Citizenship is the relationship between an individual and a nation state whereby the state grants the citizen certain rights. The right to vote, work and own property, and in return the citizen accepts the responsibility of upholding the laws and customs of that state. Citizenship unites different people under a common identity.
Traditional means of acquiring citizenship and the corresponding passports have been birth, naturalization and marriage. Naturalization is the process by which a resident of a country can acquire citizenship usually by residing in that country for a certain number of years. Since 1984 investment in the host country has been another way of acquiring citizenship.
WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
Citizenship by investment is the process of obtaining a second citizenship and passport by investing in the economy of the host country. Citizenship by investment programs legally confer citizenship status faster than traditional immigration processes and do so without requiring investors to put their lives on hold.
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.
WHAT DO COUNTRIES GAIN FROM CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMS?
Many countries offer citizenship by investment programs in order to attract much-needed foreign direct investment. Countries can then use these funds to invest in their own projects, such as real estate development, business development and job creation. CBI programs also attract global talent and know-how aimed at boosting the economy.
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