A word from the researcher

"With the rapid expansion of available citizenship by investment programmes, some of which are still in their infancy, the CBI Index is an essential resource for those looking for comprehensive and impartial information on the relative merits of each in order to make an informed decision for themselves and their families."
- James McKay

What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by investment (CBI) is a process whereby a country grants an applicant citizenship in exchange for an investment in that country’s economy. Valid investments vary from country to country, although most countries give applicants the choice between contributing to a government-run national development fund or a real estate purchase.

The world’s earliest CBI programme was launched in 1984 by Saint Kitts and Nevis, a Caribbean island-state. CBI is now administered across the Caribbean, as well as in Europe, Middle East, and Asia – allowing prospective applicants to choose a jurisdiction from almost any corner of the globe.

CBI is different from residence by investment. When an applicant chooses a residence by investment programme, that applicant gains the right to ‘reside’ in that country. The applicant generally has to do so for a specified amount of time, for example, for six months out of each year, or risk losing his or her residence. Residence does not necessarily lead to citizenship, and the application for citizenship is a separate process. ‘Residents’ often have to wait between three and six years before they can apply for citizenship. By contrast, CBI is a direct route to citizenship that exempts applicants from living in a country for a long period of time. A successful CBI applicant receives citizenship for life, which cannot be lost by virtue of where the applicant chooses to live.

What is the CBI index?

The CBI Index allows for two modes of comparison by (1) ranking of the overall performance and desirability of thirteen citizenship by investment programmes, and (2) ranking by reference to seven ‘pillars.’

The seven pillars focus on specific programme factors, including:

  • Freedom of movement
  • Standard of living
  • Minimum investment outlay
  • Mandatory travel or residence
  • Citizenship timeline
  • Ease of processing
  • Due diligence


The seven pillars allow readers to isolate programme attributes and create a citizenship strategy focused on their individual priorities.

Learn more about the CBI Index by downloading the report below

Download report