William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Cheapest Citizenship by Investment Programs Around the Globe

Acquiring a second residency or citizenship has changed from being a luxury to being a useful economic and political asset; and many high-net-worth individuals are seeking to acquire these through investments. However, with many countries offering citizenship programs, making the right choice of a second residency or citizenship requires weighing financial costs with economic and non-economic benefits. This blog highlights information on several citizenship and residency through investment programs for easy comparison.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Key Takeaways
  • Citizenship by investment programs vary across regions, offering different investment options and benefits. It's essential to research and compare programs to find the best fit for your needs.

  • Programs in Middle East nations such as Egypt offer options of donating $250,000, and Saudi's Entrepreneurship Residency requires approximately $107,000 for citizenship.

  • In the Caribbean, Dominica's program offers citizenship for a $100,000 donation, while Grenada's starts at a $150,000 donation or real estate investment.

  • Within the European Union, investing $50,000 in a Latvian company can earn you residency, while Portugal's Golden Visa can be obtained for a donation of €250,000 into the Arts.

  • In North America, the US EB-5 program requires a minimum of $800,000, while Canada's QIIP demands an investment of $1.2 million (CAD).


The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on investing here.

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Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings represents an approved private investment fund that provides Portugal Golden Visa liable investment opportunities for US and other foreign nationals. With it's unique offerings and advantages including tax benefits for investments and the ability to travel visa-free in the Schengen Area of Europe, the Portuguese Golden Visa is one of the best for foreign investors seeking citizenship away from their homeland.

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Citizenship by Investment Programs

Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs vary in eligibility criteria, investment requirements, and benefits across different regions of the world. It is important to take note that these programs differ from residency by investment programs, and not all the countries offer citizenship programs. However, many of the residency by investment programs are often pathways to citizenship in these host countries. Portugal is a prime example. Go here to learn more.

Here's an overview of the programs available in the Arab (or Middle East) Region, Europe, the Caribbean, and Northern America.

Arab Countries

Arab countries

The Arab region offers a couple of CBI programs, which provide investors with access to citizenship in exchange for a significant investment in the country's economy. Countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt offer citizenship or residency through investment, with varying investment options such as real estate, business creation, or government bonds.


Egypt provides a relatively low-cost CBI program, allowing investors to obtain Egyptian citizenship through investment in government treasury bonds or real estate projects.

Financial Costs

To qualify for citizenship, applicants can choose from these investment options: a donation of $250,000, real estate investment of $300,000, business investment of $350,000 plus a $100,000 donation, or a bank deposit of $500,000.


Jordan's CBI program offers several pathways to citizenship in the Middle East. Investors can acquire Jordanian citizenship by making a minimum investment in designated economic sectors or real estate projects.

Financial Costs

Investors seeking Jordanian citizenship can deposit $1M or buy treasury bonds of the same value for three to six years. Alternatively, they can invest at least $1.5M in Jordanian companies for three years or establish a local project with a capital of at least $1M (or $750,000 outside Amman), which creates employment opportunities.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Premium Residency program allows foreign nationals to live, work, and invest in Saudi Arabia independently. Launched in 2019 to boost the economy, it recently expanded to include new options for real estate owners, investors, entrepreneurs, talents, and professionals.

Financial Costs

Investor Residency in Saudi Arabia requires investing a minimum of 7 million Saudi Riyals (~$1.87M) and creating 10 job opportunities. Entrepreneur Residency demands investments or rounds of at least 400,000 Saudi Riyals (~$107,000), with potential for permanent residency based on investment thresholds and job creation.


Eligible individuals, including investors and professionals, can secure a UAE Golden Visa for long-term residency. Originally requiring high investments, the program was updated in October 2022 with reduced investment amounts and more flexibility, including the option to invest in off-plan properties.

Financial Costs

Investing AED 2 million ($545,000) in real estate offers a 10-year Golden Visa, while purchasing property worth AED 750,000 ($204,000) qualifies for a 2-year residence visa.

Caribbean Countries

Caribbean countries

Countries such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Saint Lucia offer citizenship through investment programs, with investment options including real estate, government bonds, or donations to national development funds. Benefits of these programs often include visa-free travel to numerous countries, tax incentives, and lifestyle amenities.


Dominica's CBI program is renowned for its affordability. With a relatively low minimum investment requirement, investors can acquire Dominican citizenship by making a financial contribution to the government's Economic Diversification Fund or investing in approved real estate projects.

Financial Costs

The most affordable way to gain citizenship in Dominica is through a $100,000 donation for individuals or $200,000 for a family of four, plus fees. Alternatively, investors can choose government-approved real estate options with a minimum investment of $200,000.


Grenada's CBI program is among the most affordable in the eastern Caribbean. Investors can acquire Grenadian citizenship by making a financial contribution to the National Transformation Fund or investing in government-approved real estate projects.

Financial Costs

Grenada citizenship can be obtained through a $150,000 donation for individuals or $200,000 for families, plus fees. Alternatively, investors can invest $200,000 (resalable after 7 years) or $400,000 (resalable after 5 years) in approved real estate projects.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis also provide a competitive CBI program, with relatively low investment thresholds compared to other Northern American countries. Investors can obtain citizenship by contributing to the Sustainable Growth Fund or investing in designated real estate developments.

Financial Costs

The Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) costs ranges from $250,000 for a main applicant to $75,000 for each additional dependent over 18; an Approved Public Benefit Project, requiring a minimum non-refundable contribution of $250,000; or Real Estate Acquisition, involving a purchase of real estate valued at $400,000 or more, with the option to resell after seven years.

Saint Lucia

St. Lucia offers another cost-effective CBI program in the Caribbean. Investors can obtain St. Lucian citizenship by making a contribution to the National Economic Fund or investing in government-approved real estate developments.

Financial Costs

Options include purchasing real estate valued at $200,000, participating in enterprise projects with investments ranging from $3.5M to $6M and job creation, contributing to the National Economic Fund with amounts varying from $100,000 to $150,000, or investing $300,000 in bonds with a $50,000 administrative fee, all with specific holding periods.

European Countries

European countries

Europe hosts a diverse range of citizenship by investment programs, catering to investors looking to obtain citizenship or residency in the European Union. Popular options include programs offered by countries like Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, and Portugal, many of which support dual citizenship.

These programs typically require investment in real estate, government bonds or economic development funds, with benefits including visa-free access to the Schengen Area, high-quality healthcare and education systems, and favorable tax conditions.


Cyprus offers a competitive citizenship by investment program with favorable investment requirements. Investors can acquire Cypriot citizenship by investing in real estate, government bonds, or business ventures.

Financial Costs

Cyprus residency requirements offer investment options including buying a €300,000 residential property from a land development company, acquiring a commercial property of the same value, investing €300,000 or more in a Cyprus-based company with at least five employees, or investing in units of a Cyprus Collective Investment Organization.


Greece's citizenship by investment program provides an attractive pathway to European citizenship. By investing in real estate or business projects, investors can access the benefits of EU membership and enjoy Greece's rich history and stunning landscapes.

Financial Costs

The program offers multiple qualifying options including real estate purchase of €250,000 with taxes, or €500,000 in specific areas, along with lease agreements or time-sharing arrangements for hotel accommodations. Other options include capital transfers such as term deposits of €400,000, capital contributions to Greek companies or investment funds, and purchasing Greek bonds or shares/corporate bonds. Additionally, investors can buy units in mutual funds or alternative investment funds valued at €400,000.


Latvia's citizenship by investment program offers a cost-effective route to European citizenship. Investors can acquire Latvian citizenship by investing in real estate or government bonds, contributing to the country's economic development.

Financial Costs

Investors can obtain a five-year residency permit by investing €50,000 in a Latvian company, provided the business pays at least €40,000 in annual taxes. Additionally, investors must make a one-time donation of €10,000 to the government.


Portugal's Golden Visa program is popular for obtaining European citizenship. Investors can acquire Portuguese citizenship by donating to arts, creating jobs, or contributing to cultural heritage projects.

Financial Costs

Investors seeking residence permits in Portugal can choose among investing €500,000 in Portuguese companies, contributing €500,000 to research activities (or €400,000 in low population density areas), sponsoring artistic creation or supporting cultural heritage restoration with €250,000 (or €200,000 in low population density areas).

North American Countries

north American countries

Northern America offers citizenship by investment programs that provide investors with access to citizenship or residency in countries like the United States and Canada.


While the United States does not have a direct citizenship by investment program, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows investors to obtain a green card by investing in job-creating enterprises. The current requirements is set at $800,000 for Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and $1.05 million for non-TEA investments


The Canadian Start-Up Visa Programme (SUV) offers a fast, cost-effective route to Canada with fees from $145,000, providing Permanent Residency (PR). PR status isn't tied to business success. Applicants need a net worth of $200,000 income or $1M financial assets. Spouses and children under 21 are included. Successful applicants can live anywhere in Canada except Quebec. The process takes 12-18 months.

Benefits of Acquiring Citizenship Through Investment
golden passports

Acquiring citizenship through investment offers various advantages. Here are some key benefits:

Global Mobility: One important reason to pursue citizenship by investment is the freedom it affords to move around the globe. With a second citizenship, individuals gain visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to a wide range of countries, which promotes hassle-free travel for business, leisure, or relocation purposes.

Access to Superior Healthcare and Education: Citizenship in certain countries through investment provides access to high-quality healthcare and education systems. This ensures peace of mind for investors and their families, with access to world-class medical facilities and educational institutions.

Diverse Business Opportunities: Citizenship by investment opens doors to diverse business opportunities in the host country and beyond. Investors can leverage their new citizenship to establish businesses, invest in real estate, or explore entrepreneurial ventures, thereby increasing their wealth-building potential.

Tax Advantages: Many countries with citizenship by investment programs offer favorable tax regimes, including low or zero income tax rates, tax incentives for investors, and exemptions on foreign income and capital gains. This can lead to significant tax cuts for investors.

Personal Security and Stability: Acquiring citizenship in a politically stable country through investment provides a sense of personal security and stability. Investors and their families can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with belonging to a nation with stable political, economic and social structures.

Generational Wealth Transfer: Citizenship acquired through investment can be passed down to future generations, which ensures continuity and stability across multiple generations, and safeguards the interests of descendants.

Global Lifestyle: Citizenship by investment opens up a world of lifestyle opportunities, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in diverse cultures, languages, and experiences. Whether it's enjoying luxury amenities, cultural events, or scenic landscapes, investors can embrace a global lifestyle enriched by their newfound citizenship.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Program
weighing golden passport programs

Selecting the right citizenship by investment program for you involves careful weighing various factors. Consider these key factors as you explore available programs:

Investment Requirements: Evaluate the investment thresholds and options of each citizenship by investment program. Consider whether the required investment amount fits within your budget and financial capabilities.

Citizenship Benefits: Assess the benefits and privileges associated with citizenship in each country. Consider factors such as visa-free travel opportunities, access to healthcare and education systems, tax advantages, and political stability.

Processing Time: Determine the processing time for citizenship applications under each program. Some countries offer expedited processing options for an additional fee, while others may have longer processing timelines.

Residency Requirements: Understand any residency requirements associated with the citizenship by investment program. Some countries may require applicants to spend a certain amount of time in the country before and after obtaining citizenship.

Legal and Regulatory Framework: Familiarize yourself with the legal and regulatory framework governing citizenship by investment in each country. Ensure that the program complies with international standards and offers legal protections for investors.

Reputation and Credibility: Research the reputation and credibility of the country offering the citizenship by investment program. Consider factors such as political stability, economic viability, and the track record of the program in attracting investors.

Exit Strategy: Consider your exit strategy in case you need to give up citizenship in the future. Evaluate the ease of renouncing citizenship and any potential implications for your financial and personal circumstances.

Consultation with Professionals: Seek advice from legal, immigration, and financial professionals who specialize in citizenship by investment. They can provide valuable insights and guidance to help you navigate the complexities of the process and make informed decisions.

Personal Preferences: Take into account your personal preferences, lifestyle aspirations, and future plans. Choose a citizenship by investment program that aligns with your values, interests, and vision for the future.

By carefully considering these key factors, you can make an informed decision when choosing a citizenship by investment program that best suits your needs and objectives. Conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and weigh your options carefully to ensure a successful and rewarding investment journey.

Cheapest vs Best

Being able to acquire residency or citizenship as quickly as possible and with reasonably priced investments is a very appealing feature of some investment visa programs. However, it is important to note that the cheapest citizenship by investment program in any region isn't necessarily the best. A cost effective citizenship combines cost, time, economic and non-economic benefits in an optimal way for each foreign investor.

Short-term Costs

Short-term costs of citizenship by investment programs typically include initial investment amounts, application fees, legal fees, and other associated costs. Additionally, there may be costs related to relocation, such as travel expenses and temporary accommodation during the application process.

Long-term Costs

Long-term costs may include ongoing maintenance fees, taxes, and any required investments to maintain the citizenship or residency status. Some countries impose annual renewal fees or have requirements for minimum stay periods. Additionally, you should consider the potential impact of taxation policies on your wealth accumulation and investment returns in the long run.

Economic Benefits

These may include access to favorable tax regimes, investment opportunities, and business environments conducive to wealth creation. Moreover, citizenship or residency status in strategic locations may facilitate international business opportunities and enhance global mobility, enabling investors to capitalize on economic prospects worldwide.

Non-economic Benefits

These may include greater personal security, access to better healthcare and education facilities, enhanced political stability, and improved quality of life for investors and their families. Furthermore, citizenship or residency in certain jurisdictions may offer visa-free travel to numerous countries, expanding travel opportunities and promoting a sense of global belonging.

Balancing the short and long-term costs with the economic and non-economic benefits is crucial to making the best decision with your second citizenship application.

Bay Street offers the best

Europe is one of the most politically stable regions and the Portuguese Golden Visa is one of the best routes to European residency and citizenship. With various investing options and structure and numerous benefits, the program remains at the top of residency by investment programs.

Bay Street offers you a straightforward application process.






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