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.
The USA offers two routes for investors looking to gain residency and a Green Card, the E-2 Visa and the “EB-5 Investor Visa“.
The EB-5 visa gives permanent U.S. residency to those investing into government-approved projects across the United States of America. This USA investment immigration style visa can be beneficial as it grants access to the U.S. education system, the right to live, retire, work and study in the USA, the ability to receive investment back upon the completion of the project and residency for the investor, any children and their spouse.
The E-2 visa is open to citizens of certain designated countries who make a “substantial” investment. There is no quota like EB-5 and the investment level is lower.
The Regional Center Program also known as the Immigrant Investor Program requires investment of $1 million or a reduced $500,000 if the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. In particular the investment must be shown to create 10 full time US jobs for two years. Many of the EB5 projects are real estate related.
Proof of the funds being legally acquired must be given, the investment must be “at risk” and the investor must have no prior criminal record.
- Investment of $1 million or $500,000
- Investment must be “at risk” and returns not guaranteed
- Investment must create 10 jobs
- Full family residency (Spouse + unmarried Children under 21)
- USA Green Card. Permanent Residence
- Eligibility to live and work anywhere in the USA
- Potential for US citizenship after 5 years
- Main applicant must reside for 6 months per year
The EB5 visa is essentially a green card through investment. Investors are rewarded with a green card (after two years), although these are limited to 10,000 applicants per year with 5,000 of this total reserved for regional centres. Success rates for the Eb-5 can vary and will depend on the investment type, personal situation, legal representation, regional centre and other factors.
The EB5 is not in itself a citizenship by investment programme. However after obtaining a Green Card applicants can apply for USA citizenship after a period of five years of Permanent Residency. A process known as Naturalization.
The EB5 programme has been extended by Congress several times in recent years. There are several proposals currently which could result in the investment amount rising to $800,000 or $1.3 million. Or even being scrapped altogether.
We advise anyone considering a regional center investment for the EB5 to contact one of our consultants as soon as possible.
The E-2 visa is open to aplicants who invest in a business in the USA. The business must be operational, creating jobs and must be managed by the applicant. Investment, typically of a minimum $200,000 is required. Unlike the EB-5 the E-2 visa involves more active management of the investment and business although this can be structured in such a way to reduce involvement through the use of franchises and other structures.
Citizens of many countries are excluded from the E-2 such as China and India. However it is possible to gain an alternative citizenship first in Grenada (which is an E-2 Visa Treaty country) and then apply under Grenadan citizenship.
Please contact us for further details and advice on E-2 possibilities.
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