The required investment amount is the third most important characteristic of any “citizenship by investment” program. The first two being the “time-frame to obtain citizenship” and “cost of the program”.
At the same time, the required investment is the most misused term and is often being mistaken with the “cost of the program”. In many cases unfortunately, this confusion is actively being propagated by “citizenship agents” trying to market more expensive programs to their benefit.
(*) “Fast-track” is often being used as substitute for “investment citizenship” and “citizenship by investment”. This is because each investment citizenship program is allowing the applicant to obtain citizenship through faster procedure (fast-track). This is the core advantage for the investor and the fueling power of the citizenship program.
So what exactly is the “investment amount”, required for the “citizenship by investment” programs?
True investment (refundable)
Citizenship by investment programs differ greatly by their goals. Some governments prefer to attract new wealthy citizens, who will effectively invest their capitals into the country’s economy. Such an approach targets long-term economic advantages for the country. The invested money remains usually under the control of the citizenship applicant, albeit not always.
Usually, the more developed (economically) countries are applying such approach, trying to avoid their investment citizenship programs being labeled as “passport for sale” schemes.
Other countries prefer charging hefty fees for their investment citizenship programs. These do not qualify as “investment amounts” as they are by its nature irrevocable contributions and are qualified as the cost of the program.
Often, the irrevocable fees are disguised as “contribution” or “state tax”.
Combination of investment and fees
In reality, many countries require payment of irrevocable fee + making an investment in the economy. The ratio between the required minimum investment and the associated fees is very important factor to consider. Normally, the higher the investment, the more sound the citizenship program is. The more the irrevocable fees, the more the program is considered to be a “passport for sale” scheme.