Benefits of Canada citizenship
Canada is considered an attractive country to live in. A developed economy and democracy, advanced education and health care systems, and a reputation for ethnic and racial tolerance make it a popular destination for immigration. A fifth of the country's inhabitants are immigrants from different parts of the world.
Canadian citizenship offers the following advantages:
- visa-free travel to 180 countries: including the United States, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Australia and the European Union;
- Canada recognizes dual citizenship, allowing applicants to keep their original citizenship;
- free health insurance in an advanced health care system;
- no taxes on inheritance or income earned abroad;
- the possibility to conduct a business focused on the North American market;
- low taxes;
- high standard of living: Canada ranks high in the rankings of the best countries to live in;
- attractive pension and benefits.
How to get Canada citizenship by investment
There are dozens of migration programs in Canada, which help foreigners move to Canada and obtain citizenship. Most of them stipulate strict criteria regarding the education, age and profession of applicants. Applicants can obtain Canadian residency or citizenship faster and easier if they invest in the economy or open a business there.
Canadian citizenship by investment can be granted immediately to all family members, including common-law spouses and children under 18 years of age. Adult children must apply and invest independently. Once obtained, citizenship is inherited by the younger generation. However, the parents of the husband and wife cannot be included in the original application: they can only move to Canada after the investor's family has moved.
A Canadian passport by investment cannot be obtained until 3–5 years after the investment is made. First, an application for permanent residence has to be submitted. Then the applicant needs to live in Canada for 3 years, spending at least 183 days a year during each of the 3 years there. Only then can they apply for citizenship.
Permanent residence grants the investor and their family the same rights and responsibilities as Canadian citizens, with the exception of the right to vote or hold public office.
Between 1986-2014, the Canadian Citizenship by Investment Program was in operation throughout the country. However, since 2014, it has been available only in the French-speaking province of Quebec (the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, QIIP).
After receiving permanent residence in Quebec, the investor and their family can live and work anywhere in Canada.
❌ Please note that the Canadian Investment Citizenship Program has been suspended until April 2023.
At the time this article was published, applications for the Citizenship by Investment Program in Quebec had been frozen until April 2023. There is no information available on whether the program will be continued.
The official reason for freezing the program is that investors used it to relocate to other regions of the country. According to the government’s statistics, 85% of the applicants moved away from the French province after receiving permanent residence.
Terms of the Quebec Citizenship Program
To apply for citizenship, an investor must invest C$1,200,000 (≈ $945,000) at zero interest for five years. They are not required to start a business. This distinguishes the Quebec program from the migration programs in other provinces of the country.
The investment is returned in full after 5 years, but no interest is earned on it.
However, the investor can take out a loan for the necessary investment. This is convenient for those applicants who do not have funds available that will not be required for other purposes for 5 years. The initial minimum investment is C$350,000 (approx. $275,000).
Quota limit on citizenship by investment
The number of new applications for citizenship by investment is limited by an annual quota to 1900, of which 1300 are reserved for Chinese citizens. Applications are considered randomly within the assigned quota.
Who is eligible for Canada citizenship by investment
Investment alone is not sufficient. In order to obtain a Canadian passport, the applicant must meet the following six criteria:
- be a business owner, shareholder in a private company, or have worked for at least two years in a managerial position in a company with a turnover of 50,000 Canadian dollars (CAD) (≈ $39,400) per annum;
- meet the qualification requirements: score at least 40 points out of 100 on a special scale. The applicant is assessed based on age, knowledge of English and French, educational level, management experience and time spent in Canada. For example, meeting the requirements of managerial experience and investment earns 10 and 25 points, respectively. A university diploma is given 6 points. Applications submitted by applicants with proven knowledge of the French language at the B1 level are examined on a priority basis;
- own assets of 2,000,000 CAD (≈$1,570,000) and prove that they were earned legally. Funds on deposits, the value of securities, real estate and other assets of both spouses are taken into account;
- not infected with socially dangerous diseases, such as HIV;
- have no criminal record or violations of Canadian immigration laws or Canadian visa requirements;
- pass (with a score of at least 75%) the test on knowledge of the history and traditions of Quebec .
For whom is Canada citizenship by investment suitable?
The Canadian Citizenship by Investment Program is suitable for those who intend to permanently live in the country, move with their family, raise children and pay taxes there. This is not a suitable option for applicants investing in a passport for travel, tax optimization or business development.
Unlike other immigration programs, there is no age limit of 46 years for investors, which often makes it the only option for mature people to move to Canada.
Which documents will be required?
In order to apply for Canadian citizenship, the following documents are required:
- filled out application form;
- notarized and translated copies of passports of all family members included in the application;
- confirmation of kinship for family applications:
- birth or marriage certificate;
- police clearance certificates for all family members;
- confirmation of financial position:
- constituent documents, certificate of ownership of real estate, bank statements, appraisers' reports;
- receipt of payment of duty;
- confirmation that you have invested the required amount in the Canadian economy.
All foreign-language documents must be translated into English and notarized.
How to apply for Canada citizenship by investment
The procedure to obtain Canadian citizenship by investment is divided into several stages and takes 3–5 years on average.
1. Submit documents to the government of Quebec. The applicant collects the necessary documents confirming their experience as an entrepreneur or manager, the availability of the required investment amount and fulfillment of the other requirements. Then they submit them to the Comparative Registration and Evaluation Office in Montreal.
If the investor meets the requirements and is within the quota assigned, they will be issued a special certificate and a temporary residence permit.
2. Fulfill the investment condition. The applicant transfers the amount specified in the terms of the program.
3. Apply at your local Canadian embassy or consulate. When submitting documents, you will need to pay a fee of 15,235 CAD (≈ $12,000). If you meet the requirements, you will be issued an entry visa, which can be used to move to Canada within 12 months. The applicant is also issued a permanent resident card. If the applicant does not move to Canada within 12 months, the documents will have to be resubmitted.
4. Wait for a decision. To apply for citizenship, the applicant must have lived in Canada for three years, spending at least 183 days a year there. A decision on the citizenship by investment application is taken within a period of one year. If approved, the applicant will need to pass an exam on knowledge of the language and history of Quebec, as well as undergo an interview with migration officials. The test does not need to be taken by those who are over 54 years old.
Options for business immigration to Canada
There are several programs for obtaining Canadian residence by starting a business in the country. We have listed some of them here.
The Quebec Entrepreneur Program. Requirements for applicants:
- create or buy a business in Quebec with a start-up capital of CAD200,000 (≈ $157,400) and own capital of CAD900,000 (≈ $709,400);
- manage a business and control at least 25% of the company's shares worth CAD100,000 CAD (≈ $79,000);
- have two years of experience as an individual entrepreneur in the chosen field.
The rest of the requirements for applicants are identical to those for investors: knowledge of the language, culture and history of Quebec and a minimum score of 40 points on the qualification scale.
The program is valid until September 30, 2021. It is not known whether it will be extended in the future.
Federal start-up visa program. This is suitable for those who are looking for investment for their startup business. The company must conduct most of its business within Canada.
Requirements for applicants:
- to attract an investment of $200,000 from a venture fund or $75,000 from a business angel from the accredited list;
- prove knowledge of English or French (CLB level 5);
- have sufficient means to live in Canada.
The program is popular with companies in the IT, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agricultural sectors.
5 startup founders and their families can get permanent residence in Canada under a startup program. A decision is made on the application within six months. 2750 visas are granted annually according to the quota established for the program.
Provincial Nominee Program. This category summarizes the programs of the provinces of Canada through which the applicant can work or open a business in the region for permanent residence. For example, the conditions of the entrepreneurial program of the province of British Columbia require a minimum investment in a business of CAD200,000 (≈ $157,000) and savings of CAD600,000 (≈ $473,000).
Other ways to obtain Canada citizenship
Besides investing in the economy and starting a business in Canada, there are also other ways to obtain Canadian citizenship:
- Create a family after three years of marriage to a Canadian citizen.
- By birth. If you were born in Canada, your parents' citizenship is not important.
- By origin. Suitable for those with one or both parents who is/are Canadian citizens.
- Family reunification. If close relatives or family members are Canadian citizens.
- For cultural and sports figures who are ready to contribute to the Canadian arts or sports fields.
- Program for qualified workers and professionals, Express Entry, who have earned the required score on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Points are awarded for age, education, qualifications, work experience and knowledge of the language. To apply under this program, you must be a highly qualified specialist with good knowledge of the language and savings.
- After graduating from a Canadian university: find a job in your specialty, get a work visa and work in Canada for 3 years.
- By naturalization, having lived in the country for 6 years.
- Through special programs. For those who are ready to live in the remote northern provinces: for doctors, educators, nannies, nurses and agricultural workers.
Check if you can apply for one of the Canadian immigration programs.
Other citizenship by investment programs
Citizenship by investment is not limited to Canada. In fact, there is considerable uncertainty about the future of Canadian citizenship by investment programs: some have been frozen and some are valid until autumn 2021. It is not clear whether they will continue after 2021. We would therefore also like to present alternative citizenship programs.
Similar programs operate in dozens of countries. Furthermore, it is much easier, cheaper and faster to obtain a second passport using them: in some cases, the applicant
- does not need to know the language;
- is not required to live in the country or even visit it;
- citizenship can be obtained in 1-6 months.
We consider several investment citizenship programs in other countries.
Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment can be obtained in 12–14 months.
Malta is a country with a developed economy, advanced medical facilities, and an excellent education system. As a result, it is one of the most popular options for moving to Europe for wealthy people.
The investment required is comparable to the requirements of the Canadian citizenship by investment program:
- €600,000 non-refundable investment;
- €10,000 charitable contribution;
- purchase real estate for €700,000 or rent property for €18,000 per annum for 5 years.
Unlike investing in the Canadian economy, buying real estate in Malta generates a relatively high level of income. Property prices rise on average 5-7% per annum, while rental income can add another 5 to 15% per annum.
Malta citizenship by investment offers the same opportunities and rights as those available to any EU citizen: the investor can live and work in any EU country, travel without a visa to 160 countries, including the United States and Canada. A Malta passport gives access to the European market to entrepreneurs, provides potential tax savings and offers freedom from currency controls. The investor's children can study at any European university and stay on to live and work in Europe after graduation.
Another attractive citizenship by investment program is offered by Montenegro. The applicant must make the following investment:
- €100,000 non-refundable investment;
- €250,000 in a share in a government business project.
Montenegro is a candidate country for accession to the European Union. Montenegro citizens can travel in the Schengen arearnwithout a visa for up to 90 days; however, a holder of a Montenegrin passport cannot permanently live or work in the EU. At the same time, if Montenegro is admitted to the European Union, the value of its passport will increase dramatically.
An important benefit of Montenegrin citizenship is the ability to apply for a U.S. E2 business visa, which allows you to live in the United States for 5 years together with your whole family
Citizenship by investment in the Caribbean. Becoming a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada or St Kitts and Nevis is much easier than getting Canadian citizenship. Citizenship by investment in these Caribbean countries costs $100,000 in the form of a non-refundable transfer and purchasing real estate or securities that can later be sold. The application procedure for a passport usually takes just 2-6 months.
Caribbean passports allow the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for up to 90 days in any six-month period and for 180 days/year in the UK. The advantage of a Grenada passport over the passport issued by the other Caribbean countries mentioned above is that its citizens can apply for an E2 business visa to the United States
Vanuatu citizenship by investment is the most affordable program in the Caribbean. It requires a minimum non-refundable contribution of $130,000. The passport is issued within a month. The applicant does not need to travel to Vanuatu. A Vanuatu passport allows the holder to visit the European Union and Britain without a visa.
For more details about the difference between the citizenship by investment programs offered by the Caribbean countries and Vanuatu, please read the article “Caribbean and Vanuatu: Program Comparison”.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have listed the main ways below:
- invest CAD1,200,000 (≈ $945,000) for five years;
- open a business with capital of CAD200,000 (≈ $157,400);
- open a startup with an investment of $75,000;
- create a family after three years of marriage to a Canadian citizen;
- by birth: if your child was born in Canada;
- by origin: if one of your parents is Canadian;
- family reunification: if close relatives are Canadians;
- through naturalization after 6 years of life in the country;
- for special merit in culture and sports;
- through the Express Entry program for qualified workers and professionals who have earned the required score on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS);
- graduate from a Canadian university and work for 3 years;
- through work programs in the north for doctors, educators and agricultural workers.
You can apply for citizenship by investment with an investment of CAD1,200,000 (≈ $945,000) in Quebec. This amount will be returned to you after 5 years, but no interest will be earned on it. If you do not have the entire amount available to invest, you can take out a loan with an initial payment of CAD350,000 (≈ $260,000).
The applicant must prove their knowledge of the language, history and traditions of Quebec, achieve the minimum score on the qualification scale, and have lived in Quebec for three years.
Canadians are allowed to be citizens of other countries; thus, you will not have to give up your original citizenship.
However, within 60 days (varies by country) of obtaining Canadian citizenship, you must notify the Internal Affairs department of your original country of citizenship that you have obtained Canadian citizenship.
Restrictions may apply as a result of your second citizenship. In most cases, you cannot
- work in the civil service;
- establish a media outlet;
- hold an elected or public office.
Yes, if a child is born in Canada, they automatically become a Canadian citizen regardless of their parents’ citizenship.