How to get Residency or Citizenship in Europe through Investment

January 14th, 2017   •   Passport, Residency   •   Comments Off on How to get Residency or Citizenship in Europe through Investment   

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.

Read More: How to apply for residency and citizenship in Cyprus.


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.

Read More: How to apply for residency and citizenship in Portugal.


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.

Read More: How to apply for residency and citizenship in Spain.


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.

Read More: How to apply for residency and citizenship in Greece.


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.

Read More: How to apply for residency and citizenship in Malta.


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.


St Kitts Citizenship Scheme Introduces New Age Limits

January 6th, 2017   •   Family, Real Estate, Residency   •   Comments Off on St Kitts Citizenship Scheme Introduces New Age Limits   

St Kitts Citizenship Investment ChangesAs from 1st January 2017 St. Kitts and Nevis have introduced a number of key amendments which will hugely improve the country’s Citizenship by Investment programme.

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.

Programme Review and New Year Developments

December 13th, 2016   •   Real Estate, Residency   •   Comments Off on Programme Review and New Year Developments   

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.

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.

St. Lucia

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.

Dominica Amends Age Requirements for its Citizenship by Investment Programme

December 13th, 2016   •   Citizenship, Investor Visa, Passport, Schengen Travel   •   Comments Off on Dominica Amends Age Requirements for its Citizenship by Investment Programme   
Dominica Amends Age Requirements for its Citizenship by Investment Programme

Dominica is just one of a selection of Caribbean islands offering a cost effective Citizenship by Investment programme and is one of the fastest programmes in the world to obtain a second passport.  As part of the British Commonwealth, a Dominican passport will allow investors the ability to visa free travel to over 100 countries worldwide including the UK and the European Schengen zone. All this can be issued as quickly as 3 – 4 months.

Dominica has just recently amended its programme to include some great new advantages. One of the main improvements is that the age limit for children has been increased from 25 years old to 28 years old.  Grandparents can also be included and the age limit has been decreased from 65 years old to 55 years old, resulting in a more flexible scheme for those wishing to include the whole family one application.

Investors can choose from two main options to obtain a second passport:

  • A non refundable donation to the government at $100,000 per single applicant + fees.
  • Or an investment in real estate, starting from $200,000 + fees.

The government fees associated with a real estate investment are now as follows:

  • Children above the age of 18 years old but younger than 28 years old – $25,000.
  • Elderly dependents (Grandparents)- $25,000.

We advise that investors who are considering the Caribbean options for a second passport to also review the other Citizenship by Investment schemes available in St Kitts, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda.

La Vida  Golden Visas can assist with both the donation and real estate options for these programme. To view some of our most popular investment projects in the Caribbean, follow this link for Real Estate Options.

Best Residence and Citizenship Investment for South America

November 13th, 2016   •   Investment, Investor Visa, Residency   •   Comments Off on Best Residence and Citizenship Investment for South America   

south-america-citizenship-residencyWhat are the best investment programmes for residents and citizens of South American countries to consider for alternative citizenship and residency?

La Vida has witnessed high demand from South America in the last two years in particular from Brazil and Argentina and Europe has proven popular as a destination.

Both Spain and Portugal offer residency visa programmes through investment of €500,000 in real estate. With the Spanish and Portuguese languages each is popular with Argentinian and Brazilian residents. Acceleration to permanent residency and citizenship is also possible due to the historical connections. Both programmes allow the freedom of travel within the EU Schengen visa zone but they are also highly desirable location for South Americans to relocate.

Closer to home there are several options in the Caribbean. Five countries now offer a second passport for investments of typically between $400,000 – $600,000 all costs considered. Holders of these passports (St Kitts, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia) have access to the EU Schengen zone for up to 3 months. Likewise travel to the UK is straightforward on such a passport.

Investors need to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of each programme. La Vida can advise on this and provide a selection of real estate investment options for investors and their families to qualify.

Antigua to Supplement Citizenship by Investment Programme

November 3rd, 2016   •   Citizenship, Investor Visa, Residency   •   Comments Off on Antigua to Supplement Citizenship by Investment Programme   

Antigua and Barbuda CEO Citizenship Investment UnitAntigua is to set to add to its successful citizenship by investment programme by launching a permanent residency scheme although no details have been released as yet.

La Vida CEO Paul Williams met with the head of the Citizenship Investment Unit for Antigua and Barbuda, Chisanga Chekwe at the 7th Industry Elite Convention in Shanghai where Mr Chekwe outlined the key features of the citizenship investment programme.

Antigua has very strict due diligence laws that ensures the integrity of the Antigua passport. He revealed that while it should take around 90 days to complete an application in practice the processing time is between 30 and 60 days.

Antigua and Barbuda offers the benefit of no taxation and citizenship for life for applicants. The main country of origin for applicants remains China followed then by Lebanon and Syria with a wide spread of countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa beyond this.

The Antigua programme also allows for the adding of family members at a later date. For example should the applicant marry and later wish to add a spouse, children and parents. Further fees are payable for each applicant.

Please register here to receive further details from La Vida once the permanent residency programme is launched.

Cyprus Citizenship with Reduced Investment

October 12th, 2016   •   Citizenship, Investor Visa, Real Estate   •   Comments Off on Cyprus Citizenship with Reduced Investment   

Citizenship by investment in EuropeCyprus has reduced the investment level required to gain citizenship from €2.5 million to €2 million. The recent move means EU citizenship can now be obtained in just 3 months with a Cypriot passport being issued soon after the investment is made by the applicant in real estate in Cyprus.

The recent move approved by the Cypriot parliament has also introduce further positive measures for applicants. It is no longer necessary to be part of a collective of five investors to obtain the lower investment limit. Parents of the applicant can also now qualify for citizenship provided they make an investment of €500,000 into real estate. This extends the Cypriot citizenship to three generations which includes children up to the age of 28.

The benefit to Cypriot citizenship is that the country is a full member of the European Union. Anyone holding Cypriot citizenship is an EU citizen and has the right to work, live, travel or study anywhere in the European Union, including the UK.

La Vida has processed a number of property investments in Cyprus in the last two years and we expect a boost following the recent reduction in the investment limit. We have also seen a surge in interest following the announcement of the UK to leave the EU. We expect this to result in increased applicants for Cyprus citizenship in the coming months as investors rush to beat any deadline from the UK imposed on EU citizens looking to settle into the country.

Hungary Permanent Residency Programme Changes

August 22nd, 2016   •   Bonds, Investor Visa, Residency   •   Comments Off on Hungary Permanent Residency Programme Changes   

Hungary Citizenship InvestmentThe Hungarian residency by investment programme has been in operation since 2012 and since its inception has attracted over 3,400 applicants. Applicants investing €300,000 into special Hungarian Residency Bonds with zero coupon were entitled to residency in Hungary.

Changes introduced by the Hungarian government in 2016 have made the programme even more attractive to applicants as European governments enhance their residency schemes in competition to attract more investment into their economies.

Straight to Permanent Residency

Following rule changes on 1 July 2016 applicants can now apply for Hungarian Permanent Residency in one step. The previous requirement was two stage, granting temporary residency initially and the right to apply for permanent residency in six months. The new rules eliminate this first step allowing applicants to gain PR in just four weeks.

Extended Family

In addition to spouse and minor children, investors may now include their parents and children over 18 in the application. All family members enjoy visa free access to travel throughout the Schengen zone.

Residential address no longer required

A previous requirement for a residential address in Hungary has been dropped from 1st July 2016.


After seven years of residency applicants and their families can apply for citizenship in Hungary.

Please contact us for further details and fees related to the programe or follow this link for more on the Hungary residency programme.


Entrepreneur Visas Europe

July 13th, 2016   •   Entrepreneur   •   Comments Off on Entrepreneur Visas Europe   

entrepreneur-visaMany countries in Europe offer “Entrepreneur Visas” for immigrants looking to invest in new business. Essentially the aim is to create wealth and jobs. But the process is very different to that of a golden visa and the chances of success depend very much on the quality of the applicant and their business proposal.

Business Plan, Investment, Jobs

In general to be successful at gaining an entrepreneur visa in Europe the applicant will be required to submit a business plan. They will need capital to invest in the business and usually the rules of that country will require the creation of new jobs. The process is often lengthy and it will involve a subjective decision from a government official as to whether the applicant qualifies or not.

The UK Tier 1 visa is a good point in mind. Gaining an entrepreneur visa in the UK has become incredibly difficult. It was once possible to gain entry to the UK through creating businesses such as shops or restaurants. Today the process is far more difficult. The British government is looking for genuine innovative investment creating wealth and jobs. Hence the introduction of the “Genuine Entrepreneur Test” to assess applications for their contribution to the economy. The failure rate for applications in the UK is now 70% and a lot of applicants are spending over £15,000 with lawyers on non-refundable fees to attempt this process.

Real Estate Investment Alternative

The new golden visas introduced by several countries in Europe are a far easier route to gaining a residency visa. They are only available from certain countries such as Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. However the rules are quite clear. Invest, for example €500,000 in real estate, meet certain requirements such as a clear criminal record, health insurance and the residency visa is guaranteed. There is no subjective assessment by a government official and residency can lead to European citizenship in the case of Cyprus, immediately or through Portugal after a period of residency.

Unfortunately La Vida cannot help with entrepreneur visas but we can help with golden visas and citizenship by investment. Please contact us here or call our UK office on +44 207 060 1475 to speak to an expert.


UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Just Got Harder

July 1st, 2016   •   Immigration, Investor Visa   •   Comments Off on UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Just Got Harder   
Brexit makes UK Tier 1 harder.

Brexit makes UK Tier 1 harder

Anyone contemplating the UK Tier 1 immigrant visa programme for entrepreneurs needs to take careful advice before embarking on such a project.

For many years the UK Tier 1 was an easy ticket. Invest £200,000 in a business and gain residency in the UK for at least three years. According the the Independent Migration Advisory Committee a total of 13,746 UK Tier 1 investor visas had been issued since 2008 but only 1,580 active companies had been set up by the process. The committee said it had found “substantial evidence of low quality businesses” set up by such entrepreneurs. Read article in Financial Times.

In 2015 the UK government introduced the “Genuine Entrepreneur Test” which has made it far more difficult for investors to meet the criteria of the programme. In a bid to reduce fraudulent applicants a business plan was made compulsory for all investors. Applications are studied in detail by immigration officers and investors need to demonstrate their ability to start a business in the UK and provide evidence of source of funds. The  rejection rate for applications recently was around 70%.

For some time now immigration has been a hot topic for the government and was the single key issue that led to the recent referendum on the UK leaving the EU. The recent case of the Canadian family who entered the UK on a Tier 1 investor visa only to have their renewal refused this year is further evidence of a tightening of the rules by the British government.

If the failure rate was 70% before this point then it is only likely to rise further after the historic UK vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU. While it is still possible to apply for the programme applicants risk losing substantial fees to lawyers and advisors who typically charge a £15,000 non-refundable fee to submit an application that has little chance of success.

Contrast this with the golden visa programmes elsewhere in Europe where a straightforward investment in real estate is guaranteed to gain a residency visa with 100% success.

It is clear the UK Tier 1 needs a complete overhaul and that the UK government currently has no appetite for immigration in any form. Wealthy investors are being deterred from UK immigration and this is unlikely to change for some years until the UK has finally left the EU and formulated a coherent investor immigration policy.