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 thirteen nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Turkey, 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-indicators 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 and publications 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.
It should further be noted that, whenever possible, points were awarded on the basis of evidence from official sources and the letter of the law. Because announcements of changes to citizenship by investment programmes are often made many weeks and months in advance of their actual implementation, the CBI Index limits its evaluations to changes confirmed by governments themselves and associated legal facts.
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 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.
The Mandatory Travel or Residence Pillar awards the most points to the country that imposes 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 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) 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, and whether the country’s programme is stable.
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 countries of origin (whether for the applicant or for the applicant’s funds).