St. Julians, Malta
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Latest News
30 March, 2021

The number of licensed agents in the world fell by 70% in six months

307 licensed agents of citizenship by investment programs were operating around the world in March 2021. Most agents stopped working when Cyprus closed its citizenship program. Here's a look at what other changes agents have made and what they're good for on the road to a second citizenship.

Second citizenship by investment: Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship programs
Photo: Adobe Stock

A licensed agent is an intermediary between an investor and a country's government with a citizenship program by investment. The agent can be a lawyer, a financial consultant and a representative of a law firm.

The agent prepares the documents and submits the investor's application for participation in the program. The investor cannot apply independently - these are the requirements of the program department. If a licensed agent submits the documents, the department immediately receives a correct and complete package of documents.

Governments thoroughly check agents for compliance with legal requirements. Those who pass the check receive a license with a unique number and become licensed agent.

Why there are fewer licensed citizenship agents

Most of the licensed agents ceased operations when Cyprus citizenship programs closed. 611 agents helped investors obtain Cypriot passports in exchange for investing. That's more than all the other programs in the world combined.

Nine agents ceased operations when Moldova cancelled its citizenship program in September 2020. In the Caribbean, 20 agents closed: 18 in St. Kitts and Nevis and 2 in Antigua and Barbuda.

In contrast, other Caribbean countries added newly licensed agents: three agents were licensed in Dominica and another in Grenada. Vanuatu has approved licenses for four agents. There are now 91 companies working on behalf of the government.

Changes in Malta's citizenship law also had an impact: 88 agents have suspended their activities or are being re-accredited by the Community Malta Agency. The agency checks whether license applicants meet the requirements of the Maltese Citizenship Act (Cap. 188).

The number of licensed agents of citizenship-by-investment programs in the world.

Number of Agents in Citizenship by Investment Programs in the World

37 agents received a new license from Malta by March 2021. Immigrant Invest received its license from the Maltese government on February 3, 2021.

Maltese citizenship by Direct Investment: licensed agent
Immigrant Invest license from Community Malta Agency for 2021

Why is it important to contact licensed agents

The license confirms that the agent is an official representative of the citizenship program. The agent is responsible for proper paperwork and the confidentiality of the investor's information. Therefore, national governments only allow investors to obtain citizenship by investment through licensed agents.

If an investor tries to obtain citizenship by investment on their own, the government will not accept their application. Also, the application will be rejected if it is submitted by an agent without a valid license.

Errors in the paperwork can also result in a denial of citizenship. And if the investor is rejected, he will no longer be able to participate in other investment programs.

A licensed agent accompanies the investor at all stages of participation in the program:

Choosing a licensed agent
Collection of documents
Due diligence in the program department
Investment condition fulfilment
Obtaining a second passport

Choose a licensed agent. You can check an agent's license on the official websites of citizenship programs: governments publish lists of agents they work with. Agents also usually post licenses on their websites. You can check whether the license is up to date by the year it was issued.

The governments of Malta, Montenegro, the Caribbean, and Vanuatu have vetted Immigrant Invest for trustworthiness and issued licenses to agent citizenship programs.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of investment citizenship programs. This means that unpleasant surprises with intermediaries, unscrupulous agents and hidden fees are excluded for investors.

Elena Rudaya
Development Director Immigrant Invest

Collection of documents. The licensed agent's lawyers help the investor gather documents for the program and prepare them properly. Lawyers also fill out government forms. When all the documents are ready, the lawyers submit the investor's application for the program to the department.

Due Diligence. Due Diligence is the most important step in any citizenship program. It demonstrates, among other things, how responsibly the agent has prepared the investor's application. The program department verifies:

  • the identity of the investor;
  • the authenticity of the information provided;
  • the legitimacy of the sources of income and money for the investment;
  • the business reputation of
  • the investor;
  • criminal records.

The Department uses international databases, such as Interpol, Europol, FATF. If the agent does not gather an exhaustive package of documents or makes mistakes in them, the department requests additional information about the investor. And this increases the time for consideration of the application. We told you how Due Diligence is conducted.

Investment. Once the application is approved, the investor fulfils the investment conditions of the program: pays a fee, buys real estate, and opens a deposit in a local bank. Each country provides different investment options.

A licensed agent gives the investor the details to transfer payments under the program. He also accompanies real estate purchase transactions: checks the seller and the correctness of the purchase and sale agreement.

Getting a second passport. The investor can get a second passport and certificate of naturalization in person in the department of the program. But more often the department sends the documents to a licensed agent by mail. And the agent forwards the passports to the investor.

What countries grant citizenship by investment?

Foreign investors obtain second citizenship in EU, Oceania, and Caribbean states. Each program has its own conditions, features, and benefits. Immigrant Invest helps you choose a program that meets the investor's goals and objectives.

Maltese citizenship is granted by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. The applicant undergoes a strict due diligence check. First, he receives a residence permit, and after a year or three years, he applies for citizenship. The minimum investment amount is €690,000.

Caribbean citizenship is issued by the investment of $100,000 and more. Registration takes from 2 months. Investors buy real estate, contribute to a government fund, purchase government bonds, or invest in local businesses.

Citizenship of Montenegro is issued by the purchase of real estate worth from € 250,000 and a non-refundable contribution to the state fund of € 100,000. The passport is issued in a period starting from 6 months.

2021 is the last year to take part in the Montenegrin citizenship program. Then the government will close the program and offer a new one, but for highly qualified specialists.

Vanuatu citizenship is given for a non-refundable fee of $130,000 or more to the National Development Fund. Passport is issued starting from 1 month. This is the fastest investment citizenship program in the world.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent who helps you get second citizenship by investment. If you want to get a second passport, seek advice from investment program experts.

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The number of licensed agents in the world fell by 70% in six months