The best countries to “buy” your way into dual citizenship

A new report analyses the best countries for residence and citizenship-by-investment programmes – through which a second passport or residence status can be secured.

The report was compiled by Henley & Partners, focusing specifically on high net worth individuals who can gain citizenship through smart investing.

“In our experience of managing the assets of high-net-worth South Africans, we see that generally they don’t actually want to emigrate but rather use this for global freedom, mobility, access and most importantly their ‘plan B’ – as an insurance policy for themselves or their children,”the group said.

The Global Residence and Citizenship Programs (GRCP) 2015 Report looked at a number of factors to determine the best countries for investment and the advantages across immigration law, tax and quality of living.

It looked at 19 of the most relevant residence-by-investment programs and seven citizenship-by-investment programmes currently available globally.

The world’s best residence by investment countries:

  • Portugal
  • Austria
  • Belgium

Of the 19 residence programs reviewed, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program emerged as the world’s best residence-by-investment program in 2015, followed by Austria and Belgium – for lighter tax burdens, cheaper overall cost, short processing time and quality of processing, and its excellent reputation.

Portugal’s requirements to qualify for the programme have recently been adjusted – lowering the overall costs.

You can now invest in rural real estate to the value of EUR 350,000 (R5.3 million), or support an artistic production or a natural heritage investment for EUR 250,000 (R3.8 million), or invest in a small or medium-sized enterprise to the value of EUR 500,000 (R7.5 million).

The world’s best citizenship by investment countries:

  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • Austria
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Grenada
  • Dominica

When it comes to investment, Malta was the clear leader for compliance, the report found.

“The Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) is one of the more expensive options, but once you acquire citizenship in Malta, you have the option of choosing to live, work or study in any of the 28 European Union countries as you become a European citizen,” the group said.

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