Types of Investment Migration Programs

Sumit Singh
5 min readJun 29, 2023

Investor Immigration Programs or IIP, allow investors to obtain permanent residency or citizenship in a country in exchange for investment in the country. These programs allow individuals and family members to quickly obtain a residency or citizenship of a country by making qualifying investments. These programs have become increasingly popular around the globe. However, there are various kinds of investor immigration programs such as Residency by Investment, Citizenship by Investment, Golden Visa Programs, Active Investor Visas etc. and many more. Each program has its own specific set of rules and regulations, benefits, requirements etc. So in today’s blog, we will take a closer look at the different types of Investor Immigration Programs that exist in today’s times.

These programs are designed to attract wealthy individuals and their investments to a country, in exchange for the benefits of citizenship or residency. The specific benefits and requirements of these programs can vary widely between countries. These investors are required to make substantial investments in the country which can include investments in Real Estate, Government Bonds, Startups, Funds, Bank transfers or other approved assets. The investment amount depends on the country they choose to go which can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars.

Investors are granted citizenship or permanent residency in the country in exchange for investments they make. This can provide a wide range of benefits such as visa-free travel to countries, health and education benefits, live and work anywhere in the country and many such things. Nowadays Investor Immigration Programs, are becoming more popular all over the world as countries look to attract the investments to grow their economy.

Now, let’s look at different types of programs in detail:

1)Residency By Investment: Residency by Investment allows foreign investors to obtain permanent residence in a specific country by making a significant investment. Permanent residency is a status that allows the applicant to legally reside in the country without being a citizen of the host country. Permanent residents are entitled to work, live, and study in the country with access to healthcare and education systems. In order to be eligible for PR in any country, individuals must meet certain criteria such as meeting the investment requirements, staying for the minimum number of days/months per year, clean criminal background etc. PR status can also lead to citizenship by naturalization if the individual wants to be provided that they stay in the country for a minimum number of years.

Residency by Investment is also known as a “Golden Visa Program”. These programs offer Residence Permits within a few months in exchange for passive investments in the country with no or fewer physical requirements. Numerous countries offer these programs such as:

  • United States EB-5 Program
  • Portugal Golden Visa Program
  • UAE Golden Visa Program
  • Hungary Golden Visa Program
  • Greece Golden Visa Program
  • Malta Permanent Residency Program

2) Citizenship by Investment: Citizenship by Investment simply means obtaining a second passport and second citizenship by investing in the economy of the country. Citizenship by Investment legally offers faster citizenship status faster than any other immigration process.

Citizenship grants an individual the right to vote, serve in the army, and get a passport. These benefits are not given to Permanent Residents. Countries which offer these programs are:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Turkey
  • Malta
  • Jordan

3) Active Investor Visa: Active Investor Visa are visas that offer residence permits within a few months to those who want to start/run a business and can physically relocate to the country. These programs are typically offered by countries that are looking to grow their start-up ecosystem. Start-up and Entrepreneurship mindset people fall under this category.

In order to qualify for these programs one must have a viable and innovative business plan and take support from Designated Organisations or get endorsed by Endorsing Bodies. Some of the countries which offer these programs are:

  • Canada Start-Up Visa
  • UK Innovator Visa
  • Portugal HQA Visa
  • Germany Self Employment visa
  • United States E-2 Visa

4) Independent Means Visa: Independent Means Visa, also known as Wealth Visa offers residence permits to individuals with significant financial means to live and work in a foreign country. This visa is typically offered by countries to attract wealthy individuals and their investments to stimulate economies.

The individual must demonstrate a significant level of personal wealth, usually, through a combination of income and assets. This can include investments, real estate ownership, bank accounts etc. Some of the countries which offer this kind of program are:

  • Portugal’s D7 Visa
  • Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa
  • Austria’s Independent Means Visa
  • Uruguay’s Independent Means Visa etc.

5) Citizenship by Descent: Citizenship by descent is a process by which an individual can obtain citizenship in a country based on their ancestry. If an individual has a parent or grandparent who is a citizen of a particular country, they are eligible for citizenship.

Each country has its own specific requirements for citizenship by descent. But an individual must be able to prove a direct link to a citizen of that country. Once an individual has proven their eligibility for citizenship by descent they are required to go through a formal application process. Some of the countries which offer this kind of program are:

  • Italian Citizenship by Descent
  • Hungarian Citizenship by Descent
  • Latvian Citizenship by Descent
  • Mexican Citizenship by Descent etc.

Why do people look out for this kind of program:

Individuals may be interested in these programs for a variety of reasons from personal security to global mobility to a child’s education and many such things. Let’s look at these in detail:

  1. Education: Investors may be interested in obtaining residency in a country with a strong education system such the US, UK, Canada etc. in order to provide their children with better educational opportunities.
  2. Business Opportunities: Investors may be interested in starting a business or investing in a business in the country so that they get global exposure and travel freely.
  3. Global Mobility: Investors may be interested in obtaining a residency or citizenship in a country in order to gain greater flexibility and freedom in terms of where they can live, work and travel. This can help investors seek greater global mobility and flexibility in their personal and professional lives.
  4. Personal Security: Investors may be seeking residency or citizenship in a country with a stable political and environmental environment which can provide greater security for their family and their investments. Investors and their families can’t afford to lose out on this kind of security.
  5. Diversification of their investments: Diversification of their assets and investments can potentially reduce the risk of political or economic risk in their home country whereas they can get better returns by investing in assets of the country they wish to take residency or investment.
  6. Tax Benefits: There are numerous tax benefits for foreign investors to manage their wealth more effectively who obtain residency or citizenship.

There are too many ways to get a second residency or citizenship but one of the fastest ways is by Investment. Second Residency and Citizenship are becoming an extremely popular option for HNWIs these days. Each Individual has their own specific reasons to choose a particular country similarly every country has their own specific requirements, rules and regulations and benefits. It is advisable and important to research everything right from requirements, benefits and risks associated with the program and consult a financial advisor before making any decision.

Sumit Singh (sumit@sumit-singh.com) is an Associate Member of Investment Migration Council and Advisor with Arton Capital

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Sumit Singh

Expert in Investment Migration Programs | Advisor with Arton Capital, Dubai | Associate Member of Investment Migration Council (IMC) | SEBI Registered Advisor