If you’re looking for an investment that provides more than just financial rewards, then you should be considering citizenship or residency by property investment. There are a number of countries that encourage economic migration by investing in their real estate market. Whether you are looking for a second home, a rental income or just a secure way to obtain the benefits of residency or citizenship for you and your family, real estate can be the fastest and most secure way to do this.
Some countries provide residency by property investment with no route to citizenship and gaining a passport, but with the benefits of being able to live, work and educate in that country. Sometimes there are tax benefits to being a foreign resident. In other cases, there will be better job opportunities, education, medical services, lifestyle, climate and even a more tolerant society with lower crime levels. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, is one such country, providing both residency visas and working visas for those wishing to invest in property in the country. Favourable exchange rates and opportunities to set up a business are also key motivators in the decision to buy a property for residency.
Citizenship After Residency
There are countries that provide all or some of the above benefits but with the added incentive of citizenship granted after a period of residency in that country. In some cases, you will be required to live in that country for a number of years in order to gain citizenship. Other countries may not impose this requirement, and simply owning a property for a period of time, may be enough to gain citizenship. In Europe, a number of countries promote the Golden Visa scheme, they include Portugal, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Ireland. Each country has its own specific requirements and investment level. Some will extend visas to immediate family members too and some will even allow extended family to gain eventual citizenship after residency.
Your investment will also help you enhance your wealth by taking part in the growth of another country. Many of the up-and-coming countries detailed here have rising real estate markets that will allow you to earn rental yields and appreciation returns that you couldn’t even dream of in more established markets.
Those countries offering citizenship via investment without the need to be a resident for a long period of time, very often provide a dual route which could be to purchase a property or a cash donation (without the need to buy any real estate).
The Caribbean islands of Dominca, St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis, all fall into this investment model. Some investors may prefer to live in one of these idyllic locations permanently or just enjoy the benefits of owning a holiday home with the potential for rental income, others may choose the cash donation route if residency in one of these countries is not their preference. Either way, the time it takes to gain citizenship can be as little as a few months. Dominica is the fastest to hand over a passport, and Turkey the slowest among nations that go straight to a passport. Gaining a second passport in some countries brings with it the freedom of movement that may not be afforded to the investors first passport. Visa free entry to many countries is one of the strongest incentives for overseas property investors.
Generally speaking, the level of investment is commensurate with the benefits, and so those citizenship programs that provide visa free or easier entry to Europe, UK, Canada, USA and Australia tend to be the most in demand. There are, however, some caveats to each investment program, which include the exclusion of some nationalities and having approved background checks and police clearance records in addition to proof of earnings and savings.
Lastly, there are up and coming countries where the investment levels to gain citizenship may be a lot less than others. The pay-back for investors is the long-term goals of that particular country. Some of these countries, for example, may have applied to join the EU or the Schengen zone which allows free movement between member states. As soon as that country joins, the value of the citizenship will increase dramatically. There are also countries whose passport has steadily grown higher in the world passport rankings. Savvy investors spotting these trends will gain greatly from investing in property in these countries early in the upward trend. You can view our Citizenship Properties here.