The CBI Index is a rating system designed to measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment programmes across a broad range of indicators. Its purpose is to provide a rigorous and systematic mechanism for assessing citizenship programmes, to facilitate the decision-making process for individuals considering them, and to bring value to the citizenship industry.
The CBI Index assesses all countries with operational citizenship by investment programmes, which today include the following twelve nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Comoros, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Malta, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and Vanuatu.
A primary methodological objective was to isolate factors that could satisfactorily measure programme features and jurisdictional desirability. Seven factors, or ‘pillars,’ were identified for this purpose. The Seven Pillars that constitute the CBI Index include:
Arriving at an appropriate rating for the Seven Pillars involved a complex combination of benchmarking, statistical analysis, and comparative investigation.
Each of the Seven Pillars is scored out of a maximum of 10 points, calculated on an averaging basis from the scores of composite indicators and sub-indicators. The maximum attainable score achievable by a programme is 70, with all final scores expressed in terms of a percentage of the total points available. For example, a perfect, 70-point score would be expressed as 100 percent.
It should be noted that, due to the vast number of statistics, indicators, and sub-indictors available for analysis, no single approach exists for the rating of citizenship by investment programmes. In framing the CBI Index however, reliance was only placed on official sources from institutions of the highest international standing and on the specialised input of industry experts, whose contributions and responses were used to obtain and interpret both qualitative and quantitative data used in the construction of the CBI Index.
The Freedom of Movement Pillar awards the most points to countries whose ordinary citizens can travel to the highest number of business hubs and overall foreign destinations either without a visa or with a visa-upon-arrival.
The Standard of Living Pillar awards the most points to the countries with the highest quality of life. Factors include life expectancy, education, security, income, GDP, and freedom (including political and civil liberties).
The Minimum Investment Outlay Pillar awards the most points to the country with the lowest investment threshold. The investment level is measured for a single applicant, and, where a programme offers multiple investment options, the most affordable option is selected.
The Mandatory Travel or Residence Pillar awards the most points to the countries that impose the least travel or residence conditions. This includes any travel for the purposes of attending an interview, swearing an oath of allegiance, or giving biometric information, and any travel that could be waived by paying a costly fee.
The Citizenship Timeline Pillar awards the most points to the countries that take the least amount of time to process applications for citizenship by investment. Considerations include average times and fast-track options.
The Ease of Processing Pillar awards the most points to the countries that make the application process smooth and seamless. Indicators include whether the applicant has to sit for an interview, purchase real estate or other assets, or show previous business experience, language skills, or knowledge of local history or culture. Other indicators include whether a country has a government website and a dedicated citizenship by investment unit, and whether the country’s programme is stable.
The Due Diligence Pillar awards the most points to the countries that obtain the greatest amount of information on and from their applicants before awarding them citizenship. Factors include internal and external due diligence checks, police certificate requirements, fingerprinting or other biometric data collection, source of funds analysis, and bans on countries of origin (whether for the applicant or for the applicant’s funds).