The Position of Turkish Citizenship Programmes Amongst Global Citizenship Programmes

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Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programmes have become the focus of wealthy families and business professionals with a high-net-worth over the last 10 years.  With the legislative changes as of September 2018 in the investment criteria of the Turkish Citizenship Programme, a primary goal was to become comparable to citizenshipprogrammes provided by European and Caribbean countries, the United States, and Canada. This article aims to summarise the citizenship programmes of the world by giving some general information about them and comparing the Turkish Citizenship Programme to the other citizenship programmes.

Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme

Malta, which has one of the world’s strongest passports and was ranked 6th according to Henley Global Passport Index of 2021, has become a centre of attraction for high-net-worth investors as a result of its privileges such as high level of welfare, freedom of movement, quality healthcare system, and mild climate conditions. In particular, the possibility of free movement between European Union countries, visa-free travel to the United States, and the right to live in all EU countries in Europe, in addition to Switzerland, are qualities that demonstrate the power of the passport. As a result of the latest changes made as of 2021, investors who want to obtain a Maltese passport must meet the following criteria:

  • Reside for a minimum of three years in Malta with a donation of 600,000 Euros that will be made to the Maltese government.
  • Live in Malta for a minimum of 12 months with a donation of 750,000 Euros.
  • Purchase real estate which is worth at least 700,000 Euro or renting real estate which is worth at least 16,000 Euro for five years.
  • Since Malta is an EU-member state, investors are expected to have a very clean record and supporting financial documents to prove their assets and income.

The conclusion of the investment takes between 14 to 38 months depending on the option of the investment.

Austria Citizenship Programme

The Austrian Citizenship Programme which is not immensely popular as a result of its high investment criterion, provides its investors the world’s 3rd strongest passport in terms of visa-free travel. However, it has particularly challenging criteria with an investment requirement of 3 million Euros and an application evaluation process that takes an average of 2 to 3 years.

Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Programme

Montenegro, which has recently become particularly attractive due to the impact of the EU membership process, has become one of the passport programmes that attracts attention with favourable investment conditions. Although not yet a member of the EU, entering visa-free to Schengen countries with a Montenegrin passport can also be considered one of the most significant advantages of the programme. Investing 450,000 Euros worth of real estate that is located on the coast of the country with a donation of 100,000 Euros can be considered as the most important investment requirement of the programme. The evaluation period which takes approximately 3 months is one of the most prominent advantages of the programme.

Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programme

The criteria of these citizenship programmes, which are predominantly preferred by businesspeople who want to travel without visa requirements, vary from country to country but can be examined on a country-by-country basis below.

Antigua & Barbuda

  • Countries that allow visa-free entrance are Hong Kong, Russia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Schengen countries.
  • A minimum of 100,000 USD must be donated, or a real estate investment of 200,000 USD is required.
  • The evaluation process for the application is 3-4 months.

 Dominica

  • Countries that provide visa-free entrance are Hong Kong, Russia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Schengen countries.
  • A minimum of 100,000 USD must be donated, or a real estate investment of 200,000 USD is required.
  • The evaluation process for the application is 3 months.

   Grenada

  • Countries that provide visa free entrance are China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Schengen countries.
  • A minimum of 150,000 USD must be donated, or a real estate investment of 220,000 USD is required.
  • The evaluation process for the application is 3-4 months.

   St. Kitts and Nevis

  • Countries that provide visa free entrance are Hong Kong, Russia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Schengen countries.
  • A minimum of 150,000 USD must be donated, or a real estate investment of 200,000 USD is required.
  • The evaluation process for the application is 3-6 months.

St. Lucia

  • Countries that provide visa free entrance are Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Schengen countries.
  • A minimum of 150,000 USD must be donated, or a real estate investment of 300,000 USD is required.
  • The evaluation process for the application is 3-4 months.

Evaluation

As a result of the reduction of the real estate investment criteria of 1,000,000 USD to 250,000 USD as of September 2018, the Turkish Citizenship Programme has become the most suitable passport-buying alternative in comparison to other Citizenship by Investment Programmes. In addition, the lack of donation requirements, which is the most basic criterion in all investment programmes, and the ability to sell the purchased real estate after 3 years are the other notable advantages. The option to invest 500,000 USD in bank deposits for the Turkish Citizenship Programme makes it easier for potential investors to have a second passport without taking virtually any investment risks, including currency risk. Although in comparison to some of the other alternative passports, it does not have the same amount of visa-free travel opportunities, it has been the most preferred citizenship programme over the last 2 years with 116 visa-free or visa-on-arrival entrance opportunities it provides, and with its favourable investment conditions.