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Citizenship application processing time

Citizenship application processing times.

February 2021: How long does it take to process an investment citizenship application?

Answer: Of the various citizenship by investment programs in Europe, the two top contenders for fastest application processing include Bulgaria and Malta. In the Americas, the fastest options are the programs offered by the Caribbean nations.

For example, the application processing time to receive citizenship of Bulgaria is currently five years under the standard processing rules, but can be significantly shortened to only 18 months if the “fast track option” is chosen.

However, accelerating the process comes at a price; whereas standard processing requires a government bond investment of EUR 512,000 (plus fees), fast track processing rings up at EUR 1,024,000. For investors who don't want to lock up this amount in a Bulgarian government bond, the fast track program offers a (non-refundable) financing option.

Comparable to Bulgaria, and possibly even a little bit faster than Bulgaria's fast track option, is the new Malta "Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment" regulation, launched in late 2020.  The regulation leads to Malta residency and Malta citizenship / Malta passport, and is available to qualified investors at EUR 600,000 (36 months residency option) or EUR 750,000 (12 months residency option) plus legal and application fees, a philanthropic donation, and a property lease or rental.

Standard processing for Malta residency (Step 1) is about 15 working days. The application for citizenship (Step 2) may be filed after 12 or 36 months in residency status depending on the investment option chosen.

The citizenship by investment (CBI) program of Cyprus was discontinued in late 2020 until further notice.

Other EU countries, such as Greece, Portugal, and Spain, require an applicant to remain in permanent resident status for several years (currently seven years in Greece, five years in Portugal, and ten years in Spain), before citizenship may be applied for – without guarantee for approvals after waiting all this time.

In the Caribbean, programs offered by Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia can result in citizenship in as little three to four months, with St. Kitts & Nevis slightly faster at two to three months.

The United States is severely backlogged which means EB-5 applications can take between one to two years to process. Then, after two years in "conditional green card" status, the applicant may obtain a "permanent green card". After five years in permanent green card status, or eight to nine years from EB-5 application start, the investor may file for citizenship.

Because immigration by investment programs can change over time please contact us to speak with an advisor or to receive a preliminary quotation. The information provided in this blog post is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or financial advice.

Click here for the Malta citizenship by investment program. Click here for the Malta residency programs.

To start the application process online please register here.

For a detailed cost estimate or to schedule a confidential consultation please use our contact form.

Zenturo Ltd.

Residency & Citizenship by Investment Programs Worldwide

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