There are a number of citizenship by investment programmes available from several countries including eventual right to qualify through the Golden Visa programme in Spain.
Historically, certain Caribbean countries such as St. Kitts and Dominica offered a second passport through citizenship investment. The passport allowed residency although most holders never visited the countries and used their citizenship for ease of access when travelling.
In recent years these programmes have expanded as governments see the potential for raising funds and encouraging the right sort of investment from High Net Worth Individuals. Several European countries in particular have launched their own programmes.
Greece offers the lowest cost investment route to gaining citizenship in Europe through real estate investment. Currently €250,000 invested in property in Greece will gain the investor and his/her family full residency. Citizenship is possible after living in the country for 7 years although a command of the language is required.
The Spanish golden visa programme has been in operation since September 2013 and offers investors residency should they invest a minimum of €500,000 in real estate. The process is quick, once the property is acquired. There is no need to live in Spain in order to retain the residency option. Permanent residency can be applied for after living in Spain for 5 years and citizenship can be applied for after 10 years.
The most popular real estate investment programme in Europe is that of Portugal. Similar to Spain it offers residency to those investing €500,000 in real estate. Again there is no need to live in the country but a key benefit is the ability to gain citizenship after six years without living in the country.
Cyprus is the only country in Europe that offers citizenship through investment in real estate, guaranteed within a short period of time. The investment level is €2,5 million, however investors and their families can gain European passports in 2-3 months.