Wealthy Vietnamese citizens are being drawn to Europe to obtain residency or a second passport visa investment.
Programs such as those in Malta, Cyprus and Portugal are attracting interest because of their quick approval, lack of physical presence requirement and lack of language requirement.
Tightened regulations on the US EB-5 visa is a door closer for citizens of Vietnam.
U.S. EB-5 Investment Requirements
(Subject to review)
- An EB-5 investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise.
- The investor must invest at least $1 million when investing in a general area of business or at least $500,000 when investing in a targeted employment area (`Regional Centres`).
- Within two years of admission as a conditional permanent resident, the investor must create or preserve at least 10 full-time, direct or indirect jobs belonging to qualified US workers.
While the process can take up to two years for a Vietnamese citizen to gain a US green card via the EB-5 program, European citizenship and permanent residency can be obtained as quickly as four months in some cases.
Investment classes in Europe are also seen as simpler and safer than the US, where thresholds of either $500,000 or $1 million have to be met for new projects that create at least 10 jobs.
In several cases the projects have fallen through, often leading to messy court cases.
Once the citizenship or permanent residency has been approved, tax breaks are also a key incentive of the European programs.
Wealthy Chinese remain overwhelming the top candidates for the world’s investment programs, but high net worth individuals from all over Asia are also queuing up to obtain second citizenships.
Key European Investment Programs
Malta Individual Investor Program
- Main Applicant: €650,000
- Spouse: €25,000
- Child under 18: €25,000
- Unmarried child aged 18-26: €50,000
- Dependant parent over 55: €50,000
After approval, the applicant must
- Invest at least €150,000 in approved instruments and hold the investment for at least five years.
- Buy residential immovable property in Malta with a minimum value of €350,000 and hold the property for at least five years or lease a residential immovable property in Malta with a minimum annual rent of €16,000 for a period of five years.
Portugal Golden Residence Investor Program
Transfer of capital of minimum value of €1 million into Portugal including through purchase of shares in companies
Creation of at least 10 new positions in Portugal
Purchase of unencumbered real estate in Portugal of a minimum value of €350,000. Co-ownership or purchase of property through finance is permissible provided each individual makes a mandatory minimum investment of €350,000.
Investment of at least €350,000 in constructed 30 years ago or investment for rehabilitation of properties located in Urban Rehabilitation Areas
Scientific Research and Development
Investment of at least €350,000 in R&D activities of institutions that are part of the national technological system.
Promotion of Culture
Investment of at least €250,000 towards financing of bodies pursuing cultural or artistic activities or towards renovation or maintenance of cultural heritage.
Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Finance
Investment of at least €500,000 towards purchase of units of small-cap or mid-cap venture capital funds.
Investment in Low Population Areas
20 per cent reduction in minimum investments in the above-mentioned categories when investment is made in a low population-density area.
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