William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

5 Popular Passport By Investment Programs in 2024

Many people in the modern world, especially wealthy investors, seek the freedom to live and travel as they please. To sustain such a lifestyle, substantial passive income, often sourced from investments, is necessary, along with visa-free access to various countries worldwide. Both of these can be easily achieved by obtaining dual citizenship through passport investment programs.

Similar to visa-by-investment initiatives, passport-through-investment programs offer individuals a pathway to acquiring citizenship in a foreign country by making qualifying investments. Whether you are interested in exploring new investment opportunities or starting a new life in a different country, this blog highlights 5 popular passport investment programs for investors.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Key Takeaways
  • Cyprus CBI, Grenada CBI, Malta MIIP, Portugal Golden Visa, and St. Kitts and Nevis CBI are leading passport investment programs.

  • You should carefully evaluate citizenship by investment programs based on factors such as investment requirements, residency obligations, tax implications, and program reputation to ensure you select the most suitable option.

  • Bay Street's Alt Path Hotel Fund can enable you to gain access to Portugal's Golden Visa program, a popular European residency-to-citizenship program.


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.

Invest in Portugal

The Portugal Golden Visa is a leading visa investment program in the world, and Bay Street Capital Holdings represents one of the 40 funds approved for Golden Visa applications. Our Alt Path Hotel Fund gives you access to hotel investing opportunities and a path to Portuguese residency which can lead to citizenship in this EU nation.

Learn more about this investment opportunity in Portugal.

Overview of Investment Passport Programs

passport and travel things

Investment passport programs, also known as second passport programs or citizenship by investment (CBI) programs, represent a pathway for individuals to acquire citizenship rights in another country through substantial financial investment.

These programs have gained popularity due to the increasing demand for global mobility, economic diversification, and opportunities for families seeking a better quality of life.

Top Investment Citizenship Programs

Second passport programs vary in terms of eligibility criteria and investment requirements. Below is a highlight of popular investment passport programs, each offering its unique advantages and requirements for obtaining citizenship.

investment citizenship programs
1. Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program

Introduced in 2013, the Cyprus CBI program grants citizenship to investors and their families who make a significant economic contribution to the country's development.

Investors need to make a minimum investment of €2 million in real estate (which does not include the purchase of personal residence), government bonds, or other approved investment funds, plus a donation to the country's economic fund.

2. Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program

Established in 2013, the Grenada CBI program allows investors and their families to obtain citizenship through a donation or investment in approved real estate projects.

To obtain Grenada citizenship, investors select from a couple of investment options, one of which is to make a non-refundable government donation to the National Transformation Fund, starting at $150,000 for an applicant or $200,000 for an applicant including their family.

3. Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP)

Launched in 2014, the MIIP allows foreign investors to obtain Maltese citizenship through a combination of financial contributions, property investment, and residency requirements.

Applicants (over 18 years) must meet residency criteria, invest €150,000 in approved financial instruments, and contribute €650,000 to the Maltese National Development and Social Fund. The program also requires property acquisition or rental, along with residency and additional fees, are also required.

4. Portugal Golden Visa Program

As the leading Golden Visa program around the world, the Portugal Golden Visa program offers residency to investors who make qualifying investments in business or job creation initiatives. This Golden Visa can lead to a Portuguese Passport.

Applicants are required to make a minimum investment of €500,000 in an investment fund for research projects or for art ventures, along with other processing fees.

5. St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

As one of the oldest CBI programs, St. Kitts and Nevis offer citizenship to investors through a donation or investment in approved real estate projects.

To qualify for citizenship by investment in St Kitts and Nevis, you have two options: invest a minimum of $250,000 in the Sustainable Growth Fund or purchase government-approved real estate valued at least $400,000.

Comparison of Programs

different passports

In order to make informed decisions about your passport investment applications, let's compare the key features and benefits of some of the top programs highlighted earlier.

1. Investment Requirements

Cyprus CBI: Requires a minimum investment of €2 million in real estate, government bonds, or approved investment funds, plus a donation to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.

Grenada CBI: Requires a minimum donation of $150,000 to the National Transformation Fund or investment in real estate starting from $220,000.

Malta MIIP: Requires a minimum investment of €650,000 in government bonds and a €150,000 donation, along with other financial commitments.

Portugal Golden Visa: Requires a minimum investment of €500,000 in research and development projects, among other options (real estate investment option no longer exists).

St. Kitts and Nevis CBI: Requires a minimum donation of $250,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund or investment in real estate starting from $400,000.

2. Residency and Citizenship Timeline

Cyprus CBI: Grants citizenship after a residency requirement of six months and fulfillment of investment obligations.

Grenada CBI: Grants citizenship with no residency requirement upon completion of investment obligations.

Malta MIIP: Grants citizenship after a residency requirement of one year and completion of investment obligations.

Portugal Golden Visa: Grants residency and then citizenship (after five years from the day of application) if minimum residency requirements are fulfilled during that period.

St. Kitts and Nevis CBI: Grants citizenship with no residency requirement upon completion of investment obligations.

3. Taxation and Financial Considerations

Cyprus CBI: Offers favorable tax regime, including no tax on worldwide income for non-domiciled residents.

Grenada CBI: Offers no personal income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax for citizens.

Malta MIIP: Offers attractive tax incentives, including no inheritance or wealth taxes and competitive corporate tax rates.

Portugal Golden Visa: Offers tax benefits for non-habitual residents, including exemption from certain foreign income.

St. Kitts and Nevis CBI: Offers no personal income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax for citizens.

4. Program Integrity and Reputation

Cyprus CBI: This program is subject to occasional scrutiny, with periodic updates and adjustments to enhance transparency and compliance.

Grenada CBI: This program is gaining traction as a reliable CBI option, with growing interest from investors seeking Caribbean citizenship.

Malta MIIP: This program is regarded for its stringent due diligence procedures and high standards of program integrity.

Portugal Golden Visa: This program has an established track record and reputation for reliability and stability, attracting investors seeking European residency.

St. Kitts and Nevis CBI: This is one of the oldest and most reputable CBI programs, known for its efficiency and reliability.

Let's consider some benefits of a second passport or citizenship.

Benefits of Second Citizenship

Visa-Free Travel: Many countries offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to citizens of certain countries. Having a second citizenship can expand your travel opportunities without the need for obtaining visas.

Residency Options: Some countries grant their citizens the right to reside and work in other countries within their regional or bilateral agreements. Having a second citizenship can provide you with more flexibility in choosing where to live and work.

Tax Benefits: Certain countries have favorable tax regimes for their citizens, such as lower income taxes or no taxes on worldwide income. Acquiring citizenship in such a country can help you optimize your tax situation.

Business Opportunities: Citizenship in certain countries may provide easier access to international business markets, partnerships, and investment opportunities.

Political Stability and Security: Citizenship in a politically stable country can provide a sense of security and protection of your rights and assets.

Education and Healthcare: Some countries offer free or subsidized education and healthcare services to their citizens. Acquiring citizenship in such a country can provide one with access to these benefits.

Property Ownership: In some countries, citizenship may be a prerequisite for owning certain types of property or real estate.

Family Benefits & Reunification: For many, citizenship enables them to finally reunite with their families, and citizenship status can be passed down to future generations, providing the family with long-term security and opportunities.

Dual Citizenship: Many countries allow dual citizenship, which means you can hold citizenship in multiple countries simultaneously. This can offer the benefits of both citizenships without having to renounce one for the other.

Potential Risks and Considerations

passport in unfamiliar territories

While second passport programs offer a pathway to citizenship or residency in foreign countries, it's essential for prospective investors to carefully evaluate the risks and considerations associated with these programs. Here are some key things that investors should look out for:

1. Due Diligence

Inadequate due diligence procedures may expose investors to fraudulent schemes, identity theft, or investment scams. You should conduct thorough background checks on program operators, investment projects, and third-party intermediaries to ensure legitimacy and compliance with regulations.

2. Changing Regulations

Regulatory changes, policy updates, or geopolitical developments in host countries may impact the viability and attractiveness of second passport programs. It is important for you to consult with legal experts and assess the stability and reputation of host countries before committing to any investment program.

3. Financial Commitment

Investment passport programs require investors to make significant financial commitments, including investment amounts, processing fees, and ongoing maintenance costs. Ensure that you evaluate the financial implications with investment options.

Non-compliance with program requirements, tax obligations, or residency rules may result in legal consequences, including fines, revocation of citizenship, or deportation. Be sure to seek professional advice from legal experts and tax advisors to ensure compliance with local laws, reporting requirements, and residency obligations in host countries.

5. Geopolitical Risks

Investment passport programs may expose investors to geopolitical risks. Make sure you assess the geopolitical landscape of host countries, diversify investment portfolios, and consider exit strategies in case of adverse geopolitical developments.

6. Program Integrity

Some investment passport programs may lack transparency, raising concerns about the integrity and legitimacy of the program. Do not hesitate from researching program operators and regulatory bodies to verify their track record and reputation.

7. Long-Term Planning

Inadequate long-term planning may lead to unforeseen challenges, such as limited access to healthcare or employment opportunities in host countries. Take your time to develop a comprehensive strategy that aligns with your goals, considering factors such as residency benefits and quality of life.

Generally, it is essential to approach the application process with a long-term perspective. Ensure that you also should prioritize integrity and sustainability in your pursuit of global citizenship and residency opportunities.

Passport by Investment vs. Visa by Investment

passport with visa

While both involve investment for the purpose of gaining legal status in a foreign country, there are fundamental differences between these two programs.

Passport by Investment

Investment passport programs grant individuals citizenship in exchange for a substantial investment in the host country. This citizenship typically comes with the same rights and privileges as that of a native-born citizen, including the right to live, work, and travel freely within the country and in some cases, visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous other countries.

Visa by Investment

Visa by investment programs, on the other hand, offer temporary or permanent residency rights in exchange for investment but do not grant citizenship. Participants in visa by investment programs may enjoy benefits such as residency rights, access to healthcare, education, and potentially the ability to work in the host country, but they are not granted citizenship or the associated rights and privileges.

Citizenship vs. Residency

Here are a few terms that you should take note of:

Passport: a passport is a document issued by a country to its citizens for the purposes of identification and international travel. It is the holder's legal documentation of his or her citizenship.

Visa: a visa, on the other hand, is a documentation placed within a foreigner's passport that gives the holder residency rights i.e. official permission to enter, leave or stay in a country for a specified time period.

Citizenship: Citizenship refers to the legal belonging to a particular country, entitling individuals to certain rights and responsibilities, such as the right to vote, work, and receive protection from that country's government.

Residency: Residency simply refers to living in a particular place for a certain period, often with the intention of making it your primary home. Residency can be temporary or permanent and does not necessarily grant the same rights and privileges as citizenship.

Invest with Bay Street

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings offers a straightforward way to both invest and secure European citizenship. By investing in Bay Street's Alt Path Hotel Fund, investors can diversify their portfolio into Portugal's hospitality and tourism industries, as well as pursue Portuguese residency.

Schedule a meeting to discover your options.






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