Uruguay is getting ready to take steps towards sprucing up the appeal of its citizenship-by-investment program in a bid to woo wealthy foreigners.
The program, which may ultimately add between 100,000 and 200,000 residents to its population, aims to dismantle two of the country’s major hurdles with one blow: fewer consumers and a lack of investment.
The South American country already has a program to grant citizenship to foreigners in return for their investment. But it is not as attractive as the ones offered in the Caribbean countries such as Dominica and St Kitts.
Considering a report from Bloomberg, Luis Lacalle Pou, the president-elect who is scheduled to take office on March 1, has a lot of faith in the citizenship-by-investment program.
Today, a foreigner seeking Uruguayan passport needs to have spent more than 183 days there and have purchased a real estate worth more than US$1.8 million.
Local realtors say the current program is not attractive at all. Therefore, they are urging the president-elect to reduce the number of days the foreigners required to spend in the country to 90 days from 183 days.
And they are also telling him to inform the citizenship-seekers that they would only need to invest US$500,000.
Uruguay is hopeful that wealthy foreigners would also boost its tourism sector in addition to real estate.
Uruguay is a peaceful country and its beaches are popular with foreign tourists. Yet the tourism sector accounts for barely 8% of the country’s GDP.