17 Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship for Wealthy Filipinos

Last Updated – Dec 14, 2022 @ 6:17 pm

Being a Filipino citizen sure has its perks – you can own a property in the country, bask in warm weather all year round, and enjoy over 7,000 majestic islands.

Unfortunately, having a Philippine passport isn’t the best thing if you love traveling. Currently, it is only ranked 80th most powerful passport in the world, according to the Henley Passport Index. Because of this, many people are considering getting citizenship from other countries.

Related: 78 Visa-Free Countries for Philippine Passport Holders

Apart from traveling, becoming a dual citizen also makes sense from an economic perspective, especially if you want to diversify your assets abroad, live a tax-optimized life, and grow your wealth.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is for individuals who have a high net worth to get citizenship from other countries, especially through Golden Visa.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what Golden Visa is as well as its requirements, the types of citizenship you can obtain from different countries, the advantages of getting a second citizenship, and the easiest countries to get a citizenship.

What is a Golden Visa?

This type of visa refers to an immigration program that allows high net worth individuals to get a citizenship or resident’s permit in another country by buying a property or making a huge donation or investment.

To get a golden visa, your investment options typically range from $250,000 USD to millions, depending on the country of your choice.

When you invest the required amount for a Golden Visa, you and your family can become legal residents of your country of choice. This means you can go to school there, get access to its healthcare, and even live in the area. You’ll basically enjoy all the benefits of citizens there.

Because the money involved in obtaining a Golden Visa is extremely expensive, many individuals hire experts and assistants to help them through the process. 


Golden Visa Requirement

At its core, Golden Visa is an initiative to motivate foreign individuals to invest in a certain country. Before you can get all the benefits from this residency by investment scheme, you need to know its requirements. It includes:

  • You must personally own the money you’ll use for the investment
  • You must be able to prove that you got your money legally
  • You must have enough financial resources to sustain your life in the country of your choice, as well as the lives of family members who are coming with you, even if you don’t intend to live there
  • You must maintain your investment for a required amount of time
  • You must have a clear criminal background

Keep in mind that these are only the general requirements. You may need to take care of additional requirements depending on your country of choice.


How Long Is a Golden Visa Valid For?

This depends on the country that issued it. Usually, the validity of Golden Visas ranges from one to two years, but you can renew it indefinitely.

If you want to reside in the country that issued your golden visa, you’ll become eligible for citizenship after five to 10 years.


Types of Citizenship

Not all citizenships are the same. Here are the different types of citizenship you can apply for. 

Citizenship by Investment

There are countries that offer citizenship for individuals who are able to make a sizable financial contribution to their economy.

The amount varies depending on the type of investments, as well as the maximum applicants permitted by countries.

Citizenship by Birthplace

To get this citizenship, you need to be born in the country where you want to be a citizen. You can get Citizenship by birthplace even if your parents aren’t citizens of that country.

Canada and Brazil are some examples of countries that grant Citizenship by birthplace.

Citizenship by Descent

If at least one of your parents is a citizen from that country or born there, then you can get this type of citizenship. This is also applicable if your ancestors are citizens of that country.

Citizenship through Naturalization

You may also apply for this type of citizenship, but you need to fulfill certain qualifications or requirements. After you have satisfied these conditions, you will be granted citizenship.


Benefits of Getting a Second Citizenship

There’s no doubt that getting a second citizenship is a tedious process. But more often than not, it’s worth the trouble and the hefty price tag.

Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy when you get a second citizenship.

It will be more hassle-free to travel

Traveling is the best way to immerse yourself in culture and expand your knowledge about the world. With a second citizenship, you’ll get a passport that will allow you to travel to more countries without going through the hassle of applying and paying for a visa.

As of December 2022, individuals who own a Philippine passport can travel visa-free to 33 countries, and with visa on arrival to 40 countries. This may sound like a lot but compared to other countries, this number is quite low.

For instance, if you are granted citizenship by Malta, you can travel visa-free to 114 countries. You may also visit 47 more countries where you can enter through visa on arrival.

It’s a great backup plan

You never know what will happen in the future. When you have a second citizenship, you can enjoy peace of mind that whatever happens, you can live in another country.

This is a luxury you can benefit from especially in times of economic downturn, natural disasters, political conflict, and other situations.

You can make more business relationships

When you’re a Filipino citizen, the business relationships you can create with other countries will be extremely limited. Having a second citizenship will open tons of doors for you to explore new money-making opportunities.

By granting you access to emerging and mature markets, you can facilitate trade, acquire assets, and many more.

For instance, if you’re a Filipino who wants to explore the Medical Cannabis industry, you can do so in many European or North American countries. This would be impossible to do in the Philippines today. 

Aside from business relationships, having second citizenship also means you can work freely in other countries without taking care of employment authorization. This will help you widen your network and work for companies that don’t employ foreign nationals.

It’s a good retirement plan

There’s no doubt that the Philippines is one of the best countries you can spend your golden years in. However, many individuals crave for a change in scenery and pace during retirement.

By having a second citizenship, you can enjoy your retirement in another country without having to worry about visa requirements.

Related: How to Build a Retirement Fund

You can access better healthcare & education

If you already have a family, you obviously want nothing short of the best for them. By having a second citizenship, you and your children can have immediate access to quality healthcare and education.

This is a huge benefit especially because healthcare in other countries is extremely affordable or free. You’ll also give your children more options on where they want to study or live.


Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship

Now, it’s time to get down to the question at hand: which countries offer the easiest citizenship to wealthy individuals? Here are some countries worth considering.

Note: All visa information is from PassportIndex.Org.

Portugal

Portugal is known as one of the best countries in Europe where you can get value for your money. With its incredible art scene, rich history, awe-inspiring views, and laid back vibe, you’ll definitely love it here. 

Thankfully, Portugal offers residency to people who want to invest in real estate, through donation, and capital transfer. You may transfer €1 million to a Portuguese bank, create 10 job positions, donate to scientific research activities to artistic and cultural heritage initiatives. 

When you get a golden visa from this nation, you’ll have the right to live here or visit for 7 days per year, and keep your investment for five years. Keep in mind that you need to learn basic Portuguese since there is a language test. 

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: €280,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 116
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 48
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Antigua and Barbuda

If you want to be a citizen of this country, you can qualify through its citizenship by investment program. The easiest way is to donate to their National Development Fund, or the University of the West Indies.

You may also invest in officially approved real estate, but you need to shoulder the additional processing fee. Lastly, you can invest in an approved business. This is the most expensive option, which can amount to $1.5 million.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $100,000 (donation to National Development Fund)
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 96
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 40
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Grenada

This nation located in the West Indies is home to amazing beaches, and impeccable culture. For those who want to be a citizen by investment, there are two ways to qualify for it. 

The first one is to contribute to the country’s National Transformation Fund to help finance its alternative energy, tourism, and agriculture sectors. The second option is to buy a property worth at least $220,000. This property should not be sold for four years.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $150,000 (contribution to National Transformation Fund)
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 93
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 38
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

St. Lucia

To get citizenship by investment in this beautiful island in the eastern Caribbean, you can either donate to its National Economic Fund, or purchase property worth at least $300,000. This property should not be sold for at least five years. 

You may also invest at least $3.5 million in an approved enterprise and create three permanent jobs. Lastly, you can invest $500,000 in government bonds.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $100,000 (donation to National Economic Fund)
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 91
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 40
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Austria

If money is not an issue and you can easily afford a huge price tag, you can get citizenship from Austria. The Austrian Citizenship Act allows individuals to be awarded citizenship based “extraordinary merit” and contribution to the interest of the state. This can be in culture, science, or the economy.

Keep in mind that you must directly invest in this nation’s economy by introducing new technologies, creating jobs, or setting up a business to qualify. 

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $9.5 million
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 116
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 48
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Dominica

If you have a limited budget, you can get citizenship from this Caribbean nation through its investment program. 

The cheapest option is to donate to its Economic Development Fund. However, you may also purchase around $200,000 worth of real estate in any approved development.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $100,000 (donation to the Economic Development Fund)
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 87
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 42
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Jordan

This country bordering Israel is another incredible option for wealthy Filipinos who want to get a second citizenship. There are three ways to become a citizen of this country. First, you can invest in any program that creates at least 10 jobs in a community in the country’s capital, Amman.

You can also deposit $1 million in the Central Bank of Jordan for three years, or buy at least $1 million in treasury bonds and hold it for six years. Finally, you can purchase shares in companies based in the country worth $1.5 million.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $750,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 18
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 43
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: Yes

Malta

This island nation is a member of the European Union and is located off the coast of Italy. Because it was subject to loopholes in citizenship, it now practices a stricter process of vetting applicants.

To become a citizen of Malta, you can purchase real estate worth €700,000, contribute €600,000 to €750,000, and donate €10,000 to an approved non-government society or organization. You will be awarded a residence card after you live in the country for 12 to 36 months under a lease that is priced at €16,000 annually.

This may sound like such a huge investment but considering Malta’s passport is the 5th most powerful in the world, it will be worth it.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: €600,000 for those who have completed 36 months of residency, and €750,000 for those who completed 12 months of residency
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 114
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 47
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Montenegro

This Balkan country boasts charming towns and breathtaking landscapes in between its valleys and lush mountains.

For wealthy Filipinos who want to become a citizen of this country, the investment they need to make depends on the location of their choice. For instance, if you want to invest in the country’s capital, Podgorica, you need to invest at least €450,000 in projects in the area. 

If you want to invest outside the capital, the minimum amount is €250,000. The program also requires individuals to donate €200,000 to the country’s innovation and development funds.  

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: €250,000 + €200,000 donation
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 73
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 50
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Turkey

This is one of the most popular countries that offers citizenship by investment. Currently, there are seven different ways to invest here, and the least expensive option is through investing in real estate.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $400,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 67
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 50
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: Yes

St. Kitts and Nevis

Another Caribbean country where you can get citizenship is St. Kitts and Nevis. The most affordable option is to donate to its Sustainable Growth Fund that was launched in 2018 to promote growth in education, healthcare, climate change resilience, indigenous entrepreneurship, and alternative energy.

You may also contribute $175,000 to Alternative Investment Options of the Sustainable Growth Fund, or purchase any approved real estate with at least $200,000 value.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $150,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 101
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 37
  • US Visa requirement: Yes
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Canada

Many Filipinos dream of obtaining Canadian citizenship due its incredible healthcare system and economy. 

The easiest way to achieve this is through the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program or QIIP where you must make a donation of at least CAD1.2 million. After three years, you can apply for citizenship. However, you need to live there for at least 183 days during the three-year period to be able to qualify.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: CAD1.2 million
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 108
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 55
  • US Visa requirement: No
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Germany

The Golden Visa program of Germany is more affordable compared to other European nations. In fact, you are not obligated to invest a minimum amount. However, the government encourages at least €360,000 worth of investment. 

You also need to open a business in the country and apply for a self-employment visa. After three years, you will be granted a permanent resident permit. Then, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization after eight years.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by naturalization
  • Minimum investment required: n/a
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 108
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 55
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Greece

One of the most well-loved vacation spots in the world, Greece also offers Golden Visa for wealthy individuals. You must purchase a property valued at least €250,000 excluding taxes, and sign a lease agreement of at least 10 years.

You may also invest at least €400,000 in a registered company in the country, purchase at least €400,000 worth of government bonds, or deposit €400,000 in a bank in Greece. This country holds one of the most powerful passports in the world so the cost is worth it. 

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: €250,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 114
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 49
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

New Zealand

New Zealand is well-regarded for its excellent social security and quality of life. However, it can be expensive to become a citizen here.

For the nation’s Investor 1 Visa, you must invest NZD 10 million in approved investment channels. This includes residential and commercial properties, equities and bonds, or philanthropic investments. You will receive a temporary permit that you can renew after fulfilling all the requirements. After three years, you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

Under the Investor 2 Visa, the minimum investment is NZD3 million. This investment must not be sold for at least 4 years. Then, you can apply for permanent residency and citizenship after some time.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: NZD3 million
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 108
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 57
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Spain

Spain has one of the best residency by investment programs in the world. If you live in the country for 10 years, you can become a citizen.

For its Golden Visa, you must invest at least €500,000 in real estate. Keep in mind that you must renew your permit every two years until you can qualify for permanent residency.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: €500,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 117
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 47
  • US Visa requirement: No (Electronic Travel Authorization only)
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

United States of America

For the US Golden Visa Scheme, there are two types you can apply for. First is the EB-5 Investor visa which lets you apply for a green card after five years of making your investment. This requires at least $900,000 of investment in a Targeted Employment Area.

The second option is the EB-2 Investor Visa. To qualify, you must be a citizen of a country with an investor treaty with the US. Then, you must invest $100,000 to $200,000 in an existing business. You may also create a business yourself.

Typically, this type of visa does not permit Green Card application, although there are some exceptions.

  • Type of Citizenship: Citizenship by investment
  • Minimum investment required: $100,000
  • Number of countries you can visit visa-free: 109
  • Number of countries you can visit through visa on arrival: 56
  • US Visa requirement: No
  • Schengen Visa requirement: No

Disclaimer: Grit PH strives to post up-to-date information on all investment, banking, and other financial products we feature. However, information may change without notice. Therefore, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information listed on the website, including those provided by third parties at any particular time. 

It is best to review the updated terms and conditions of your chosen financial institution. Grit PH is not affiliated with the companies mentioned in the article. All testimonials and opinions are representative only of the writer’s experience, but the results will be unique to each individual.

About MJ de Castro

MJ de Castro is the lead personal finance columnist at Grit PH.

MJ started her career as a writer for her local government’s City Information Office. Later on, she became a news anchor on PTV Davao del Norte.

Wanting to break free from the shackles of her 9-to-5 career to live by the beach, she pursued remote work. Over the years, she has developed a wide specialization on health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, branding, and travel.

Now, she juggles writing professionally, her business centering on women’s menstrual health, and surfing.

Education: Ateneo de Davao University (AB Mass Communication)
Focus: Personal Finance, Personal Development, Entrepreneurship, & Marketing

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