What is a 'Citizenship by Investment' program and is it legal?

IRC Invest empowers HNWI investors and their families to obtain a fully legal citizenship and passport through a financial contribution or a real estate acquisition in that respective country. All programmes are governed by respective laws and supported by the government, with the objective of encouraging foreign investment into the country for its subsequent development. The citizenship-by-investment or residency laws, process and requirements can all be found in the country’s Constitution.

What is the difference between a residency and a citizenship program?

According to the prescribed law, some countries offer citizenship-by-investment, whereas others offer residency-by-investment. Citizenship programmes guarantee full lifetime citizenship in the country of choice and the second passport is granted immediately following a successful application. Residency programmes offer immediate residency following a successful application and full citizenship can usually be applied for after a period of time. A second passport will only be given following citizenship approval.

How do I apply for a second citizenship?

Through an Authorized Government Agency such as IRC Invest. The application process is explained in detail. Each program is different.

What are the requirements for citizenship by investment?

You must be over 18 years of age, without a criminal record and they should be able to provide sufficient funds for the application.

How much does citizenship by investment cost?

The application costs of a citizenship by investment program depends on the country program, the investment option that you choose as well as the number of family members that are applying with you.

Do I gain a full refund if I am not approved?

For the majority of programmes the main government donation or real estate investment is not made until after approval is granted, or the investment is held in a government escrow account, which is fully refundable if you are not successful with your application. The only non-refundable aspect is the due diligence or legal fees paid.

Why would my application not be successful?

You will only be unsuccessful if you have not been completely honest with your application or have a criminal conviction. To date we have been 100% successful with our clients.

Does citizenship extend to my spouse and children?

Citizenship is extended to your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents. These extra fees for family members vary from country to country. Up to the age of 30, children can be listed as dependents. Parents can be as long as they are over the age of 55. EU Fast track citizenship programs automatically extend to the afor mentioned for a small processing fee per person. The Caribbean countries charge per extra person.

Will I be liable to any taxes in countries offering fast-track citizenship?

For the Caribbean Citizenship Investment Programs, only personal tax is applicable if you reside within that country. You are exempt from all other taxes. Cyprus (EU), has one of the most generous tax regimes within the European Union, and would not tax you unless you became a tax resident. As another value add, Cyprus offers one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe. Non-tax residents are only taxed on income generated within Cyprus e.g. rents, royalties, remuneration or other profits arising from property situated within Cyprus.

When can I sell my investment?

Government Bonds usually mature after five years and most properties can be re-sold to an open market after this time, although this differs between each programme. Cyprus for example requires you to retain a home with a minimum value of EUR500,000 in perpetuity. The full requirements will be discussed with you before making the investment.

Can I rent out my property?

Typically yes. Some investments offer a guaranteed ROI and will put the units in their own rental pool.

Do I need to emigrate or make regular visits to the country that I am applying for?

Cyprus & Malta require you to visit the country to undertake Biometrics at the beginning of the process and also to collect your Citizenship Certificate and Passport in person at the Immigration Department in Cyprus at the end of the process. With the exception of Antigua and Barbuda, which has a nominal 5 days within the first 5 years of obtaining the nationality, the other Caribbean programs do not require you to visit the country before, during, or after the application process.

Must I renounce my current citizenship to receive nationality from these countries?

No! Regardless of your nationality, you keep them both as this process is not bilateral.

How long would it take for me to receive my citizenship certificate and new passport under these fast track programs?

It ranges from 3 to 6 months. Small delays can occur due to the government being overloaded. Residency programs can take as little as one month once the application has been submitted.

How many years is the passport from these countries valid for?

Typically they last for 10 years. Some are for 5 years such as Antigua.

Passport Renewal

Your Passport can be renewed directly through IRC Invest. We will coordinate with the Government. Once your new passport is issued, it should take approximately a week for government renewal. It will then be couriered back to our offices during week 2.


Profile Assessment

Understand your requirements. Propose the best program ‘fit’. Ensure your nationality is eligible through a prequalification process. Request your passport copy and proceed to perform an initial Security Check. You then proceed to sign our Retainer Agreement to begin your application.

Documents Preparation

Checklist with all documents required to prepare your application. Examples of basic documents requested by the governments include: Attested copy of Birth Certificate. Attested copy of Marriage Certificate. Recent Original Police Report from the country of residence, country of original citizenship, and any country where you have a residency or resided in for more than 6 months. In the meantime, our team prepares the numerous application forms and support documents.

Submission to the Government

We complete the file then Submit to the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU). The Government issues a letter acknowledging receipt of the file and confirming that all documents. The Government submits to an approved (DD) Due Diligence company.

Due Diligence Process

Due Diligence takes on average 3 months for most citizenship programs. This can in some cases could be fast-tracked to only 5 weeks. The Government may rarely request further documents after this stage. IRC will submit them if and when needed.

Government's Citizenship Approval

The Government issues an official Citizenship Approval Letter including instructions for the client to process the payment of the investment.

Transfer Investment and Government Fees

The client transfers all required fees and investments to the Government specified bank accounts. We require a copy of the transfer swift to ensure the Government locates the funds fast and without delays. The Government confirms receipt of the client’s payments.

Citizenship Certificates Issuance

Citizenship Certificates are issued approximately one month after the Government confirms receipt of the funds. The Citizenship Certificate must be sealed, stamped, and signed by a Government authority.

Passport Issuance

Passport issuance takes approximately one week, once we obtain the original Citizenship Certificates. Upon receipt of the Citizenship Certificates and Passports to our offices in Dubai, they could be collected or couriered to your country of residence.