Samoa Citizenship by Investment

Article Breakdown

Samoa Passport CoverIn 2017, the Samoa Citizenship by Investment program was introduced. Citizenship by Investment is the process of giving citizenship to an individual and immediate family members in exchange for a specific and quantified investment in Samoa.

All investors must have a minimum net worth of SAT$2.5 million ($1 million) and invest a minimum of $1.5 million USD in either real estate, significant areas of the Samoan economy, or a government fund.

Aside from birth, descent, marriage, and permanent residency, the Samoan citizenship program was added as a fifth option for obtaining citizenship. The initiative, which was officially started in 2017, is still active, but it is controversial.

Background

Samoa, which is roughly midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, has a $1.2 billion GDP and a population of 200,000 people. American Samoa should not be confused with Samoa (US territory)

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Labour administers this scheme in accordance with the requirements of the Citizenship Investment Act 2015 and related Regulations 2016. You can also read more details on the Foreign investment act here.

There were formerly only four ways to obtain Samoan citizenship: citizenship by birth, citizenship by descent, citizenship by marriage, and citizenship by permanent residency.

Individuals and immediate family members will have an extra option to earn Samoa citizenship by investment under this new program.

Benefits

One significant benefit of this approach is that the full investment can be withdrawn, leaving only 15% after Permanent Residence.

Rounded Samoa Flag IconThe Samoan passport is highly coveted since it allows visa-free travel to Canada, the EU Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Russia. Other advantages include:

  • A second passport and citizenship from a small, peaceful country
  • Visa-free travel to 129 countries, including Canada, Europe, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
  • As of 2018, Samoa had the 40th best passport in the world.
  • Family members and children are eligible for lifetime citizenship.
  • Permanent residency, citizenship, and a passport are all granted to investors.
  • The minimum requirement is to spend 15 days a year in the country.
  • A second passport may allow visa-free travel to jurisdictions not available in the first passport’s home country.
  • Tax benefits for High-Net-Worth Individuals

Some believe citizenship and a passport from a tiny, quiet country to be protection when traveling, particularly during times of political instability, civil war, terrorism, and other conditions.

Samoa citizenship by investment is regarded as an alternative investment in the future. Dual citizenship is permitted in Samoa.

Samoa Country Landscape Photo

Investments That Qualify

All investors must demonstrate a minimum net worth of SAT$2.5 million ($1 million) and the investor must invest a minimum amount of SAT$4m ($1.5 million). 

Additional Fees

The fees specified in the Citizenship Investment Regulations 2015 Subject SAT($) are listed below.

Fee Detail Cost in SAT($)
1. Application for investment (principal applicant) plus:
a) Spouse
b) Dependent child (0-11)
c) Dependent child (12-17)
d) Dependent child (18)

120,000
120,000
60,000
60,000
120,000
2. Due diligence fees principal applicant plus;
a) Spouse
b) Dependent child (0-11)
c) Dependent child (12-17)
d) Dependent child (18)
20,000
20,000
0
5,000
10,000
3. Application to promote or market scheme 1,000
4. Agency application 50,000

General Requirements

To be considered eligible for Citizenship by Investment, an investor must meet the following requirements:

1) The investor must intend to invest in any of the following qualifying investment areas:

  1. leasing and developing government lands;
  2. processing or manufacturing of agricultural produce;
  3. processing or manufacturing of fishery products;
  4. tourism; e. information or communication technology;
  5. electricity generation through bio-fuel, solar, water, or wind;
  6. investment in a government development fund for the purpose of national development or investment in a government development fund for the purpose of national development

2) The investor must invest a minimum of SAT$4 million (about 1.5M USD); and

3) the investor must have a minimum net worth of SAT$2.5 million.

Application steps

Samoa Coat of ArmsThe Citizenship by Investment Committee will only examine an application if and only if the following conditions are met:

  • The application and due diligence fees have been paid in full.
  • Proof of opening the fixed deposit account and depositing at least 70% (or a prescribed percentage of at least 50%) of the investment amount;
  • The due diligence check report has been received.

Samoa Citizenship and Permanent Residence

Step 1: When an application is submitted, the investor and any family members may be granted a Temporary Resident Permit.

Step 2: If an application is approved, the investor and any family members will be awarded a Permanent Resident Visa valid for three (3) years; however, this permit is subject to the following conditions:

a. The investor may withdraw any amount from the fixed deposit account for use in line with the investment plan; however, the investor must keep at least 15% of the initial sum invested in the account.

b. During the investor’s three-year period of permanent residence, the Committee may continue to examine and monitor the progress of the qualifying investment in accordance with the investment plan or guidelines, or as the Committee deems appropriate.

Step 3: If the investor and any family members; a. (including a family member or members) has resided in Samoa for at least 15 days per year during the three-year period of the permanent resident permit; and b. has complied with the investment plan, the investor and any family members are eligible to apply for Samoan Citizenship within three (3) months before the expiry of the Permanent Resident Permit.

The investor (and family members included in the application) will be advised (in writing) of the due dates and eligibility period for Samoan Citizenship application by the Secretariat at least 6 months before the expiration of the permanent residence permit. If the investor’s (and any family members’) permanent residence status expires before citizenship is granted, he or she may request to renew the permit.

Why is this program not more popular?

According to the MCIL’s 2017-18 annual report, which will be released in 2020, a total of 312 Foreign Investment Certificates (new, renewals, and amendments) applications received, assessed, and granted, as well as two citizenship investment applications to promote and be an agent for the Citizenship Investment Scheme, resulted in a minor revenue of SAT$68,450.00 (US$24,300).

The Programme received one (1) application for citizenship; however, the applicant withdrew the application.

Two (2) applications for Agents were received; one (1) was granted, while the other was placed on hold pending additional information from the applicant.

Two (2) applications were received to promote the program, one (1) of which was approved and the other was put on hold pending the applicant’s submission of additional required information.

The Samoan Government created this CBI initiative in-house. Investors and family members will be subjected to due diligence procedures, as with any other CBI, before being granted a temporary residence status, followed by permanent residency, and finally citizenship. Applicants must pay a due diligence cost of $7500 for the investor and spouse, as well as $1750 for children under the age of 18.

Investments must be kept for 5 years, and passports are provided for 5 years with extensions.

Dual citizenship

Because Samoa supports dual citizenship, investors are not required to forfeit their current citizenship (s).

As of 2018, Samoa had the 40th best passport in the world, providing visa-free travel to 129 countries including Canada, Europe, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

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