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.
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.
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.
One of the most popular Golden Visa programmes worldwide, the US EB-5 investor visa is set to expire on April 28, 2017. The US Congress voted to temporarily extend the programme back in December 2016. Since that time Donald Trump has been inaugurated as US President and it is not clear at this time what his views are on the EB5 programme. The EB-5immigration program hands out green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs in the U.S.
Currently a limit of 10,000 EB5 visas are issued each year, 85% of those to Chinese nationals. Investors can get Green Cards through investing $500,000 in areas labelled as “high unemployment” or $1 million in areas without that classification. Several proposals were made in January 2016 by the Department of Homeland Security including raising the limits to $1.3 million and $1.8 million and reclassifying areas designated as high unemployment on the basis that most areas seem to have crept into this classification.
Recently two Representatives Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein introduced proposals to end the EB-5 altogether, although it is generally felt that this will have little chance of success. It would be difficult for Donald Trump to criticise the program as several Trump branded projects appear to have benefitted from EB-5 investment over the years. However with the recent travel ban introduced on six predominantly Muslim countries and Trump’s proposed hard-line stance on China the outcome of any review remains uncertain.
Any change or end to the programme is likely to send investors and applicants scurrying for other golden visa programmes. The US programme is the largest in the world and in itself exceeds the numbers generated by all the European programmes put together. The US EB-5 programme for now remains open and the likelihood is it will be extended in some shape or form after the April 28th deadline. However potential applicants would be wise to progress ahead of any changes and also consider any potential knock-on effect to alternative programmes in Europe and the Caribbean.