Genuine Links Beyond State and Market Control: The Sale of Citizenship by Investment in International and Supranational Legal Perspective

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This article introduces Citizenship by Investment (‘CBI’) as exceptional municipal legal mechanisms that allow anyone to directly purchase citizenship from a selling state for a substantial monetary contribution. States that sell citizenship assume complete control, expose, and may ultimately give up control over citizenship. CBI simply means ‘cash for passports’ as direct, immediate naturalizations, which heightens mobility and pre-supposes multiple citizenship, without (or with negligible) actual physical residence requirements. CBI is marketed as ‘global citizenship’. It creates a flexible, transactional citizenship, operating within an emerging tripartite nexus of states, citizens, and global markets for citizenship and residence entitlements. The orthodox view is that CBI schemes exist as marginal phenomena in isolation from the rest of citizenship, limited in personal and territorial application to the ultra-wealthy philanthropists and to small island states. In search of ‘neo-Nottebohmian’ ‘genuine links’ beyond state sales and global market control, this article argues that CBI laws are in fact complex agents of change, and that the concept of the genuine link has now been transformed and is to be re-envisioned in times of globalization. CBI’s existence requires us to rethink citizenship’s positioning within the international law community. In the laws of CBI, consideration should be given to factors that contribute to the greater good. CBI mechanisms may become available for all, whether wealthy or poor, as members of humanity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)145-184
Number of pages40
JournalBond Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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