The Cheapest Places to Obtain Citizenship: A Global Review

The Cheapest Places to Obtain Citizenship: A Global Review

For many people around the world, having more than one passport is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Dual citizenship provides strategic benefits, such as greater mobility or access to better healthcare and education systems. But obtaining citizenship in certain countries can be a lengthy, bureaucratic, or expensive process. This article reviews the cheapest places to obtain citizenship through naturalization or citizenship-by-investment programs.

Naturalization: The most affordable route to citizenship?

Naturalization is the process by which a foreigner can become a citizen of another country by meeting certain legal requirements such as residency, language proficiency, or passing a citizenship test. Most countries legally require immigrants to reside in their territory for a certain period before they can apply for naturalization. However, not all naturalization programs have the same requirements, processing time, or cost.


Mexico is one of the easiest and cheapest countries to obtain citizenship for US citizens, as well as for nationals of other Latin American countries. According to the Mexican Nationality Act, foreigners who have lived in Mexico legally and continuously for five years or more can become Mexican citizens. The process involves filling out an application, paying a fee, and passing an interview and a basic language and history exam. The total cost can be around $500-1,000, depending on the exchange rate and the legal assistance needed.


Paraguay is another South American country with one of the most lenient naturalization processes in the world. Foreigners can become Paraguayan citizens by living there for at least three years, without any language or culture test, and by paying a fee of less than $1,000, depending on the case. What makes Paraguay attractive is that it allows dual citizenship and does not tax its citizens’ global income.


Uruguay is slightly more restrictive than Mexico and Paraguay regarding residency requirements, but it compensates with a higher quality of life. Foreigners seeking Uruguayan citizenship must live there for at least three years, be proficient in Spanish, have a legal source of income, and pass a history and culture exam. The cost can vary from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on legal and immigration fees. Uruguay is a stable democracy with a high level of social welfare, education, and health, and a strategic gateway to Mercosur trading bloc.

Citizenship by investment: A shortcut to a new passport?

Citizenship-by-investment, also known as economic citizenship, is a legal and ethical way of acquiring citizenship by investing in the country’s economy or government-approved projects. This route is highly sought by high-net-worth individuals or entrepreneurs who need to expand their business in different regions or secure their assets in a favorable jurisdiction. Citizenship-by-investment programs can be more costly and selective than naturalization programs, as they usually require a high minimum investment, due diligence checks, and background checks.


Dominica is one of the cheapest and most accessible Caribbean nations to apply for economic citizenship. The Dominica Economic Citizenship Program grants citizenship to those who invest at least $100,000 in a government-approved project or $200,000 in real estate. The application process takes up to three months and requires passing a background check. The total cost, including legal fees, can be around $200,000-250,000, making it a more affordable option than other Caribbean nations, such as Saint Kitts and Nevis or Antigua and Barbuda.


Vanuatu is a Pacific island nation that has launched its own citizenship-by-investment program in 2017. The Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Program allows investors to obtain citizenship in exchange for non-refundable contributions to the Vanuatu Development Support Program. The minimum contribution is $130,000 for a single applicant or a family of four and can reach $440,000 for a family of six or more. Vanuatu is known for its lush natural landscapes, relaxed lifestyle, and growing tourism industry.


Bulgaria offers one of the most cost-efficient citizenship-by-investment programs in Europe. The Bulgarian citizenship program requires investors to invest at least €1 million in government bonds or shares of Bulgarian companies, maintain the investment for four years, and pass a due diligence check. The Bulgarian laws allow dual citizenship and offer the advantages of living and doing business in the European Union, such as visa-free travel, access to the common market, and favorable tax regime.


What are the benefits of dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship has various benefits, such as greater freedom of movement, investment opportunities, access to healthcare and education, political and social rights, and protection against conflicts or disasters in one’s home country.

What are the risks of obtaining citizenship-by-investment?

Citizenship-by-investment programs can attract some controversial applicants who seek to escape criminal charges, obtain tax evasion, or launder money. Therefore, credible countries have established strong due diligence and background checks to ensure that investors have legitimate and lawful sources of income and no history of criminal or unethical activities.

Can I lose my citizenship if I acquire it through investment?

Citizenship-by-investment programs grant citizenship to investors and their family members, subject to the legal requirements and conditions set by the country. However, citizenship can be revoked if investors fail to comply with the conditions or violate the laws or regulations of the country.

Can I obtain citizenship in countries that do not grant dual citizenship?

Some countries do not allow dual citizenship, meaning that acquiring another passport means relinquishing the original one. If your home country does not grant dual citizenship, you should consult a legal expert before applying for foreign citizenship. However, some countries grant partial citizenship, meaning that investors can obtain residency rights, work permits, or long-term visas, without being fully recognized as citizens.

Leave a Comment