The Russia-Ukraine war has ostensibly created a new existential risk to citizenship by investment programs (CBI). Case in point would be that all of the Caribbean countries (with the exception of Grenada) immediately banned Russians from their citizenship programs right after Russia invaded Ukraine.
However, up until the war started, Russians had received a warm welcome from the world’s most coveted citizenship and residency programs especially in the United Kingdom and the European Union. This dramatically changed overnight!
Update: Unfortunately, as of March 31, 2023 Grenada followed suit and officially blocked all Russians from their CBI program. Although Grenada’s US E-2 county status remains in place, but with a new 3 year residency requirement.
Russians have now been discriminately blocked from every Caribbean citizenship program. At the time of writing, the only CBI options still available to Russian nationals are Turkey and Vanuatu.
For now, Vanuatu is holding strong, although Turkey is facing a pivotal election very soon that could put their citizenship program at the vanguard of the West’s anti Russia crusade (led by the US).
So it begs the question, how can the US government have such a huge influence over another sovereign country’s internal affairs?
The Risk to Citizenship by Investment is Temporary
In the Caribbean, the strong influence of the US is enforced using simple economics. The Caribbean CBI counties need the USD revenues that US tourists bring in. The steady inflows enable them to keep their local currency, the East Caribbean Dollar, safely pegged to the USD.
Why do they need a USD peg? This keeps local living expenses in check. Since everything must be imported into the Caribbean islands, cost of living is already very high. Add to that the burden of keeping up with US monetary policy e.g. high interest rates.
Most of their local government, corporate and private debt is also denominated in USD, this can be back breaking if your local currency is rapidly depreciating. The USD peg is indeed essential for economic stability.
Note that USD is still the global reserve currency, so all commodity imports must be paid for in USD. Even if the days of USD hegemony are numbered, it will not disappear fast enough. Till then, Caribbean CBI countries will not have enough fire power to bring any disputes against their big powerful neighbor.
Furthermore, Caribbean citizenship must be paid for in USD. Unlike Vanuatu and Turkey who accept other currencies for payment. Unfortunately, for now the USD still reigns supreme in the Eastern Caribbean. However, the power of the US government is not sustainable.
The Risk to CBI is only for New Applicants, not Existing Citizens
Since USD hegemony is the only real risk posed to citizenship by investment programs by the US government, the risk is only limited to new applicants. This is because once you have citizenship, there is not much the US can do about it.
That would also explain why Vanuatu and Turkey can stand in defiance of the US government’s anti Russia crusade while the Caribbean countries need to toe the line, or so it would seem.
How Does CBI Provide Security for New Citizens?
CBI applicants are unequivocally protected by the country’s constitution and courts. Rest assured, ironclad constitutional protection is provided for by nearly all of the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs. The sole exception being the St Lucia CBI.
We take the subject of constitutional protection very seriously. As a result, our research into the constitutions of the Caribbean CBI countries has been well documented here on this website. In addition, we practice what we preach.
First, proper due diligence is essential for the government to weed out undesirable applicants in advance. Otherwise, once citizenship is awarded under the program, it is practically irreversible unless the applicant committed fraud during the application process.
The Mehul Choksi debacle in Antigua and Barbuda is a testament to the effectiveness of strong constitutional protection. Although his citizenship was granted under CBI, he is still safe and sound.
This is despite the intense pressure projected from a geopolitical powerhouse such as India against tiny Antigua and Barbuda to revoke Mr. Choksi’s citizenship and extradite him back to India. Nonetheless, their endeavors have been impotent against the local courts and constitution which protect the rights of every citizen, including citizenship granted by way of investment.
Rest assured, the protection provided to CBI applicants is essentially the same as if you were born in the country. There is nothing to fear from a country such as the US. Your freedom, your assets and your family are protected under the local constitution just the same.
What is the Real Risk to Citizenship by Investment (if any)?
The USD hegemony of the US is a hindrance for CBI although it is not an existential risk. Note that all of the CBI countries in the Caribbean plus Vanuatu are members of the British Commonwealth. As a result, it is the United Kingdom, not the US government, which would have potentially more influence. However, it goes both ways.
As former colonies of the UK, Commonwealth countries hold significant political leverage. It is no longer one sided as it was in the darkness of the colonial past. Since independence, their relationship with the UK government has become mutually beneficial.
For example, those holding Commonwealth passports from the CBI programs all enjoy 6 months visa free travel to the UK. In return, a lot of investment is sent to the UK through wealthy CBI applicants. Funds also come to the UK through offshore companies and trusts which are registered in these same Commonwealth countries.
The world is becoming increasingly aware of the run away fiscal deficits and trade imbalances in the US. Central banks are no longer so eager to prop up the USD by holding it as the mainstay of their currency reserves. The hegemony of the USD will fade.
So the risk posed to citizenship by investment by the US government is mostly illusory. Even if the US government was once a threat, their unilateral influence is now fading fast.
Prospective applicants should have faith in their future as global citizens. The US government will soon fall into a black hole and choke on its own debt, but the future for CBI applicants remains bright.
Trust iGlobal to Acquire Low Risk Citizenship by Investment
My partners and I have 35+ years of experience working with the Caribbean CBI programs plus Vanuatu and Turkey. As a result, we are closely integrated with the local property developers, government agencies and local citizens.
Rest assured when you acquire second citizenship through our agency it is with your security and future in mind. Essentially, we have walked in your shoes. The longevity and utility of lifetime citizenship from CBI is indefinite. It can then be passed on to your future generations.
Furthermore, the political neutrality inherent in the citizenship by investment programs is a valuable asset to have in these uncertain times. Time is of the essence, these programs can change at any time. You must act now to secure your future.