Are you a significant investor and would like to know which countries offer the best immigrant investor visa programs with the possibility of getting citizenship by investing in real estate.
Look no further, a quick summary of countries offering best investor visas listed below….
Malta has introduced “Malta Individual investor program (IIP)” granting maltese citizenship and passport to foreign investors in Malta. The total cost will come around €900,000 to € 1,2 million (family) ( €650,000 donation + €150,000 government stocks + other fees). Malta is a full EU member state and also a schengen country. Purchasing a real estate is possible under the program. Malta program is capped 1800 cases. One major problem with Malta IIP is they have very high refusal rates!
Malta has also cheaper version – residency visa programme for €250,000 euros purchase of government bonds or stocks, you will get permanent residence in Malta with free movement in schengen. You will not get Maltese citizenship as per the Global residency program rules.
Malta is a schengen zone member state. Maltese passport is ranked 7th best passport in the world with visa free travel to over 165 countries (including USA). It gives you full EU citizenship and rights to live and work in any EU member state including family members.
Moldova has launched new MCBI citizenship by investment scheme in Nov 2018. Moldova requires foreign investors to contribute EUR 100,000 to Public fund, in exchange for citizenship in Moldova. The processing time is three months and entire family can apply for citizenship. Moldova is a candidate country for EU membership
Moldova passport has visa free travel to 121 countries in the world including United Kingdom, Europe, Russia etc..
Cyprus has € 2,000,000 euro real estate investment program and cypriot passport is issued to investors within 3-4 months after the real estate investment has been made. Cyprus is a full member state of the European Union. It is the fastest european citizenship by investment program. Cyprus is European country but not a member of schengen. Cyprus also has a cheaper version Cyprus permanent residency program, where you have to buy a property for € 300,000 euros. The only problem with residency program is Cyprus is not in schengen and you will need visa to visit Schengen countries .
Please note: Cyprus is a EU member country but not signatory of schengen. The visas and residence permits issued by Cyprus for third country nationals, does not give visa free travel to schengen zone or UK. Only Cyprus passport (gives full EU citizenship) allows live and work in any EU country plus allows visa free travel to over 160 countries including schengen, UK, Canada etc. A separate visa needed to visit USA.
Portugal has introduced “Golden visa” program where upon purchasing a real estate with minimum €350,000 euro (outside Lisbon) or €500,000 (in Lisbon) or €250,000 euro capital investment , a European residence permit is granted. No minimum stay requirements, other than 1 week per year. After 5 years, one can apply for Portugal permanent residency and Portugese citizenship after 6 years as the program has all legal provisions to apply for Portugal citizenship and passport (knowledge of Portugese required) . Portugal is a full member state of EU and schengen. Family and children can also apply along with the main applicant.
Belgium has business immigration program with minimum €350,000 investment to start a European company in central europe. Belgium has zero minimum stay requirements and after 5 years of doing business, he can easily apply for Belgian passport, provided there is knowledge of french. The running costs of the company €100,000 every year. Belgium has a favorable low taxes ideal for businesses. For more information about this Belgium business program.
6. United Kingdom
UK has £2 million pound tier1 investor program open for foreign investors outside from EU or EEA. The money has to be invested in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies (no real estate allowed). You can work or study under this program. If you invest more money £5 million, you can settle in 3 years or £10 million in 2 years. Please note that you must live physically in UK, 9 months every year to apply for UK passport after 5 years. The processing time is about 4 months. This program is only interesting if you want to physically move there and live in the UK as main home. The British passport is one of the top 3 travel documents in the world.
United Kingdom also has a cheaper version of Tier1 Entrepreneur program which requires £200,000 investment in UK businesses and the investment must create jobs.
7. United States
USA has immigrant investor green card program (EB5) with minimum investment $1 million in urban cities or $500,000 (rural) which must be invested in a commercial business creating atleast 10 jobs. You can live anywhere in US and spouse can apply as well. Processing time is about 12 months. This program is only interesting if you want to physically move and live in the US. Please note that after 5 years, you can apply for the US passport provided you have lived 50% (2.5 years out of 5 years) in US. Also US taxes on worldwide income.
Canada has Quebec investor program running who must intend to settle in Quebec and must invest CAD$ 1,200,000. You have to show that you have experience in running a business and also hold net assets CAD$ 2 million. After 3 years of living, you may apply for Canadian citizenship.
8. Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua & Barbuda has caribbean citizenship by investment program under donation route ($100,000 non-refundable limited offer effective from Nov 1, 2017) or real estate ($400,000) or direct business investment ($10million) granting passport to investors within 4-6 months. Antigua passport allows visa free travel to over 100+ countries UK, EU schengen countries and more.
9. St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts & Nevis has long running citizenship by investment program with minimum donation route ($150,000 Sustainable Growth fund or $200,000 in SKN Real estate) granting passport to investors. Family members, spouse and children can apply along with the main applicant. You can travel with st Kitts passport without visa for over 100+ countries including UK, Europe and more.
Spain has running Golden visa program, granting spanish residence to non EU nationals, purchasing real estate with minimum €500,000 in spanish cities. Under the spanish nationality law, you must live in Spain atleast 10 years to apply for spanish passport with knowledge of spanish language.
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, has been preferred home for ultra high net worth and very wealthy individuals in the french riviera. The country has very good stable real estate market. Monaco has no double taxation agreements. Monaco grants residency to foreign nationals who are able to invest €1 million in commercial businesses. You must live 10 years in Monaco to get citizenship.
Switzerland warmly welcomes wealthy individuals who can afford to pay “lump sum tax” of starting CHF 200,000 per year to specific canton of choice. This could double or triple depending on canton (Zurich, Geneva, Bern) This program is ideal for retirees who wants to retire in Switzerland. You cannot work under this program.
There is also another route to gain swiss residence under business immigration by starting a swiss company. Another route to Swiss residency is business option. Non EU nationals must show business turnover of atleast CHF 1 million to qualify. After 12 years of living in Switzerland, it is possible to “naturalize” and apply for swiss passport.
Greece has €250,000 real estate investment program giving residency to third country nationals from outside EU, upon purchasing the real estate. The processing time is about 2-3 months. Family can be included in the application. After 7-8 years of continuous living in Greece.
Hungary has €300,000 euro residency bond investor program granting permanent residency to investors. They should maintain the investment amount for 5 years and can be redeemed after, while still maintaining the investor visa. After 8 years of living in Hungary it is possible to apply for hungarian citizenship (hungarian language is needed).
Bulgaria has currently running “Immigrant investor programs” inviting foreigners to invest atleast €512,000 (citizenship in five years) in Government bonds/Real esatate leading to bulgarian citizenship. Another option is €300,000 in real estate leading to PR (permanent residency). Please note that at the time of writing this article, bulgaria is not a schengen member state and has plans to join schengen zone soon with Romania, Croatia. After 5 years of holding PR, it is possible to apply for bulgarian citizenship.
Fast track citizenship possible in two years for EUR 1 million investment in Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a EU member state but does not participate in schengen area.
Dominica has the cheapest Caribbean passport program under citizenship by investment with minimum of non-refundable investment $100,000 or Real estate with minimum $200,000. Dominica passport has visa free travel to over 100 countries including UK, Europe etc. Dominica is a beautiful country with full of tropical forests, waterfalls and mountains. Commonwealth of Dominica should not be confused with “The Dominican Republic” as both are different countries.
Grenada has a newly launched citizenship by investment program granting passport to foreign nationals. The minimum is $150,000 (non refundable) on Island transformation fund (or ) Real estate investment starting from $350,000. The processing time is about 2-3 months under this program. No requirement to visit Grenada to apply for citizenship. Grenada is the only country in the caribbean that has visa free travel to china and has E2 treaty with the USA. As a grenadian citizen, you can do business easily in the US by starting a US company, under the E2 treaty, instead of investing in EB5 (cheaper route).
18. St Lucia
St Lucia will be launching new citizenship by investment program during the early 2016. The minimum investment under donation option ($100,000) , real estate ($300,000), Government bonds ($500,000) or direct business investment ($3.5 million). The processing time is about 2-3 months. St Lucia will be joining other Caribbean countries such as Antigua, Grenada, St Kitts, Dominica where the citizenship programs is already up and running.
Ireland Immigrant investor program is open to non European nationals who wish to invest atleast €1 million in irish bonds (no interest paid) or mixed investment of €1,000,000 ( €500,000 real estate + €500,000 irish bonds). The residence permit is issued for 5 years or 3 years depending on the investment. No minimum residency requirements enforced, except a visit to Ireland once a year is required. Under the irish naturalization law, you are required to live 5 years in Ireland, before applying for citizenship. Please note Ireland is not a part of UK and neither part of Schengen, and non-EU people applying for Irish residency will require a separate visa to move into Schengen area and UK.
Australia has “investor stream” visa program with the designated business investment of AUD$ 1.5 million in australian state or territory. The “significant” investor visa scheme with AUD$ 5 million and “premium” investor visa scheme has AUD$ 15 million for those who has successful business career. After 4 years of holding the investment, will lead to permanent residency and later australian citizenship.
21. Hong Kong
Hong Kong has HK$ 6.5 million (approx US$800,000) business investment visa program, for foreign investors who must establish a business and invest in a HongKong company. The processing time is 2-3 months and visa is issued to investor with renewals in every one or two years. The Capital Investment Entrant Scheme in Hong Kong was officially suspended as of 15 January 2015. The HK SAR passport is one of the widely respected and best travel documents in the world.
Singapore has “Global investor program” for foreigners who must invest atleast SG$ 2.5 million in a business or a GIP fund. The turnover of the company has to be SG$ 50 million in the recent year or SG$200 million in the past 3 years. The investor visa can be renewed for 3 years or 5 years. Singapore passport is one of the best travel documents in the world. Singapore is currently the most expensive country to live, overtaking oslo, tokyo and london. Singapore does not allow dual citizenship status.
24. New Zealand
New Zealand issues investor visa to third country citizens, who invests a minimum NZ$ 3 million (over 4 years) or NZ$ 10 million (over 3 years). You have to spend 44 days every year during the investment period. Acceptable investment options are public or private NZ companies, NZ Government bonds, Property investment with commercial returns. New Zealand passport is one of the best passports in the world for travel.
Netherlands has launched a “Dutch Foreign investor visa” scheme granting immediate residency to foreign investors who invest atleast € 1.25 million capital in a dutch company or joint venture. Permanent residency is granted after 5 years which can be converted into citizenship easily after 5 years of uninterrupted residence.
Dutch passport (EU citizenship) gives the right to live and work anywhere in Europe and gives full access to North America, South America, Australia.
Bahamas has beautiful beaches, strategically located between Cuba and Florida (US). Now that Cuba has been opened up with US, bahamas benefits with more inflow of tourists and businesses. Bahamas issues residency to foreign individuals who buy a real estate with minimum B$ 250,000 (PR with no right to work) or B$500,000 (PR with right to work).
Latvia is a EU member state and a member in schengen zone. Latvia offers investor visas through real estate (€ 275,000) or business investment capital (€100,000) in Latvian company. Under the business option, EU residence permit” is granted valid for one or two years with renewals, then later qualify for PR. Under the real estate option, “permanent residency” is given directly for 5 years. After 10 years of living in Latvia, it is possible to apply for latvian citizenship.
Montenegro is a newest NATO member and future candidate for EU membership will launch economic citizenship program (special investor program) on Oct 1, 2018. The minimum investment required is EUR 250,000 or EUR 450,000 invested in the development of Montenegro.
Montenegro passport has visa free travel to 123 countries in the world including Russia, EU member states. The CBI program is limited to 2000 foreign investors.
Visa requirements for montenegrin citizens
After reading these long list of countries, now comes a important critical question.