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Benjamin Gamble

El Salvador Citizenship by Investment - The Freedom Passport

El Salvador's recent introduction of the "Freedom Passport," a Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, marks a pivotal development in the country's trajectory. Historically perceived as one of the more challenging countries in the region in terms of safety, El Salvador has experienced a dramatic transformation under the leadership of President Nayib Bukele. His innovative policies, particularly his embracement of tough-on-crime and pro-Bitcoin, have played a crucial role in reshaping the country's image and economic landscape, significantly reducing crime rates and positioning El Salvador as a global leader in cryptocurrency adoption, with Bitcoin now legal tender.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele

This transformative journey positions El Salvador as an appealing destination for investors seeking citizenship in a country with forward-looking and dynamic leadership. However, the "Freedom Passport" stands out not only for its association with a rapidly evolving economy but also for its investment threshold. With a minimum investment requirement of USD $1 million, it ranks as one of the most premium CBI programs available, reflecting the country's confidence in its growing appeal and stability. This program offers a unique opportunity for those wanting to invest in El Salvador's promising future.

How does the program work? 

The program is one of the first of its kind, being a partnership between Tether and the government of El Salvador. The program's infrastructure is provided and managed by Tether, a leading cryptocurrency stablecoin company.

To kickstart your application, an initial non-refundable on blockchain deposit of USD $999 payable in Bitcoin or USDt via the Ethereum network is required. Then, post due diligence, the applicant will complete the rest of the USD $1 million donation with the initial deposit being credited. Upon completion of the payment process, Salvadoran citizenship will be granted, and the passport will be issued, with the ability to collect it or have it shipped to you. 

The principal applicant can include one spouse and all children aged under 18. The application process can take up to 6 weeks to complete, making it one of the fastest CBI programs in the world alongside Vanuatu.

The list of nationalists that cannot participate in the program can be found here.

The ‌Salvadoran passport

The ‌Salvadoran passport is ranked 38th globally and offers visa-free access to over 134 countries, including Europe's Schengen Area, Russia, Japan, Ireland, and Singapore. While its visa-free reach is marginally less expansive than the five Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) passports, it compensates with unique advantages. Notably, it provides a fast-tracked path to Spanish citizenship, reducing the standard 10-year requirement to just two years, a significant 80% reduction in time.

However, the short-term outlook for the Salvadoran passport is mixed. Factors such as the ongoing incarceration of gang-affiliated individuals and cross-border crime migration to other Central American countries have somewhat tarnished the passport's reputation. Moreover, overcoming the perception of El Salvador as a country of poverty and danger remains a challenge. Despite these issues, the El Salvadorian passport is expected to improve its standing in the long term, gradually.

The Salvadorian Passport

Living in El Salvador

El Salvador presents a pioneering landscape for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, standing as one of the world's most Bitcoin-accommodating nations. Bitcoin is seamlessly integrated into daily transactions, with the digital currency being legal tender, allowing for a great financial experience. Despite this progressive stance on cryptocurrency, El Salvador is still developing. The nation has made significant strides in reducing crime, yet it may not yet be the preferred residence for ultra-high-net-worth individuals seeking stability and safety.

For those intrigued by the potential of investing in El Salvador's burgeoning economy and shaping its future, a more immersive approach than the Freedom Passport might be appealing. Opting for a residency visa requiring five years, or three for Spanish-speaking nations, paves the way for naturalization. This path not only allows for deeper involvement in the country's economic dynamics but also positions investors to benefit from its rapid economic growth. However, it's important to note that holding Salvadoran citizenship without active participation in the local economy or residing in the country may offer limited advantages, to gain full access to El Salvadors prosperous future, it's best to be reside in El Salvador. The country also boasts miles of serene coastline with affordable real estate, making it a popular destination in the region for a beachfront lifestyle. 

Vintage Map of El Salvador Drawing by Carambas Vintage - Pixels
Map of El Salvador

Program criticisms

El Salvador's CBI program, with its USD $1 million minimum investment threshold, has sparked debate for being seemingly disconnected from the economic realities of global citizenship by investment programs. This figure stands as the highest official minimum investment across all CBI programs worldwide. To put this into perspective, the same amount could secure citizenship through Malta's esteemed CBI program, granting EU citizenship for you and your family, and then secure Antigua and Barbuda citizenship through their CBI program. Even after these significant investments, there would still be $100k available for ventures like BTC or alternative business investments.

This strategy would offer a combination of one of the world's most powerful and respected passports along with a strong secondary passport. While El Salvador is undoubtedly progressive and forward-thinking with the only CBI program in Latin America, its current CBI program pricing does not offer commensurate value. The country's citizenship, at this price point, does not yet match the tangible benefits provided by other programs, raising questions about its viability and appeal to potential investors.

Navigating the path to citizenship in Forward-looking countries

El Salvador, nestled between North and South America, stands as a country with a strategic Latin American location and a vision for a prosperous future led by an innovative and ambitious leader. For those looking to immerse themselves in the dynamic environment of El Salvador and obtain citizenship, the most advantageous route is through residency and naturalization. This path allows individuals to actively participate in the nation's growth and benefit from its developmental plans.

The Salvadoran passport ranked 38th globally, offers extensive visa-free access, including the unique opportunity to expedite naturalization in Spain within just two years. However, when considering the investment of $1 million for El Salvador's Citizenship by Investment program, the value proposition becomes less clear. While the nation's potential is undeniable, the current investment requirement does not seem to align with the benefits offered, especially when compared to other global citizenship options. Baseflow is home to the best citizenship by investment experience ever made, immerse yourself in the new Baseflow Explorer and discover your next citizenship.

Benjamin Gamble

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