Ius Doni

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Ius doni, commonly referred to as citizenship by investment[1] or economic citizenship, is one of the avenues of citizenship acquisition, alongside ius sanguinis, ius soli and others. It refers to the acquisition of the status of citizenship through an exceptional (economic) contribution to the issuing country, and, by extension, a contribution to the welfare, advancement and economic development of the host state.[2][3] Ius doni is thus a specific sub-type of naturalization.

The term ius doni was introduced by immigration and citizenship law specialist Christian Kälin,[4] pioneer of the citizenship by investment industry, in his research on the topic. Kälin introduced the concept into the contemporary legal and political theory of citizenship by providing the first comprehensive analysis of the subject,[5] discussing the historical, legal and political concepts of citizenship.


The term derives from the Latin expression for a gift or present (dōnum/gen. dōnī) and the right (ius/pl. iura) to citizenship by making a donation or investing in the host state.


It has been widely accepted that the historical origins of citizenship date back to Ancient Greece, but citizenship and citizenship law, as we understand them today, came into existence along with the formation of modern nation-states in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ius doni, as a specific mode of citizenship acquisition, is a result of social transformation. The gradual development of citizenship from a more formal structure to a subjective right was precipitated by the French Revolution.[6][7][8] This transition from the birthright principle (ius soli) to the principle of descent (ius sanguinis) represented a significant paradigm shift brought about by the Code Civil in 1804.[9][10] This transition ultimately extended to all of Europe.

Australia, Canada, the US, and even the UK to some extent, are all examples of countries that have traditionally relied on citizenship laws that follow the ius soli principle.[11] Today they have become known as classical immigration countries. This shift was engendered by the realization that communities can be strengthened by further developing national citizenship laws to benefit both the social and the economic state of a nation.

Ius doni is becoming increasingly popular around the world. The design of new citizenship laws governing states such as Austria,[12] Malta,[13] St. Kitts and Nevis,[14] and Cyprus,[15] for example, illustrates the possibility of acquiring additional citizenship by making significant contributions to the local community and, in so doing, contributing to the welfare of the country.[16][17]

The IMF has come to the same conclusion in several reports, stating that Citizenship by Investment programmes, if managed properly, can become a major socio-economic contributor to developing states.[18][19]

Ius doni and the State[edit]

Citizenship is a complex institution with various dimensions.[20] Its conception and definition depend on one's political viewpoint, which can be defined as the legal counterpart of the sociopolitical concept of nationality.[21] From a legal perspective, citizenship is mainly a classification criterion: it classifies natural persons as belonging to a particular state, generating a legal bond, and gives individuals civil, political and social rights.[22] In principle, every state has the right to exclude whomever it wishes from entering and settling in its territory;[23] likewise, every state has the right to regulate its naturalization laws in accordance with the common good and to include whomever it wishes to admit as citizens.[24] Ius doni, which could be viewed as the granting of citizenship for the common good, is thus an expression of the individual state’s freedom to select and choose suitable individuals and families who would contribute to its economy and society.


  1. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016). Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook. Ideos. pp. 147–148.
  2. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016). Global Residence and Citizenship Handbook. Ideos Publications Ltd. pp. 147–148.
  3. ^ Shachar, Ayelet; Bauböck, Rainer (2014). 'Should Citizenship Be for Sale?' EUI Working Paper (PDF). European University Institute: Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.
  4. ^ "Investment Migration Council". investmentmigration.org. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  5. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016). Ius Doni: The Acquisition of Citizenship by Investment. Ideos. ISBN 9780993586637.
  6. ^ Brubaker, William Rogers (1989). "The French Revolution and the Invention of Citizenship" (PDF). French Politics and Society. 7 (3): 30–49.
  7. ^ Noiriel, Gérard (1988). Le Creuset français. Histoire de l'immigration (XIXe-XXe siècle) (in French). Le Seuil. ISBN 9782021322286.
  8. ^ Weil, Patrick (2002). Qu'est-ce qu'un français? Histoire de la nationalité française depuis la Révolution (in French). Grasset. ISBN 9782246605799.
  9. ^ Triepel, Heinrich (1929). Internationale Regelung der Staatsangehörigkeit (PDF). ZaöRV. pp. 185–199.
  10. ^ Bertossi, Christophe; Hajjat, Abdellali (2013). Country Report: France (PDF). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies: EUDO Citizenship Observatory.
  11. ^ Castles, Stephen; Davidson, Alastair (2000). Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics of Belonging. Palgrave. ISBN 9780415927130.
  12. ^ "Citizenship in Austria". www.henleyglobal.com. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Malta Individual Investment Programme". iip.gov.mt. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  14. ^ "St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program". www.ciu.gov.kn. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Web Portal of the Republic of Cyprus: Naturalisation". www.cyprus.gov.cy (in Greek). Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  16. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016). Ius Doni: The Acquisition of Citizenship by Investment. Ideos. ISBN 9780993586637.
  17. ^ Xu, Xin; El-Ashram, Ahmed; Gold, Judith (2015). Too Much of a Good Thing? Prudent Management of Inflows under Economic Citizenship Programs. IMF Working Papers: International Monetary Fund.
  18. ^ "IMF Credits CIP for Positive Economic Performance of OECS Countries with the Programme, Local And Regional Authorities React". www.oecs.com. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  19. ^ "Eastern Caribbean Currency Union: IMF Staff Concluding Statement of the 2019 Discussion on Common Policies of Member Countries". www.imf.org. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  20. ^ Joppke, Christian (2013). Citizenship and Immigration. Polity Press. ISBN 9780745658391.
  21. ^ Mackert, Jürgen; Müller, Hans-Peter (2007). Moderne (Staats)Bürgerschaft: Nationale Staatsbürgerschaft und die Debatten der Citizenship Studies (in German). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. ISBN 9783531147956.
  22. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016). Ius Doni: The Acquisition of Citizenship by Investment. Ideos. ISBN 9780993586637.
  23. ^ Kälin, Christian H. (2016). Ius Doni: The Acquisition of Citizenship by Investment. Ideos. ISBN 9780993586637.
  24. ^ Pickus, Noah M. J. (1998). Immigration and Citizenship in the Twenty-first Century. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 3–39. ISBN 9780847692217.