Programs offering citizenship or permanent residence to wealthy investors are popular amongst applicants for a number of reasons ranging from visa-free travel privileges to a stable and secure life for families with access to quality education and healthcare services. Demand for investment immigration has doubted over the past five years and is expected to continue to rise.
A second passport is often a shortcut to a better life and is popular amongst individuals from China, the Middle East, and Russia. Further, investing at the right time and in the right country can, over the long run, offer fantastic returns for the applicant.
However, not all programs are the same for all applicants. In-demand investment immigration programs like the US EB-5 visa can come with a two-year waiting period. Other popular options, like the citizenship by investment program of St Kitts and Nevis or Cyprus may offer faster processing at a higher price tag.
Introduced in May 2013, the Citizenship by Investment program offers fast-track residence or citizenship of the European Union in lieu of a minimum investment of €5 million. Permissible asset classes include government bonds, real estate, and local enterprises. A group of individuals can obtain citizenship by investing just €2.5 million provided the plan’s total value is not less than €12.5 million. Additional requirements include purchase of a residence in the country of value of at least €500,000.
Benefits of the program include grant of citizenship and a Cypriot passport, right to travel, work, and reside in an EU nation without any restrictions, visa-free travel to around 150 other countries, and freedom to reside in any other country without loss of citizenship status. The program is popular because of its low rejection rates and short processing time of just 3-5 months.
Malta’s IIP offers EU citizenship to applicants contributing €650,000 to the National Development Fund, €150,000 in approved securities for a period of five years, and payment of a due diligence fee of €7,500.
Spouse and children aged below 18 years too can qualify upon payment of an additional €25,000 per individual. For children between 18 and 26 years and dependent parents, the minimum additional contribution is €50,000 per individual. Due diligence fee for children between 13 and 18 years is €3,000 and €5,000 for all others included in the application.
Other requirements include establishment of a residence in Malta by purchase of property for not less than €350,000 or an annual rental of at least €16,000. Such residence must be retained for a period of at least five years.
Approved applicants are granted full citizenship with descendents gaining automatic Maltese citizenship in the future. Malta has issued citizenship to 620 applicants out of a maximum of 1800 applications to be accepted under the program.
Portugal’s Golden Visa offers fast-track residency to individuals investing €500,000 in real estate in the country. A recent change reduced this limit to €350,000 provided the properties fulfill renewal or renovation-related guidelines. There are other options including creation of jobs and investing in enterprises in Portugal. However, real estate continues to remain the preferred option for investors.
The residence permit is initially valid for a period of one year, which can twice be extended for two years at a time. The applicant can seek permanent residency after holding the Golden Visa for five years; and citizenship after six years. Other requirements include having adequate income, a residence in Portugal, and basic proficiency in Portuguese language.
Golden Visa holders can travel within the Schengen region without any restrictions. After obtaining citizenship, the individual will become a citizen of the EU, will hold a European passport, and enjoy all privileges related to travel, residence, work, and study in Europe.
The Spanish Golden Visa requires a minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate. Taxes and other fees cost an additional €50,000. The visa is valid for five years and entitles the applicant to free travel within the Schengen region. Slow processing and a minimum ten-year residence requirement for citizenship makes this program less popular as compared to the Portuguese program.
This investment immigration program requires investment of €300,000 in non-interest bearing redeemable government bonds. The bonds must be held for a period of five years. Processing costs and other charges require additional investment of around €60,000.
Applicants are granted a temporary residence permit within 3-4 weeks of submission of the application. Purchase or lease property makes the applicant eligible to apply for permanent residence after six months.
Very low investment requirements, quick processing, no physical-residence requirements, and the option of applying for citizenship after a short period of permanent residence are some reasons why this program is very popular amongst investors.
Antigua and Barbuda
Its citizenship by investment program was introduced in 2012. Investment options include
- Donation of $200,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund, or
- Investment of $1.5 million in eligible businesses on the Islands, or
- Investment of $400,000 in a real estate project in the country.
Additional charges include processing charges along with a fee of $50,000 for the applicant and spouse and $25,000 for each adult child.
The passport, which entitles the holder to visa-free travel to the EU, the UK, Canada, and 130 nations, is issued within 2-3 months of fulfillment of the investment requirements. The passport is valid for five years and easily renewable. Citizenship remains valid provided the holder spends at least five days in the country in the first five years.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Introduced in 1984, this nation’s investment immigration program took off only after it was revamped to include additional investment options. Applicants can purchase real estate worth $400,000 to be held for at least five years. Or, they can make a $250,000 donation to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund.
Further, applicants must pay a $50,000 government fee, reduced to $25,000 for spouse and minor children, along with due diligence charges and other fees. The passport is issued in 4-12 months.
Investors and their descendents are entitled to citizenship without any residential requirements. The passport offers visa-free travel privileges to around 120 nations.
Other programs offered by Caribbean nations include Dominica, which grants citizenship for property investment of $200,000, and Grenada where a $350,000 real-estate investment leads to citizenship.
The above comprise of the more popular reliable programs.
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Interested Investors: Kindly complete the following form and we will contact you to discuss your global residency and citizenship investment options.General Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
Interested Investors: Kindly complete the following form and we will contact you to discuss your global residency and citizenship investment options.