Asia-PacificPolicy Updates

Uzbek Govt. Submits Bill to Allow US$1 million Citizenship by Investment

Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade (MIFT) has prepared a bill that would amend the country’s Law on Citizenship to allow the granting of citizenship to foreign nationals – as well as stateless individuals – who invest at least US$1 million in the country.

The amendments to the law would introduce “a simplified procedure for admission to the citizenship of Uzbekistan will apply to foreign citizens and stateless persons who have contributed capital in the equivalent of at least $1 million to investment projects implemented on the territory of Uzbekistan, as well as honored scientists, athletes, cultural and art workers.”

The draft also specifies that such investments will need certification by the Central Depository or by the Center for Public Services prior to the submission of the citizenship application. The bill does not stipulate the form or nature such investments should take, but real estate investments – which have been the basis for residence by investment permits in Uzbekistan for years – are likely to be eligible.

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The draft addition to the law has been submitted for public discussion from November 8th to November 23rd.

Home to more than 3 million people, Uzbek capital Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia

The timing of the bill, its inclusion of stateless individuals (read also Daniel Twomey’s seminal work: The Statelessness Dilemma: Legal Responsibility in the Citizenship by Investment Industry), as well as the envisioned fast-track naturalization of individuals of particular merit in a variety of fields, indicate Uzbekistan may be hoping to capitalize on the fast-growing Russian diaspora in the region, a motive industry observers also attribute to Armenia’s far-advanced plans to introduce a CIP.

Recent months have seen a flurry of countries publicly announce plans for citizenship by investment in various forms: