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Move to a new country: Citizenship by descent vs citizenship by investment

2/15/2024 8:00:00 AM
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Those who have an immigration lawyer consultation business probably get several inquiries about citizenship by descent and our readers at Mundo are used to asking about this topic as well. Many want to move to a new country for different reasons, but the main one is accessing new opportunities and a better quality of life.

When one asks how to apply for citizenship, different approaches can usually be found in every country and one of them is citizenship by descent. In this article, we compare these types of programs with one of Mundo’s favorite topics: citizenship by investment. 

Visa services: family tree or investments?

Through citizenship by descent, applicants can claim citizenship if their ancestors were nationals of the country in question. This is very easily found in former colonies or places that have received large amounts of immigrants historically.

Thus, it’s possible to access citizenship as long as the applicant proves this relation which takes no less than extensive research, thorough document collection, and bureaucratic processes. 

Due to this alternative, many are considering this option when wondering how to apply for citizenship in a certain country or how to become an Italian citizen. For the same reason, many New Zealanders, Australians, Canadians, and Americans are digging up their family trees to find any connection that might help them move to a new country legally.

Citizenship by investment, on the other hand, is a path that allows a person to become eligible by making a financial contribution which can be a donation or an investment. 

Visa services: citizenship by descent has its secrets 

A visa application that involves citizenship by descent demands a strict and lengthy process. Conducting research is vital and sometimes finding an ancestor with the citizenship in question is not enough. 

Timing is everything. The way to interpret whether a person was a citizen at the time of the person’s birth is through what is known as jus sanguinis. There was a time in which some countries like the United States did not allow for multiple citizenship. Hence, the key is to find out whether the ancestor had already relinquished his/her jus sanguinis right before the person’s birth.

Nonetheless, the child that is born from foreign parents automatically becomes a citizen of the country where they are born through citizenship by soil (jus soli). When it comes to the parents’ or grandparents’ motherland, they maintain their jus sanguinis right, hence, they receive the right to become citizens rather than citizenship per se. In some cases, depending on the laws of the country of origin, such rights can be passed on through generations. 

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Other factors can be determinant when it comes to “how to get citizenship” and claiming the nationality of ancestors. For example, if a child of immigrants becomes a citizen of the new country by naturalization, his or her descendants won’t be eligible through jus sanguinis as the naturalization was derived from the parents’ decision. 

Another difficult factor when it comes to citizenship by descent is that it requires the help of government entities. Going through the country’s old records is necessary and the complications that arise don’t need any further explanation. Moreover, the documents must be official, reliable, and must be in the right conditions to be accepted by international authorities. 

Visa application: citizenship by investment as a lifesaver 

How to get Italian citizenship? How to become an Italian citizen so that you can move to another country? How to get a new nationality?

In 1984, the jurisdiction of Saint Kitts and Nevis created the first citizenship-by-investment program, which is still in force today. Last year, the country’s CBI unit announced some important changes and updates. All in all, the creation of this program was a game changer for those wondering “how to apply for citizenship” or “how to present a visa application to become a citizen”. Actually, these types of programs have some detractors who say that these governments sell their passports, but this is far from the truth.

Such programs offer the right to citizenship (not citizenship) in exchange for a financial contribution. In other words, the contribution allows you to present your visa application without going through the bureaucratic nightmare that citizenship by descent entails. Thus, after making the contribution, the applicant and the dependents go through a due diligence process and background check to prove that they are people of good character. In many cases, the program requires an interview with the potential citizens. 

It's worth noting that the types of contributions are generally of three kinds: government donation, real estate investment, and other types of investments like government bonds. From the Caribbean programs, Grenada in particular presents outstanding real estate development options. 

How to apply for citizenship: descent vs investment 

Needless to say, the citizenship by descent process is much longer and more complicated than its alternative. The nuances and the level of detail required in the process is an important factor to consider. Digging into old government files can be a headache for many, but it’s key to proving the ancestor’s nationality or right to nationality. Nonetheless, this can be an excellent option for those wondering how to get Italian citizenship, or who want to get a second citizenship without throwing in an important amount of money which in no case is lower than 100,000 dollars.

Moreover, for those that already have a clear view of their ancestor’s status, the process might go much more smoothly. 

Disclaimer: this article’s purpose is to provide general information on how to get citizenship or how to approach a visa application. The reader should be aware that this article does not constitute migration or financial advice. 

Visa services and citizenship application through Mundo 

The Mundo team is in contact with advisors, agents, and professionals from different countries and we can help you get citizenship by investment in any of the five Caribbean programs or Vanuatu. Our Panama residency options might just do the trick if what you need is a quick relocation place. Furthermore, in Panama, you can become a citizen after living here legally for 5 years (with permanent residency).

Get in touch with us and find out how we can help you solve the challenges that the modern world throws at nomad capitalists, perpetual travelers, and international investors.

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