El Salvador Launches Citizenship-by-Investment Program with $1 Million Bitcoin or Tether Investment Requirement
El Salvador has introduced a new citizenship-by-investment program that offers a residency visa and a pathway to citizenship for 1,000 individuals who are willing to invest $1 million in Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether (USDT) in the country. The program, called the “Adopting El Salvador Freedom Visa Program,” was announced by the government of El Salvador and stablecoin issuer Tether on December 7.
This new program sets El Salvador apart from its neighboring Caribbean countries, as their citizenship-by-investment programs typically start at $100,000. While the cost of citizenship in El Salvador may seem high, it has the potential to generate significant income for the country, similar to other nations with similar programs, such as Vanuatu.
To participate in the program, interested individuals must make a $999 non-refundable deposit, which will be credited toward the total investment amount. If all 1,000 spots are filled, El Salvador stands to raise $1 billion from the program.
However, some experts argue that El Salvador’s offering is not competitive on a global scale. Alistair Milne, the founder of crypto hedge fund Altana Digital Currency, expressed disappointment, stating that EU citizenship could be obtained for a lower price.
Comparatively, Malta offers a citizenship-by-investment program for $810,000 (750,000 euros), granting access to the EU’s visa-free Schengen Area comprising 23 countries. Other nearby Caribbean nations, such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis, also offer citizenship in exchange for contributions ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.
Despite the higher price tag, El Salvador may still attract crypto investors due to the country’s pro-Bitcoin policies. President Nayib Bukele has implemented several measures to support Bitcoin, including recognizing it as legal tender and exempting tech companies investing in El Salvador from income and capital gains taxes for the next 15 years.
It’s worth noting that President Bukele has also made efforts to address the high murder rate in El Salvador. Although his crackdown on crime has been successful, it has been met with concerns over human rights violations, as reported by Amnesty International.
President Bukele recently stepped down to focus on his re-election campaign for the country’s general election in February 2024.