CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
How to open doors in Europe with a Golden Visa Incentive
With the UK set to leave the EU in 2019 and following the 2008 global property meltdown, to attract much-needed international investment a number of European countries set-up schemes offering residential opportunities and citizenship via investment in real estate called “golden visas”. More than half of Europe’s countries now have a formalized program with program's for Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus thus far being the most popular and prominent.
Here we look at the main incentive programs being offered for 2019:
The Portugal Golden Visa program has proven to be the most popular scheme in Europe
it offers a real estate investment route to gaining residency and potential citizenship in the country and hence European citizenship. It was launched by the Portuguese government in 2012 to stimulate investment into Portugal and has since encouraged several billion Euros in real estate investment and over 2,000 family applications each year.
An investment of €500,000 is required in real estate in Portugal. The property, either residential or commercial, can be rented for income. Any number of properties can combine to make up the €500,000 minimum investment. Joint buyers can pool investments into one property. The property can be mortgaged for any investment exceeding the minimum. A lower investment amount of €350,000 is possible for properties to be renovated however investors should be aware of the practicalities of such an investment.
Cyprus offers two golden visa program's through real estate investment. One for permanent residency and one for citizenship, both program's are fast and efficient at granting a residency permit or second passport.
Cyprus offers the quickest, most assured route to European citizenship and a second passport through the Cypriot citizenship by investment program. An investment of €2.0 million in real estate is required. Cyprus is unique in its offering of citizenship within just 2-3 months of such an investment. The investment can be reduced down after 3 years to just €500,000.
Launched in 2013, the Spanish golden visa program offers a real estate investment route to gaining residency in Spain. The program in Spain is rather flexible in terms of the family options it offers however it is restrictive when it comes to the route to citizenship. Government fees are low and the process is quick a great solution for those requiring a second passport.
An investment of €500,000 is required in real estate in Spain. The property, either residential or commercial, can be rented for income. Any number of properties can combine to make up the €500,000 minimum investment. Joint buyers can pool investments into one property. The property can be mortgaged for any investment exceeding the minimum.
Malta offers two main options, a Citizenship by Investment Program and a lower cost Indefinite Residency Program. Both options are competitively priced. The Citizenship by Investment Program (MIIP) is the most affordable investment route to gain EU citizenship whilst the Indefinite Residency Program (MRVP) is one of the lower cost EU residency program's available. This makes it a very favorable choice for investors looking to gain freedom of travel throughout the Schengen zone or a second residency in Malta.
The total required investment for Maltese citizenship consist of three different areas:
• €650,000 contribution into a development fund set up by the government of Malta. Spouses and children are required to contribute an additional €25,000. Unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.
• €350,000 Real Estate purchase or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum for five years.
• €150,000 in bonds or shares approved by the Maltese government. This investment must be maintained for five years.
The golden visa program in Greece offers an affordable real estate investment route to permanent residency in Europe. Following the launch of several European investment visa program's, it was introduced by the Greek government in 2013 to encourage investment into Greece.
An investment of €250,000 is required in real estate in Greece making the Greek program the lowest investment level of any real estate residency visa scheme in Europe. The property, which can be located anywhere on the Greek mainland or the islands, can be either residential or commercial. Any number of properties can combine to make up the €250,000 minimum investment. Joint buyers can combine investments into one property