Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and
Residency by Investment (RBI) FAQ


Citizenship by Investment (CBI) common questions

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs and Golden Visas are often associated with tax havens; Antigua and Barbuda or St. Kitts and Nevis come to mind. 

But what is the actual difference between CBI and RBI? 

Residency refers to a person’s visa status. The residency permit is issued for a certain period of time. A residence permit entitles a person to legally reside in the country without being a citizen. Permanent residents are allowed to live, study, and access healthcare in the host country. Depending on the country, this can also include permission to work.

However, they are normally not entitled to vote. There are certain requirements (due diligence checks) an applicant must fulfill in order to receive the permanent residency (PR) status. For example, a clear criminal record, an investment, and a certain period of time every year physically within the host country.

On the other hand, Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs legally grants individuals and their families citizenship, or in some cases a second citizenship, in exchange for an investment or a financial contribution to the host country. Citizenship grants its holders the rights and responsibilities for that state. Besides, depending on the host country, the second passport provides visa-free travel to specific countries. 

In case you were not lucky at birth obtaining a “good” passport or if by chance you don’t have ancestors in the country of your choice or a partner you wish to marry, there are other ways to live, work, and travel in the country of your choice. 

Obtaining a second passport may be the best investment you ever make. It increases your global mobility and personal security and can aid your business with favorable tax and other regulations. You can benefit from better economic and political stability, actively manage your wealth and taxes, and stay ahead of global trends. Finally, having a second citizenship or residency is a lifestyle choice and can aid you and your family’s education, health, and quality of life.

Immigration Explorer can also assist you with the “jus sanguinis” process. If you have an ancestor in one of our target countries, we are happy to help you to restore this citizenship.

Immigrant investor programs are schemes that aim to attract foreign capital and business people in return for residency and citizenship. The Golden Visa program typically refers to permanent residency in the host country in exchange for an investment.

For example, Portugal offers a 5-year residence by investment program for non-EU nationals. This status allows investors to live, work, and study in Portugal, as well as provinces, plus access to Europe’s Schengen Area. Further, this program only requires a stay of 7 days per year in Portugal throughout these 5 years. 

For Portugal’s residency program, there are 3 investment options: (1) capital transfer, (2) real estate options, and (3) business – the creation of new jobs.

A permanent residency is suitable for EU and non-EU high-net-worth individuals, retirees, and business owners, who wish to gain more freedom, enjoy beneficial regulations, and improve their lifestyle.

If you have an investment capital of at least 250,000 Euros and wish to temporarily gain a visa-status or prepare for Citizenship by Naturalization, then Residency by Investment (RBI), also known as a Golden Visa, may be right for you.

At the moment, we offer RBI for Cyprus, Greece, Malta, and Portugal as well as Georgia, Dubai / UAE, and Thailand. 

Click here for the first four questions to get started with your new life.

In depth

Once you have decided on the country, we assist you in applying for the residency permit, including the chosen investment. Typically, investment residency goes through real estate investment or a donation in the target country. Depending on the country, the whole process can be completed in as little as 2 months (Cyprus, Greece).

Domicile is the country where a person officially has as his/her permanent home, or has a significant connection with. At birth, you are automatically assigned to the same domicile as your parents. Your domicile of origin then continues until you acquire a new domicile.

Your domicile is often relevant when determining your tax liabilities (income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax), and (from investment or employment), and how your assets will be inherited. Non-Dom typically means that you are exempt from these taxes.

After the age of 16, you can change your domicile. The criteria are different in every country, but the basic criteria include leaving your domicile of origin (country) and providing strong evidence that you intend to live in your new location permanently or indefinitely.

Now, someone with non-domiciled (non-dom) status is a person who lives in a country but does not have to pay taxes there on money they have earned outside the country. 

For example, in Cyprus, you become a Non-Dom when you spend at least 60 days per year in the country, do not spend more than 183 days in any other country, are not a tax resident in another country, maintain a permanent home in Cyprus, and conduct business in Cyprus (entrepreneur or employed). If you are a Non-Dom in Cyprus, you are exempt from the SDT Special Defense Tax. Keep in mind that every country has slightly different definitions of the Non-Dom status.

Not all countries differentiate between residency and domicile. Often only countries with a connection to the UK use the term Non-Dom. 

Also known as Golden Passport, CBI refers to individuals who obtain citizenship through investment (real estate, government bonds, etc.). Depending on the country, the processing time to obtain a second passport can be as little as 3 months (Montenegro). Successful applicants (economic citizens) enjoy the rights and responsibilities of natural citizens, except the right to vote. Congratulations! You are now a successful investment immigrant!

The CBI program grants individuals and their families second citizenship in return for a financial contribution to the host country. This includes a second passport (and visa-free travel to certain countries) as well as the rights and responsibilities in that country. But unlike native citizens, economic citizens are not allowed to vote.

If you have an investment budget of at least 300,000 USD (Georgia), then the CBI scheme may be right for you.

After you have decided on the country, we assist you in applying for citizenship including the chosen investment. Typically, investment citizenship goes through real estate investment or a donation in the target country. Depending on the country, you can receive your new passport in as little as 3 months. 

If you are interested in living and working in Europe, Immigration Explorer’s European Residency and Citizenship by Investment programs are offered in 8 jurisdictions, depending on program availability: Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Montenegro, UAE, Georgia, and Thailand. The right country depends on your very personal lifestyle, family, and business situation.

For example, are you looking for a cheap option to get a “better” passport, or do you want to be able to live, work, and travel freely in the European Union? You can also start out with a residency program, which may lead to future citizenship. As you can see, there is not the same solution for everyone. 

To find out which is the right solution for you – the quickest and most efficient way to obtain a second residency or passport, contact Immigration Explorer for your personal FREE consultation with tailored advice to your specific situation and requirements. Or click here for the first four questions to get you started.

Investment immigration is a dynamic process. Many countries offering relocation programs have some of the most favorable tax and financial regulations in the EU and other key international markets for businesses. International entrepreneurs legally take advantage of setting up a company and taking up residence as a Non-Dom in these countries.

Many countries offer Citizenship by Investment programs in order to attract foreign investment. Countries then use these funds to invest in their own projects, for instance, real estate and business development as well as job creation. RBI and CBI programs also attract global talent and know-how, which assists in boosting the economy.

As for retirees and people retiring soon, investment immigration is a very dynamic process. Depending on your personal situation and preferences, you will be able to choose the best country for the next stage of life.

If healthcare and affordable assistance are important to you, Thailand may be a good choice for you. At the same time, if you prefer a more mild climate or retirement location closer to your (extended) family in Europe, Cyprus may be the better alternative.

How to

At Immigration Explorer, we understand that you have a choice when selecting your investment immigration service provider. In today’s globalized world, there are basically no restrictions as to where your agency needs to be based. It’s not even necessary to meet your consultant in-person in order to have a productive and fruitful consultation.

But we still recommend you thoroughly check who will be working for you – advising on financial investment and possibly one of the biggest decisions of your life. Ask these questions to ensure that the agency will work in your best interest:

  1. Does the agency provide a quote with all costs included?
  2. Can you verify the agency? Do they have industry relevance?
  3. Does the agency have experience in the programs they consult on? 
  4. Has the agency previously successfully helped investment immigrants from your country?
  5. Is the agency offering prices or promises that are “too good to be true?”
  6. Does the agency insist on taking full payment themselves rather than allowing you to pay the government or developer directly?

At Immigration Explorer, we offer advice and guidance for Residency by Investment (RBI) and Citizenship by Investment programs (CBI) in the following jurisdictions, dependent on availability: Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Montenegro, Georgia, Dubai / UAE, and Thailand.

Besides, we also offer assistance with legal processes, RBI/CBI applications, property acquisition, paperwork, and bank arrangements through our extensive and reliable network of trusted fulfillment partners.

HNWI, retirees, and entrepreneurs from EU and non-EU countries benefit from our services.

Immigration Explorer receives a small commission from our fulfillment partners only after your successful Citizenship by Investment or Residency by Investment application. The consultations by our experienced team of professionals are always FREE for you!

Still have A question about Citizenship by Investment (CBI)?

Our experts are happy to answer your questions and advise you on which country is best for your individual situation and needs.

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