The Hindu explains: Citizenship by investment

Mehul Choksi. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

A week before the CBI filed charges against fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi, he took the oath of allegiance as a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, a Caribbean island nation. Here is how this works.

What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by Investment or Economic Citizenship is a scheme by which a person becomes a naturalised citizen of another country by investing in that country.

While many countries, including India, offer permanent residency status after a significant contribution to the economy and proof of residency in that country for a number of years, some Caribbean nations, such as Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Grenada only require a certain sum of money.

Where did it begin?

The concept of gaining citizenships without residing in a country began in St. Kitts and Nevis. A year after the island nation gained its freedom from the United Kingdom, in 1984, St. Kitts and Nevis began its Citizenship By Investment programme. For $150,000 (₹1.02 crore approximately), a family of four can buy citizenship. The St. Kitts passport affords its citizens visa-free travel to over 130 countries.

In Antigua, it costs $100,000 for a passport, and Dominica and Grenada require $200,000.

Don't other countries have it too?

Yes, but there is a minimum residency period involved. The U.S. has a EB-5 Investor visa programme which requires $1 million, a legitimate business in the U.S., and a Green Card.

The Caribbean nations mentioned above, and certain European countries like Malta and Cyprus, have either very little or no residency requirements.

How do people who have been charged with crimes get citizenship in another country?

In most cases, people gain citizenship before they are charged with crimes. Mehul Choksi applied for Antiguan citizenship in November 2017, and took the oath of allegiance on January 15, 2018. The CBI filed a case against him only after this.

Winsome Group’s Jatin Mehta became a St. Kitts and Nevis citizen in 2013, while the CBI filed a charge sheet against him on June 28, 2018.

Has Mehul Choksi given up his Indian passport? Is this allowed?

India does not allow dual citizenship. It is as yet unclear if Mehul Choksi has given up his Indian passport. Generally, one has to relinquish Indian citizenship if one takes up another country’s citizenship.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 1:28:29 AM |

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