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Citizenship by Investment in Nigeria, Canada, USA and Australia – Eligibility, Requirements & Application Steps

Introduction

A person can get a second passport and citizenship by investing money in the economy of the host country. Programs for getting citizenship by investment can do it more rapidly and legally than a country’s typical immigration laws. Direct citizenship through investment plans is offered by High net worth Immigration, along with additional investment alternatives that eventually lead to second citizenship and passport.

a) Citizenship by Investment in Nigeria

Despite the fact that other categories of citizenship are acknowledged and approved by countries all over the world, the Nigerian constitution only permits and recognizes three types of citizenship. However, Nigeria has grown to be the second-largest market in Africa for citizenship through investment after the Middle East. Many wealthy Nigerians want to secure their fortune by relocating overseas and enrolling in residence and second citizenship programs. Increasing numbers of Nigerians are leaving their country because of poverty and conflict, which is a new trend.

Citizenship by investment

Some of the key impetuses that motivate Nigerian families to apply for alternative citizenship and residence through foreign investment programs are:

1. Wealth Defense

Second citizenship is a common way for Nigerian businessmen and families to safeguard their riches and gain better access to global mobility. Many Nigerians believe that having a second passport is essential for any wealth management plan and crucial for the safety of loved ones in dangerous situations.

2. Dual Nationality

In 1999, Nigeria made dual citizenship acceptable. Nigerians are permitted to freely obtain foreign citizenship without giving up their nationality. People of Nigerian heritage are permitted to hold two nationalities under the nation-state law, either by parentage or via citizenship by birth.

3. Political turbulence

Many high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) are concerned about their families’ safety because of the political unrest. Nigeria has recently seen civic upheaval, conflicts, and violent crimes. Nigeria faces numerous security challenges. Many wealthy people are looking for ways to diversify their money holdings in order to protect themselves from additional unrest by seeking out alternate offshore citizenship or residency.

4. Schooling for kids

Wealthy Nigerian families believe that their children’s education overseas is crucial. For instance, the best educational institutions are found in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

b) Citizenship By Investment in Canada

The Canadian government offers affluent foreigners the chance to become citizens by making economic contributions to the nation. By purchasing government bonds through the investment program, interested investors can get permanent residency. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as well as federal and provincial programs, control the process for gaining citizenship by investment in Canada.

The conditions for the investor to become a Canadian citizen include;

  • Acquire a Canadian visa for permanent residence
  • Live in Canada for at least three of the past five years
  • Provision of evidence of understanding of Canadian geography, history, economics, and laws
  • Provision of language competence test in either English or French
  • Investment of CAD 1,200,000
  • Retention of investments for 5 years prior to confirmation of a minimum of CAD 2,000,000 available at your disposal.

How To Get A Canadian Citizenship Through Investment

The following steps are through which you can be granted citizenship in Canada.

Step 1 – Document preparation

The first step to starting the journey of getting Canadian citizenship through investment is to put together documents that demonstrate your entrepreneurial experience, necessary income, and financial reserves, as well as attest to your compliance with all medical requirements and payment of the application processing fee.

Step 2 – Obtain a certificate of selection

Getting official clearance (a Selection Certificate) that allows you to organize the investment is the second step toward citizenship. The Direction de l’enregistrement et de l’évaluation comparative (DEÉC) in Montreal issues the selection certificate after assessing the complete set of documentation put together in the first step.

Step 3 – Acquire a permanent residence

Your right to apply for a permanent residence permit in Canada through the Centralized Intake Office is granted by the Selection Certificate, which is verified by a due diligence check and medical examination findings. Government officials have the last say on whether to grant permanent residence. It usually takes two to three years to obtain a residency permit through investment.

Step 4 – Granting Citizenship

After five years of residing in Canada, one has the option to apply for citizenship. However, the last three years of the relevant period must be spent living in Canada. Upon acceptance, you must pass a test and an interview with a representative of Canadian Immigration as well as take an oath of allegiance.

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c) Citizenship By Investment in the USA

One of the quickest and most dependable ways for a foreign individual to become a citizen of the United States is through citizenship by investment. It necessitates obtaining an EB-5 green card, like most alternatives. People from numerous nations have benefited greatly from this category of visa ever since the green card program was established in 1990. You can get citizenship and permanent residency through the program, along with all the associated rights and benefits.

A foreign national must first apply for the investor program visa in order to become a citizen of the United States through investment. In the past, foreign investors who are prepared and able to invest $500,000 or $1 million in the American economy were given the EB-5 immigrant visa. However, starting on November 21, 2019, prospective EB-5 applicants must make an investment of at least $900,000 or $1.8 million because of the revised 2019 EB-5 Rule.

A total of 10,000 EB-5 visas are granted to applicants from various countries each year. As part of the congressional intent for the program, an EB-5 project must also generate or protect at least 10 U.S. employment in order to promote economic growth, in addition to the investment capital amount. If you are ready to follow this route to citizenship in the United States, this page provides you with a detailed overview of every step in the procedure.

Processing for Citizenship by Investment in the USA

The application for an EB-5 visa is the first stage in the process of obtaining citizenship through investment. There are various steps to the investor visa application procedure, including interviews. These are the regulations:

Step 1 – Find an EB-5 Project:

The EB-5 program offers a number of business opportunities that you can explore. Either a direct project or a regional center project may be the subject of an EB-5 investment.

Regional centres are commercial entities recognized by the US government. They offer platforms and services to assist international EB-5 investors in managing their investments. These regional hubs work in a variety of fields, such as the hotel and real estate sectors. On the other hand, a direct project is a distinct company that an EB-5 investor has established. You have the option of making a direct investment or investing in an existing regional center that operates in the industry that best suits your needs.

Once you have identified a project to engage in, you will need to actively invest your $1.8 million ($900,000) funds by making an investment or actively participating in the investment process. The place you are investing in determines whether you need the $900,000 or $1.8 million in investment capital. A minimum investment of $900,000 is required from investors whose EB-5 companies are situated in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs).

Step 2 – Submit an I-526 petition:

After deciding on a project and risking your money, you must submit an I-526 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to formally apply for an EB-5 visa. In the citizenship by investment process, this is an extremely important phase. If the form is not submitted correctly, you could face significant delays or possibly have your visa application rejected.

The petition is divided into various sections, each of which contains information about you personally, your dependent family members, and the business you have invested in. Your company strategy, evidence that your investment funding was obtained legally, and evidence that your investment funds were put at risk, as produced by an attorney, are also required. The USCIS typically needs 12 to 18 months to process an I-526 petition. You’ll get a notification from the USCIS once the application has been reviewed and granted.

Step 3 – Acquire conditional residency

You can apply for either an immigrant visa or submit for status adjustment if your I-526 is accepted. If you live outside of the United States, you must submit a DS-260 online immigrant visa application at the American embassy or consulate in your place of origin. To change from your present nonimmigrant status to an immigrant investor status if you are currently in the country, you must submit Form I-485. You will be granted conditional permanent residence for two years for you and your family after this petition is approved or when you enter the country from which you are entering.

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You must adhere to immigration regulations as well as local and state laws throughout those two years. You must also follow the physical presence requirement and refrain from breaking any other aspects of your conditional status. You are not permitted to leave the country during this time without obtaining a re-entry permit for a term longer than a year. The fact that it falls within the category of a probationary period makes the status deemed conditional.

If you have met the requirements for qualifying for the removal of conditions when the status expires, then your compliance with the investment program and with U.S. legislation will be evaluated.

Remove Restrictions and Acquire Legal Permanent Residence

You must submit an application to lift the restrictions on your green card prior to the expiration of your conditional resident status. The petition must be submitted 90 days before the expiration of your conditional green card.

One of the most carefully reviewed phases of the procedure for obtaining US citizenship by investment is the I-829, the official petition paperwork. When submitting your petition, you must include the following documentation to prove you are eligible:

  • Investments

You must provide proof that you have made the required capital investment or are actively working to do so, and that the project in which you made the investment is an authorized EB-5 enterprise. If your investment is a brand-new business, you must provide documentation demonstrating that you met all EB-5 requirements over the course of your two-year conditional permanent residency. Bank statements, invoices, receipts, company licenses, quarterly federal or state income tax statements, and federal and state income tax filings are just a few examples of the paperwork needed to show this.

  • Proof of job creation

You must provide proof that your investment has already produced 10 full-time employment for qualified workers or will do so soon. Payroll records, employee I-9 forms, and pertinent tax records are some examples of the paperwork needed for this.

  • Proof of retention of Jobs created

To demonstrate that you have maintained the number of current employees in an established firm, you must offer the same evidence for your employees. You should get a notification from the USCIS six to eight months after submitting your I-829 petition. The conditions on your residence will be lifted, and you will be awarded unconditional lawful permanent residence if your petition was properly filed and the immigration officers are confident that you meet all the requirements. To become a citizen of the United States through investment, complete this last step.

  • Application for citizenship in the United States

You are now eligible to apply for naturalization in order to acquire U.S. citizenship.

d) Citizenship By Investment in Australia

Australia is a well-regarded nation that ranks among the richest in the world. It is a developed, multicultural nation that ranks extremely high on the Human Development Index and provides its citizens with a high standard of living, economic freedom, and enough civil freedoms and political rights protection.

High net worth foreigners who invest in the state’s economy are given Australian citizenship in exchange for their contributions, provided they meet the minimum residency requirements. After 4 years of legal residency in Australia, the investor and his family are granted citizenship. Prior to filing for citizenship, one year’s worth of legal residency must be obtained. You must make an investment in one of the government-approved programs to be granted permission to remain in Australia, including the purchase of shares, business development, startup or private company funding, or charitable giving.

Government-approved options for obtaining citizenship in Australia through investment include:

1. Business Innovation stream

You as an investor must possess the following to be eligible for citizenship by investment under this stream:

  • Established a business in Australia
  • Take an active part in the business management, passing the SkillSelect test with at least 65 points and proof of business management experience with an annual turnover of AUD 500,000 during the last 2 years of your 4 years of residency.
  • Evidence of AUD 800,000 in personal assets
  • Resided in the country for 1 year in  the last two years
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2. Investor stream

The investor must possess the following to be eligible for citizenship by investment under this stream:

  • Made an investment of  AUD 1,500,000
  • Contributed to the economy of the Australian state or territory
  • Investment retention for 4 years and own personal assets ranging in size from AUD 2,250,000
  • In 4 years resided in the country for a total of 2 years
  • A permanent residence permit for the whole four years of residing in the country.

3. Significant Investor stream

The investor must possess the following to be eligible for citizenship by investment under this stream:

  • Made an investment of  at least AUD 5,000,000
  • Invested in the funding of start-ups and private companies
  • Investment retention for 4 years confirmed by the  Australian Trade and Investment Commission
  • For 4 years resided in the country at least 40 days a year
  • A permanent residence permit for the whole four years of residing in the country.

4. Premium investor stream:

To be eligible for citizenship by investment under this stream, the investor must have

  • Made an investment of  AUD 15,000,000
  • Invested in securities, private companies, real estate, philanthropic foundations
  • Investment retention during the validity of investor visa with obtained approval from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission
  • Resided in the country for 1 year
  • A permanent residence permit for the whole four years of residing in the country.

5. Entrepreneur stream

To be eligible for citizenship by investment under this stream, the investor must have

  1. Made an investment of  AUD 200,000 in a business with evidence of a business plan
  2. Knowledge of the use of innovative technologies
  3. English language proficiency
  4. In years subject to successful business development and possession of a permanent residency permit resided in the country for a total of 2 years
  5. A permanent residence permit for the whole four years of residing in the country.

How To Get An Austrian Residence Permit Through Investment

1. Select the investing strategy

After receiving an investor visa in exchange for investment, one can apply for citizenship in Australia, provided they live there for a year and have a permanent residency permit.

2. Government Policy

The Australian program stipulates that in order to make investments in the economy, you must receive permission from the administration of the state or territory you have chosen. Each candidate must pass a Department of Immigration and Border Protection Skill-Select test with a minimum score of 65 points and pass a government due diligence investigation.

3. Acquire a temporary visa

The Australian government’s invitation, which is issued following successful completion of the SkillSelect test and due diligence, serves as the foundation for permission to enter and temporarily occupy the state’s territory. Additionally, you must have health insurance coverage and complete specific questionnaires and documents in order to apply for an Australian visa.

4. Obtain residence permit

Following the issuance of a temporary visa, you must make the appropriate investment based on your choice of investment stream A temporary residency permit allows for repeated entries and has a four-year validity period. It is important to satisfy standards on performing business, length of stay in the nation, and investment preservation in order to receive a permanent residency permit.

5. Granting Citizenship

A person may apply for citizenship after living in the nation for 4 years, including the most recent 12 months with a permanent residency permit. To receive a Certificate of Citizenship and passport as an Australian citizen, each candidate must successfully complete an interview, language competency test, state history test, and take an oath of allegiance.

More than ever, wealthy people are looking into citizenship possibilities as the best way to gain access to opportunities they could never have imagined. While this article explored citizenship by investment in Nigeria, Canada, USA and Australia, subsequent articles will look at popular countries that encourage migration by providing citizenship by investment opportunities.

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