Being a member of a Commonwealth country comes with many benefits, which are well worth exploring if you are already a Commonwealth member. Some of the main benefits of being a commonwealth member include a potentially easier visa application and immigration process and access to other services abroad if your home country’s consulate is not in this country.
There are also other unique rights, including the right to vote in certain countries, the ability to join the military and apply for civil posts in some countries, and the ability to serve in politics. Some of the world’s most attractive CBI programs are Commonwealth members, so you also have the option to become a member of the Commonwealth if you are currently not a member.
Some of the world's most attractive CBI programs are those of Commonwealth member countries
WHAT IS THE COMMONWEALTH?
The Commonwealth is a group of 54 independent countries, and the majority of these countries were previously under British rule. This association was formed in 1926 as part of the Balfour Declaration and is older than the United Nations and NATO. Members of Commonwealth countries have select benefits and rights in select Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth countries collectively account for around 33% of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s land mass. Some of the most populous Commonwealth countries include India, Bangladesh, and Nigeria, to name a few. The largest Commonwealth members in terms of GDP include the United Kingdom, India, Canada, and Australia.
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Commonwealth countries collectively account for around 33% of the world’s population
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS?
While there are some notable benefits to being a Commonwealth member, most Commonwealth members do not receive different treatment than other foreign nationals. For example, Commonwealth members do not automatically receive free movement of labour, like other EU countries, although it can be easier to immigrate to other Commonwealth countries in some cases. However, holding a passport from a Commonwealth country still has many other benefits.
VISA ENTRY BENEFITS
If you are a member of a Commonwealth country, then other Commonwealth countries may have more generous visa terms that allow you to stay longer. For example, the United Kingdom offers 6 months of visa-free travel to both Commonwealth and EU citizens, while other countries must apply or can only stay for a shorter period.
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Commonwealth members do not automatically receive free movement of labour, like other EU countries
CONSULATE OR EMBASSY ABROAD
If the country you visit does not have your home country’s embassy or consulate, you can use the British consulate instead. You can also apply for a British emergency passport if you lose your documents and cannot travel.
UK ANCESTRY VISA
Some benefits are available for current Commonwealth citizens who want to immigrate to Commonwealth countries like the United Kingdom. For example, Commonwealth citizens who can prove that their grandparents were born in Britain are eligible to apply for a residence permit and may eventually be able to become citizens. Successful applicants are initially able to spend five years living in the United Kingdom.
Right of Abode in the UK: If you have been a Commonwealth citizen since 1982 or one of your parents was born in the United Kingdom, then you automatically have the right of abode in the United Kingdom. You can maintain this right if you do not give up your citizenship in any Commonwealth country.
JOINING THE UK MILITARY
You can join the UK armed forces if you are a member of a Commonwealth country. The five-year residency criteria were removed in 2018, making the process much easier. You can also bring your family with you to the United Kingdom, although there is a separate application process for this.
Commonwealth citizens who can prove that their grandparents were born in Britain are eligible to apply for a residence permit and may eventually be able to become citizens
NON-RESERVED CIVIL SERVICE POSTS
Commonwealth members are eligible for employment in all non-reserved Civil Service posts in the United Kingdom. This is a unique benefit, as this only applies to British citizens, Irish citizens, Commonwealth members, and some EEA countries.
SERVING IN POLITICS
One relatively unknown benefit is that Commonwealth members can serve in politics in select Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth members have the right to serve in one or both houses of the national legislature in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, the United Kingdom, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines.
VOTING IN OTHER COUNTRIES
Commonwealth members also have the right to vote in 16 countries. This is a relatively unique benefit, as only three countries allow non-citizen residents the right to vote in elections.
Commonwealth members also have the right to vote in 16 countries
DOING BUSINESS WITH OTHER COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES
It may also be easier to do business with other Commonwealth countries if you are a member of the Commonwealth. There are multiple organizations to support businesses, including the following:
- The Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda: A platform for countries to exchange best practices for trade.
- Debt Management Unit: Supports Commonwealth members in managing their debt portfolio.
- Commonwealth Business Council: Promotes economic empowerment for Commonwealth members and includes 120 business leaders.
- Other organizations to support SMEs and small members
Commonwealth countries are already very closely, economically integrated and trade with each other. For example, trade with Commonwealth members accounts for nearly 10% of the United Kingdom’s total trade.
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It may also be easier to do business with other Commonwealth countries if you are a member of the Commonwealth
COMMONWEALTH CBI PROGRAMS
If you are interested in becoming a citizen of a Commonwealth country, many options are available. These options include Caribbean countries like Saint Lucia, St. Kitts And Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, Vanuatu, and Antigua and Barbuda. Many of these countries offer citizenship for an investment donation of $100,000 USD-$150,000 USD and can provide you with a passport in less than six months. Being a member of a Commonwealth country is one of many benefits you can enjoy when participating in these CBI programs.
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Being a member of a Commonwealth country is one of the many benefits you can enjoy when participating in these CBI programs
Many of the benefits that Commonwealth citizens receive apply to people whose parents were members of the Commonwealth, specifically from the United Kingdom. However, there are still many benefits that many Commonwealth members may not be aware of, and it is worthwhile to look into these benefits. Applying for a CBI program to some of the countries mentioned above is a great idea, not just because of their Commonwealth membership but also because of the low cost and ease of applying for these programs.