Introducing Malta’s Indefinite Residency Scheme

March 16th, 2017   •   Bonds, Investor Visa, Residency   •   Comments Off on Introducing Malta’s Indefinite Residency Scheme   

Malta Indefinite ResidencySince 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:

  • €250,000 into government bonds for 5 years
  • €30,000 contribution to the government
  • €40,000 processing and legal fees
  • €10,000 p.a for 5 years rental agreement or property purchase of €270,000

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.

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

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

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.

Spain

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.

Greece

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

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. 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.

Portugal

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.

Cyprus

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.

Hungary

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.

Spain

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.

Dominica

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.

St. Lucia

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.

 

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.

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.

 

UK Residency by Investment post Brexit

June 28th, 2016   •   Immigration, Investor Visa, Residency   •   Comments Off on UK Residency by Investment post Brexit   

UK votes to leave the EUBrexit Vote

On the 23 June 2016 the UK electorate voted to leave the EU. So how does this affect immigration investment programmes in Europe that can lead to residency in the United Kingdom?

Current Situation

European Union citizens are free to travel, work and live in any other EU country. This means for countries such as Cyprus and Malta who issue citizenship and second passports through investment, that any investor in these programmes who gains a passport of that country, is free to live anywhere in the EU, including the UK.

Situation Post Brexit

It is important to understand at this point that the UK has not left the EU. The UK population has voted 52% to 48% to leave. But the referendum result is not legally binding and it is now down to the UK Prime Minister to invoke Article 50 of the European Union. Once invoked this starts a two year process for the UK to leave the European Union. David Cameron the current UK Prime Minister has gracefully passed this task on to his successor, whoever that may be.

The degree of Euro sceptism among potential candidates for Prime Minister varies with talk of potentially re-negotiating Britain’s position within the EU or maintaining many of the benefits and restraints within a new deal. Writing this just a few days after the referendum there seem to be many ways this could now play out, and varying timescales as to when it will eventually be resolved.

But let’s for the moment assume that the UK does invoke Article 50 and the UK leaves the EU.

Free Movement

One of the key principles of the European Union is the free movement of people. And that is the key question that concerns us when it comes to residency or citizenship by investment in any of the other EU countries. All EU members have to abide by this. In addition other countries gaining access to the single market such as Norway are also required to comply.

Until Article 50 is invoked and for the two year period afterwards then the UK remains part of the EU. This means that for the next two years, nothing will change. Any EU citizen can live in the UK or anywhere else in the EU.

Post EU Exit

For those EU nationals already living in the UK at the time of the UK leaving the EU (2018 possibly 2019) we suspect the chances of being allowed to remain are very high.

There are 3 million EU nationals living in the UK currently and 1 million UK nationals living elsewhere in the European Union. We expect an undignified 3 for 1 swap across the English Channel is unlikely. We also believe that there will be no distinction between those who entered post referendum or even post Article 50.

The reason being that such residents entered the UK completely legally under rules and laws at the time. Not only would it be difficult for a government to send back or “deport” such residents we expect it would not be in the government’s interests to enter into any political row with it’s European neighbours.

UK Residency

Our advice to anyone seeking UK residency through investment in the EU is to act now. Gaining residency in the UK directly through investment under the Tier 1 programme is virtually impossible in the current climate. Residency through a EU passport, as explained above, is the only viable option and one that is likely to remain an option for the next two years. The only countries through which an EU passport can be gained by investment within this timescale are Malta and Cyprus.

The earlier such investment is made, the earlier UK residency can be undertaken and the more likely it is that such residency will not be affected upon the UK leaving the EU.

European Countries – Real Estate Golden Visas

June 23rd, 2016   •   Real Estate, Residency   •   Comments Off on European Countries – Real Estate Golden Visas   

Despite popular belief there are very few European countries that offer residency through investment in real estate. These programmes guarantee the investor residency provided they meet some straightforward criteria. In some countries residency may progress to citizenship (Portugal, Spain, Greece) and in the case of Cyprus then citizenship by investment in real estate is immediate.

The countries offering this are Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and to some extent Malta, although further conditions are attached in addition to the purchase of property.

European countries without such golden visa programme for real estate include Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Many European governments do offer residency through investment but that investment tends to be aimed at entrepreneurs aiming to create business and jobs in the country. Often there is an application process involving interviews and a consideration of business plans. In this sense the outcome is not guaranteed.

 

Europe Investment Guide

November 22nd, 2015   •   Citizenship, Investor Visa, Residency   •   Comments Off on Europe Investment Guide   

Several countries in Europe offer residency through investment in real estate. Some of these country programs may lead to citizenship and a European passport.

The key to these schemes, unlike traditional immigration programs is that the investor gains the right to travel and reside in the country without the requirement to live there and become tax resident.

Real Estate Investment Programs

Check our summary below for details on the five main programs in Europe that will lead to residency through real estate investment and follow the links to more detailed guides on each program.

Spain

Invest €500,00 in real estate. This gains residency in Spain for 5 years with renewals:

Read More: Golden Visa Spain

Portugal

Invest €500,00 in real estate. This gains residency in Portugal with the potential for citizenship and a second passport after six years, without the requirement to become resident.

Read More: Golden Visa Portugal

Cyprus

The ultimate program for those High Net Worth Individuals seeking quick citizenship and a European passport within three months.

Read More: Citizenship by Investment Cyprus

Malta

A lower cost option for citizenship in Europe for those prepared for a lengthier application process and willing to make a donation.

Read More: Citizenship by Investment Malta

Greece

The low cost option for residency in Europe. Invest just €250,000 in real estate. A Schengen country but future citizenship will only arise through 7 years of residency.

Read More: Investor Visa Greece