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Citizenship by investment: Pick the cheapest or the best programs?

Updated Time 27 Feb, 2023, 18:05 (UTC+08:00)

Insider's guide to select your most suitable citizenship by investment programs

Have you ever dreamed of living in another country, where you can enjoy the freedom of global mobility, access to the social benefits while starting your own favorite business? If that is the case, then citizenship by investment may help, by obtaining the second passport with a substantial investment. Under globalization, it is no longer a trend, but a strategy adopted by investors or high-net-worth individuals looking to expand and secure their future. While this offers many advantages, drawbacks do exist. This article will guide you through the complexities of citizenship by investment, with discussions about whether to pick the cheapest or the best programs.

Understand Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by investment is the legal process in which one acquires a second passport by investing in the host country's economy. It may take the form of a donation to a government fund, real estate purchase, or fund a local business.

Citizenship by investment is to attract FDIs and stimulate economic growth, while allowing eligible individuals to expand business operations, or access better healthcare and education beyond the border. Other advantages are visa-free travel to hundreds ofcountries, favorable tax treatment, and lifetime citizenship for future generations.

Since governments adopt different policies,citizenship by investment programs will differ in terms of requirements, benefits, and associated risks. While those from the Caribbean only need a minimum investment amount to process, other places may ask for language proficiency or a clean criminal record.

Not to mention the non-refundable fees you must pay in the application stage, citizenship by investment is pretty complex and costly. Therefore, it is essential to conduct thorough research, seek expert advice, and compare various programs before deciding the best fit for your needs and budget.

What to and not to expect of Citizenship by investment

Citizenship by investment can offer benefits and downsides at the same time, applied to every program.


1. Visa-free mobility

The second passport obtained through citizenship by investment provides investors greater freedom of movement beyond the border. Depending on trade agreements, one can travel visa-free to 100-150 countries or more. This is advantageous for those who travel a lot and want to avoid complicated visa applications.

Visa-free mobility

2. Access to top-notch healthcare and education

Countries that offer citizenship by investment programs normally will have high-quality healthcare and education focused, of which are among the biggest benefits. It is targeted by families with children, the elderly or anyone seeking world-class social services.

3. Favorable tax policies

Certain countries use citizenship by investment as a channel to attract nobles to come and co-develop the economy. Since the target is business people, besides the second place to live, the government will offer favorable tax regimes, create a convenient environment to set up business, help reduce tax burden and optimize financial planning.

4. Asset diversification

Think ofcitizenship by investmentas a way to diversify portfolios, but also get a second passport. While many countries now provide potential, government-approved real estate slots, which makes legal not a matter, an investor can enter a joint venture with a national business here, in exchange for dividends. Bonds buying or alternative investments are also helpful as they reduce the dependence on a single currency and mitigate risk.

5. Thirst for stability and pollution-free living

Citizenship by investment,in special circumstances could be a lifeline for individuals who are living in a politically unstable economy. They invest in second passports to settle down at a new place without fears of macroeconomic uncertainty. With the elderly, the program also allows them to live in less polluted places, where their health and mind are nurtured.


1. High costs

Taking up at least 200,000 USD investment per person excluding application fees can abruptly break anyone’s desire for citizenship by investment. This is already a huge amount, not to mention the number will multiply by times if family is involved. In case the application is not approved, one can lose the initial fees, which is not feasible for everyone.

2. Complex process

Although the application for citizenship by investment is anywhere around 3-6 months (except the EB-5 program), the actual time can be lengthy and intricate. It is attributed to time-consuming documents preparation from investors and delay in approval from the host countries’ governments. 

3. Risks associated with investments

Asset diversification from citizenship by investment can only be an advantage if it is corruption free and transparent. Unless the project is government-approved, or itself is a donation, an individual may encounter unexpected uncertainties. This could be changes in the real estate industry, business failure, or fluctuations in the political or economic climate, which could impact returns.

Risks associated with investments

4. Limited rights and privileges

Some citizenship by investment programs may limit certain rights and privileges for investors, such as the right to vote, hold public office, or access certain benefits.

5. Policies change

The host country suddenly changing citizenship by investment policies can cause disorder. This situation is especially risky if the adjustments are made after the clients' investment, for the fact it can further create corruption and negative perception about citizenship by investment at large. 

No matter how attractive citizenship by investment is, nearly all investors will reconsider or find a better option as the total costs weigh. In the case they still choose citizenship by investment, let’s delve into some cheapest citizenship by investment programs currently available. Whether they are the best citizenship by investment programsor not, we will discuss in the final part.

Name the cheapest citizenship by investment programs

Cheapest does not mean inferior, but the most affordable for the majority.While many citizenship by investment programs in Europe require substantial investment, those in the Caribbean are a half cost, which makes it more feasible for everyone to apply. With a minimum amount of just 100,000 USD, these programs are investors’ choice to get the second passport, not to mention it only takes 2-3 months. Combining with some research, one can choose their cheapest citizenship by investmentprogram that suits the needs and budget.

1. Vanuatu Citizenship by investment

This is also known as the Development Support Programme (DSP), said by many as one of the fastest ways to obtain a second citizenship. With a minimum investment of 130,000 USD for a single applicant, investors can receive their Vanuatu passport within as little as 30 days without any residency requirements.

2. Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by investment

Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by investment program allows investors to become citizens of the country within 3-4 months after investing at least 100,000 USD. In case they are holding other nationalities, the government still accepts multiple citizenship so it is completely worry-free.

3. Dominica Citizenship by investment

With the same amount of investment to Antigua & Barbuda, around 100,000 USD, investors can become eligible for citizenship without residency requirements. Few available options include a contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund, investing in pre-approved real estate projects, or investing in a local business.

4. Grenada Citizenship by investment

One of the key benefits making this the best citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean is its ticket to E-2 application. Its amount of investment is also among the least, around 150,000 USD, while not asking any residency requirements. Besides, the whole family can be included in the application with the investor.

5. St. Lucia Citizenship by investment

This program offers a variety of opportunities for those looking to start a new business or expand an existing one. With a minimum investment of 100,000 USD, investors can choose to invest in either government bonds, real estate, or a fund for economic development. The process is straightforward and can take as little as 3 months.

6. St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by investment

To get citizenship in this Caribbean country, investors can either invest in pre-approved real estate priced at least 200,000 USD (can be sold after 5 years) or make a 195,000 USD contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund. There is no need for residency requirements or language proficiency tests as well.

Note that the above names are thecheapest citizenship by investment programs in terms of cost, and people with good financial ability can find more expensive ones “more worthiness”. That means the best citizenship by investment programs are not always the cheapest, but the ones being stable, convenient to apply with benefits corresponding with the money spent.

Best Citizenship by investment programs: How to choose?

Choosing the best citizenship by investment programs can be a daunting task with so many options available. Here are some factors to consider. 

1. Reputation

When choosing the best citizenship by investment programs, it is essential to know whether the immigration service provider you are working with can be trusted or not. An experienced business with a history of successful cases while holding good relationships with famous lawyers can speak volumes about the program quality, the level of support provided and the likelihood to be approved. This would bring you confidence and peace of mind throughout the cooperation.

Looking for one that is internationally recognized and has a transparent application process? Check it out here

2. Investment options

To attract investors, many best citizenship by investmentprograms provide a wide range of options for clients to flexibly choose. However, since you must pay the related fees during application, it is important to estimate in advance the total amount, before making the final decision. Normally, donations to a national fund costs less but is non-refundable, while real estate, government bonds, etc. may cost you double, but more returns. Besides, you should also consider the family members involved, as this factor can affect the overall cost and complication in application.

Investment options

3. Processing time

Some investors face urgency to obtain a second passport, so the options are limited to 3-4 monthprocessing programs. Coupled with delays or missing documents, you should not pick citizenship by investment programs that are strict in time. In case you are carefree, shouldn't it be a matter for you to find better solutions, which may take up to more than 6 months. Whatever options you make, just take your time as priority.

4. Visa-free travel

If you are a business person with a demand for flying abroad, then thebest citizenship by investment programsmust allow as many visa-free countries as possible. The Grenada Citizenship even brings the opportunity to apply for E-2 to the U.S. Or else, you could pick a program whose passport is highly ranked, which gives you the freedom to travel without the hassle of obtaining visas.

5. Taxation

Investors may search for citizenship by investment programs that can provide tax benefits (low or no taxes on income, inheritance, capital gains, etc.), which brings back significant financial advantages.

Overall, besides citizenship by investment’s advantages, its disadvantages should also be weighed. Through exploring the cheapest and best programs available, along with considering the key factors, you can find the suitable program that meets your needs and helps to achieve your goals.

Global Immigration Services Group Limited (GISGL) is one of the most reputable and trustworthy service providers of citizenship by investment services. We have experience in consulting the suitable program for clients while delivering back exceptional results. Our dedicated team is ready to support you until your specific needs and requirements are met. For more information about our offered citizenship by investment programs, please click here.


About Us

Global Immigration Services Group (GIS) is an Immigration Services Provider focusing on Second Citizenship by investment programs & Residency Programs.

We offer a variety of Second Passport options including but not limited to; Caribbean Citizenships such as Saint Kitts & Nevis, Grenada and Dominica. European Second Citizenship by investment programs inclusive of Cyprus and Malta. As well as other Residency Programs such as Portugal and Greece...

Our selection of established and well-respected Developers, excellent Government Relations and Caribbean Contacts makes us the obvious choice for all your Citizen & Residency needs.