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PR vs Citizenship: When Citizenship isn’t superior to Permanent Residency

Citizenship can be an excellent option for those looking to live and work in another country, but permanent residency can still be better. Learn more.

With many people seeking the protection and freedom that second citizenship might provide, it’s not surprising that Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes have increased in recent years. But citizenship isn’t always superior to permanent residency. There are several circumstances where it might make more sense to opt for PR instead.  

Most people are under the impression that low-cost citizenship in a more established country is superior to a permanent residency even though they cost roughly the same. This assumption is far from accurate, much like a Rolls Royce limousine is not better than a Ferrari sports car. It ultimately depends on how you intend to use it.  

In this article, let us discuss some key considerations when making the citizenship vs permanent residency decision.

When are Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis Passports an excellent choice?  

Ever since St Kitts and Nevis issued their Citizenship by Investment Programme, the Caribbean countries have become synonymous with second passports. There is no doubt that in the realm of travel documents, the Caribbean programmes provide great value in the form of second passports.  

If the ultimate intention is to travel to more countries, several programmes can fulfil this need:  

But to be precise, this Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programmes only grant the right to visit. You cannot stay indefinitely in any country. While, in theory, one is free to live in an exotic Caribbean country permanently, very few people are likely to do so.   

Let us assume that you need to do more than enter into any of the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen area. Under a Schengen visa, you cannot stay for a period longer than the maximum of 90 days in any six months.  

That restriction applies to the whole Schengen area, so you cannot merely wander between the border-less European states such as Germany, France, Italy and Malta without leaving. Herein lies the significant difference between established Permanent Residency Programmes and entry-level Citizenship by Investment Programmes.

When is Permanent Residency superior to Caribbean Passports?  

Let us say you opt to go for a Permanent Residency Programme like the UK or Malta. Once you gain permanent residency, you earn the right to live in that country, 365 days a year. This superior status enables you to seek all the benefits that living permanently in that country would provide.  

If you choose a country that forms part of the Schengen agreement, you are automatically granted the right to travel to:  

Related article: Complete Guide to Malta Permanent Residence by Investment

Austria-Flag(1) Austria Iceland-Flag(1) Iceland Poland-Flag(1) Poland m_europe
Belgium Italy-Flag(1) Italy Portugal-Flag(1) Portugal
Czech-Republic-Flag(1) Czech Republic Latvia-Flag(1) Latvia San-Marino-Flag(1) San Marino
Denmark-Flag(1) Denmark liechtenstein(1) Liechtenstein Slovakia-Flag(1) Slovakia
Estonia-Flag(1) Estonia Lithuania-Flag(1) Lithuania Slovenia-Flag(1) Slovenia
Finland-Flag(1) Finland Luxembourg-Flag(1) Luxembourg Spain-Flag(1) Spain
France-Flag(1) France Malta-Flag(1) Malta Sweden-Flag(1) Sweden
Germany-Flag(1) Germany Monaco-Flag(1) Monaco Switzerland-Flag(1) Switzerland
Greece-Flag(1)  Greece Netherlands-Flag(1) Netherlands Vatican-City-Flag(1)
Vatican City
Hungary-Flag(1) Hungary Norway-Flag(1) Norway    


As a result, a Permanent Residency Programme can potentially grant unique benefits that do not apply to particular Citizenship by Investment Programmes. It also allows for freedom of travel in many European countries, replicating the benefits of a second passport.  

Furthermore, after five years of continuous presence in Malta, you gain the right to Long-Term Residence in the following 25 countries:

Austria-Flag(1) Austria Germany-Flag(1) Germany Poland-Flag(1) Poland m_europe
Belgium Greece-Flag(1) Greece Portugal-Flag(1) Portugal
Bulgaria Hungary-Flag(1) Hungary Romania-Flag(1) Romania
Croatia-Flag(1) Croatia Italy-Flag(1) Italy Slovakia-Flag(1) Slovakia
Cyprus-Flag(1) Republic of Cyprus Latvia-Flag(1) Latvia Slovenia-Flag(1) Slovenia
Czech-Republic-Flag(1) Czech Republic Lithuania-Flag(1) Lithuania Spain-Flag(1) Spain
Estonia-Flag(1) Estonia Luxembourg-Flag(1) Luxembourg Sweden-Flag(1) Sweden
Finland-Flag(1) Finland Malta-Flag(1) Malta    
France-Flag(1) France Netherlands-Flag(1) Netherlands    
With Long-Term Residency, you can reside in any of the above countries indefinitely and more importantly, you can also work in these countries without restrictions, subject to compliance with certain conditions defined by the Country in question.  
If you are looking for a second citizenship or permanent residency, ask yourself why you need one first. You might be surprised to arrive at a different answer than what you initially thought.