Research by Astons, the alternative residency and citizenship acquisition experts, has revealed the best nations to invest in for both citizenship and residency where the bonus of visa-free travel is concerned.
UK citizenship will grant you visa-free access to 185 other countries. However, it requires a minimum investment of £2,000,000, and you can only gain citizenship some five to six years after having residency status.
However, some other nations can open investors up to a world of visa-free travel, by merely gaining residency by investment or moving straight to citizenship by investment.
For the most abundant level of visa-free travel, Austria is the best investment option. While it can take two to three years to secure citizenship at a minimum investment of £2.7m, investors aren’t required to hold residency before gaining citizenship. Once they do hold citizenship, they can access 187 other nations completely visa-free.
Malta also makes for one of the best investment options for visa-free travel, if not better. With a minimum investment of just over £1m and investors able to gain citizenship through investment in only 14 months, the nation also provides visa-free travel to 184 other countries.
Gaining citizenship with Cyprus (174) and Bulgaria (171) also opens up a great deal of visa-free travel, while Saint Kitts and Nevis is the best Caribbean citizenship in this respect. Not only does citizenship for the Caribbean nation allow visa-free travel to 156 other countries, but it takes 53 days on average to secure and for a minimum investment of just £114,000.
While nine other nations allow for direct citizenship via investment and access to between 51-151 additional nations visa-free, the alternative is to gain residency via investment in a nation that falls within the Schengen Area.
The Schengen Area is a zone of 26 European nations that have abolished their internal borders with each other to allow for free and unrestricted movement.
By gaining residency via investment within one of these nations, it allows investors visa-free travel across 26 countries, except for Jersey (4) and Ireland (1).
Managing Director of Astons, Arthur Sarkisian said, “There are numerous reasons that someone might look to gain citizenship through investment. However, the ability to travel to over 180 countries without requiring a visa is undoubtedly up there as one of the most attractive.
“We’ve seen this ability to travel unrestricted grow in popularity over recent months for those looking to escape life and the current restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
“Of course, in normal circumstances, the primary benefit is being able to travel for business without the need to deal with the red tape of visa requirements. Unfortunately, this activity has been dampened by the current landscape.
“Regardless, visa-free travel remains a strong pull for those looking to gain citizenship through investment and depending on individual requirements there are plenty of options that can provide this benefit at a range of investment levels and timeframes.”