• Flexi Group

Citizenship by Investment

Having a dual or multiple citizenship suggests that a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of two or multiple jurisdictions. People can become dual citizens naturally by birth or marriage, but in the last 35 years an individual or a family has the ability to acquire a secondary citizenship through investment.

Numerous jurisdictions and countries around the globe allow an investor to acquire their citizenship by investing in their citizenship by investment programs. These programs vary in investment requirements, fees and duration that can range from a donation in development funds to real estate investments in government approved property, but all in all the majority of them result with the investor being granted a new passport and regarded as a citizen of said nation. But why should an investor be interested in having dual citizenship? What are the benefits of having a second passport? This article tackles the main benefits of dual citizenship as well as the most popular investment programs in Europe.


What are the benefits of having a second passport?

Freedom of Travel

Different passports and citizenship allow visa free travel all over the world. For example, by becoming a citizen by investment in the Malta it allows the investor to enjoy visa free travel to 160+ countries as well as little to none reciprocity fees


Business and Investment Freedom

Many countries have stricter trade and investment barriers for foreigners while locals enjoy a much more lenient regime. By acquiring a dual citizenship and let’s take for example a passport from an EU nation then the investor can use this lenient regime and make investments to the locality of its dual citizenship but to the other EU nations as well. By having a dual citizenship one can open bank accounts, manage investments, incorporate and transact with much easier and faster means than without.


Relocation and Work Possibilities

An important feature of a second passport and expanding on the example of having a citizenship in a European Union member is the right that comes along with the citizenship entitling the holder to work anywhere in EU without the need of additional work permits. Dual citizenship allows easier relocations and presents more work possibilities that can be engaged with ease.


Tax Management

Dual citizenship may prove advantageous for tax optimization purposes. For example, countries in the Caribbean offer, along with their citizenship, a beneficial tax system of no tax on overseas income or capital gains taxes. An investor can enjoy a positive tax regime and the utility of double tax treaties by investing in EU members as well.


Education

Having an EU passport allows investors’ children to attend to some of the best universities in the world, with much lower costs and easier acceptance requirements than it would with having a 3rd country (outside the EU) citizenship. You can study at European universities and stay and work in the European Union after graduation if you have an EU citizenship. EU nationals are also eligible for educational financing.


Stability

Taking into consideration recent political and global events such as the Brexit, the Hong Kong protests and the pandemic of Covid-19 it goes to show that you never know when governments and laws can change. By having a dual citizenship, you are given a choice as to what political or sociological environment works best for the investor and its family.



Which countries to invest in their citizenship by investment programs?

Malta

Background

Malta is a small archipelago in the Mediterranean with stunning scenery and excellent climate. Malta, a member of the European Union since 2004, boasts a stable political atmosphere, a bipartisan political scene, a rising economy, and some of the world's most sound banks.


Citizenship by Investment Program

Legislation providing Maltese citizenship by naturalization for extraordinary services was introduced in November 2020, providing citizenship in a highly valued EU member country to people and families from all over the world who contribute to the country's economic development. Malta's new citizenship by investment legislation places a greater emphasis on verifying that candidates have a real connection to the nation. Successful candidates will get a Certificate of Naturalization, which can be extended to include their families, granting them citizenship in Malta.

After receiving Maltese citizenship, a person can open a company in the nation and obtain a Malta passport, which allows them to travel visa-free to more than 160 countries across the world, including the United States.


Requirements & Eligibility

1. Fit & Proper Test. A 4-tier due diligence procedure conducted directly by the government to thoroughly examine candidates The Malta Government performs comprehensive criminal checks with INTERPOL, the International Criminal Court, and other sources and institutions, and applicants must have a clean criminal record.

2. Good Health. Applicants must demonstrate that they are free of infectious illnesses in order to be eligible for citizenship by investment in Malta. Until they are awarded citizenship, all candidates must be covered by an international health insurance coverage.

3. Direct Investment. Individuals and families seeking economic citizenship in Malta must make a substantial non-refundable contribution in the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF). Within four months of receiving a Malta Letter of Approval in Principle, the following investments must be made:

a. Main applicant - €600,000 (3-year residency) or €750,000 (1-year residency) *

b. Spouse - €50,000

c. Dependent children - €50,000 each

d. Dependent parents & grandparents - €50,000 each


4. Real Estate Purchase or Rental. Applicants must agree to maintaining an immovable property in Malta for at least five years. This can be accomplished by either purchasing a home in Malta for €700,000 or more and keeping it for at least five years, or by leasing a property for at least five years at a minimum annual rent of €16,000 per year.


5. Charity Donation. A Malta investment citizenship candidate must contribute at least €10,000 to a local non-profit organization once their application has been accepted in principle. The applicant can pick from a variety of eligible philanthropic, artistic, sporting, scientific, or cultural non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and societies registered in Malta to make this charitable gift within four months after receiving formal Approval in Principle.


6. Timeframe. 12-36 months


*There are two routes of investment in Malta. Either acquire and hold residency for 3 years prior to application for naturalization (the cheaper option) or hold residency for 1 year prior to application for naturalization (the expensive option).


Austria

Background

Austria is one of Europe's wealthiest countries, with a high standard of living for its citizens. Austria is an amazing location to live, with breath-taking natural features and a well-developed and stable economy. Austria is the only Western European nation that grants citizenship by investment and an EU passport without any prior residence restrictions, making it an attractive site to establish residency within the EU.


Citizenship by Investment Program

A candidate for citizenship by investment must make an active investment in the Austrian economy, such as through a joint venture or direct investment in a firm that produces employment or generates new export sales. In most cases, a significant amount of direct investment is necessary.


As an Austrian citizen, one can enjoy the freedom to live and work anywhere in the EU at any time. The Austrian passport has a good reputation and enables a wide range of visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel options, including visa-free travel to the United States. It is without a doubt one of the world's greatest travel documents.


By becoming an Austrian citizen under the Austrian Citizenship Act, the investor and its family have full citizenship for life, which can be passed down the generations.


Requirements & Eligibility

1. Fit & Proper Test. When applying for citizenship the investor must:

a. Be at least 18 years old

b. Maintain a spotless criminal record

c. Have enough funds to make the respective investment

d. Demonstrate that the investment is lawful and valid.

e. Provide evidence of German linguistic proficiency (basic knowledge at the very least)

f. Knowledge of Austria's democratic system as well as the country's and Vienna's history

g. Renunciate of present citizenship (Austria does not accept dual citizenship; therefore, you will have to give up your previous citizenship)

h. Prove legal residency in Austria

i. Provide impeccable references.


2. Direct Investment. To qualify for a passport, the applicant must actively participate in the Austrian economy, either through a joint venture or investment in a firm that creates employment or generates new export sales, according to the Austrian Citizenship Act. Alternatively, the investor might make a one-time donation to a government-sponsored fund. The amount of investment is not set in stone but it is approximately as follows:

a. €10,000,000 in a business that creates jobs or generates new export sales or

b. €3,000,000 donated as a lump sum of money to a government fund


3. Timeframe. 24-36 months


Greece

Background

Greece is a very beautiful country with a very rich history. It is conveniently situated in the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is globally known for its unapparelled natural beauty and over 300 days of sunshine. Greece has relatively low real estate prices and is a member of the European Union. Greece in recent years has shown backbone and strength by tackling its economic troubles and marching towards economic and social stability.


Citizenship by Investment Program

For non-EU citizens, the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Scheme is a five-year residence-by-investment program. The residency permit enables the holder to live, work, and study in Portugal, as well as unrestricted movement within the Schengen Area of Europe. Furthermore, the program only needs an average of seven days of residence in Portugal every year for the duration of the program, which can be used to qualify for citizenship after five years.


Requirements & Eligibility

1. Fit & Proper Test. When applying for citizenship the investor must:

a. Be at least 18 years old

b. Maintain a spotless criminal record

c. Have enough funds to make the respective investment

d. Demonstrate that the investment is lawful and valid.


2. Direct Investment. To qualify for a residence, the applicant must make one of the following investments:

a. Purchase a real estate property worth at least €250,000

b. Sign a lease agreement with a hotel or tourist establishment for at least 10 years

c. Make a capital investment of at least €400,000 in a company registered in Greece

d. Make a €400,000 investment in Greek government bonds.

e. Make a €400,000 investment in bonds or shares of real estate investment companies.

f. Make a €400,000 deposit in a Greek bank.

g. Make an €800,000 investment in corporate or government bonds.


3. Timeframe. 2-4 months (for residence permit). 7 years after continuous residency the investor may apply for citizenship


Portugal

Background

Portugal has a stellar reputation as one of the world's most globalized and peaceful countries, with a good standard of living and a high Human Development Index score. It is one of Europe's oldest countries, with a rich history, vibrant culture, delectable food, beautiful beaches, and picturesque countryside.


Citizenship by Investment Program

For non-EU citizens, the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Scheme is a five-year residence-by-investment program. The residency permit enables the holder to live, work, and study in Portugal, as well as unrestricted movement within the Schengen Area of Europe. Furthermore, the program only needs an average of seven days of residence in Portugal every year for the duration of the program, which can be used to qualify for citizenship after five years.


Requirements & Eligibility

1. Fit & Proper Test. When applying for citizenship the investor must:

a. Be at least 18 years old

b. Maintain a spotless criminal record

c. Have enough funds to make the respective investment

d. Demonstrate that the investment is lawful and valid.


2. Direct Investment. To qualify for a residence, the applicant must make one of the following investments:

a. Purchase a property with a minimum value of €500,000. The investment cost is €400,000 if you buy in a low-density region.

b. Invest €350,000 on a property in a revitalization zone in Portugal. The investment amount is €280,00 if you invest in a low-density region.

c. Make a capital investment of at least €400,000 in a company registered in Greece

d. Make a minimum investment of €350,000 in a qualified Investment Fund.

e. Make a capital transfer to a Portuguese bank account of at least €1 million.

f. Create at least ten jobs for Portuguese nationals.

g. Invest at least €350,000 in the formation of a commercial firm or the strengthening of a commercial company's share capital, resulting in the creation of at least five full-time employment.

h. Make a capital transfer of at least €350,000 to public or private scientific research institutes for science or technology research.

i. Make a capital donation of at least €250,000 to assist the arts or national heritage reconstruction.


3. Timeframe. 3-8 months (for residence permit). It is possible to apply for citizenship after 5 years of legal residence in Portugal.


*DISCLAIMER: This article and its publication are intended to provide a brief introduction and act as a general guide. This is provided for information purposes only and cannot be utilized as a substitute for professional advice. This document does not represent a legal opinion and one must not rely on it without receiving independent advice based on the particular facts of its own case. No responsibility is accepted by the author or the publishers for any loss suffered from acting or refraining from acting based on the contents of this publication.


We are a team of experienced professionals, all sharing a unique drive for learning and development through teamwork. The Group utilizes its various core activities to implement customized solutions for its clients. Our collective experience spans the areas of Global Corporate & Fiduciary Services, Assurance & Advisory Services, Fund Administration, Tax Advisory, Corporate Governance, Financial Services, Private Wealth Services and Compliance.


Start a conversation with us today to find out how you can benefit from a relationship with Flexi Group.

Please get in contact with our Head of Business Development:


Mrs Daniella May / Head of Business Development

Tel.: + 357 7000 2 5555 / + 357 22 87 57 55

E: inquiries@flexi-group.net

We also organize calls using Skype. Our flexi Skype ID is web@flexi-group.net

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