Without the land there is no nation.

Sero Khanzadyan

There are many countries in the world that offer fast-track citizenship options to high net worth individuals. The following states are well known for providing preferential citizenship procedures:

  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Dominica
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • St. Lucia
  • Vanuatu

All of the above are magnificent countries with sunny climate and beautiful nature, located in the most exotic corners of the world. But there are even two other EU countries, beside Bulgaria, that also offer fast-track citizenship, namely:

  • Cyprus (program was cancelled in late 2020)
  • Malta

Looking at the list above, what is the first thing that springs to mind? Obviously, all of these otherwise beautiful countries are tiny island nations, located in the warm seas. The combined population of all of the above 8 countries amounts to less than one third of the population of Bulgaria.

In the old days, small island economies were counting mostly on tourism and fruit export (olives, bananas, etc.) in order to meet their budget needs. More recently, these tiny countries started offering offshore financial services and wealth management arrangements to onshore clients. The latest trend is the investment citizenship programs, mostly provided against a non-refundable (significant) contribution to the state.

Not surprisingly, the initiatives of the island nations have never been to the liking of their older brothers – the onshore states. Globalization virtually put an end to the lucrative fruit export. The fight against tax evasion closed virtually all offshore centers. Cyprus was forced to implement a haircut on its clients’ bank deposits during its financial crisis in 2012-2013, something unseen in the civilized world, ever. The EU authorities are criticizing harshly Malta for its passport for sale program. And the list goes on.

As the title of this article suggests – Bulgaria is the only onshore nation in the world to offer “Citizenship by Investment Program”. So why is it better to get hold of a passport from a “real” landlocked state with real economy rather than an island paradise good for sun tanning and windsurfing? The main advantage is the security that the “real” country offers – political and influential in first place. But there is also a subjective point of view as well. For instance, how do you see yourself presenting your passport of Vanuatu, waiting at the Frankfurt airport passport control check point for the border clerk to find, first of all, if such country even exists?

Some may argue that there are also other onshore countries, for instance Portugal, that offer “golden visa” and other similar arrangements. Yes, there are, but these are residency arrangements – not citizenship for life, and it makes a whole lot of difference.

You may find of interest the section Bulgarian fast-track citizenship vs other countries investment citizenship programs.

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