Choosing the Best Programme for You: The CBI Index

By CBI Index Research Team

In response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, global political figures, as well as leaders of industry, have responded by increasing their investment in renewable energy. What these figures clearly recognise is that, in our times, investment is about preparing for the future.

Like an investment in sustainability, investment in citizenship opens doors not just in the short-term, but for the future. On an individual level, gaining a new citizenship immediately unlocks a range of possibilities: from accessing new markets overseas to diversify wealth, to gaining independence from political and economic instability. And, while these opportunities may not be immediately necessary, they are available for the future – both for the applicant and for his or her descendants. Investment in a citizenship programme also has consequences for the countries where an investment is made. It supports the communities and enterprises of those nations, changing lives in the present, as well as for future generations.

In terms of the economic citizenship industry, where does one start with making such significant investment decisions? Worldwide, there are 12 CBI programmes on offer. These include St Kitts and Nevis, Austria, Dominica, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Comoros, Antigua and Barbuda, Cambodia, Grenada, Malta, Vanuatu, and Saint Lucia. Given the wide range of CBI offerings available, it can be a daunting task to sort through the various investment options to determine which programme is best suited to one’s aspirations and needs.

From this challenge arose the CBI Index – the world’s first and most comprehensive guide to the economic citizenship industry. A product of Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management and the brainchild of UK researcher James McKay, the CBI Index was developed to help investors make informed decisions about which programmes could offer them the best opportunities. Published in their “Guide to Global Citizenship,” the CBI Index ranks all the available CBI programmes – aiming to present accurate and objective information on each programme, while highlighting how each programme measures up against its competitors. The CBI Index will be published annually, ensuring that the legal frameworks and socioeconomic factors which impact on the desirability of each programme remain up to date.

How Does it Work?

The CBI Index works by ranking the 12 CBI programmes along “seven pillars.” These pillars represent the variables involved in CBI programmes, as well as the major concerns of applicants who are looking to invest in citizenship. They range from an assessment of the ease, speed, and integrity of the application process to broader concerns about the country itself and the value of its citizenship.

Not only is it useful to see how the various programmes rank against each other, but the CBI Index also highlights important issues that applicants may want to consider when they embark on choosing a particular programme or country. For instance, how extensive is the investment outlay one wants to make? Where Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Comoros offer very competitive CBI programmes, Austria and Cyprus require a far larger capital investment. But money is not the only investment involved in such a procedure. How long does the application process take? And how will the application affect where one resides and where one could travel to once citizenship has been awarded?

The Index breaks these elements down and presents them in a clear and comprehensive format, encouraging readers to make comparisons between the different programmes and the citizenships they offer.

Findings of the CBI Index

Overall, the CBI Index ranks the Caribbean programmes as performing incredibly well, with Dominica scoring most highly among the seven measured variables, followed by St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia.

What the Caribbean programmes all appear to have in common is strong performance in terms of the ease with which applications are processed and the flexibility they offer applicants in terms of residence and travel requirements – which they have all done away with completely except for Antigua and Barbuda.

Dominica, coming out on top, performed especially well in terms of the speed with which CBI applications are processed and the affordability of its programme, confirming Dominica’s popularity in the citizenship market. Dominica was also remarkable in its due diligence achievements, which underscore the nation’s commitment to thoroughly checking applicant histories and sources of funds. St Kitts and Nevis and Malta were also at the top of the due diligence pillar for their exemplary vetting procedures.

Austria, Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria, the countries requiring the largest capital outlay for attaining citizenship, are however the best scorers in terms of the standard of living they offer their citizens and the strength of their passports. The Caribbean nations are ranked very highly too, with St Kitts and Nevis, for instance, offering visa-free travel or visas-on-arrival to most of Europe and other key financial centres. It is countries like Comoros, Cambodia, and Vanuatu that score lowest in these two categories.

The Overall Value of the CBI Index

The CBI Index provides prospective CBI applicants with a clear platform from which to choose the CBI programme that best suits their particular needs. For one applicant, say, a businessperson looking to embark on an international tour to promote his services, the decision may turn on how quickly citizenship can be processed. For another, such as a mother with young children, standard of living may be more important. But for all, one thing will be foremost in their mind: what citizenship by investment option will help me now, and in the future? As with any investment, assessing the suitability of a particular investment, along with its potential returns, is the greatest determinant of its future value.

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