La Vida offers a choice of several golden visa programmes for investment in residency and citizenship….
Portugal has proved to be the most popular destination in Europe for investors seeking a golden visa. Full residency is granted but there is no requirement to reside. Citizenship can be applied for after six years.
The Portuguese golden visa is a central feature of the government’s drive for international investment. With the country returning to growth the real estate market offers exciting prospects for the years ahead.
La Vida offers a choice of several golden visa programmes for investment in residency and citizenship….
Cyprus offers citizenship for investment levels of €2.0 million in real estate which is one of the big attractions of this programme. A Cypriot passport allows freedom to travel, study, work or live throughout the European Union.
Cyprus also offers residency through investment of just €300,000 allowing full family qualification. The investor visa is flexible with no requirement to live in the country.
La Vida offers a choice of several golden visa programmes for investment in residency and citizenship….
Spain is a firm favourite for many clients considering real estate investment to obtain a golden visa. One of the larger economies in Europe offering an investor visa programme.
Invest from €500,000 in real estate to gain the Spanish golden visa. This provides a flexible residency option. Permanent residency and citizenship can be applied for at a later stage subject to certain stipulations.
Greece offers a residency visa through property investment but eventual citizenship is not available to foreigners. Greece is a member of the EU Schengen visa zone and has no minimum stay requirement.
Prospective investors need to carefully consider the status of the economy in Greece, the real estate market and related property taxes. Greece offers a higher risk investment than other European nations.
Malta offers an Individual Investor Program which is appropriate for our very high net worth clients. In addition to committing to a residence in Malta for five years the scheme requires investment in government approved funds and instruments.
The Malta visa scheme leads to citizenship within one year for suitable applicants, a passport from an EU country and hence the freedom to live anywhere within the EU. The total investment required is typically in excess of €1.2 million.
The citizenship by investment programme for Grenada is one of the newest programmes available to investors. The Grenada passport offers visa-free travel to over 70 countries including the UK.
Grenada offers a low investment threshold. Applicants need invest just $250,000 in a government approved real estate project and maintain the investment for at least 4 years.
The citizenship by investment programme for Antigua and Barbuda provides a second passport to investors offering visa-free travel to over 100 countries including the UK, EU Schengen zone and Canada.
There are several options for investment to gaining citizenship in Antigua including real estate investment of a minimum $400,000.
The St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is the oldest of its kind in the world. Established in 1984 the program grants citizenship through real estate investment to qualified applicants.
The government requires investment of $400,000 plus related government and due diligence fees. St Kitts offer visa free travel to over 120 countries. An ideal choice for a second passport.
The most recent RICs property price index report shows more promising signs of economic growth in Cyprus. With improved confidence in Cyprus’ banking system, resulting in higher transactions taking place in the final quarter of 2016, the Cypriot economy is once again looking up. Last year, the economy saw an overall GDP growth of 2.9%, which was a great example of how successful the Golden visa programme is proving for the country. According to the Minister of Finance– approximately two thousand golden visa were issued to non-EU citizens last year, equating to around 4 billion euros worth of investment, which in turn makes up around 25% of Cyprus total GDP.
Compared to Q4 of 2015, rental values have also noticeably increased by 6.6% for apartments, 8.7% for houses, making the average rental yield between 3-4% p.a.
The countries Citizenship by Investment programme still holds it’s place as Europe’s quickest CBI programme. Following an investment of €2,000,000 + costs, it is possible to obtain an EU passport within just 6 months which in turn allows one to live, work or study anywhere in the EU.
La Vida have a wide selection of real estate investments to offer in Cyprus, including the following brand new project which has just recently been launched in the popular area of Pafos. Citizenship investors could consider purchasing a number of properties in this particular development to total the required amount of €2,000,000. With prices starting from just €240,000, this project also offers excellent choices for Permanent Residency applicants too. The developers are also offering a guaranteed rental programme of 3% p.a for a three year period. An ideal option for those who are looking for a low maintenance investment which will generate a steady ROI.
A Grenada passport comes with a number of benefits, mainly the visa free travel to over 117 countries worldwide which includes popular destinations such as the EU Schengen zone, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and most uniquely, China. In fact, Grenada is the only Citizenship by Investment scheme currently on the market which offers visa free access to China, making it a very popular option for business people with ties to china.
In addition to visa free travel to China another key advantage with Grenada is the E2 Treaty with the USA. This treaty offers Grenadian citizens and their family the opportunity to reside, work and study in the USA in return for an additional US business investment.
The E2 visa from the USA is not open to every country. For example India and China are two countries that are excluded. However by investing first in Grenada and gaining Grenadan citizenship and a passport, investors can then apply for an E2 visa.
The E2 visa lasts initially for 5 years and can then easily be renewed every subsequent 5 years, providing the visa holder complies with the rules. To obtain an E2 visa, applicant’s must make a “significant investment” into a US business. Significant, meaning at least a 50% interest and the business investment can be a simple $150,000 franchise, for example.
Unlike the EB5 (Green Card) programme, E2 visa holders do not have to reside for long periods of time in the US, so do not automatically become US tax payers, and in certain circumstances do not need to become such.
Both the E2 visa treaty and the visa free access to China really set’s Grenada apart from all other Citizenship programmes, not to mention the stunning white sandy beaches and crystal clear water of the Caribbean itself.
If you would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact our visa experts today.
Since the St Lucian government re-launched their citizenship by investment scheme in January 2017, the programme has been a strong contender for the lowest priced scheme in the Caribbean, competing directly against the Dominica CBI programme.
Both schemes offer a competitive donation option, starting at just $100,000 for a single applicant, making both of these options the lowest priced second passport programmes on the market.
For many years, Dominica has been a firm favourite amongst investors looking for a cost effective route to Citizenship and visa free travel. However St Lucia now just takes the title as the lowest priced option with fractionally cheaper processing fees.
For a single applicant choosing the donation route in St Lucia, the additional processing costs and donation will come to a total of roughly $144,630 as opposed to Dominica where the overall cost will work out around $147,450
The real estate investment option in Dominica still remains to be the more popular option with the required investment threshold set at just $200,000 as opposed to the proposed $300,000 in St Lucia. The St Lucian Government are still to approve a selection of real estate projects for this investment route and this is expected in the first half of 2017.
Second passports in both commonwealth countries will enable investors to travel freely to over 118 countries including the EU Schengen zone and also the UK. Visa free travel to other popular destination such as Hong Kong and Singapore is also a major benefit for many. The whole process will take just 3- 4 months to obtain citizenship in either country making them the quickest citizenship by investment options on the market.
If you would like to find out more about either option in Dominica or St Lucia, please do not hesitate to contact our experts today.
Since the Hungarian Government recently closed it’s residency scheme, we have received many enquiries from investors looking for a similar option. La Vida recommends that clients who missed the Hungary deadline to turn their attention to Malta.
The Maltese Indefinite Residency programme offers international investors permanent residency in exchange for a total investment of just €370,000. This scheme is very flexible and highly comparable to Hungary with some added benefits. Along with dependent children up to the age of 26 years old and dependent parents, Grandparents can also be included. This is rare for many of the other European investor visa programmes.
The programme requires the following investments to be made:
Like with any investor visa scheme, we would like to remind you that governments can end the programmes at any time, like they did in Hungary. If you are seriously considering an investment, time is of the essence. Contact our experts today if you would like to proceed or need further information.
One of the most popular Golden Visa programmes worldwide, the US EB-5 investor visa is set to expire on April 28, 2017. The US Congress voted to temporarily extend the programme back in December 2016. Since that time Donald Trump has been inaugurated as US President and it is not clear at this time what his views are on the EB5 programme. The EB-5immigration program hands out green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs in the U.S.
Currently a limit of 10,000 EB5 visas are issued each year, 85% of those to Chinese nationals. Investors can get Green Cards through investing $500,000 in areas labelled as “high unemployment” or $1 million in areas without that classification. Several proposals were made in January 2016 by the Department of Homeland Security including raising the limits to $1.3 million and $1.8 million and reclassifying areas designated as high unemployment on the basis that most areas seem to have crept into this classification.
Recently two Representatives Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein introduced proposals to end the EB-5 altogether, although it is generally felt that this will have little chance of success. It would be difficult for Donald Trump to criticise the program as several Trump branded projects appear to have benefitted from EB-5 investment over the years. However with the recent travel ban introduced on six predominantly Muslim countries and Trump’s proposed hard-line stance on China the outcome of any review remains uncertain.
Any change or end to the programme is likely to send investors and applicants scurrying for other golden visa programmes. The US programme is the largest in the world and in itself exceeds the numbers generated by all the European programmes put together. The US EB-5 programme for now remains open and the likelihood is it will be extended in some shape or form after the April 28th deadline. However potential applicants would be wise to progress ahead of any changes and also consider any potential knock-on effect to alternative programmes in Europe and the Caribbean.
According to Portugal’s National Institution of Statistics, a recent report shows that in the third quarter of 2016, house prices had risen by 7.6% compared to the previous year, with a growth of 1.3% just from Q2- Q3 of 2016 alone.
In the period of July- September 2016, Portugal saw an impressive 31,535 property transactions; a 15.8% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. These sales generated a total value of €3.6 billion! The area responsible for the largest proportion of sales was Lisbon, accounting for 34% of the whole country’s property purchases.
The market has been steadily growing since the economic crisis back in 2012/13, and property prices have shown significant signs of growth in the past few years. Since Q1 of 2013 we are now looking a total property price increase close to 14%. There does not seem to be any sign of these rises slowing down either, with an average appreciation rate of around 4-5% per annum.
The Golden Visa Scheme is certainly one of the major contributing factors for these price increases, as Portugal has seen a great boost in their economy since the introduction of residency visa programme back in Oct 2012. The visa programme remains strong, and is still one of our most popular schemes for those looking for a flexible residency scheme in Europe with the opportunity to apply for citizenship after just 6 years. For more details on this programme please contact our experts.
According to the most recent RICS Property Price Index Report for Cyprus in 2016, there has been some promising signs of growth within the real estate market. Paphos was one of the strongest regions with an average price increase of 1.77% on residential houses. The prices of flats also rose steadily in Limassol at a rate of 1.4% on average; and there was an overall growth of 1.6% for holiday apartments throughout Cyprus.
Rental values have also increased across Cyprus by 0.7% for apartments and 3.3% for houses. The average ROI for rental property now stands between 3-4% per annum.
It seems that the economy and real estate market are finally stabilizing following the economic crisis back in 2013 and according to a recent report from KPMG this is primarily a result of the government’s Citizenship by Investment scheme. In the first two quarters of 2016, the total number of property deeds of sales increased by over 28% in comparison to 2015. Tourism, financial services and real estate account for nearly 80% of Cyprus’s GDP, so a rise in the property market will have a great effect on lifting the overall economy.
Now that the market seems to have bottomed out in most area’s, there has never been a better time to buy in Cyprus with great potential for future capital appreciation. We foresee further price rises in 2017, making it an excellent time to buy.
Cyprus remains the fastest Citizenship by Investment programme in Europe offering investors a second passport within just 6 months following a real estate investment at €2m. Dependent children up to the age of 28 years old can be included under a family application and grandparents can also be included for just an additional €500,000. The real estate investment must be held for 3 years, after which investors only need to retain a residential investment of just €500,000 for the future. As Cyprus is a full EU member a passport here will enable one to live, work and study in any EU country, currently still including the UK.
For more details on this scheme, please contact our specialist consultants today for further advice.
The new golden visa programmes in Europe have made it possible to get residency and citizenship through investment in real estate. Countries such as Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Malta now offer this attractive benefit to high net worth invdividuals who invest in property in these countries.
We have highlighted below a brief description of the opportunity in each country along with the basic requirements such as how much to invest. However, for a full understanding of these options please contact one of our consultants.
Cyprus offers two programmes, one for permanent residency and one for citizenship. The residency programme requires an investment of €300,000 in real estate. For citizenship and an immediate second passport investment of €2 million is required. Both programmes are flexible for family qualification allowing parents, grand parents and children to qualify.
Portugal offers a residency scheme through investment of €500,000 into real estate. This programme grants temporary residence to the investor and their family providing the investment is maintained and renewed every two years. After five years applicants can then apply for permanent residence and after six years for citizenship and a passport.
The Spanish golden visa programme requires investment of €500,000 into property. Applications are processsed quickly and residency can be gained in a matter of months. For citizenship investors and their families need to live in Spain for a minimum of 10 years.
The cheapest residency investment programme currently available in Europe is that of Greece, requiring investment of just €250,000 in real estate. Flexible rules apply for full family qualification across three generations.
Malta is unique in requiring investment in property and further investment contribution in the form of a government donation. However citizenship and a second European passport is on offer to those investing and waiting the 12 months or so it takes to obtain full citizenship.
Other countries have residency and citizenship investment programmes that are not directly linked to real estate. Contact us for further details on how to apply for and buy permanent residency and citizenship through investment in the UK, USA, Bulgaria, Hungary, Dominica, St Kitts, Grenada, St Lucia and Antigua.
One of the most beneficial amendments is that older dependent children up to the age of 30 years old can now be included under the one family application. This is one of the highest age limits for children that we have seen across the various residency and citizenship programmes that we offer and can fill a gap in the market.
The age limit for dependent parents has also been lowered from 65 to 55 years old, offering more flexibility for family applications. And lastly dependent children born after citizenship has been granted and under the age of 16 will also be eligible for citizenship.
The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment programme requires a real estate investment of €400,000 + costs and will grant investors and their family members citizenship within 3- 4 months. A St Kitts Passport will enable visa free travel throughout several key areas, including the Schengen zone, UK and Canada.
One of our most popular real estate investments projects in St Kitts has been this 5* Hotel Resort. Here investors can expect to find high quality luxury hotel apartments with sensational views across the crystal clear Caribbean sea. For more details, please contact one of our consultants.
This year 2016 has proven to be a further step on the ever developing market for investor visa programmes. Demand is increasing for most schemes, many programmes have changed and further amendments are expected in 2017. With a Trump victory, Brexit and European immigration concerns we can expect major changes to continue into 2017 and 2018.
We have highlighted below some of the key developments in 2016 and expectations of change in the year ahead.
The delays in SEF in processing golden visa applications in mid 2015 led to a drop in numbers. However a new fast track procedure introduced earlier this year has put applications back on track. The number of approved applications in 2016 looks set to be the highest ever running at over 2000 investors per annum. The introduction of a €350,000 limit for renovation projects is taking time to produce the necessary supply. Such projects are complicated and need to be fully managed. La Vida has sourced some interesting options for clients and we will see more of these in 2017. The property market is gaining strength in Portugal with price rises over the last three years now fuelling growth and demand. Developers are reluctant to offer discounts and the best properties are sold long before completion.
There were some key changes introduced in 2016 to the Cyprus citizenship and residency programmes.
The qualifying real estate investment level for citizenship was reduced from €2.5 million to €2.0 million. The timescale for achieving the pasport increased to six months as it is now necessary to hold residency (but not necessary to live in Cyprus) before being issued a passport. It still remains the fastest route to EU citizenship.
The residency programme was amended to include parents. Three generations can now be included for an investment of just €300,000 in real estate. A key benefit is that this is for Permanent Residency (PR).
Changes for 2017 could see Cyprus becoming part of the EU Schengen zone. Anyone obtaining the Permanent Residency before that point will no doubt retain it should Cyprus enter Schengen. The EU has not allowed any Schengen country to issue Permanent Residency immediately on investment. Should Schengen happen then we can expect some changes to the programme. Investors may be wise to act sooner to grab the benefits on offer.
The economy in Cyprus may well see a further boost in 2017 with the discovery of huge natural gas resources off the coastline and the development of its first casino under the Hard Rock brand.
Political developments in Hungary could well see the end of the residency bond visa programme in 2017. It has been possible to obtain residency in Hungary through a €300,000 investment in government residency bonds. However Hungary’s nationalist opposition party Jobbik is seeking an end to the programme in return for its support on other matters. Parliament closes this week so unless change happens in the next few days we can expect no further developments until at least February 2017. Still time for any investor to get their application in ahead of any changes.
We can expect changes in 2017 to the recently launched citizenship programme in St. Lucia. The scheme has been in operation less than 12 months but there is a new government in place and new ideas and our conversations with those close to the programme suggest a more coordinated and consolidated programme will be launched in 2017.
The Spanish government made some changes to its golden visa programme in 2016 but nothing that enables it to seriously compete with some of the better schemes on the market.
The government is reaping the benefits of its $100,000 contribution limit. The caribbean countries are concerned that this is a race to the bottom in terms of sale of passports.
Expect changes to the St. Lucia citizenship by investment program in 2017. A change of government has already led to a $100,000 donation offer until 31 March 2017.