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Should an Investor Choose EU Residency or Citizenship Status?

Is the right choice for you and your family Malta, Cyprus or Portugal?

Introduction

Government schemes to trade investment for residence or citizenship have rapidly been adopted by at least 10 countries in Europe. Countries both in and outside the Schengen free- movement area have adopted this new trend. Those part of the Schengen Zone that have embraced the idea include Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Latvia, Austria, Malta, Spain, Lithuania, Switzerland, and Hungary. While Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Britain are countries outside the Schengen Area that have adopted the scheme. Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) give a country the much-needed dose of direct foreign investment. These investments are usually huge and tend to make a significant development difference. The economic impact of the residence or citizenship by investment programs especially in real estate and related ‘multiplier effect’ have been the major factors influencing economies of these countries. With the enhanced regulation of these programs, improved transparency has been noted.

Golden Visas

Following the financial crisis in 2008, Golden Visas were introduced to fast-track offering of citizenship or residency to foreign investors in exchange for investment. The Golden Visa Schemes will explore the integrity and accountability of the residency– or citizenship-by-investment programs in the EU. These will enhance transparency and eradicate corruption and even abuse of these programs in various EU member states. Some of the rules that govern the Golden Visa Schemes regarding attaining citizenship or residency include:Attaining Residency: Attaining a European residency status requires the fulfilment of specific conditions. Some of the requirements include a clean bill of health, no criminal history, and passing language and cultural tests.Golden Visa residence program is a special status that allows the resident-by- investment to become a permanent resident. Individuals having this visa can live, study, and work in any of the EU member states. Attaining Citizenship in most countries that provide citizenship by investment programs, the requirements are only two: a high net worth and meeting the obligations for a European residency permit. It takes years to get this status in some countries and only weeks in others such as Malta, Greece, Monaco, and Cyprus. Below are ways of attaining European citizenship by investment in Cyprus and Malta. They are some of the most investor-friendly countries in the EU.

The Island of Cyprus

It grants full European citizenship and a second passport to any applicant who invests at least £2 million in the country’s real estate industry. The applicant must also meet the program’s other requirements. It also provides these passports to the family members. Being an EU state, this makes Cyprus an attractive country as successful applicants will gain the rights to work, live, and study in any of the member states. It also grants visa-free travel to over 158 countries in the world. Furthermore, there is no requirement for physical residency as long as the person meets the threshold of at least one visit in every seven years.

Malta

It was the first EU member to offer citizenship by investment programs to high net worth individuals. It also grants second passports to successful applicants and their families upon meeting specified financial obligations. They can then enjoy visa-free travel to over 177 countries around the world including the USA and Canada. Benefits of EU’s Citizenship by Investment Programs

  • Easy worldwide mobility
  • The right to vote
  • Lenient tax laws
  • No obligation to renounce citizenship in the home country
  • Access to excellent healthcare systems in the EU
  • Embassy or consular protection in whichever country of the world.

Countries have put in place stringent checks for applicants, which make it nearly impossible to navigate without the help of agencies. It is crucial for interested individual to use licensed firms. RIF Trust is one of the authorised government agencies that work directly with realtors to fast-track the process. We help their clients to attain their citizenship through investment and Golden Visa status in under three months.