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Residence and Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship and Residence by Investment: Your Friendly Guide

Henley & Partners

Publishing date 7.4.2024
Reading time 8-10 minutes

Looking to diversify, spread your assets, or expand your business network? Investing in citizenship or residence could be your game-changer. This guide is an easy-to-follow overview of each of these approaches. What is citizenship by investment? How does residence by investment stack up in comparison? What are the pros and cons of each? By the time you have finished reading this article, you should have a good idea of what strategy will best suit you and your family’s needs.

What is citizenship by investment?

In a nutshell, citizenship by investment means you can obtain the citizenship of a specific country through a financial investment. There are different types of investments you can make. You could, for example, purchase real estate, make a capital donation, or finance a local business.

Different host countries have unique programs with varying requirements. With Turkey, for instance, you can get citizenship by creating jobs for at least 50 individuals, or choose from other options such as bank deposits and government bonds. If the Caribbean is more your scene, there are five programs available in the region, and you can obtain citizenship by investment in Antigua and Barbuda by purchasing real estate with a minimum value of USD 200,000.

What are my advantages if I get citizenship by investment?

Acquiring citizenship by investment offers many benefits such as enjoying a favorable climate, attaining a better quality of life, and the added bonus of receiving visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to an expanded number of destinations.

Your benefits with citizenship by investment

Peace of mind: Given the sociopolitical unrest in many parts of the world, it’s good to know that you can get citizenship in a second (or even third) country and take care of your loved ones in a stable and peaceful environment far away from conflict. If you wish to move freely between countries without being restricted by physical residence requirements, there are certain destinations like Dominica with no minimum stay obligations, and where the processing time for citizenship is just a few months.

Global access: Travel, invest, work, and engage on a much bigger global stage. With citizenship by investment, you can unlock previously closed doors (or borders to be exact), whether you want to launch or expand a business or set up a foundation. Did you know that with Austria Citizenship by Investment, for instance, you get visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to around 190 destinations? That kind of expansion into different markets delivers unparalleled convenience and multiple career opportunities.

Investment returns: Countries with citizenship by investment programs offer investment opportunities that can help you enhance your portfolio to spread your wealth and reduce risk.

Flexible taxation: There could be competitive tax rates, depending on your country of tax residence and other factors. North Macedonia, for example, has a favorable tax environment for investors.

Exciting networks: See what’s happening on the regional start-up scene, and find other investors who might help you scale your business. Sometimes, the greatest investment treasures are found within a stone’s throw. As a citizen of a new country, you get to connect with other global entrepreneurs and discover fresh local talent.

Abundant educational opportunities: Select a citizenship by investment program that provides easy access to countries that offer the best educational prospects, such as Austria, so that your children can receive a diverse and enriching academic experience.

Culture and food: Immersing yourself and your family in new languages, traditions, and culinary delights is one of the joys of citizenship by investment.

Improved quality of life: With your new passport, access to a superior healthcare system, better transport network, and other benefits can address gaps in your current lifestyle.

Long-term stability and more rights: As a citizen, you enjoy lasting security and stability in your country of choice. You also get to shape policy by being able to vote in national elections, make use of public services such as healthcare and education, and have more extensive inheritance and property rights.

Are there any disadvantages of citizenship by investment?

Getting citizenship can be expensive and complex. Also, citizenship received through investment can be revoked, for instance, if an investment does not meet job growth criteria. In some countries, there could be problematic legal, tax, or even military service requirements that you need to be aware of if you get citizenship. And when it comes to holding onto your original passport, not every country is open to you having dual citizenship. Henley & Partners can help you work through these complexities, ensuring you get the best citizenship by investment program for you and your family.

What is residence by investment?

If citizenship by investment is a small exclusive pool, then residence by investment is an expansive ocean of possibilities. Stretching from North America and the Caribbean across to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and onward to Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, there are many appealing locations where you can invest in residence and relocate to enjoy working, studying, or simply living and retiring in a new country.

What are my advantages if I get residence by investment?

Like citizenship by investment, there are a number of different benefits you receive with residence by investment. In addition to enhanced mobility and expanded lifestyle, career, and healthcare opportunities, you can keep your original citizenship when you acquire a second residence.

Your benefits with residence by investment

Greater mobility: Depending on where you decide to reside, you may also get visa-free travel to other countries. Italian and Portugal residence, for instance, come with visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen Area.

‘Try before you buy’: The big plus of residence by investment is that you can enjoy living, working, and doing business elsewhere while maintaining ties with your country of birth. Many countries provide a pathway to citizenship if you choose to transition from permanent residence after a designated period.

Tax rates: Residence by investment could optimize your tax bill. Take Namibia, for example, which operates a territorial tax system, meaning that only local income is taxed.

Are there any disadvantages of residence by investment?

Residence by investment has some limitations. Unlike with citizenship by investment, you cannot travel to as many destinations without needing a visa in advance. Moreover, the rules governing residence can change, making your status more uncertain compared to if you had full citizenship. Finally, while you may have legal residence, without full citizenship, you will not have as much power to shape the political scene of your country of choice.

Side by side: Being a citizen by investment versus a resident by investment


Citizenship by investment

Residence by investment 

Legal status

Full citizenship rights, including the right to vote

The right to reside but not full citizenship rights

Global mobility

Visa-free and visa-on-arrival rights for anywhere from 50 to 190 destinations worldwide

Limited mobility, subject to requirements and restrictions


Varying levels of commitment, depending on the country and program

Varying levels of commitment, depending on the country and program


Citizenship is usually permanent (unless revoked for legal violations and similar conditions)

Residence requirements may change and lead to new regulations or reversibility

Popular citizenship by investment destinations in the Caribbean and Europe

The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

A minimum investment of USD 250,000 in St. Kitts and Nevis gives you the opportunity to become a citizen of this beautiful dual-island nation. Support the Sustainable Island State Contribution, fund an approved public benefit project, or buy real estate and you get visa-free travel to around 150 destinations and citizenship by descent for future family members, within four months.

The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program

Just four months and an affordable USD 100,000, and you can call Antigua and Barbuda home. Invest in development or educational funds or purchase property for a tropical beach lifestyle, no tax on personal income or capital gains, and visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to around 150 destinations including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Europe’s Schengen Area.

The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program

Nestled between Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dominica is dazzling with its lush nature and glistening seas. For a USD 100,000 capital contribution to the nation’s Economic Development Fund, you secure citizenship, can add dependents, and enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 140 destinations. While no physical presence is required, you will want to discover and savor this Caribbean gem in person.

Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment 

Malta offers a regulated residence by investment process that could lead to citizenship by naturalization. You must live in Malta for 36 months (or 12 months by exception) and contribute EUR 738,000 to the country’s economic development. With Maltese citizenship, you can travel visa-free or with a visa on arrival to over 180 destinations, live in Europe and access the financial markets in the region, and keep your original passport.      

Attractive residence by investment programs in Europe and the USA

Portugal Golden Visa Program

As a non-EU national, with a minimum investment of EUR 250,000, you can apply to reside in Portugal through the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program. Successful applicants receive residence rights for five years (and visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen Area) and can apply for citizenship thereafter. Post approval, you are required to spend only seven days in Portugal in your first year of residence. But who could blame you for wanting to stay even longer in this EU paradise?

The Spain Golden Visa Program

It takes only about 20 days for the immigration procedure through the Spain Residence by Investment Program. By choosing an investment from EUR 500,000 to EUR 2 million in real estate, government bonds, funds, or listed company shares, you're not just making smart financial moves, you're getting a ticket to a vibrant Spanish lifestyle and the freedom to explore the EU as a resident.

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Make the American dream your reality and receive a green card with the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Highly popular with investors, this USA residence by investment initiative requires you to contribute at least USD 800,000 to a government-approved commercial enterprise. Once you have your residence permits, you, your spouse, and little ones under 21 can fully embrace the desirable lifestyle and business opportunities that living in the USA offers.

Citizen versus permanent resident — Your next steps

Your journey towards citizenship or residence by investment is personal and unique. Consider your life and financial goals and plan carefully. Use this guide as your starter roadmap. It explains the different paths and points to potential opportunities, leading to an exciting new chapter in life for you and your loved ones. As your way forward becomes clearer, reach out for a personal chat with our expert advisors at Henley & Partners, and get a tailor-made strategy that will take you where you need to go.

Citizenship by investment involves legally obtaining citizenship through financial means, like purchasing real estate, making capital contributions, or financing local businesses.

Residence by investment is the process whereby you gain legal residence in a destination of choice by making a capital contribution to the country, such as a property or business investment.

One option would be to invest in the Austrian economy. Henley & Partners can guide you through the process and lodge your citizenship application with the Government of the Republic of Austria.

Henley & Partners can advise you about citizenship and residence by investment programs.  The firm is the global leader in this field, with a team of highly qualified professionals in over 45 offices worldwide.

For the latest information, please visit the relevant program pages on

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