Family Inclusion in Citizenship by Investment Programs

Family Inclusion in Citizenship by Investment Programs
Published on: 07 September 2023

Citizenship by investment (CBI) programs have emerged over the last decade as a relatively straightforward and rapid means of obtaining a second citizenship and a second passport. These programs allow citizenship for investors who make a donation or contribution to the local economy of the relevant country. Many investors choose to invest in a CBI program because their original passport does not offer them the international mobility they seek. Obtaining dual citizenship can open up many new travel destinations, as well as business and educational opportunities to those who come from countries with weaker passports. 

Of course, many investors in CBI programs want to include their families in the application process so they may also reap the benefits of a second citizenship. For investors with children, a second passport for family immigration offers them a whole host of new international education and travel opportunities. It also sets them up for success later in life by exposing them to a larger professional network. Family members of the investor, especially young children and elderly parents, can benefit from better social services and healthcare provided by the country offering the CBI program. 

Spouses Inclusion

Fortunately for married investors, all citizenship by investment programs allow spouses to be included in their application as dependents. Including a spouse has a huge number of benefits. Obtaining second citizenship allows the spouse to travel with their spouse or alone for tourism and business purposes, enjoying a wider variety of holiday destinations. It also provides them with access to better healthcare, social benefits, and educational opportunities if applicable. 

If the spouse has a business or wants to expand their professional network, obtaining a second citizenship through a CBI program can immediately open new doors. It can also provide safety for spouses who face any discrimination or issues in their home country. They can seek a better, healthier lifestyle abroad in their new country of residence. 

Some programs, like that offered by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, allow the main applicant to include a future spouse later on, if they marry after obtaining citizenship. Investors should be sure to identify which program suits them and their partner best before submitting their application. 

Children Inclusion

Of course, investors with children are likely to only sign up if their children can be included. That’s why all CBI programs allow investors to include their children in their applications. Most programs will accept dependents who are biological or legally adopted children of the main applicant. However, there are some variations to the inclusion regulations for children that applicants should be aware of. For example, children above 30 are not allowed as dependents under any program, but there are other age limits that differ from country to country.  

Each program has its own approach when it comes to child dependents for CBI programs. Due to the differences in what constitutes an eligible child under each CBI program, it’s important for applicants to check the regulations before selecting their preferred program. The decision about the best program will depend on the number of children an investor has, their ages, and what they plan to do after receiving their second citizenship. 

By including them as dependents in their application, investors can offer their children a whole new world of educational and professional opportunities they would not have with their original citizenship. They can apply to a greater number of universities and jobs, while also having access to better healthcare and more dynamic communities. Eventually, they can also choose to travel, which opens up new networks and connections. Investors may be motivated by other concerns to obtain a second passport for family members, including being able to visit family or return to countries that are meaningful to the family but were limited due to political instability. 

Other Family Member Inclusion 

Other categories of family citizenship by investment are available, particularly for siblings, parents, and grandparents of the main applicant. Most programs will stipulate specific regulations for each type of dependent.

Some programs, including that in St. Lucia, allow the main applicant to include their siblings as long as they are unmarried and childless. Such programs will stipulate an age limit for siblings that are considered eligible dependents, while some programs, like those offered by Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis, do not allow siblings to be listed as dependents at all. 

Parents (and sometimes grandparents) are typically allowed to be included in the application but, again, applicants must be sure to check the age requirements. Some CBI programs allow for parents above 55, while others insist they be above 65. In most cases, the siblings, parents, and grandparents should be fully supported by the main applicant.  

Depending on the program the main applicant selects based on their unique family structure, they can benefit from knowing their family members are in good hands. For elderly parents and grandparents, this can be a huge relief, as they can gain access to better care and community support. For unmarried siblings, it can also be a means of obtaining more freedom and being able to travel and explore new international destinations. With a CBI program, they can rest assured they have access to top-quality healthcare or a second passport that allows them to travel to a place that does. 

family traveling

How to Include Family Members 

Including family members in a citizenship by investment application is very straightforward and all programs will have the information readily available. Main applicants should start by ensuring the dependents they want to include meet the eligibility criteria. As stated above, each program specifies different age limits and categories of dependents that are considered eligible for citizenship by investment. 

Family members who are listed as dependents must be carefully documented. Just like the main applicant, dependents must submit their passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate (for spouses), and any other relevant documents to prove their relationship to the investor. 

They will also need to undergo due diligence, a kind of specialized background check to make sure they have clean criminal records and longstanding financial stability. Typically, programs require fees for each added dependent, so it’s important to include those costs in any calculations for the application process. 

Finally, adding dependent family members may increase the processing times for the applications. While they usually take the same amount of time as the main applicant, it’s important to factor in any added complexity that might make the application take longer. 

Hopefully, once everything is processed and paid for, the main applicant’s family will receive their second citizenship and passports so they can enjoy the benefits of the CBI program together.  

Factors to Consider

With any major investment, which a CBI program certainly is, there are many factors to consider. The main applicant and their family members should consider the increased costs associated with adding dependents to an application. With each family member, there can be fees for the applications, due diligence, processing, and passports. Applicants should ensure they can meet those financial obligations. 

Additionally, they should consider the impact that second citizenship will have on their taxes and shared bank accounts. Each country offering a CBI program will differ when it comes to tax obligations. Adding many dependents to a CBI application might incur unexpectedly high taxes for the family. 

Of course, each family member must meet the eligibility requirements, so this should be determined first before any steps are taken. Family members that don’t meet the criteria will not be accepted as citizens, which could jeopardize the main applicant’s chances as well. 

Considering all the above factors and planning ahead will make a huge difference when applying for a CBI program for family immigration. Second citizenship is a gift that many investors want to give to their loved ones, but they should be sure to consider all regulations and program-specific criteria before they proceed. If successful, however, they would be giving their children, parents, or other family members the opportunities of a lifetime for tourism, business, and educational opportunities. Not to mention a better quality of life and access to a world of new international discoveries. 

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