An individual can gain citizenship and dual citizenship through a variety of avenues. For example, one may have been born in a country that grants birthright citizenship, like the United States, and then naturalized in another country that allows dual citizenship, like Canada. A citizenship by marriage is also a viable option available in many countries. Another citizenship opportunity is to invest in the economy of the host country. Several countries offer this route; particularly, Grenadian citizenship by investment is becoming increasingly popular because it can serve as a pathway to attain an E-2 Visa in the U.S.
Grenada, a Caribbean country located off the coast of Venezuela, is one of about eighteen countries that offer such investment citizenship. The country’s officials pride themselves on Grenada’s expanding economy focused on tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. Thus, their mission in establishing the Citizenship by Investment Programme is to attract foreign direct investment and create a flourishing private investment market. This program also aims to maintain such opportunities available to investors who will encourage and promote innovation, industry and private enterprise in Grenada. Since the creation of the Investment Programme in August 2013, more sustainable long-term employments, specialist trainings and a broadening of skills have been made possible for many Grenadians.
The Two Options for Grenadian Citizenship
There are two options for Grenadian citizenship, either by making a payment into the National Transformation Fund or a payment towards a government approved project, specifically in real estate, in the country. First, the National Transformation Fund (NTF) is in charge of creating and funding government-sponsored projects in Grenada. The NTF finances many projects ranging from tourism, agriculture, and alternative energy. Also created in 2013, the NTF’s mission is to create a further independent economy. The applicants who decide to go through the NTF must give, at minimum, $200,000 to the Fund.
The other option to obtain citizenship in Grenada is to invest in a government- approved project. Such projects can include hotels, villas and resorts, which are in high demand due to the tourism industry. The approved project must be agreed upon by the Prime Minister following review and recommendations. Further, applicants deciding on this pathway to citizenship must invest at least $350,000 and must keep the real estate for at least 3 years after they are granted citizenship.
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Committee (CBIC)
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Committee (CBIC) is responsible for administering and processing the applications for citizenship by investment. The Committee is comprised of seven individuals who have extensive backgrounds in law, finance, trade and administration, and are therefore qualified to make informed decisions. Each application is assessed in light of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, 2013. After reviewing the applications, the Committee will then make recommendations to the Prime Minister, who has the final power to approve, deny or delay granting the country’s citizenship.
In completing the application, applicants have to choose an Authorized Internal Marketing Agent who will then communicate with an Authorized Local Agent in Grenada; applications cannot be directly submitted to the CBIC. The program has extremely attractive features for potential applicants. For example, the application process is extremely quick compared to that of other countries, with processing times of only four months. In addition, the applicant can include children under 30, dependent parents or grandparents over 55, and unmarried siblings. Further, there is no physical presence required in Grenada, and no interview is conducted. Once the application is deemed successful, the applicant is then instructed to proceed with the contribution to the NTF or with the purchase of real estate. Once paid, a certificate of registration is granted, stating that the applicant has obtained citizenship.
The Benefits with Holding a Grenadian Citizenship
There are a multitude of benefits that come with holding a Grenadian citizenship. For example, Grenada’s passport is valid for five years, is renewable and allows visa free travel to over 115 countries. In fact, Grenada is one of five nations where its citizens are allowed to travel to the People’s Republic of China without first getting a visa. In addition, the citizen is entitled to live, work and study in Grenada and receive all of the benefits associated with the affiliation of the Caribbean community (CARICOM). A Grenadian citizen is also allowed to hold dual citizenship.
However, one of the most prominent advantages that comes with a Grenadian citizenship is the opportunity to apply and potentially receive an E-2 Visa in the United States. The E-2 Visa allows Grenadian citizens to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Grenada and the U.S. have had an E-2 treaty since 1989, and as of June 2020, Grenada is the only country in the Caribbean with this treaty option. According to Forbes, in 2019, there were 39 Grenadian citizens who qualified for E-2 Visas to the United States.
Particular employees of the E-2 Visa holder may also be eligible for the visa. In addition, the visa holder and employees may be accompanied to the U.S. by their spouses, or any children under the age of 21. They may apply for E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and will usually be allowed in the U.S. for the same period of time as the original visa holder. The E-2 grants a maximum initial stay of up to 2 years; requests for extensions can later be requested and possibly granted.
Requirements for obtaining the E-2 Visa from Grenadian citizenship include an interview and showing proof that the business that the applicant is investing into is operational, creates jobs and will be managed by the applicant. Proof of a residential address in Grenada and knowledge of the English language is highly encouraged as well.
The E-2 Visa process at the U.S. Consulate can take approximately six weeks, although if applications increase, the wait time is longer. Currently, the wait time is expected to be significantly lengthier, with many consulates and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices having been shut down since March due to COVID-19 precautions.