Between 2011 and 2018, the number of citizenship by investment programs (CIP) worldwide grew from two to twelve, and annual investments in CIP increased from US$43 million to US$3 billion in the same period. The international demand for such programs is soaring, and the CIP industry has doubled since 2017, worth $5 billion today.

European citizenship is particularly attractive, offering free settlement and movement in any EU country, where 512 million people are based. However, a second EU passport is expensive. With more choice today than ever before, subject to how much time and money you’re willing to spend, European Business Magazine looks at the newest options available to ensure full consideration and preparation.

Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Portugal and Latvia are amongst the main CIP options available in Europe, with Cyprus topping the list, offering a CIP whose passport power increased during 2019, according to the latest Passport Index. Looking ahead, with demand continuously growing due to benefits such as global mobility, flexibility and access to private clients, where are the new, most promising programs based in 2020?  

Moldova launched its own CIP in 2018 and Montenegro is also home to a brand-new offering. Moldova, located in the north-eastern corner of the Balkan region of Europe, entered into an association agreement with the EU, and is aiming to become a candidate country for EU membership shortly. Its passport currently affords visa-free travel to 122 countries, including Europe, Russia and Malaysia. 

Benefits include citizenship for life, a low cost of living and no interview or residency requirements, and Moldova offers foreign companies and individuals an attractive climate in which to do business, ranking 47th out of 190 countries in the Doing Business 2019 classification.  A minimum non-refundable contribution to the Public Investment Fund ranges from €100,000 for a single applicant to €155,000 for a family of five or more, making it the cheapest citizenship in the EU, that simultaneously offers a fast, clear road to a valuable second citizenship. 

Alternatively, located in south-eastern Europe, Montenegro is one to watch. It’s CIP opened last year, setting it alongside 13 other European countries. It offers high-net-worth investors substantial opportunities in a booming regional market, a powerful passport and visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area. 

Montenegro, a NATO member since 2017 and a future EU candidate country, is offering an exciting, new program. Classified as one of the fastest growing Balkan economies by the World Bank, the economic growth rates in 2017 and 2018 were 4.7% and 4.9% respectively. This multinational and multilingual European community enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful scenery, and a low cost of living. 

Potential candidates donate €100,000 for development of poor communities and invest either €250,000 into development projects in northern and central Montenegro or €450,000 into projects in the capital Podgorica or along the coastline. In return for concrete investment in the development of the country, the CIP offers investors a Montenegrin passport, with all the advantages of residence and onward travel. 

Getting a second passport could be one of the best investments you’ll ever make