Caribbean vs. The World: Our Top Citizenship-by-Investment Programs in 2024

These are 2024's best citizenship-by-investment programs.

Citizenship-by-investment is a strategic asset for the modern high-net-worth individual.

But what you read online and hear from investment migration consultants can sometimes be biased.

This comprehensive guide of citizenship-by-investment programs around the world dives into the nuances of Caribbean CBI programs and their alternatives in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Which makes the most sense for your investment portfolio? Consider the following on factors like lifestyle, investment opportunities, tax optimization, and travel ease.

Overview of the Five Caribbean Citizenship Programs

The Caribbean offers some of the most sought-after, most affordable CBI programs in the world, known for their efficiency and the lifestyle they offer.

But they are not all the same. Apples and oranges.

Let us compare each island nation and its unique allure:

St. Kitts & Nevis

Established in 1984, St. Kitts & Nevis’s CBI program is the oldest in the world and one of the most respected for that reason.

The citizenship-by-investment program offers several investment paths – real estate, Sustainable Island State contribution, or the public benefit option (PBO). If choosing real estate, investors must invest US$400,000 in an approved property. The public benefit option offers a more affordable $250,000 donation, which recently increased from $150,000.

According to several indices, the St. Kitts & Nevis passport has one of the strongest mobility profiles in the Caribbean with visa-free access to over 145 countries, including the Schengen Area.

The program is well-known for its efficient fast-track route to citizenship in just 6 months with no residency requirements.

Antigua & Barbuda

The Antiguan program stands out for its balance of investment options and family inclusion policies. Antigua has visa-free access to about 142 countries around the world, including the Schengen Area in Europe.

Remaining one of the most affordable and family-friendly options in the Caribbean, Antigua’s citizenship-by-investment program requires US$100,000 and some of the best natural landscapes in the region. Also, the program offers a real estate investment option at US$400,000, business investment option at US$200,000, and donation to the University of the West Indies for US$150,000.

What makes Antigua different than the others? The investment and citizenship program covers a family of four – not just the main applicant. Plus, Antigua offers no capital gains tax, no wealth tax, no gift tax, and no inheritance taxes.

Like St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda offers expedited processing at just 6 months’ time.

Antigua & Barbuda’s CIP is one of the best priced citizenship by investment programs in the world.

Grenada

If investors need travel freedom to the United States and do not already have visa-free access to the country with their current passport or will renounce their U.S. citizenship in the process, Grenada is certainly an attractive option. Although strict requirements must be met, Grenadian citizens are eligible for the American E-2 investor visa.

For a single main applicant, the Grenada citizenship-by-investment program requires a donation of US$150,000 to the National Transformation Fund. Additionally, investors can purchase an approved real estate property for US$350,000. Prices increase with a spouse and dependents.

With a Grenadian passport, you would have visa-free access or a visa on-arrival in 136 countries, including China, which only Dominican and Grenadian passports offer. However, several Latin American countries require a visa for Grenadian citizens.

Dominica

One of the most popular naturalization programs in the world, Dominica is ideal for those seeking a straightforward and budget-friendly route to second citizenship.

Created in 1993, the Dominican citizenship-by-investment program requires an investment of US$100,000 in the country’s Economic Diversification Fund or US$200,000 in approved real estate properties – with increasing prices if spouses and dependents also apply.

With a valid passport, Dominican citizens have visa-free access to around 133 nations, including the Schengen Area.

Like Grenadian citizens, Dominican citizens must apply for visas in several Latin American countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Additionally, in 2023, the United Kingdom also restricted Dominican citizens to visa requirements.

St. Lucia

Finally, St. Lucia also offers a citizenship-by-investment program and visa-free access to 137 countries, including the Schengen Area.

With requirements starting at US$100,000, high-net-worth individuals may invest in the St. Lucia’s National Economic Fund. Or they may opt for a US$200,000 approved real estate property. The program also offers a unique government bond option at US$300,000.

The most populous island nation in the Caribbean, St. Lucia is well-known for its more-established hospitality and financial infrastructure.

European Alternatives: Malta

Although the European Union is sliding in global geopolitical strength and economic relevance, their passports remain strong. JH Marlin often recommends to high-net-worth individuals the Maltese Exceptional Investor Naturalization (MEIN) program.

Malta

The Maltese CBI program is regarded as the gold standard in Europe.

With residency and work rights in the European Union and access to 185 countries around the world, according to various passport rankings, the Maltese passport is one of the strongest in the world – and a favorite amongst entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals.

With a watchful eye over the program, the European Union has asked Malta for more rigorous due diligence, which they claim ensures a reputable program. The government now requires residency for 36 months, with a 12-month exception for those making a larger investment.

High-net-worth investors must meet the following requirements:

  • Residential real estate purchase of €700,000 or annual property rental of €16,000 held for 5 years
  • Non-refundable €600,000 National Development and Social Fund contribution
  • €150,000 in government bonds held for 5 years

Additionally, investors must wait 12-36 months for full citizenship rights.

Although more costly than alternatives, Maltese citizenship offers high-net-worth individuals many benefits, including strategic location off the coast of Italy, European Union citizenship and residency rights, and no foreign-sourced income tax.

Asian Alternatives: Turkey

Turkey’s CBI program has gained popularity due to its unique position straddling Europe and Asia and strength in a more multipolar world. 13,000 high-net-worth individuals and their families have successfully acquired citizenship in Turkey since the program debuted its current requirements in 2018.

Investors can purchase a US$400,000 real estate property – a relatively affordable real estate investment route – or invest $500,000 in various other funds, pensions, and bank accounts.

Turkish citizenship offers access to a vibrant, culturally-rich nation with a growing economy. Although the country suffers from some of the highest inflation rates in the world, it remains a hotspot for tourism and global business at the crux of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Additionally, citizenship in such a powerful economy and important player in geopolitics could serve investors well in a multipolar world.

Note: There are rumors the Turkish government increase the investment requirements yet again.

African Alternatives: Egypt

Egypt’s citizenship-by-investment program is one of the latest additions to the investment migration landscape. And at the minimum price point of US$250,000, it comes in at one of the most affordable.

But there is more than meets the eye.

Investors have the option to drop …

  • US$250,000 in a donation to the government,
  • US$500,000 in government-approved real-estate properties,
  • US$400,000 in and manage 40% of an Egyptian company,
  • or a refundable US$750,000 in the Egyptian Central Bank.

While it is still gaining momentum, the Egyptian program offers investors citizenship that could be meaningful in a multipolar world. Egypt is the most populous nation in the Middle East and one of the largest in Africa.

Egyptian citizenship is uniquely attractive to those with business interests in Africa and the Middle East.

But for most high-net-worth individuals, JH Marlin recommends better passports and travel access than what Egypt has to offer.

But for most high-net-worth individuals, JH Marlin recommends better passports and travel access than what Egypt has to offer.

Key Considerations for Investing in a Citizenship Program

As JH Marlin has covered in various articles on our website, the citizenship-by-investment world is extremely complicated and individualized. So what works for another investor may not work for you.

We caution investors to consider lifestyle, financial benefits, tax reduction opportunities, travel freedoms, and so many other elements when investing their time and capital into the process.

When choosing between these programs, take these considerations into play (plus several others):

Lifestyle Choices

The Caribbean offers a tropical lifestyle and income-tax-free status, while Malta provides a European living experience, rich in elegance and culture. Turkey offers a unique blend of Eastern and Western lifestyles, and Egypt brings a historical pull that would benefit investors in a multipolar world.

Obviously, these cultures and lifestyle differ greatly. Consider which satisfies you most, especially if you and your family will reside where you are investing.

Investment Opportunities

Each program offers different investment channels. While the Caribbean and Turkish programs are often real estate-focused, Malta requires a combination of donation, investment, and real estate.

In the Caribbean high-net-worth individuals typically make donations. If you can change what return you will get on your investment something along the effect of the totality of costs aligning with your goals.

What return can you get on your investment? That is the question to ask.

Tax Optimization

Caribbean nations generally offer favorable tax regimes. In contrast, Malta, Egypt, and Turkey involve more complex tax systems.

Ease of Travel

Caribbean passports offer extensive visa-free travel, especially within the UK and Schengen Area.

Malta, as an EU member, provides the right to live, work, and travel freely within the EU – a strong benefit that should not be overlooked or ignored.

So as you have read above, each country is unique and offers different advantages for different investor profiles. The right citizenship strategy depends on your lifestyle, your need for easy visa-free access to certain countries, your investment budget, and tax optimization strategy.

At JH Marlin, we have helped hundreds of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals choose the right investment path for them and their families. Want to get started toward your second (or maybe even third or fourth) citizenship?

Get started here.