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.
Queen of Pop Madonna has been very vocal on her social media pages recently about her move to Portugal and her Golden Visa application. The pop star has invested in an impressive property in Sintra, Portugal, which was formerly a palace. The property investment is reported to have cost her €7.5 million euros and is currently undergoing renovation works. Whilst she waits for her new home to be completed, Madonna has been staying in the highly luxurious presidential suite of the Pestana Palace hotel in Lisbon.
Her recent relocation to Portugal was triggered by her sons new venture with the Portuguese junior football team- Benfica. Son David Banda, from Melawi, was adopted by Madonna and ex-husband Guy Richie back in 2006 and is now 11 years old. It is reported that David and his siblings will attend the international French Lycee school in Lisbon.
Madonna has posted a number of times on Instagram in recent weeks about her families new life in Portugal and their wait for their new residency visas to be granted. It is also said that she has had a private meeting with the immigration authorities, SEF, where her application is being treated as an exceptional case. Madonna’s unique celebrity status is projected to boost Portugal’s tourism and economy, bringing a lot of exciting new attention to the country.
Portugal has attracted a number of high profile celebrities in recent years including former Manchester United Football Club player Eric Cantona and French fashion designer Christian Louboutin just to name a few. The Portuguese Golden Visa programme requires international investors to purchase property priced at €500,000 which is more than possible for such high net worth individuals.
Another attractive aspect of investing in Portugal is the Non-Habitual tax regime, which gives foreigners huge tax advantages and the scheme exempts some pensioners from taxes altogether for 10 years.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has recently reduced the application fees for the Citizenship by Investment programme. The Programme, which has been hugely popular for clients looking for a second passport, will now cost a family of four around $50,000 less in Government application fees than it would have previously.
The Government’s fees were previously set at $50,000 for the main applicant, $50,000 for a spouse and an additional $25,000 per each child, bringing the government fees for a family of four to $100,000. These fees are now half the cost with a flat fee of $50,000 for a family of four opting for the Real Estate investment. For larger families, additional dependants can be included for an added fee of $15,000 per person.
Those opting for the donation to the National Development Fund will pay even lower costs with a flat government fee for a family of four now fixed at just $25,000. Additional dependants for families larger than four can also be included for an additional $15,000 per person. Due diligence, passport and legal fees are also applicable for both routes.
The recent changes to these costs make the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship programme even more attractive, offering a very feasible solution to obtaining a second passport which will allow one to travel to over 130 countries world wide including the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong and many more…
For your free consultation on the Citizenship by Investment programmes and a full personalised quote, please do not hesitate to contact our specialists today.
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.
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.
Spanish property prices appear to be rising and could climb by 12% in 2016 according to an article published in the Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo recently. Barcelona University professor and real estate expert Gonzalo Bernardos explains the reasons behind rising prices and why the market could rise as much as 50% over the next four years.
Currently, the residential market in Spain is expanding. In the second quarter of 2015 the annual increase of housing prices was 4% and the level of transactions rose by 13.9%. The first signs of a rising market were observed in the main cities in late 2014. However, “nobody should expect the formation of a new bubble”, as all the main variables including market price, housing starts and percentage of household income devoted to making mortgage payments are far from the level they reached in 2006 and 2007.
The main reasons for the rise in price of housing are:
Once adjusted for inflation, most are worth less than half that in 2007 and about the same as in 2002. Bernardos claims that at present buying a well located home is a great opportunity, and that in 2016 prices will rise by 12%.
The willingness of banks to grant more mortgages. Today, banks have plenty of liquidity and are earning low margins on lending. Mortgage loans are attractive to the banks. The loans are less risky and lead to cross selling of products. Banks are keen to lend again in the property market and easier credit will fuel prices. The number of residential mortgages issued climbed by 28.5% in the year to July 2015.
With low returns on deposits and volatile equity markets many risk-averse investors are turning to the real estate market. Bernardos says housing offers a mix of high expected capital gains (up to 50% in what remains of this decade), and rental yields of around 3.5%, better than savings accounts.
Many households in Spain sat out the crisis in rented accommodation, waiting for house prices to bottom out, for the economy to improve and mortgages to get cheaper. With those conditions now in place and the Spanish economy growing at an annual 3.1%, Spanish families are jumping back into the market, unleashing pent up demand.
In short, Bernardos says a new stage in the housing market has begun in Spain. However, nothing will be the same as the boom and bust of recent years. All said, this is encouraging news for investors looking to buy for the Spanish Golden Visa.
In 2015 we have seen exceptional growth in demand for golden visas from around the globe. The Middle East, Asia and Africa continue to show strong growth with countries such as India, Pakistan, China, South Africa, Nigeria and the UAE all demonstrating considerable interest in the various programmes on offer.
La Vida has dealt with over 5,000 enquiries this year from around the globe. Our team of advisors has been busy helping many clients find the right real estate investment to obtain their residency and citizenship. Our team is often visiting countries where local meetings can take place. But with demand so widespread it is not possible to visit each country frequently. However we are always available to meet with clients in our head office in London and most of our clients simply liaise by phone/email/skype with our consultants before coming out to meet our representatives in the country of interest for their intended residency visa.
A revision of rules for the golden visa in Portugal has left many potential applicants confused as to the rules and a great deal of misleading literature posted on the web suggesting the Portuguese golden visa limit has been reduced.
The qualifying real estate investment level for the golden visa in Portugal is €500,000. Earlier this summer the Portuguese government introduced a new investment level of €350,000 for certain categories of real estate.
The law states the following: “Acquisition of immovable assets, the construction of which has been completed, at least, 30 years ago or located in an area of urban regeneration and execution of refurbishment works in the acquired immovable assets…equal to or above 350 thousand euros;”
The point here is that even though this new option applies, it only applies to property that is over 30 years old or located in an urban regeneration area. It involves the execution of refurbishment works. This is an important aspect.
To qualify for the golden visa under such an investment requires the necessary permissions for renovation work on the building. Such permissions and payments to contractors all need to be done legally and of course within the tax structure so the necessary paperwork, proofs and payments are fully in order. To undertake such a project would mean employing project managers and the necessary architects. The applicant would have to have all the licences in place prior to any application being submitted which will of course delay any application for the visa. To mitigate any risk it is vital to ensure that any such property would qualify within this category. Clients would need to ensure they build sufficient time into their schedule to take care of all these additional aspects.
Clients visiting to invest €500,000 in a location such as Lisbon can usually complete the necessary tasks within a few days, accompanied by ourselves and our lawyers in a methodical, established and time proven manner. The alternative investment of €350,000 will require far more time and hands on management. Golden Visa applicants should be wary of companies offering such management for a fee and in particular remain conscious of the scope for overpaying for assets requiring reconstruction without the necessary independent professional advice from architects and surveyors. For any international client not residing in Portugal and trying to manage from a distance it can be problematic, time consuming and expensive.
The €350,000 is reduced by a further 20% to €280,000 for renovation in low density, less developed areas of the country. This naturally does not apply to the cities or the more populated coastal regions creating issues for any future rental income potential.
The Cyprus economy has been seriously boosted by the residence and citizenship programmes according to an an announcement last week by Mr Socrates Hasikos, Interior Minister of Cyprus.
On the one hand, this is a great achievement, on the other – the economy has received enough funds (more than €2 billion) and the pressure from the European Union is becoming hard. In particular, the Minister said: “The Republic of Cyprus is under pressure to stop this policy ….”.
It is well known that the European Union has been exerting hard pressure on Cyprus to either stop or amend the criteria since this is the first time that a passport of a European member-state could be obtained on such favorable conditions. Similar pressure was applied to Malta which led to changes in its programme.
So far, Cyprus has not made any changes to the policy. Quite the contrary. It introduced a “Collective scheme” in March 2014, which allowed the required investment threshold to be halved from €5 million to €2.5 million.
In particular, a representative of the European Commission, Ms Jourova has recently commented:
“As regards national schemes for naturalization of investors (investor citizenship schemes), the Commission recalls that it is for each Member State to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of its nationality. As confirmed in settled case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU, when exercising their competence in the area of nationality, Member States must have due regard to Union law. “The Commission has stressed that it expects Member States to use their prerogatives to award citizenship in a spirit of sincere cooperation with the other Member States and the EU. Account should be taken of the norms and obligations by which they are bound under international law and the criteria upon which they traditionally build their nationality laws.
These criteria require in particular the existence of a genuine link between the applicant for naturalization and the country or its people. Investor citizenship schemes providing for the possibility to obtain naturalization in return for investment alone do not meet the minimum requirement of a genuine link to the country. “The Commission is analyzing investor citizenship schemes in all Member States concerned. At this stage, it appears that there is only one member state granting naturalization in return for investment alone, namely Cyprus. “The Commission is currently pursuing a dialogue with the Cypriot authorities on this issue.”
We expect therefore that with time the programme can be amended and additional compulsory requirements to obtain Cyprus citizenship introduced as happened in Malta for instance.
The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment programme is currently the “Rolls Royce” of investor citizenship programmes in Europe. It is the only country through which it is possible to get an immediate (2-3 months) European passport by investment. However it is not forever in its present form and potential applicants need to act soon to take advantage while the door remains open.
For those who would like to apply for Cyprus passport the time has come to act briskly and decisively. So far all the amenities of the programme are still available without any amendment. Passports are issued on a weekly basis to those who have already applied and thus enjoy very favorable conditions that Cyprus offers.
Further to the above we are now hearing through several sources that Cyprus, under pressure from the EU, will introduce a one year residency rule prior to granting citizenship. This is likely to be introduced at the end of 2015. Such an introduction will restrict certain investors if they have to spend time residing or building ties with the country prior to the issuing of a passport. It will not affect passports issued before that date.
For further information please contact us online or call our European head office on +44 207 060 1475.
It is important for any prospective investors to take careful professional advice on the programmes available before committing to an investment. There are many programmes on the market from differing countries, but not all of these lead to citizenship through investment.
The likes of Hungary, Greece and Spain are difficult or unlikely, sometimes requiring residence in the country. Portugal is far easier and Cyprus can be gained immediately with the right investment.
So what is citizenship and what benefits does it bring? Citizenship of any particular country within the European Union means a passport and importantly citizenship of the EU. So for example, if you gain citizenship in Portugal through real estate investment then you become an EU citizen. Similarly if you gain citizenship in Bulgaria through investment in government bonds you can also gain citizenship of the EU even though Bulgaria is outside the Euro and Schengen visa zone.
Every person holding the nationality of an EU country is automatically a citizen of the EU. This allows that person to move freely within the EU. To work, study and live wherever they wish within the European Union countries.
It is important to draw the distinction between the EU countries (there are 28) and the Schengen visa countries (there are 26). There are 22 EU countries participating in the Schengen visa zone and there are an additional 4 countries not part of the EU.
Residency in the Schengen visa countries allows freedom of travel throughout the Schengen area. But citizenship of an EU country provides the right to live and work within the EU countries. For example the United Kingdom and Ireland are EU countries, but not part of the Schengen visa zone.
Whichever country an investor targets for citizenship, there are sometimes faster, cheaper and easier options to gain permanent residency allowing them to live, work and study in that country by gaining entry through an alternative EU country.
It is possible to achieve citizenship through investment in real estate in Spain but the investor will need to live in Spain for 10 years before applying.
Citizenship can be applied for in Portugal six years after investment of a minimum €500,000 in real estate.
Citizenship is available in Cyprus within 2 – 3 months on investing a minimum €2.5 million in real estate.
Malta has an investment visa programme with a comination of investment and contribution totalling around €1.2 million with citizenship taking approximately 12 months.
Citizenship in Greece through its real estate investment programme will be possible following changes to legislation (2015).
Changes to legislation in Hungary mean the investor visa bond programme could lead to citizenship after 5 years rather than the current 8 years. (2015)
The investment bond programme in Bulgaria can lead to fast track citizenship by doubling the bond investment from €512,000 to €1,024,000.
For reference the EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
We have a limited selection of real estate on this superb Luxury Collection Resort. Each fully furnished apartment is offered with a guaranteed 5% return after costs, for 5 years. The apartments, offered freehold, are ideal for international investors seeking the Portugal Golden Visa and looking for a “hassle free” fully managed property. Owners benefit from six months usage in addition to the guaranteed annual return. This allows owners to become tax resident if they so which and take advantage of the Portuguese non habitual residency tax law.
A total of 76 luxury apartments adjacent to the golf course, will have magnificent views overlooking the sea and the spectacular Algarve coastline in Portugal. The interior designer was inspired by the many Portuguese Discoveries and the exquisite hand painted tiles. A perfect combination of a Luxurious & Classic Style of the Portuguese Culture and the Glamour of the Luxury Collection ® Brand, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Prices start from €780,000 for two bedroom two bathroom apartments. Contact us for further details, a full brochure and video link.