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A Introduction to the World of Citizenship-by-Investment

Principal grounds for acquiring citizenship are birth within a certain territory, descent from a citizen parent, marriage to a citizen, and naturalization. The conditions under which the privilege of naturalization is granted vary from state to state, but family relationships or lengthy periods of residence are usually essential, besides character and other requirements. While residence is granted to investors and wealthy individuals in most countries, there are currently only seven countries which offer citizenship-by-investment programs that provide a direct route to citizenship based on investment and which have passed Henley & Partners’ country due diligence: Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis. The programs of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Malta have been designed by Henley & Partners under relevant Government mandates.

Citizenship-by-Investment programs offer you the opportunity to legally acquire a new citizenship quickly and simply, without any disruptions to your life.

Other countries offer a route to citizenship following a reasonable period of residence, such as Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Portugal, Singapore, the UK and the USA.

Grant of Citizenship on the Basis of an Investment

Most countries have provisions that allow their Government to grant citizenship in return for major contributions to society, culture, the economy, and other interests of the State. However, this discretion of the Government is exercised extremely rarely.

Several countries had programs in place at different times in the past which were specifically designed to attract foreign investors in return for citizenship. These include Ireland, whose program was terminated in 2001, Belize (until 2002), Grenada (terminated 2001 but reopened in 2014), Cape Verde, Seychelles, Slovakia, and several others.

Citizenship-by-Investment Options

Citizenship-by-Investment programs offer you the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality and an alternative or second passport quickly and simply, without major disruption to your life.

Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis are the Citizenship-by-Investment programs which Henley & Partners considers sufficiently clear in law and processes, and having sufficient reputation and transparency, to be considered the top tier of Citizenship-by-Investment programs. Cyprus and Dominica are two programs which, depending on the client’s specific circumstances, can still be of interest. Austria, although a very expensive and somewhat complicated option, can be very attractive for an investor who intends to invest in the country in a significant way in business assets or venture capital.

We have studied all current programs and constantly monitor new developments. Henley & Partners has a unique position in that we are the only firm to have advised many different governments on projects ranging from strategic consulting to the design, implementation and operation of investment-related residence and citizenship programs. The firm continues to advise and assist countries around the world in this field, and has been awarded a Public Services Concession following a competitive tender by the Government of Malta for the design, implementation and international promotion of the Malta Individual Investor Program.

This record of designing, implementing, operating and positioning Citizenship-by-Investment programs on behalf of governments is unique to Henley & Partners. It is an important and distinct advantage that all our clients enjoy.

Henley & Partners' Residence and Citizenship Practice Group

Henley & Partners is the only firm that has a truly global overview of and expertise in Citizenship-by-Investment programs. We are also aware of the many substandard or even illegal "programs" frequently available over the Internet and through various agents, and we advise several Governments on citizenship law, immigration law and visa policy. We have our own offices in all relevant countries and constantly monitor the worldwide situation.

Alongside its highly successful international private client practice, Henley & Partners has a thriving government advisory practice which advises and assists countries on economic development strategy and implementation in the areas of investor immigration and citizenship.

Over the years, Henley & Partners has advised many governments on projects ranging from strategic consulting to the design, implementation and operation of investment related residence and citizenship programs. The objective of such programs is to enhance a country’s attractiveness to international entrepreneurs and investors and to create more favorable conditions for foreign direct investments.

Henley & Partners has acquired a unique track record in this particular field across a number of countries. The firm is recognized as the global leader in government advisory services relating to residence and citizenship programs.

Since 1997, the firm's renowned Residence and Citizenship Practice Group has been advising private clients, their close advisors such as lawyers and private bankers, as well as governments, on residence and citizenship programs and policy. The Group has extensive expertise and experience with regard to Citizenship-by-Investment programs and its members have been involved in all the major programs that have existed over the last 20 years. The Group is in direct contact with the governmental authorities of the relevant countries and constantly monitors the worldwide situation.