How to Establish a “Genuine Link” as a New Citizen of a country

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Citizenship should be based on a ‘genuine link’. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has defined citizenship as ‘a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties’. It is one of the basic foundations for becoming a ‘Responsible and Good citizen’.

Investors in Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programs do not consider establishing a genuine link or bond with the country they invest in. They simply acquire the passport and think that their relationship with the state is over after making the designated investment, be it donation to state fund or purchasing a property. It doesn’t end there. Malta is one such country where it is impossible to acquire citizenship without satisfying the genuine link criteria (it does not matter how much you invest). All other countries do not strictly enforce this criteria. It is not required for the main applicant to reside constantly.

The problem with not establishing a deep bond with the state is that the newly acquired citizenship becomes ‘weaker’ with no ties to the country. This also makes a good reason to get citizenship revoked in the future. Learning a thing or two about the country is a good way to start.

Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner has recently said that Member States should only award citizenship to persons where there is a “genuine link” or ‘genuine connection” to the country in question.


How do you establish a genuine link?

A genuine link can be established by taking the following actions:

  • Frequent trips to the country, or Long Term / Permanent Resident status
  • Buying or renting a home
  • Paying utility bills (eg. gas, water, electricity)
  • Paying local taxes
  • Investing in the healthcare sector
  • Investing in state-issued debt (eg. government securities, bonds & shares)
  • Knowledge of history & culture of the people
  • Speaking and writing the local language
  • Donations to a local charity or philanthropy work
  • Club memberships
  • Blood donation camps (eg. Red Cross)
  • Investing in the Education sector
  • Investing in climate resilience and disaster management (eg. hurricanes)
  • Participation in public life
  • Establishing Family ties with the country (eg. marrying)
  • Bringing Innovation, Research and development, and new technologies benefiting local people
  • Incorporating a new company and creating jobs for local citizens
  • Serving in Police, Armed forces or military service.
  • Shipping, Yacht registration & ownership.
  • Investing in Private jet and aircraft services
  • Investing in Manufacturing plants (eg. water distillation, mining, wood processing)
  • Investing in Transportation and logistics
  • Investing in Information Technology services


Migratesmart currently provides Citizenship by Investment services for SEVEN countries. We not only provide guidance for acquiring your new passport but also engage with our clients to provide holistic solutions for the future of your families.

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