Citizenship by Investment is a term to describe a program where an individual or family can apply to obtain a second passport by making an economic contribution or investment into real estate in another country.
These programs that were previously only accessible to high net worth individuals have become very popular for those seeking an alternative nationality be it for the freedom to travel with less visa restrictions or the opportunity to live and work in another country. The citizenship by investment market has now become a multibillion-dollar industry which has incentivized many countries to create residency and citizenship programs across the world.
There are a number of different investment options in order to obtain citizenship, the most popular is a contribution to the government fund, which is usually the cheapest way, however many investors choose to spend more to purchase real estate in government approved projects which they can eventually sell to recuperate their investment.
The first country to introduce a citizenship program was St Kitts & Nevis in 1984, followed by Dominica that created its own program in 1993 and other Caribbean island nations who joined in 2014. The main reason for choosing a Caribbean citizenship option is that it tends to be more economic than the European programs with less processing time. There is also no trip to the country required and no permanent residency is needed to obtain citizenship status. Caribbean countries tend to take 3 to 6 months to grant citizenship while the fastest European program which is currently Cyprus will take around one year and requires the applicant to have 6 months of residency prior to issuing the passport.