This article will discuss the difference between residency and citizenship and how to get new residencies and passports by investment in 2020-2021 and beyond.
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Firstly what is citizenship – The citizen is a person who is able to enjoy all the privileges and rights that are given to people belonging to a specific country or state.
In other words, citizenship can be referred to as the relationship between the individual and a nation where the person is able to attain certain benefits from the nation for which the person is required to abide by the laws and customs of that country.
These privileges usually consist of rights, the ability to live/work in a specific country/state and the person is also required to pay the taxes set forth by that country. Citizenship can be considered as a common identity that unites different types of people.
Citizenship is generally acquired by people on the means of an individual’s birth, naturalization, and marriage. If a person is born in a certain country, they would be able to acquire the citizenship of that country.
Naturalization is the process by which the person who is residing in a certain country is able to attain the citizenship of that country by living there for a few years. Another way to acquire citizenship is by marrying an individual from a specific country.
These were the only three ways through which a person was able to achieve citizenship until 1984. But in the year 1984, Investment also became one of the methods through which a person can be able to attain citizenship of a certain country.
‘Permanent Residency’ – Permanent Residency is the resident status granted to a person, through which a person is able to reside permanently in a country, even though they aren’t a citizen of that country. The person who has acquired the permanent residency status is known as ‘Permanent Resident’.
In many countries, the person who has acquired permanent residency is also granted with work permit in that country. in general, the right of abode is different from the permanent residence status.
The right of abode is the freedom granted to a person to enter that country whenever they want and is able to live and work in that country without any regulations and restrictions from the immigration control.
People with permanent residency status are required to act according to the immigration control. There are some countries that provide the right of abode along with the permanent residency status.
Although some countries may not provide permanent residency status to foreigners, there are many countries that might not grant this status to foreigners.
The rules, rights, and obtaining processes might differ for each country but the overall concept is the same for the countries that provide permanent resident status to foreigners. The countries that grant PR status are:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Countries of the European Union (‘Austria’, ‘Belgium’, ‘Bulgaria’, ‘Croatia’, ‘Cyprus’, ‘Czech Republic’, ‘Denmark’, ‘Estonia’, ‘Finland’, ‘France’, ‘Germany’, ‘Greece’, ‘Hungary’, ‘Ireland’, ‘Italy’, ‘Latvia’, ‘Lithuania’, ‘Luxembourg’, ‘Malta’, ‘Netherlands’, ‘Portugal’, ‘Poland’, ‘Romania’, ‘Slovak Republic’, ‘Spain’, ‘Slovenia’, ‘Sweden’, and ‘United Kingdom’.)
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- North Macedonia
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- The Republic of China (‘Taiwan’)
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States
There might be different types of conditions for each country’s permanent residency status.
For example, any individual belonging to a country of the European Union might be able to attain the permanent resident status in other countries belonging to the European Union by just residing there for up to five years. Any individual from countries other than the countries of the European Union under the directive (2003/109/EC).
Another example of that is both of the administrative regions of China, which are Hong Kong and Macau. They don’t have their own citizenship laws and therefore the permanent resident status comes along with the right of abode.
Most of the permanent residents who reside in these regions and are of Chinese descent and come under Chinese citizenship based on Chinese nationality law.
Some countries allow dual citizenship while some countries don’t. One such example is India. India doesn’t give the accessibility of dual citizenship to an individual. However, they might be able to apply for an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card.
The person who has attained the OCI card will be able to enjoy most of the benefits that are granted to the normal citizens of India. The foreign woman who is the spouse of either the citizen or the person who has already attained the OCI card can also be able to apply for the OCI card.
There might not be some privileges for the people with OCI cards such as the right to vote, the ability to buy agricultural land, etc.
Some countries allow dual citizenship to the individuals and one of the examples for that is Turkey.
Turkey provides dual citizenship for the individual in a way such that, if a person who is a citizen of Turkey chooses to apply for the citizenship of another country which only accepts single citizenship, then they can give up the Turkey citizenship and be able to apply for the ‘Blue card’ of Turkey. This provides all the benefits enjoyable by the normal citizens except for the right to vote.
‘Golden Visa’ – Golden Visa programs are the type of permanent residency programs through which a person can attain the PR status by making an investment in the real estate or any other business that is approved by the country’s Golden Visa program.
The lowest investment required for the Golden Visa program is in the country of Dominica, where the person can get the PR status by investing an amount as low as $100,000. The highest investment is in the United Kingdom, where the person is required to make an investment of at least £2,000,000.
Some countries such as Malta, Cyprus, etc. even provide ‘Golden Passports’ to the investors, who are willing to make an investment in the welfare of their country’s economy.
‘Immigrant Investor program’ – these are types of programs that attract foreign investors into making an investment in the development of their country by offering them permanent residency and citizenship. Immigrant Investor Programs are also by different types of names such as ‘Citizenship by Investment’, ‘Golden Visa’, ‘Golden Passports’, etc.
Generally, the IIPs (Immigrant Investor programs) are organized in such a way that the person should be able to:
- Purchase/make an investment in the real estate of that country,
- Create a new company with a probability of creating jobs for at least 10 native residents of that country.
- Contribute to the development or welfare of that country’s economy, rural development authorities, etc.
‘Limits of Permanent residents’ – most of the countries provide benefits to the people with PR status similar to those of the citizens of that country. Some of the benefits that a person might lack are:
- The right to vote. Most countries don’t provide the voting benefit to the permanent residents. However, there are some countries that provide the right to vote such as the UK, New Zealand, Belgium, etc.
- The people might not be able to participate in public elections. There is an exception for the permanent residents of a country of the European Union, who have been citizens of other countries of the EU.
- The individuals with the PR status might not be eligible for employment in the public sectors. Anyhow, Canada and New Zealand are an exception in this case. There are some more countries such as Brazil and Portugal that allow this only for the people with PR status in their country and citizenship of any country with a shared heritage.
- They are unable to take part in jobs that are a part of the National Security. However, in Singapore, it is mandatory for all the citizens to serve the country by taking part in the national service (except for children, old people, and people who are first-born children of their parents and have been born in Singapore)
- Some sorts of real estate assets cannot be accessed.
- A passport of that nationality might not be provided. There is an exception for the cases where the person is considered as stateless or cannot attain a passport from their own country. In such cases, the individual might be entitled to a certificate of identity.
- Access to the country’s consular protection is not available except for Australia.
There might be some conditions that need to be satisfied by many countries such as mandatory military service. Singapore is one among them where the person with the PR status is required to serve the country’s military. Another example is the United States which has a Selective service, according to which all the male citizens aged between 18 to 26 are required to serve the military.
People who fail to meet the requirements such as this might not be eligible for citizenship and their applications will be denied.
Another requirement is that during the permanent residency period (usually up to 5 years) cannot leave the country for more than two years or the specific time period set by the visa program of that country. this time period usually differs for each country.
‘Citizenship after PR’ – people who have successfully completed the time period of their permanent residency are able to apply for the citizenship of that country. generally, the time period can be somewhere for around five years.
There might be cases in some countries, where the person cannot be able to attain citizenship even though they have successfully completed the time period for the permanent residency status.
‘Direct citizenship by investment’ – In some cases, the countries directly offer citizenship by the means of investment. The countries that provide citizenship through investment have been increasing as most of the countries are realizing the economic benefits of attracting immigrant investors.
A few examples for the countries that provide citizenship by investment are ‘Antigua & Barbuda’, ‘Cyprus’, ‘Dominica’, ‘Grenada’, ‘Malta’, ‘Montenegro’, ‘Saint Lucia’, ‘St. Kitts & Nevis’, ‘Bulgaria’, etc.
‘Residency vs Citizenship by Investment’ – some countries won’t be necessarily requiring a second passport (citizenship) for reducing the taxes, the second residency can be efficient in most cases.
Second citizenship or citizenship might not be that efficient as most of the benefits provided to citizens are also enjoyed by the permanent residents as well.
In some cases, such as the Golden Visa, the person is able to acquire citizenship of that country. but in most cases, this might be a time-consuming process.
It is suggested that the second residency is somewhat better than the second citizenship as the taxes can be reduced for the second residents as well and in some countries, the citizens would have offer services to that country. another benefit is that the residency program can also be helpful to acquire citizenship in the future, once they acquire the permanent resident status.
‘Top countries with residency and citizenship by investment programs’ – some of the countries that are considered as the best options for the people who want to choose the Golden Visa program are as follows.
‘Note’ – this list consists of the countries that are best for residency by investment, citizenship by investment, Golden visa programs, and immigration by investment altogether.
- ‘Portugal’ – Portugal is among the best available option when it comes to Golden Visa. The investment range starts from €350,000 in real estate and the person is able to acquire a European Residency with the help of this program.
Any person with the Golden Visa from Portugal can be able to easily travel across the EU Schengen area. After completion of 5 years as a permanent resident, the person can be able to apply for the citizenship of Portugal.
- ‘Ireland’ – the country of Ireland offers residency to the investors who are able to invest an amount of €1 million. There are some best advantages to be considered when it comes to having a residency in Ireland are quite a handful.
The whole family of the person who acquired the PR status is able to reside in Ireland. There is no requirement for the person to stay in the country to acquire the residency, which most countries do. The person is required to stay just one day at least during the residency period.
- ‘St Kitts’ – the investment can be rather called a donation when it comes to the Golden Visa program of St Kitts. The person who makes a donation of $150,000 in St Kitts is able to acquire the citizenship as well as the passport in St Kitts.
There is also an alternate option for investing in real estate. Once citizenship is attained, the person is freely able to travel to 151 countries without the requirement of a Visa.
- ‘Antigua & Barbuda’ – to acquire the residency in Antigua & Barbuda, the person is required to make a donation of at least $100,000. It is considered as one of the best available options for the residency along with family.
The person is able to acquire citizenship as well as a passport from Antigua & Barbuda. Another major advantage that can be considered is that the person is able to travel freely among 150 countries without a visa.
- ‘Vanuatu’ – to acquire residency and citizenship in Vanuatu, the donation range starts from $130,000 minimum. The process of approval for residency and citizenship by investment is very fast. The investor is granted citizenship along with the passport of that country.
the person having the passport of Vanuatu is able to travel freely across 129 countries without the requirement of a visa.
- ‘Spain’ – For Spain, the residency program starts for the investors from a minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate. The person who acquired the residency of Spain is able to reside anywhere in the EU.
Once acquiring the permanent resident status of Spain, the individual is also able to travel anywhere in the EU Schengen Zone.
- ‘United States of America’ – the person who can afford to invest an amount of at least $900,000 is able to acquire the EB5 visa in the USA. The person has to make an investment which has been approved by the EB5 program
The whole family of the person is able to reside in the United States along with the investor. The person is granted with the Green Card/Lawful Permanent Resident status.
- ‘Grenada’ – a minimum donation of $150,000 is required to obtain the citizenship of Grenada. There is also an option for the investor to make an investment in real estate.
The person who qualifies for this program is granted with the citizenship and passport of Grenada. They can also acquire the E2 visa of USA with the help of this.
- ‘Cyprus’ – next in our list comes Cyprus. Cyprus is another European country that is well-known for its citizenship by investment program. Cyprus offers PR status as well as the citizenship to the people who invest an amount of €2,150,000. They also have an alternative option with a lower amount of minimum required investment for investing in real estate as well.
With the help of Cyprus’s Golden Visa program, the person who has acquired the citizenship of Europe is able to live, work or pursue education anywhere across Europe.
- ‘St Lucia’ – the person who makes a donation of $100,000 in St Lucia qualifies for the citizenship of St Lucia. The person is granted the citizenship and passport of that country.
The person with the citizenship of St Lucia is able to travel in 146 countries without the requirement of a visa. These mainly comprise the countries of EU Schengen Area & the United Kingdom.
- ‘Dominica’ – With an investment of at least $100,000, any person can be able to acquire the citizenship and passport of Dominica. This is considered the lowest investment option for a country to acquire citizenship and residency.
After acquiring the citizenship of Dominica, the person can be able to travel visa-free in 137 countries. A real estate investment option is also available.
- ‘Malta’ – the minimum investment amount in Malta starts from €880,000 along with additional applicable charges. There is the availability of investment options as well as donation options to acquire the citizenship in Malta.
The person’s full family is able to reside along with them and the person is granted with European citizenship.
- ‘Anguilla’ – the minimum amount that is required to be invested in Anguilla is $150,000. There is also an availability of real estate investment options. The person’s family is also able to apply for the residency in Anguilla.
The person is granted the PR status and is able to reside anywhere in the British Overseas Territory.
- ‘Moldova’ – The minimum investment amount required is €135,000 and the person is granted with European citizenship. There is no minimum requirement of a time period that the person has to stay in Moldova just like in Ireland.
The whole family of the person can be able to reside in the country along with them. The citizens of Moldova are also granted visa-free travel.
- ‘Greece’ – the investment amount required in Greece is €250,000 in real estate of that country. the person who is a resident of Greece can be able to reside anywhere in Europe.
They can also be able to travel across the entire EU Schengen area which is also an advantage.
- ‘Turkey’ – the amount that is required as an investment to acquire residency in Turkey is $500,000. The person can reside in Turkey along with their whole family. There is no minimum time period required to reside.
The citizens of Turkey are granted with a European passport and are able to travel without a visa.
- ‘United Kingdom’ – the highest amount required by a country to grant PR status in the world is the United Kingdom. The minimum that needs to be invested is £2,000,000 and it can be invested in funds approved.
The residency is granted to the person for somewhere around 3+ years and a person can acquire citizenship by residing for a time period of 6 years.
In the above-mentioned list, the countries which provide citizenship by investment are ‘St Kitts’, ‘Cyprus’, ‘Antigua & Barbuda’, and ‘Vanuatu’.
The countries which provide residency by investment are ‘Greece’, ‘Ireland’, ‘Spain’, and ‘Portugal’.
The countries that provide Immigration by investment are ‘USA’, ‘UK’, ‘Ireland’, and ‘Cyprus’.
‘Conclusion’ – Getting residency or citizenship by investment is a difficult decision, but can be prudent, depending on your situation.
The general rules for these schemes is always changing, so it is always best