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Everything you need to know about citizenship and residence programs around the globe.
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Many countries in the world accept dual citizenship and their nationals often grab this opportunity with both hands. For some it is a chance to live, work and study in an advanced economy, for others it is a ticket to the world, and yet others are seeking political or social stability and safety. Europe can offer all of these and more, therefore it’s a first choice for many foreign investors.
We have found at least three solid reasons why it is advantageous and beneficial to obtain passport of one of the European states.
Check how many countries you can visit visa-free with your current passport. It may be a lot, or it may be just a few. And then compare this to any European country, and we can guarantee it will be different. Besides, an EU passport allows its holder to live, work and travel in any member state of the European Union.
Even if you would need to apply for a visa to some countries such as China or Russia, you might stand a better chance of obtaining it with a European passport than with your current one. Please discuss this with an adviser.
Not all European countries are doing great, but if we take the 15 Western European states that created the Union, all of them have strong economies, political stability and social benefits system. Nothing can shake them off their feet – neither the immigration crisis nor Brexit nor coronavirus pandemic.
Choose European passport for yourself and your family and enjoy a safe life with access to excellent healthcare and education.
Wealthy people know that a trustworthy bank and stable currency are key to preserving and protecting your money. Besides, European residents can take loans and mortgages at lower interest rates than in their home country.
European tax laws are stringent, but there are always legal ways to optimise taxes. A few jurisdictions in the EU are ideal for registration of international companies with little interference from the government in the activities of small and medium-size businesses.
We will tell you about four options of applying for and obtaining a passport of one of the European states.
The most ‘painful’ way of getting European citizenship. You must prove that you are in danger in your home country while immigration authorities of the receiving country have to accept that there is discrimination in your country by race, religion, political views or anything else.
A huge drawback is that potentially you will become persona non grata in your country.
You can apply for this if you have ancestors in a European country and can prove it. You must also know customs and traditions of your new motherland. The most known repatriation program was conducted by Germany after WWII. Other examples are Greece, Hungary, Spain and Ireland.
It is the longest route to European citizenship, because it requires living in a country for a long time from 6 to 12 years. During this time, you must study, work or run a business unless you have come to reunite with family, including by marrying a European national.
The easiest, but definitely not the cheapest, way of obtaining European citizenship. At the moment, it is offered by only a few countries in Europe. To get second passport, an investor does not have to live in a country for long, speak a local language fluently or know its customs and traditions. All you are asked to do is to invest a big amount of money.
Among countries that offer citizenship by investment programs we want to single out Cyprus, Malta and Montenegro (the latter is not in EU, but you would be able to travel visa-free in any EU state). All three are keen on attracting foreign investors. However, the requirements to applicants are rigorous. The easy bit is your age; you must be 18 and older. Apart from that you must be of good health and have clean criminal and immigration records.
All three jurisdictions start by granting you a residence card. Provided you and your family meet all criteria under each program, you will be given citizenship and passport. That’s where all three countries are the same, but they are very different in terms of investment options, procedure and timeline.
Cyprus citizenship by investment programme stopped accepting new applications from 1 November 2020. We will let you know if the Cypriot government launches a new citizenship program whereby foreign investors can get a European passport.
There are currently 2 investment programs for obtaining a European passport – Malta citizenship by investment and Montenegro citizenship by investment.
We also suggest that you have a look at Caribbean citizenship by investment programs – they are cheaper than their European counterparts while offering similar benefits: visa-free travel to a lot of countries, citizenship for a whole family, taxation benefits and much more. Caribbean countries for investment in second citizenship are St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia and Grenada.
It will take 6–8 months to get a Cyprus passport.
To do it, a foreign investor must invest at least €2,000,000 in the island economy, including non-refundable €500,000 for the purchase of a home which they must own for life, and in addition non-refundable €150,000 must be contributed equally to two funds, one for research and innovations and the other for land development and housing.
There are a few ways of investing your money that will buy you EU citizenship.
Purchase a flat or a house or invest in a development or infrastructure project. This either includes your home or comes as an extra.
Buy shares and stocks, open or buy a company that is registered and has physical presence in Cyprus.
Buy shares in investment funds as well as other stocks and securities issued by companies that are registered and are actively trading in Cyprus.
Choose a few investment options from above and mix them to achieve the required amount. Remember about €500,000 that you must spend on your home.
After 5 years of owning Cyprus assets (property, shares, etc.) you can resell it and get your money back, except for the €500,000.
Maltese passport takes 12–14 months to get.
Minimum required amount for participation in this program is €1,150,000 for a single applicant. However, all investments are mandatory, and you cannot choose, like in Cyprus.
Both securities and property must be in your ownership for at least 5 years before they can be sold. Good news is, during this time you can lease or sublease your property.
It is only a matter of 7 months before you get your European passport.
Please remember that this beautiful seaside country is not yet a member of the European Union. However, Montenegro passport is not that different from Malta and Cyprus, because it guarantees visa-free entry to 123 countries including Schengen. Therefore, we cannot call it an EU passport, but it is a European one.
Here comes a pleasant surprise. The required investment is not as huge as in Cyprus or Malta. There are two amounts that must be invested.
On top of that, you will be charged a one-off application fee – €15,000 for the main applicant.
Quick answer is, no. It is a great bonus for those who cannot or does not want to spend all the time in any of these countries. However, you will need to travel there anyway, for example, to make an investment in Cyprus. But you can reduce the number of trips by using services of professional lawyers.
Immigration advisers from our company will help you do all the paperwork and apply for second passport remotely with minimum involvement on your part. Apart from immigration, we can advise you what investment option to choose, support you during relocation if you decide to move to your new home and much more.
We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.
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