The Moldova & Caribbean Citizenship Programmes Comparison

Requirements, Benefits and Visa-Free Travel

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | Published on 04 Mar 2019 | Updated on 24 Sep 2019

Caribbean and Moldova Citizenship Comparison img

The first citizenship by investment programme and the economic citizenship industry started with the launch of the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme in 1984. Since then, other countries have launched their own citizenship programmes. In the Caribbean area we can find a total of five countries offering the acquisition of citizenship by means of investment, mainly St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada. In 2014, Malta and Cyprus also launched their own citizenship by investment programmes and are the only two countries in the European Union having economic citizenship programmes. Recently in December 2018, Moldova also launched a citizenship by investment programme having eligibility criteria and benefits similar to those given by Caribbean passports. As a firm Chetcuti Cauchi, was one of the first to receive the status of Accredited Agent in Moldova and holds licence AA/06/2019. 

Investment Options 

If one was to compare the investment options found in the Caribbean with that in Moldova, one notices that whilst in the Caribbean programmes there is a choice between investing in real estate or giving a donation, for the time being Moldova has only opted for a donation option. In Moldova, an applicant is required to pay a non-refundable contribution to the Public Investment Fund. By comparing the donation option of Moldova with the Caribbean options and not taking in consideration any processing and due diligence fees, one would notice that for a single applicant the donation amount is of €100,000 and thus similar to that required in Saint Lucia, Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda. 

 DominicaGrenadaAntigua & BarbudaSaint Kitts & NevisSaint LuciaMoldova
Main Applicant$100,000$150,000$100,000$150,000$100,000€100,000
Main Applicant & Spouse$175,000$200,000$100,000$175,000$165,000€115,000
Family of Four$200,000$200,000$100,000$195,000$190,000€145,000

As can be noticed from the above table, the currency of payment in the Caribbean is in dollars, whilst in Moldova, although their official currency is Moldovan Leu, the currency of payment for the economic citizenship programme is the Euro.

Minimum Physical Presence

Almost all programmes compared above does not require the applicant to visit the country. The only exception to this is the islands of Antigua & Barbuda which requires the Main applicant to visit for at least five days in the first five years of acquiring citizenship. The other four countries in the Caribbean do not require applicants to visit personally. Moldova has adopted the same approach to physical presence and does not require the applicant to visit the country before, during or after the citizenship has been granted. Notwithstanding this, given that the Moldova’s passport is a biometric passport, it requires the applicant and the family members included in the application to visit Moldova or an Embassy of Moldova which is set up with biometric equipment to give biometric data there, for the passport to be issued. 

Language or Cultural Test

When applying for naturalisation, some countries require applicants to take a language or cultural test. This is not required in Moldova as well as in the five Caribbean countries offering citizenship by investment. 

Visa Free Travel

Global mobility and visa free travel is one of the main reasons why investors obtain a second citizenship. When comparing the list of visa free travel destinations in Moldova, one notices that with a Moldovan passport, the holder can visit 122 countries without a visa. This is a bit less when comparing it with the Caribbean programmes where the average is of approximately 145 countries. Notwithstanding this, Moldovan can boast that its passport holders may travel to Russia without the need of applying for a visa, a benefit which only one Caribbean passport can give. In fact, a Saint Kitts & Nevis Passport holder can travel to around 150 countries without a visa including Russia. 
A significant difference when comparing the visa free country list is the fact that with a Moldovan passport, one cannot visit the United Kingdom without a visa. All the five countries in the Caribbean allow visa free travel to the United Kingdom and this comes as a natural thing given that they are all former colonies of the UK and part of the Commonwealth. 

Schengen Access & EU Membership

One of the main benefits of the six programmes being compared above is the fact that a passport holder may visit all the 26 Schengen countries without a visa, even if none of the countries is part of the Schengen Area. Passport holders of these countries can also reside in the Schengen Area for three months in every 6 months. 

Since geographically the five Caribbean countries are not located in the European Continent, membership of the European Union is naturally not an option. When it comes to Moldova however, the country is located within Europe. Although not part of the European Union, Moldova has signed an association agreement with the EU which came into force in 2016. Such agreement established an economic and political association aimed at bringing Moldova’s legislation more in line with the EU. Moldova thus is not yet considered as a potential country for EU membership, but if reforms are implemented, Moldova might in the coming years be a member of the European Union and thus its citizens would be able to live, work, travel and study in all EU countries. 

Family members Eligibility

All programmes compared allow the applicants to include the spouse, minor children, adult children and parents in the application, however some age restrictions might apply. Polygamy and same gender marriages are not allowed in all the six countries being compared above. When it comes to adult children, Dominica, Grenada and St Kitts allow children up the age of 30, Moldova up to 29, Antigua up to the age of 28 and Saint Lucia up to the age of 25. When it comes to parents, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Moldova allow parents if they are above the age of 55, Antigua over the age of 58 and St Lucia over the age of 65. Despite the different age limits, in order to include adult children and parents one needs to show that they are economically dependent on the main applicant. 

Benefits of acquiring a second passport 

While the investment required and benefits obtained varies from one country to another, acquiring a second citizenship is considered as a need for individuals looking for a better lifestyle, business growth, protection from political and social conflicts and better visa-free travelling. 

How can we assist?

Chetcuti Cauchi is an international law firm focusing on advising international investors, their families and their businesses in all challenges facing the global citizen presently and in the future. Global Residency & Citizenship is one of the pillars of the firm and we cover strongly all the established citizenship and residency programmes around the world.

Thanks to our experienced and objective eligibility assessment, we enjoy an outstanding success rate.
As lawyers, information provided to us is fully protected by strong professional secrecy laws and we offer a 360-degree view of a citizenship process, including tax and estate planning, corporate structuring and property law advice.

 

 


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