The CBI Index is a rating system designed to measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes across a diverse range of indicators. Its purpose is to provide a rigorous and systematic mechanism for appraising programmes, to facilitate the decision-making process for individuals considering them, and to bring value to the CBI industry.
The CBI Index assesses all countries with operational CBI programmes, which in 2020 include the following fourteen nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Turkey, and Vanuatu.
The nine pillars that constitute the CBI Index include:
Each of the nine pillars is scored out of a maximum of ten points, calculated from the scores of composite indicators and sub-indicators. The maximum score achievable by a programme is 90, with all final scores expressed in terms of a percentage of the total points available.
The CBI Index was framed using official sources and publications from institutions of the highest international standing as well as the specialised input of industry experts. Whenever possible, points were awarded on the basis of evidence from official sources and the letter of the law, and not announcements of changes that have yet to be implemented.
The Standard of Living Pillar awards the most points to the country with the highest quality of life. Factors include life expectancy, education, security, income, GNI and GDP growth, 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. Hefty fees are included in this calculation.
The Mandatory Travel or Residence Pillar awards the most points to the country that imposes the least travel or residence conditions. This includes, for example, travel for the purposes of attending an interview, swearing an oath of allegiance, or giving biometric information. Actual physical presence requirements are distinguished from nominal requirements.
The Citizenship Timeline Pillar awards the most points to the country that takes 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 country with the most streamlined application process. Applicant-centred indicators include interview and knowledge-based requirements (such as language or culture tests, or evidence of previous business experience or a track record of achievement) and mandatory purchases of real estate or other assets. Other indicators include whether a country has a government website and a dedicated citizenship by investment unit. As of 2020, stability is no longer a consideration under the Ease of Processing Pillar but is one of the factors constituting the new Certainty of Product Pillar.
The Due Diligence Pillar awards the most points to the country that obtains the greatest amount of information on and from its 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 high-risk countries of origin (whether for the applicant or for the applicant’s funds).
As of 2020, the Family Pillar awards the most points to countries that allow highly diverse groups of family members to be included in an application. Family member categories under consideration include the spouse, minor children, adult children, disabled children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. Factors include whether the family members of the main applicant’s spouse also qualify, as well as the breadth of the restrictions within each family category.
As of 2020, the Certainty of Product Pillar awards the most points to the country with longevity (age), popularity and renown (number of applications and naturalisations per year, and programme eminence in the industry), stability (including any calls to end a programme and programme caps), reputation (negative press, scandals, evidence of transparent and good use of CBI funds), and adaptability (ability to respond to and predict needs, as well as to communicate).