Considering the stability and longevity of the programmes in the Caribbean, it is no surprise that the Caribbean jurisdictions ranked in the CBI Index’s top five positions, with Dominica – home to one of the longest-running citizenship by investment programmes, and known for its speedy procedures and affordable entry thresholds – attaining the highest ranking. St Kitts and Nevis took second place due to its reputation for integrity and trust but scored slightly lower due to a higher investment threshold. Grenada, a relatively new programme relaunched in 2013, emerged from an unstable first year to become one of today’s most interesting citizenship by investment options, particularly following the implementation of reforms in 2015. Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia, coming fourth and fifth respectively, completed the picture of a citizenship by investment arena dominated by the Caribbean.

Vanuatu, perhaps surprisingly for a less-known programme, ranked fifth together with Saint Lucia, having obtained consistently high scores under all the Pillars. Cyprus received the best score out of any European nation, distinguishing itself for its attractive travel and residence requirements. Comoros finished in eighth position, bolstered by its inexpensive investment requirements, rapid application turnarounds, and minimal travel and residence requirements – but damaged by its comparative inability to provide citizens with sufficient freedom of movement and a tolerable standard of living.

Malta, together with Austria, attained the highest scores in freedom of movement and standard of living, as well as achieved the highest score, together with Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, for due diligence. Having received a commendable score for ease of processing, Malta was however among the lowest-scoring nations for all other Pillars.

Bulgaria, the country to come tenth in the CBI Index, was especially harmed by the length of its citizenship routes and costly investment requirements. Austria is predictably one of today’s least sought-after citizenship by investment programmes: enticing applicants with the promise of life in a prosperous European nation, but offering an abstruse programme known for its expensive and lengthy procedures. Cambodia, the lowest-ranking programme, was consistently hovering at the end of the spectrum, except in the case of investment thresholds, travel and residence requirements, and citizenship timeline.


Freedom of Movement

  • Austria allows visa-free travel to more than 170 countries and 19 of the CBI Index’s top international business centres.
  • Malta allows visa-free travel to almost 170 countries and 19 of the CBI Index’s top international business centres.

Standard of Living

  • Life expectancy in Austria is 81.6 years, the highest of any country in the Index. Comoros is the lowest at 63.6 years.
  • Austria and Grenada score highest for expected years of schooling.

Minimum Investment Outlay

  • Comoros asks for a $45,000 minimum contribution. Dominica and Saint Lucia require a $100,000 contribution.
  • Malta, Cyprus, and Austria are the most expensive citizenship by investment programmes.

Mandatory Travel or Residence

  • In Antigua and Barbuda, the physical residence requirement is 5 days in 5 years after obtaining citizenship.
  • In Malta applicants must complete 12 months of residence.

Citizenship Timeline

  • St Kitts and Nevis is the only programme to offer a fixed Accelerated Application Process (AAP), ensuring applications are processed within 60 days.

Ease of Processing

  • Cambodia is the only country that requires applicants to take a culture or history test.
  • Austria and Comoros both require applicants to sit a mandatory interview.
  • Cambodia carries out a language test.

Due Diligence

  • The best ranked countries for due diligence have a system which displays robust external due diligence including on the ground checks, plus assistance from international law enforcement agencies.
  • Fingerprinting or other biometric data collection was an important factor.

Learn more about the CBI Index by downloading the report below

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