The best and lowest cost residency for citizens of India and China is Nicaragua. Here’s how Indian and Chinese nationals can get a second residency and how to convert that visa into a second passport.
First, note that this is an article on the best residency from India and China. This advice doesn’t apply to citizens of the United States, European Union, or UK. It’s specifically designed for citizens of India and China.
Second, this is an article about the best residency program. Residency is not the same as a second passport program.
There are two ways to upgrade your passport. You can 1) earn citizenship over time by becoming a resident of a country and living there for 5 years or so, or 2) buy a passport for cash. We call the first group residency programs and the second passport programs.
Passports for cash start at about $150,000 for a single applicant and goe up to $300,000 for a family of five. Top tier European passports can cost $2 million or more. For information on St. Lucia’s passport for purchase option, see: Changes to the St. Lucia Second Passport Program in 2017.
Third, this article is about residency programs that lead to citizenship. If you spend the required amount of time in the country, and don’t get into legal trouble, you can apply for citizenship and a passport.
Many of the residency programs open to Chinese and Indian citizens do not lead to citizenship. They allow you to live and work in the country for a few years and then return home. The programs I’m talking about here are permanent residency visas with a path to citizenship.
Most low cost residency programs with a path to citizenship are closed to Chinese and Indian nationals. Bottom line, many countries are concerned they’d be overrun if they offered a low cost second residency program to those from India or China.
There are a few high-end residency programs open to you. For example, if you can deposit at least 1 million euros in a local bank, or buy a property for at least 500,000 euros, you can get residency in Portugal.
Nicaragua is the lowest cost residency program that meets all of those criteria. It’s open to citizens of China and India, it includes a path to citizenship, and it allows you to earn a passport over time.
With all of that said, here’s how to get residency in Nicaragua from India and China:
- Invest at least $35,000 in Nicaragua’s Reforestation Visa Program.
- Provide your background documents include police reports and other proof of good character and financial stability.
- Pay legal fees of about $10,000 per applicant. Fees apply to each applicant – husband, wife, and dependent children 18 years and younger.
- Apply for a permit to enter the country. If you already have a visa to the US, EU, or some nearby country like Panama, you might not need an entry permit for Nicaragua.
- Travel to Nicaragua and convert your entry permit to a residency visa.
- Spend at least 180 days a year in Nicaragua for at least 5 years.
- Apply for citizenship after qualifying as a resident for at least 5 years.
Note that you must spend at least 180 days a year in Nicaragua until your citizenship is approved. If you do not spend the requisite number of days, your residency can be revoked. Your time in country and a clean history are the primary criteria considered when applying for citizenship.
The bottom line is that Nicaragua wants you to move to the country and become a valuable part of the community. They do not sell their passports and they don’t want you to stop in for a few days each year. They want you to commit to the country and really earn your citizenship.
Once your residency period is over, you can apply for a passport from Nicaragua. Once you have your Nica passport you don’t need to live in the country. You can then spend as much or as little time in Nicaragua as you like.
A passport from Nicaragua gives you visa free or visa on arrival access to 112 countries and territories, ranking the Nicaraguan passport 46th in terms of travel freedom (tied with Marshallese passport).
Most importantly, a passport from Nicaragua gives you visa free access to the European Union. You can spend 90 days in any of the Schengen countries.
The request we get most from Chinese and Indian clients is access to the EU and the United States. Nica gets you into the EU, but you’ll need a passport from Portugal if you want visa free access to the US.
I hope this article on the best residency from India and China has been helpful. For more information on any of the programs discussed here, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (619) 550-2743. All consultations are free and confidential.