July 27, 2023
Reading Time: 3 min

6 new EU directives that will make it harder to get citizenship by investment

The European Union has presented several directives for countries that provide CBI programs. According to them, the minimum investment should increase to $200,000 for a fund contribution and $400,000 for a real estate purchase.

Let’s find out what other EU changes are proposed and how they would impact the investors.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Chief Development Officer in Immigrant Invest, lawyer

The EU demanded changes in CBI programs rules that will affect investors

6 new EU directives that will make it harder to get citizenship by investment

The new EU guidelines are supposed to ensure the general safety of European countries by monitoring the process of obtaining second passports that grant visa-free entry to the region.

The monitoring committee plans to closely verify all operations related to the CBI programs over the next 6 months.

The directives followed a recent meeting between leaders of Caribbean countries and EU representatives in Brussels and included:

1. To increase the minimum investment sum to $200,000 for the state fund contributions and $400,000 for real estate purchases. As of now, investors can obtain St Lucia, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by contributing $100,000.

The guidelines highlight that this amendment would encourage only capable high‑net‑worth individuals to participate in CBI programs. This way, investors would form deeper ties to the country they want to invest in.

2. To implement obligatory interviews online or in person. The applicants involved in the interview, including family members of the main applicant, are not yet specified.

3. To involve highly trusted EU, US or UK firms in Due Diligence. The Due Diligence check while obtaining a passport by investment would only be quoted if conducted by independent agents.

The guidelines do not specify particular companies that are considered trusted. It is also not mentioned if the Due Diligence by trusted agents would replace or add to the check conducted by the second nationality country.

4. To prohibit sending passports and other citizenship documents via mail. Per the guidelines, sending passports via mail is unsafe: the documents could be stolen and used by third parties or lost.

The reliable alternative was not yet presented; the guidelines offer an in‑person collection of documents as an option.

5. To transfer investment funds directly to the country. The guidelines offer to ensure that the investment sum is securely and directly transferred to the host country without accounts in any third countries involved. The means to monitor the flow of funds were not yet presented.

6. To prohibit CBI ads that highlight visa-free entry to the EU. The guidelines specify that the promotion materials should not emphasise that citizenship by investment is, above all, a way to achieve global mobility.

The countries that offer citizenship by investment programs would not be able to promote them by mentioning visa‑free entry to the EU, the UK, and any other country.

There is a high chance that the changes the EU demanded will be implemented. Countries that provide CBI programs are interested in keeping the opportunity to travel visa‑free across Europe. The holders of a Vanuatu passport have recently lost this privilege.

St Kitts and Nevis has already updated the terms of its citizenship program: the investment thresholds were increased, mandatory interviews introduced, Due Diligence checks doubled, and the requirements for dependents toughened.

Dominica now conducts mandatory interviews with the investors applying for a passport. Antigua and Barbuda reintroduced the demand to stay in the country for 5 days after receiving the passport.

Investors can still obtain second citizenship by investment without interviews in most countries. No third‑party Due Diligence check is needed. The minimum investment amount is $100,000.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of government citizenship by investment programs. If you want to get a second passport on current, more favourable terms, we advise you to contact our investment program experts now.