Caribbean CBI Summit

June 5th, 2018   •   Citizenship, Investment, Investor Visa, Real Estate   •   Comments Off on Caribbean CBI Summit   

La Vida CEO Paul Williams with Leslie Anne Brissett and Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

Representatives from La Vida attended the Caribbean Citizenship by Investment summit held last week on the island of St. Kitts. The summit, held at the Marriott Hotel, featured the five Caribbean countries offering Citizenship by Investment programmes. The theme of this year’s conference was “Transparency and Sustainability: CIPs in the New World.” The conference was attended by the heads of the Citizenship Investment Units from each of the countries and other key players from within the industry. Topics covered during the conference included Due Diligence and Sustainable Investment along with other relevant issues affecting the industry. It was supported by the Prime Ministers of Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts who were both in attendance.

The conference was an ideal opportunity for La Vida to meet with its many partners in the Caribbean and to further undertake a five island tour of St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada. In part to meet with the Citizenship Investment Units, our processing partner lawyers and in particular to visit the select number of real estate developments that La Vida chooses to promote to our clients. This tour was essential in ensuring that such developers are delivering on their promises not only for the real estate projects we decide to work with but also to see in some cases, lack of progress on those we choose to decline.

It is fair to say that the majority of international agencies promoting investment in the Caribbean will never visit the projects they promote. Any prospective investor considering the Caribbean would be wise to do their due diligence on any company they choose to work with and ask the question of whether they have actually visited and verified the projects they are promoting. There are over 20 such projects to choose from on St. Kitts alone. La Vida chooses to work with the select few we consider have sufficient funding, branding and prestige to underpin future returns of both income and capital. And critically those that have demonstrated either tangible results in terms of construction and progress or are already built and operating. Some projects which prospective investors may see promoted elsewhere, failed to meet our specification. La Vida visited over 20 projects during the course of our two week inspection of the islands narrowing this down to a select few on each island that we will continue to promote, including some new exciting additions to our offering.

Our professional advisors are fully briefed on the merits and details of the programmes we choose to promote. For details on those real estate projects that meet our requirements for citizenship investment please contact our advisors in the UK on +44 207 060 1475.

UK Golden Visa unaffected by Brexit

April 5th, 2018   •   Immigration, Investment   •   Comments Off on UK Golden Visa unaffected by Brexit   

Golden Visas Europe Chinese investors into the UK Golden Visa programme appear to have brushed aside any fears over Brexit as the number of applicants soared in 2017. The UK Tier 1 Investor Visa grants a 3 year residency to applicants and their families investing £2 million in UK government bonds, share capital and other non-property related assets. After a period of 3 years the applicant can then gain indefinite leave to remain in the UK if they increase their investment to £5 million or accelerate this process with a £10 million investment after 2 years. In 2017 Chinese investors took 116 of the 355 golden visas available. That’s an increase of 56% on the previous year, 2016, when the Brexit referendum took place.

This surge in Chinese investors could be a result of the backlog faced by Chinese applicants in the US EB5 programme. Every year Chinese applicants exceed the quota and a backlog has built up of around 3 years which on top of the investment period can stretch out to 8-10 years for the US Green Card. It is also why Grenada has seen a surge in the popularity of its citizenship by investment programme. Grenada is an E2 visa treaty country for the USA but many other countries, including China and India are not part of the treaty. Those holding Grenadian citizenship can apply to invest in an E2 visa for the USA, and in the case of Chinese applicants thereby avoiding the EB5 route and the associated  backlog. Grenada offers its citizenship programme from $150,000 for a single applicant plus fees with an E2 Visa investment typically around $200,000. All in all with costs, a cheaper and quicker route to a US Green Card than the EB5.

The UK programme is one of the most expensive immigration by investment programmes available but our experience is that Ultra High Net Worth Investors are rarely phased by the investment level. There are clear attractions to the UK with investors considering London one of the “safest” places in the world not just with crime but with the guarantee of education, the UK legal system and the fact that such investment is maintained in liquid assets although withdrawal in an emergency prior to completion of the investment period will have obvious consequences on the applicants’ visa status.

St Kitts Citizenship Costs Reduced

February 18th, 2018   •   Citizenship, Investment, Passport, Real Estate   •   Comments Off on St Kitts Citizenship Costs Reduced   

Real Estate Hotel Investment in St. Kitts

Early this week we received confirmation from the St Kitts Citizenship by Investment unit that the fees for the real estate option have been reduced. Whilst the minimum real estate investment remains the same ($400,000) the additional government fees will be around $50,00 lower per family application.

Previously the additional government fees were $50,000 for the main applicant, $25,000 for a spouse and $25,000 per additional dependent’s. These have now been changed to:

  • $35,000 Main applicant
  • $20,000 Spouse
  • $10,000 Dependent children, regardless of age

The due diligence fees and passport fees remain the same, as does La Vida’s professional fee to process the application. To receive a full quotation, please contact our expert advisors.

In line with the fee reduction, we also received the news that one of our best selling real estate projects in St Kitts has been named as the ‘’No.1 Best New Hotel in the Caribbean’’ by media giant CNN. This fantastic resort opened it’s doors to the public in November 2017 and by the end of December it achieved an occupancy level of 95%. Managed by a leading 5* hotel operator, the project is by far one of most luxurious on the island. Investors can buy a share of the project for $430,000 which can be sold after 5 years. During this time, rental returns of up to 5.5% can be expected. This is one of few government approved projects currently available which is now complete and successfully operating, making it an excellent choice of investment. Units are now limited, and the project is close to selling out completely. Act now to secure your share and also take advantage of the reduced government fees.

The St. Kitts and Nevis’ CBI programme is the leading option amongst the Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes. The programme has been established since 1984 and the highly ranked passport will enable one to travel visa free to 139 countries worldwide.

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrency Payments

December 22nd, 2017   •   Investment, Investor Visa   •   Comments Off on Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrency Payments   

Bitcoin for Citizenship by InvestmentLa Vida is now able to accept Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies for fee payments for our citizenship by investment programmes. The change was introduced following demand from our clients.

Most citizenship programmes still require Fiat currency payments for the investment element. However the acceptance of digital currencies by La Vida for fees and certain programmes can facilitate a quicker process for many clients. The government of Vanuatu recently confirmed it can take payment in Bitcoin facilitated through authorised agents who would receive the donation amounts in bitcoin and convert and remit dollar payments to the government.

All golden visa and citizenship investment programmes have strict due diligence processes. La Vida and government agencies apply these irrespective of the payment method used by the investor.

Please contact us for further details.

Experts Discuss Portuguese Golden Visa Programme

November 9th, 2017   •   Immigration, Investment, Portugal Golden Visa   •   Comments Off on Experts Discuss Portuguese Golden Visa Programme   

Daniel Twomey of La Vida speaking on the panel of experts.

Speaking at the Immigration Investment Summit in Hong Kong, La Vida’s Daniel Twomey was joined by other industry experts on a panel appointed to discuss the status of the Golden Visa programme in Portugal.

Chaired by the Harvey Law Group and comprised of both legal and real estate experts, the panel discussed how the Portuguese Golden Visa programme has evolved since its inception in 2012, including the introduction of the Category 65A-d (€350,000) legislation at the end of 2015.

The state of the real estate market in Portugal was a hot topic of discussion, with all panellists in agreement that the steady and consistent rate at which the real estate market has been appreciating over the past few years, combined with the expected long-term, continued growth of the market, make this a perfect time for investment. As the most popular Golden Visa programme in Europe, turnout for the discussion was unsurprisingly high, with an audience comprised of other industry experts and immigration agents from across Asia. The question and answer session allowed the panellists to alleviate concerns over some of the specific requirements of the programme, and served as a reminder of the success of the programme from both an immigration and investment perspective

To find out more about the Portuguese Golden Visa programme, please contact La Vida on +442070601475, or by emailing info@goldenvisas.com

Madonna Invests for Portuguese Golden Visa

October 17th, 2017   •   Investment, Real Estate   •   Comments Off on Madonna Invests for Portuguese Golden Visa   

Sintra, Portugal 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.

If you wish to follow in Madonna’s footsteps and invest in Portuguese real estate for the Golden Visa, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Antigua Reduces Fees for Citizenship

August 18th, 2017   •   Citizenship, Investment, Passport   •   Comments Off on Antigua Reduces Fees for Citizenship   

Antigua and Barbuda Government reduce feesThe 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.

Access USA and China via Grenada Citizenship

April 18th, 2017   •   Business, Investment, Passport   •   Comments Off on Access USA and China via Grenada Citizenship   

Caribbean

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.

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.

Spanish Property Predicted to Rise 12%

November 24th, 2015   •   Investment, Investor Visa, Real Estate   •   Comments Off on Spanish Property Predicted to Rise 12%   

Golden Visa SpainSpanish 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:

Properties are relatively cheap

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%.

Banks are willing to lend

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.

Property offers the best investment

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.

Switch from renting to buying

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.