Then there’s the obvious. Saint Lucia is a stunning island in the Caribbean – a great place for a home, or a second home.

4. Vanuatu

The beauty of Vanuatu’s 83 tropical islands is undeniable, and its modern and efficient citizenship application process adds further value for practical-minded investors.

The mobility available through citizenship with Vanuatu is decisive. Due to its British Commonwealth membership, 125 countries are available on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms. Key travel destinations for business and further leisure are included, such as Russia, the UK, Hong Kong and all of Europe. This is worth considering if the interested individual hails from a more limited citizenship in terms of travel options.

The beauty of Vanuatu’s 83 tropical islands is undeniable, and its modern and efficient citizenship application process adds further value for practical-minded investors.

The nation is favourable for business, with VAT and income tax the only taxes applied to citizens. The sheer speed of the application process is similarly beneficial, with the process hailed internationally as both cheap and quick, with the entire process averaging 45-60 days.

Second citizenship is achieved through the Development Support Program; a fully legitimate and state-backed agreement. Single applicant fees are EUR 140,000 or EUR 190,000 for a family of four. Payment is also uniquely available through cryptocurrency.

5. Malta

So let’s move swiftly to Europe now. True, the most affordable second citizenship programmes tend to be Caribbean-based but we wanted to dedicate the fifth spot on our list to an affordable European option – the Malta Individual Investor Programme, MIIP.

The MIIP is more expensive than other options on this list – but that’s what you would expect when gaining a strong European passport. Initially, you’re looking at EUR 650,000 for the main applicant, then additional EUR 25,000 for a spouse, and the same again for any dependants under 18. This then begins a longer process of moving from residency status to citizenship (ie, your new passport) which takes around one year and will involve significant further investments. In terms of speed, it is much slower than the Caribbean options.

However, while citizenship does take one year, you’re eligible for Schengen Residence status immediately so you can travel freely across the Schengen Area.

Once you do gain your passport, you’ll be able to travel to 157 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms – and as Malta is an EU country, you’ll also be able to live, travel or work easily anywhere else in the EU. That’s one big reason many investors decide a European passport is worth the extra cost.

That’s one big reason many investors decide a European passport is worth the extra cost.

Malta offers a fantastic lifestyle amongst a thriving international community. And rare for Europe, Malta also offers a very favourable tax environment. Thanks to a tax refund system, the effective corporate tax rate is 0% to 10%. There are also various tax incentives available under the Malta Global Residency Programme, which would give you 15% flat rate on remitted income.

Not quite in the same investment category as the Caribbean programmes, Malta overall still proves itself a competitive option for second citizenship.

Five great choices

Second citizenship is a huge decision. But as these five programmes prove, it can be more affordable than you think, and offer life-long returns on that investment. Working with a specialist in second citizenship applications can ensure that your path to a second passport is smooth and trouble-free.

 

Next Generation Equity specialises in dual citizenship-by-investment and residency-by-investment programmes around the world. To schedule a no obligation consultation.