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.
Since its inception in 2012, the Portuguese Golden Visa programme has generally been considered one of the best and most popular residency investment programmes in the world.
In less than six years, more than five thousand investors have invested nearly three and a half billion euros into the Portuguese real estate market. The effects can be felt everywhere, but nowhere more so than in Lisbon – the cosmopolitan metropolis and age-old capital of Portugal. Here, the city’s alive with the sound of construction, the excitement of restoration and regeneration courses through the air. ‘Reabilitação’; a deep respect for history, culture and architectural integrity; and the one defining feature that separates the Portuguese Golden Visa programme from others around the world. Unlike many other residency and citizenship by investment programmes, the Portuguese programme is not prompting the building of imposing skyscrapers or vulgar edifices; it’s driving the rehabilitation of one of the most architecturally exhilarating cities in the world.
The introduction of the Category 65A-d Golden Visa programme at the end of 2015 is testament to the importance that the government places on rehabilitation. Where the traditional Golden Visa programme (Category 65A-c) requires an investment of €500,000, the 65A-d legislation stipulates that a Golden Visa can be issued to those investing just €350,000, as long as the capital is invested in a to-be-renovated property that’s more than 30 years old or located in a designated area of urban rehabilitation. The rules regarding how the property can be renovated are extremely stringent and ensuring that the conditions are met can be a testing and arduous process. However, this is an area that’s gaining more and more interest with each day that passes – and it’s easy to see why. Investors are seeking old and often derelict property in prime locations across Portugal’s first-tier cities, renovated to the highest standards with new plumbing, electrics, flooring, insulation and windows, whilst the exterior façade remains unchanged and the traditional architecture and aesthetics are retained. The potential for significant capital appreciation is obvious and, due to the location and style of the properties, rental return can be exceptionally high. Perhaps most importantly, the €350,000 minimum investment requirement can include not only the value of the real estate, but the cost of renovation as well.
The first Category 65A-d Golden Visa was issued in July 2016. In just eighteen months, that number has grown exponentially with the total number of successful applicants recently surpassing one hundred. With over five thousand five hundred Golden Visas issued to date, it’s obvious that this new legislation is still in its infancy. However, the trend is clear: in February 2017, Category 65A-d visas comprised just 0.39% of the total number of Golden Visas issued by the Portuguese authorities. In just one year, this ratio has more than quintupled, rising to 2.05%. The advantages of the programme from both an investment perspective as well as a legislative perspective indicate that this growth is expected to continue and intensify over the coming months and years.
With increasing pressure on residency and citizenship by investment programmes around the world, the Portuguese programme (and particularly the Category 65A-d legislation) is a shining example of how a Golden Visa programme can benefit not just the investors, but the local population as well. Recent and significant changes to the application process (including moving the process online) make the programme more attractive still, whilst showing that the Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) has recognised its shortcomings of the past and is willing to modernise and adapt in order to continuously improve.
A multitude of pink, blue, green and yellow buildings set against an expansive deep blue sky above the turquoise hues of the Tagus river. The narrow, cobbled streets of Alfama and Baixa, lined by multi-coloured buildings with their wrought iron balconies and the occasional ceramic façade. This is the architecture that defines Lisbon – the architecture, history and culture that the Category 65A-d programme seeks not only to protect, but to reinvigorate and renew.
The citizenship by investment programme in Cyprus is not only the quickest EU citizenship programme available today, it is also one of the most straight forward options. The programme is a firm favourite amongst high net worth investors looking for a quick solution to gaining a second passport in the European Union which in turn give them the ability to live and work in any EU country. Not to mention the freedom of movement to over 158 countries globally.
The process could not be simpler and is achievable in just 5 simple steps. La Vida’s expert consultant’s will be able to assist investors every step of the way, from the real estate purchase, to the legal work and application. The process is as follows:
Step 1: Engage and Invest
Once La Vida have been appointed and our client facilitator agreement has been signed, the first step is to visit Cyprus. We will tailor a visit to suit, provide an itinerary, arrange property viewings and a meeting with a legal representative. Investors will need to select real estate to meet the required investment of €2,000,000 and place a reservation deposit on the property to begin the purchase. If it is not possible for investors to visit at this stage, they can select and reserve a property remotely with the help from La Vida and our legal team.
Step 2: Application submission
Following the investment, our legal team will begin the application for the main investor and spouse, undertake due diligence and prepare all the supporting documentation. On submission of the citizenship application a permanent residency permit will also be applied for which will takes less than 2 weeks to obtain. Every adult applicant is required to be the holder of a PR card for a period of at least 6 months prior to collecting their passport/national ID.
Step 3: Biometrics
Biometric data will need to be submitted, this can either be done during a further visit to Cyprus or it is possible to visit certain Cypriot embassies to submit the data. Locations such as London, Moscow and Pretoria can provide this service. It is also possible at this stage for investors to collect their residency permit cards.
Step 4: Approval in Principle- 3 months
The time frame set by the Government for the examination of the citizenship application is 3 months from submission. At this stage you will receive an ‘in principal’ approval certificate.
Step 5: Collect Passport
Following the approval in principle, once investors have held their PR cards for a total period of six months their new Passports/ID’s can be collected in Cyprus or at a Cyprus embassy. The total process will only have taken just over 6 months. It’s at this stage that the main applicant’s dependents can then apply for citizenship.
With international investors mainly focusing their attentions on cities such as Lisbon and Porto, it’s no surprise that some of Portugal’s hidden gems are often getting overlooked, and the stunning Silver Coast of Portugal is one of them.
Just 35-45 minutes outside of Lisbon, the Silver Coast region is an outstanding area of protected natural beauty boasting stunning landscapes, golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters all the way along the coastline. The region is home to a number of traditional and charming Portuguese towns as well as a 5* multi award winning Golf and Beach Resort where a number of luxury properties can be found, attracting numerous high profile owners and celebrities. Nestled between two of the most popular Golf resorts in the region is also the historic town of Lourinha where Jurassic dinosaur remains were recently discovered. Plans for a new Jurassic amusement park are set to boost tourism in the area, with a prediction of an extra 200,000 visitors each year, a great prospect for those looking to generate a rental return on property in this region.
La Vida have a number of different properties to offer along the Silver Coast and a large number of these are offering a guaranteed rental return of 5% per annum for up to 3 years. Also included within this offer is up to 6 months of personal usage for the owner each year, making this an excellent option for those looking for both a personal holiday home and a rental property.
Price per square meter in this location is also extremely competitive at just €2,500 per square metre compared to central Lisbon where the average price per square metre is from €5,000 upwards. Just another factor why savvy investors should be considering the Silver Coast.
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.
Venue: Conrad Hotel
Date: Week beginning February 27th 2017
Arrangement: By prior appointment only.
The investment required is €2.0 million. In addition Cyprus has a separate residency programme. Permanent residency can be gained through investment of €300,000 into real estate.
Both programmes are popular with Middle Eastern, African and Asian investors. In particular the family options are generous allowing the inclusion of up to three generations (parents with children and grandparents).
Not everbody wishes to travel to Cyprus to discuss such matters so we will be holding individual meetings throughout the week of 27th February at the Conrad Hotel in London.
We will have our Cypriot lawyers available for one to one meetings plus our usual advice and guidance from our real estate consultants on a wide range of property options from apartments through to villas and commercial property that qualifies for the scheme. Our lawyers will be able to give advice and guidance of all aspects of residency in Cyprus including programme requirements and initial tax advice.
Meetings are strictly by appointment and as with many of our location timetables with the free unconditional advice on offer, times and availability get booked out quickly.
Contact Edwina Keyser in our UK office on +44 207 060 1475 or complete this form for further details or to schedule an appointment.
The number of Portuguese Golden Visas granted this year has already exceeded the total issued in the whole of 2015.
That’s according to official figures issued by the immigration authorities in Portugal, SEF.
In total 821 Golden Visas have been approved so far in the six month period up to 30th June 2016. That’s more than the total for 2015 as a whole.
The 2015 figures took a hit when the government temporarily postponed the programme in mid 2015 while they put new procedures and rules in place to avoid a repeat of the visa issuing fraud that saw the resignation of the then Minister of Internal Affairs, Miguel Macedo. New rules were introduced by September 2015 and visa application processing started again. Investments and visits made by applicants never stopped throughout this period. It was just that the processing of subsequent applications was delayed while new procedures were introduced.
By early 2016 a new fast-track procedure was introduced whereby clients submitting their full documentation could be processed for a golden visa in under 3 months. La Vida clients who have invested this year have already benefited from this accelerated golden visa application process.
This year, 2016, looks set to break the previous record of 2014 when a total of 1526 golden visas were issued by SEF. To date 94% of all golden residence permit investments have been into real estate, the remaining 6% into venture capital funded investments or job creation. The programme has so far introduced 2.2 billion Euros in inward investment for Portugal since its launch in 2012.
Portugal remains the most popular programme for residency investment in Europe. A combination of low cost investment (€500,000), certainty regarding real estate ownership with 100% retained by the investor and no government donation along with a minimum stake of just two weeks every two years and the possibility of citizenship make it Europe’s most successful golden visa programme. Read more on the benefits.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Invest €500,00 in real estate. This gains residency in Spain for 5 years with renewals:
Read More: Golden Visa Spain
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
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
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
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
The investment immigration program in Cyprus has proven to be the most popular route for High Net Worth investors seeking a second passport in Europe. Since inception the investment programme has boosted the
economy by over €2 billion, according to Minister of Interior, Socrates Hasikos.
The Cyprus program offers full EU citizenship and a second passport to an investor and his or her family (including dependents up to age 28) within just 90 days and with no residency requirement currently. Although pressure from the EU may change this in the coming year. The scheme has a very high approval rate and the process and requirements are very straightforward. Unlike certain other programs in Europe such as Malta, the funds are invested, not donated, and Cyprus offers an exit strategy after just 3 years.
Cyprus Commerce Minister, Giorgos Lakkotrypis recently commented on the efficiency of the Cyprus citizenship program. “The process” he says. “Very simple.” Applicants fill out a three page form, invest €2.5 million in a villa, and pay €7,000 in fees. Then, as long as they’re able to produce a Certificate of Clean Criminal Record, “within 90 days, they can get their European passport.” “Within 90 days,” he repeats. “Lately, we even achieve 70 days. It’s a very fast and easy process and has very high approval rate.”
Rumours of changes to the program have circulated in recent months and change is expected in 2016 under pressure from the European Union for Cyprus to ensure applicants have greater ties with the island and potential residency requirements prior to approval of a passport. Such changes would not apply in retrospect to those investors who had already gained their passports.
It is now possible to gain permanent residency through investment in a European country without the need to live there and become tax resident. Countries offering permanent residency visas through investment include Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece Hungary, Bulgaria and Malta.
Permanent residency gives the right to live in a country and is distinct from citizenship whereby a second passport can be gained. In Europe there are several countries offering temporary residence that later leads to permanent residency (PR) or alternatively permanent residency outright from the point of investment. In all cases where the applicant invests either in real estate or government bonds, there is no requirement for the applicant to reside in the country but they have the right to do so if they wish. There are also four Caribbean countries offering permanent residency as part of their citizenship programmes. They include St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica and Grenada.
Invest €500,000 in real estate plus related costs and taxes to gain residency. After five years applicants and their families can apply for permanent residency in Portugal.
Invest €500,000 in Spain to gain residency and apply for permanent residency after five years. Investors have to live in Spain during that time.
You can gain permanent residency in Greece through investing €250,000 in real estate. Taxes and fees on property are high in Greece, as much as 27% on top of the property price. Permanent residency can apply to three generations in Greece, that is parents and children
Invest €300,000 in government bonds in Hungary for permanent residency. The bonds pay zero interest and are refunded to the investor after five years.
Invest €512,000 into government bonds in Bulgaria to gain permanent residency. Investors can increase this to €1,024,000 to gain fast track citizenship in Bulgaria.
Permanent residency through investment in Malta is achieved through the citizenship programme. This requires a total investment of around €1.2 million.
Permanent residency can be obtained in Cyprus through investing €300,000 in real estate. Applicants can apply for citizenship by increasing this to €3 million.