13 Feb Citizenship by Investment with Mohammed Asaria – Episode 98
Foreign investors looking to pursue an E-2 visa to the US through the acquisition of treaty country citizenship by investment (CBI) have three options—Grenada, Turkey, and Montenegro. Which one is best? On this episode, Mona and Mark are joined by Mohammed Asaria to discuss the increasing interest in E-2 and the advantages of using the CBI program in Grenada.
The recent increase in minimum investment for EB-5 has amplified interest in the E-2 program. But E-2 is not available to citizens of every country. In fact, only ten nations offer citizenship by investment (CBI), and only three of those ten—Grenada, Turkey and Montenegro—have a bilateral investment treaty with the US enabling their citizens to apply for the E-2 visa. So, which of those three options is best for foreign investors?
Mohammed Asaria is the Managing Director of Range Developments, an international luxury development firm that builds high-end resorts in the Eastern Caribbean under citizenship by investment programs. On this episode of EB-5 Investment Voice, Mohammed joins Mona and Mark to discuss the advantages of pursuing an E-2 visa via citizenship by investment in Grenada. Mohammed explains what investment properties qualify for the program and how much capital is required of investors.
Mona, Mark and Mohammed also weigh in on what makes CBI a better option than citizenship by donation in terms of cost-effectiveness and establishing ties to the country. Listen in for insight around the benefits of Grenada’s CBI program, including expeditious processing times, expansive visa-free travel, tax breaks, and its generous definition of dependents.
Increasing Interest in E-2
- Since the recent increase in minimum investment for EB-5, we are seeing a significant increase in interest in E-2 visas following the acquisition of treaty country citizenship by investment or CBI. But only ten countries offer CBI, and just three of the ten have a bilateral investment treaty with the US—Grenada, Turkey, and Montenegro.
- Mohammed has noticed an uptick in interest in Range Developments specifically from investors in Latin America, China, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Nigeria, and Russia since the regulations were introduced. It is worth noting that EB-5 was the most popular route to the United States for investors in those countries prior to the changes.
Qualifying Investment Properties in Grenada
- The CBI program in Grenada has been established for two decades, and its purpose is to create long-term economic prosperity in the country. For that reason, real estate projects go through a rigorous approval process, and only those that contribute to one of Grenada’s key industries qualify. (Tourism is among those key industries.)
- There are two price points for minimum investment available to CBI investors in Grenada. Developers who inject a minimum of 20% equity in their projects qualify to secure investors at $220K. Otherwise, the minimum investment is $350K.
- An established developer since 2012, Range Developments is well-capitalized and can offer investors the $220K price point. This is a lower risk for investors because they know Mohammed’s team is committed to a timely completion AND they are putting less money in the project.
Citizenship by Donation vs. Citizenship by Investment
- CBI is more cost-effective than citizenship by donation in that investors are paying just $70K more—and obtaining an asset worth $220K. If the real estate investor sells their CBI property and earns more than $70K, they are in the money, so to speak.
- Beyond the business case for citizenship by investment, owning a real estate asset gives the investor stronger ties to the country. And that makes the investor’s case for an E-2 visa more compelling.
The Benefits of CBI in Grenada
- Grenada’s bilateral E-2 treaty is the most flexible in terms of length, affording its citizens a five-year visa with multiple renewals. In addition, the processing times are expeditious, taking just three to four months to adjudicate a citizenship application and issue the passport.
- Grenada’s program is more stable than that of other CBI countries, having been in effect for 20 years. The political environment in the country is also quite stable, as is its currency.
- There is no need to reside or even visit Grenada in order to obtain and maintain citizenship (though Mohammed recommends taking advantage of the complimentary stay at Range Developments’ resorts made available to its investors). Grenadian citizens also enjoy visa-free travel to 135-plus countries, including the UK, Russia, China, most of Latin America and significant portions of Southeast Asia.
- Grenada is quite flexible in how it defines dependents in an application. Investors can include parents of any age, children up to the age of 30, grandchildren, and even unmarried brothers and sisters over the age of 18.
- There are tax benefits to the Grenadian E-2 program as well. Investors who are not in the US for 122 days only pay taxes on their US-sourced income. (They are not taxed on their worldwide income.)
- Finally, as one of the southernmost islands in the Eastern Caribbean, Grenada is below the hurricane belt. Nevertheless, Range Developments adheres to the highest international standards, building its properties to withstand a Category 5 storm.