Related residency and citizenship programmes.
Having helped many clients across a multitude of countries for golden visa investments and applications in several European countries we thought we would share what consistently came through as the top reasons for such an investment.
Some of these may be obvious, others less so. Invariably once investors understand the benefits of a golden visa and citizenship by investment, they often change their priorities for the venture as certain reasons become more important than others.
In no particular order our clients main reasons are as follows:
An obvious and important reason but not usually the driving force behind investors’ decisions. Most golden visa programmes offer real estate investment as the route to gaining a golden visa from that country. Long, medium and often short term investment horizons lead to significant capital gains for real estate. Prime locations such as central Lisbon and Barcelona are often favourites for this. La Vida has a wide selection of real estate and knowledge spanning several countries to help our clients understand the potential returns. At the time of writing (July 2015), the Euro is at a low against the US dollar with most analysts predicting a medium to long term increase which will boost returns.
A golden visa provides residency if needed. So at any time the investor and his or her family can simply take a flight and not have to return. Providing the investment is maintained in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Greece then the residency visa can be renewed or can usually be turned to permanent residency and eventual citizenship.
A brief look at our top 20 countries for golden visa enquiries and it is clear in many cases why insurance for the future is one of the key reasons for many clients. This list alone includes Pakistan, South Africa, China, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Russia, Hong Kong and Nigeria. Outside of this Top 20, we have dealt with clients from Libya, Somalia, Kenya and Iran, all with their own internal issues and future uncertainties of varying degree.
Europe remains a safe haven for investment with clear ownership laws, a stable low inflation currency, established laws, democratically elected governments and clear taxation rules.
Most investors for the golden visa choose not to live in the country full-time. However the option is there either living permanently, part of the family living (perhaps for education) or living part of the year.
Once the investment is made and the visas or residency cards are granted then the ties and contacts with that country begin to increase. Children can be included, they eventually move on perhaps for an education in Europe, eventual jobs, eventual citizenship and the next generations have firm roots which they have either put down or can choose to put down in Europe. Worth noting at this point that a citizen of any country in Europe is free to live, work, study in any European country.
Once permanent residency is established then by living full time in the country, children can be educated under either the state or private education system. Looking to the future, as European citizens, children can gain access to universities in the UK at European and not international rates (a substantial saving). In other countries such as Spain and Portugal university education and tuition fees are often cheaper. In Cyprus two British universities, Lancashire and University of West England have established campuses there.
A golden visa will lead to a visa, residency card or eventually citizenship and a second passport. For countries such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary and Greece it means the freedom to travel throughout the Schengen visa zone. No more visa applications! For programmes such as Malta and Cyprus, citizenship can be gained in a relatively short period of time (3 months currently with Cyprus but this will change in the coming months). With citizenship comes a second passport. A European passport that allows the holder to live, work and travel anywhere in Europe including countries outside the Schengen Zone, such as Switzerland, UK and Ireland.
Many of the countries offering golden visas such as Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Greece are based around the Mediterranean, a playground for those from northern Europe seeking summer residences. But they also offer the sophistication of cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon, ideal for shopping and cultural activities. Many of the cities are close by flight standards. Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona are all with an hour or two of London, Berlin, Paris, Rome and most European cities.
The second passport option arises from most golden visa programmes in Europe. This is more complex and less defined except for immediate schemes such as Cyprus (at time of writing). Please contact us to go through citizenship rules, do not believe everything you read online. We use the best, established lawyers in each country. Having said that, with the right commitment and approach you will gain European citizenship, with second passports for all your family, given time (or money in the case of Cyprus).
In some circumstances clients look to split assets, avoid overseas inheritance tax, income tax and employ other tax avoidance techniques when considering investor visas. Some countries such as Portugal impose no further taxation on overseas income for the first 10 years of residency. Taxation is a complex area and needs expert advice. And whereas our consultants at La Vida can provide the basics we can also provide contact for further specialist advice.
For further detailed advice please complete your details here and one of our consultants will contact you.
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