Everything you need to know about the CBI Index

It is well-known that the CBI industry is a fragmented one, with different countries managing their own unique programmes, each with varying benefits, requirements, and regulations. Consequently, it can be challenging for investors to evaluate the relative merits of each programme, either as a whole, or with respect to the properties most important to them.

The purpose of the CBI Index, therefore, is to bring value to the CBI industry by providing a data-driven and practical tool for appraising programmes and facilitating the decision-making process for individuals considering them.


CBI is a process whereby, subject to the fulfilment of certain requirements, an applicant receives citizenship of a country in return for an investment in that country’s economy. Investment options vary from country to country, although countries tend to prefer fund contribution or real estate purchase models.

The CBI Index is built around nine pillars. These are designed to measure global citizenship programme features as well as desirability per jurisdiction. The nine pillars are: Standard of Living, Freedom of Movement, Minimum Investment Outlay, Mandatory Travel or Residence, Citizenship Timeline, Ease of Processing, Due Diligence, Family, and Certainty of Product.

The CBI Index is a means of classifying the performance and appeal of various CBI programmes across a diverse range of indicators and measures.

The CBI Index is intended as a practical tool, both for those who wish to compare CBI programmes as a whole, and for those who wish to compare specific aspects of each programme.

The CBI Index assesses all countries with operational CBI programmes, which, in 2023, include the following 12 nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Cambodia, Dominica, Egypt, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Turkey and Vanuatu. With North Macedonia’s much-publicised programme still not operational, Egypt remains the latest addition to the CBI Index after opening in 2020. Montenegro is no longer considered after the programme was officially closed at the end of 2022.

“The CBI Index is the only independent study that comprehensively evaluates and compares all active Citizenship by Investment programmes in the world.”

Previous Reports


The CBI Index was created by James McKay, an independent research consultant with expertise in global trend analyses and the end-to-end implementation of data-driven research projects.

James McKay

Independent Research Consultant | McKayResearch

As principal and founder of McKay Research, he has 15 years’ experience providing strategic research services both to the world’s leading market intelligence firms and a portfolio of private clients that include tech companies and investment firms.

James, who used guidance from the OECD’s Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators, employed a three-stage process to produce the latest version of the CBI Index. The first phase involved comprehensive primary and secondary research to chart all major developments in the world of economic citizenship over the past 12 months. The second phase comprised a detailed exploration of official macroeconomic and programme statistics to be used in evaluating CBI Index country performance. The third and final stage involved critically analysing and inputting all data collected throughout the research process, paying careful attention to maintaining the statistical continuity and integrity of the original index architecture.

After a comprehensive review and methodological update for the 2020 edition of the CBI Index, the now nine-pillar index architecture provides investors with an enhanced toolset with which to measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment programmes.