Which countries sell citizenship and how much it costs
Fancy living in a European capital, or gaining citizenship of a Caribbean island? If you have deep enough pockets, the world is your oyster.
How many countries sell citizenship?
About 100 countries worldwide offer residence in return for investment in the local economy known as a “golden visa” according to The Economist. America’s EB-5 visa, for example, grants foreigners a coveted green card in return for at least $1m, or half of that if the money goes towards rural or deprived areas. “A dozen or so” jurisdictions go further by also offering citizenship on similar terms, “in effect selling citizenship”. Those willing to stump up $100,000, for example, can secure a passport from the Caribbean island of Dominica and visa-free travel to Europe without fulfilling any residency requirements. In Dubai, in June this year, a luxury property developer was promoting Europe-themed artificial islands. The special summer deal? Buy a property, get a Moldovan passport bundled in.
What about Europe?
The EU has “welcomed more than 6,000 new citizens and nearly 100,000 new residents” over the past decade from such programmes, reports Transparency International. That has generated about €25bn in foreign direct investment over the period. Portugal has generated nearly €4bn from its scheme and as much as 5.2% of Cyprus’s GDP in 2017 came from “the sale of EU passports”. The biggest issuers of golden visas in the past decade were Spain, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and the UK.