Citizenship by investment

Cyprus
Visa Type: Business & Investment

The programme is a six to nine month process and offers four different options to qualify for citizenship. With all four options, the applicant must be the owner of a residential property that they purchased for at least EUR 500,000 which must be held indefinitely. Therefore, options two to four have a minimum total capital outlay of EUR 2,500,000 compared to option one which remains at EUR 2,000,000 should the real estate investment comprise of a residential property.

The primary applicant may include dependent children under 18 years of age, as well as adult dependent children between the ages of 18 and 27 years who are enrolled full-time in a recognized post-secondary teaching institution. In addition, the main applicant may include his or her parents but they must also purchase a residential property with a value of at least EUR 500,000.

Key Requirements 

1. EUR 2,000,000 investment in new real estate Cyprus Programme Summary 

2. EUR 2,500,000 investment in real estate if purchasing a re-sale 

3. EUR 2,000,000 investment in alternative investment funds

4. A combination of the above options from EUR 2,000,000, of which EUR 500,000 can be in government bonds. 

Dominica
Visa Type: Business & Investment

An applicant must make a significant financial investment into the country in return for citizenship for the applicant and their family. To qualify for citizenship, the main applicant must be:

 - over 18 years of age;
 - meet the due diligence requirements; and
 - make one of the following two investments:

1. A non-refundable donation to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) starting from USD 100,000; OR

2. Purchase of qualifying real-estate of at least USD 200,000 in a government-approved project.

United States of America
Visa Type: Business & Investment

The US EB-5 visa was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 and provides a proven method for foreign investors and their families to obtain a Green Card. Under this programme, an applicant must be willing to make a significant investment in the US, as the fundamental purpose of the EB-5 visa is to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment. In return, foreign immigrant investors are granted all the benefits of US permanent residency.

Active investment

This path requires a minimum investment of a US $1.8 million in a new or existing commercial enterprise, or a minimum investment of US $900,000 if investing in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)*.

The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers within two years, excluding the investor and their immediate family, and the investor must actively manage the day-to-day activities or policy formation of the enterprise. Only direct employment is permitted. In addition to satisfying the job-creation requirement, direct investors must also meet several other legal requirements governing all (not only direct) EB-5 investors including, among others, the establishment of a “new commercial enterprise”, investor engagement in enterprise management, and if applicable, the enterprise’s location in a TEA.

* TEA: Rural areas or areas with unemployment of at least 150% of the national average.

Passive investment:

This path requires a minimum investment of US $900,000 into a Regional Center in a TEA, which is a third party-managed investment vehicle that is preapproved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The investment must create full-time employment for at least 10 qualified US workers. Indirect employment is also permitted. Indirect jobs are those created collaterally as a result of a Regional Center’s dispersal of investments to affiliated new commercial enterprises.

The passive investment is the most popular route because of the expertise of the Regional Centers in managing the substantial administration involved, most notably producing the proof of creation of 10 direct or indirect jobs.

United Kingdom
Visa Type: Business & Investment

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa UK is available to those individuals with sufficient funds and must also demonstrate that they have the necessary skills. The main requirements of this visa are:

- Funds: £200k (but reduced to £50k if the applicant holds a Tier 1 Post Study Visa).

- Skills: This covers language skills. For applicants already in the UK on a Tier 1 Post Study Visa, this requirement is waived.

- Business and Not Work: You are expected that you establish a business, join an existing business or become the new owner of an old business. You are not allowed to seek any employment of any kind.

Grenada
Visa Type: Business & Investment

The Grenada Citizenship-by-Investment programme (CIP) was launched in 2013 and is aimed at people around the world looking for an advantageous second citizenship for both the applicant and their family. Grenada is the only Caribbean country that is party to the E-2 treaty with the United States of America, allowing citizens with significant funds to have access to enter and work in the US.

There are two Investment types:

1. Real Estate Investment 

A real estate investment requires a minimum investment of US $220,000 in a government approved business, or property from a government approved real estate project (shared ownership). The property must be retained for a minimum of five years.

2. Donation

The NTF donation path requires a non-refundable donation of US $150,000 to the Grenada National Transformation Fund (NTF).

United Kingdom
Visa Type: Business & Investment

The Tier 1 Investor Migrant Visa is available to those wealthy applicants who have personal assets of at least £2,000,000 to invest in the UK.

To demonstrate your financial status, you must demonstrate that you have:

£1,000,000 in cash (held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK), OR
£2,000,000 in personal assets, and have the ability to access £1,000,000 (through a loan, for example) in cash.

Tier 1 (Investor) migrants do not need to provide any evidence of their competency in English language and are exempt from this requirement. Since Tier 1 (Investor) migrants will be bringing considerable amount of money to the UK, they are also exempt from the general requirement of providing evidences of their maintenance in the UK.

Ireland
Visa Type: Business & Investment

The Ireland Investor Programme requires an applicant to make one of four eligible investments in Ireland:

1. A minimum investment of €1 million in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over a number of enterprises for a minimum of three years.

2. A minimum investment of €1 million in an Approved Investment Fund committed for a minimum of three years. 

3. A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange committed for a minimum of three years. 

4. A minimum Endowment of €500,000 in a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field. 

Where a group of five or more investors combine their endowments, a minimum investment of €400,000 per investor will qualify under the Programme.

One of the more popular options is the Approved Investment Fund option, which provides for a return on investment. For example, the Irish Diaspora Loan Fund (IDLF) is a government approved investment route that is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. The two key objectives of the fund are to (a) ensure maximum protection of investor funds by following a conservative,low-risk loan investment policy and (b) issue innovative finance to a portfolio of Irish hotels, which will each increase employment levels throughout the lifetime of the fund.

A selected hotel will enter into a five-year loan agreement with the IDLF and the IDLF takes security over the property until completion of the loan. At the end of the term, the hotel will refinance with a traditional lending institution and repay the IDLF loan.

In addition to the above investment requirements, applicants must demonstrate a personal net worth of at least £2 million. Approval time is around six to eight months. Once an investor's application has been approved, they have one month to action the selected investment. Following this, a two-year resident visa is issued, allowing the investor and their dependent family members to live, work, and study in Ireland. At the end of year two, an application for a three-year visa extension is submitted.

Malta
Visa Type: Business & Investment

There are two programmes offered by Malta:

  • Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP)
  • Malta Individual Investor Programme (MIIP)

 

MALTA RESIDENCE AND VISA PROGRAMME (MRVP)

The MRVP allows for the granting of indefinite residency to non-EU individuals and their families. The programme is an 8-12 month process that has a number of requirements for the main applicant, including:

1. Investment

Hold a qualifying investment of not less than €250,000 in government bonds for a minimum of five years from the date of issuance of the residency certificate 

2. Government contribution

Make a contribution to the Maltese government of €30,000, of which €5,500 is non-refundable and is paid upon submission of the application 

3. Real Estate

Hold a qualifying property in Malta for five years from the date of issuance of the residency certificate, through either of the following:

  • Purchase of property: A minimum of €320,000 for properties in Malta (€270,000 for properties situated in Gozo and the South of Malta)
  • Lease of property: A minimum of €12,000 per annum (€10,000 per for properties situated in Gozo and the South of Malta)

4. Income

Have an annual income of €100,000 arising outside of Malta or possess capital of not less than €500,000

 

MALTA INDIVIDUAL INVESTOR PROGRAMME (MIIP)

The MIIP allows for the granting of citizenship to individuals and their families who contribute to the social and economic development of the country. The investor is required to meet all four of the following requirements:

1. Contribution

A non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund is required as follows:

  • €650,000 contribution for the main applicant 
  • €25,000 contribution for a spouse and each child dependant (under 18 years of age) 
  • €50,000 contribution for each adult dependant (child aged 18-26 years) or parent (over 55 years of age)

2. Property

Fulfil one of the following property requirements:

  • Purchase of property: Purchase residential real estate with a minimum value of €350,000, to be held for five years 
  • Lease of property: Lease a residential property with a rental of at least €16,000 per annum for five years.

3. Investment

€150,000 investment must be made into Malta government approved stocks, bonds, debentures or other investment vehicles which benefit the nation. The investment must be held for a minimum period of five years.

4. Residence

The main applicant must have been legally resident in Malta, with proof of genuine links to Malta, for a minimum period of 12 months before the Certificate of Naturalisation is issued.

A number of days must be spent in Malta to help demonstrate genuine links to the country. We recommend spending a minimum of 14 days in the country, including biometrics and oath of allegiance, during the 12-month period in order to successfully satisfy the residence requirement.

Additional due diligence fees are €7,500 for the main applicant, €5,000 for their spouse and dependants aged 18 and above and €3,000 for dependants aged 13-17 years.

Montenegro
Visa Type: Business & Investment

Although geographically in Europe, Montenegro is not yet part of the EU (although it is a Schengen country). Montenegro is striving to meet the EU requirements for accession and its membership is expected in 2025. Once an EU member, citizens of Montenegro will have the same rights as other EU citizens including the right to reside freely within EU member states.

The Montenegro Citizenship Investment Program (CIP) allows for the granting of citizenship to individuals and their families. The program is a six-month process that has two requirements for the main applicant, including: 

1. Property

Fulfil one of the following property requirements:

  • Minimum investment of €450,000 in a government-approved real estate project in the southern coastal part of Montenegro or in the capital city of Podgorica; OR
  • Minimum investment of €250,000 in a government-approved real estate project in the northern part of Montenegro.

2. Contribution

In addition to the above real estate investments, both options also require all CIP investors to make a non-refundable contribution of €100,000 to the Government Fund of Montenegro which will be used to improve the north of the country in general and in particular the infrastructure.

Portugal
Visa Type: Business & Investment

More and more clients are choosing to move to Portugal for a tax-free retirement plan. This is also availble to those entrepreneurs or business people who are internationally mobile. Benefits of life in Portugal include its low capital cost of entry, geographically close to the UK and the rest of Europe, great weather and a low cost of living.

Non-Habitual Residence Tax status

The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) programme was introduced in Portugal in 2009 with the aim of attracting wealthy foreigners to the country by making it beneficial to become a tax resident there. The programme offers a 10-year tax break on qualifying foreign income if you move your residence to Portugal. What’s more, Portugal doesn’t have an inheritance tax regime, so all your assets can eventually be passed down to your family tax-free.

To qualify as a non-habitual tax resident in Portugal, you need to have a valid residency right in Portugal. This can be done either through a retirement visa, or through the Golden Residence Permit Programme (also known as the Golden Visa).

As a non-habitual tax resident, you will be exempt from tax on certain types of qualifying foreign income in Portugal if it is subject to tax in the country of origin under an existing double taxation agreement (DTA). Income from dividends, royalties and interest all qualifies for exemption from tax provided that:

  • Such income may be taxed in the country of source under the rules of the DTA; or
  • Such income may be taxed in the country of source under the rules of the OECD Model Tax Convention on income and on capital (if no DTA exists) and it does not arise from a Portuguese source.

For example, South African dividends will be tax-free in Portugal. However, these dividends may be taxed in South Africa at either 10% or 15% depending on the relevant shareholding agreements. Pension income in Portugal is taxed at a low rate of only 10%, making the programme highly beneficial for retirees.

There are four main residency statuses that achieve this:

1. Retirement Visa

This visa allows you to live in Portugal (and your spouse can accompany you). You will have to demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and you do not engage in direct employment in the country.

2. Passive Income Visa

You will need to demonstrate your interest in Portugal, goals for when you reside and have proof that you have enough money to provide essential needs for yourself and your spouse. To be eligible for the visa, you must be based in Portugal for up to eight months of the year (or six consecutive months) and have proof of sufficient funds to support the life in Portugal. These funds must be available for use in Portugal. This permit is renewable every two years, and after five years you can change it to a permanent residence permit.

3. Golden Visa

This visa is based on making in investment (usually into property) in Portugal.

4. European Citizenship

Any client holding a European Union (EU) citizenship qualifies for residency in Portugal through the principle of the free movement of people. After 2020, this would exclude British citizens.

This service is offered by our Sable Wealth team on wealth@sableinternational.com.

Portugal
Visa Type: Business & Investment

There is a route to Portuguese Nationality through the Golden Visa Program. If structured correctly, this can lead to a residency permit and - after a period of 6 years - Portuguese Nationality for a client, their spouse and any dependent children. There is no requirement to live permanently in Portugal.

The minimum investment is either EU280k (into a property located in specific parts of Portugal), EU350k (into a property-backed Private Equity Fund) or EU500k (into a directly owned property in any part of Portugal). There is no requirement to relocate to (or live in) Portugal. However, there is a minimum requirement to visit Portugal for at least 35 days over a 5 year period. After obtaining a series of Residency Visas, the final steps are Permanent Residency and Naturalisation. This will require passing a basic Portuguese language test.

This service is offered by our Sable Investment Migration team on im@sableinternational.com.

Portugal
Visa Type: Business & Investment

More and more clients are choosing to move to Portugal for a tax-free retirement plan. This is also availble to those entrepreneurs or business people who are internationally mobile. Benefits of life in Portugal include its low capital cost of entry, geographically close to the UK and the rest of Europe, great weather and a low cost of living.

There are two main visas that achieve this:

1. Retirement Visa

This visa allows you to live in Portugal (and your spouse can accompany you). You will have to demonstrate that you can support yourself financially and you do not engage in direct employment in the country.

2. Passive Income Visa

You will need to demonstrate your interest in Portugal, goals for when you reside and have proof that you have enough money to provide essential needs for yourself and your spouse. To be eligible for the visa, you must be based in Portugal for up to eight months of the year (or six consecutive months) and have proof of sufficient funds to support the life in Portugal. These funds must be available for use in Portugal. This permit is renewable every two years, and after five years you can change it to a permanent residence permit.

Non-Habitual Residence Tax status

The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) programme was introduced in Portugal in 2009 with the aim of attracting wealthy foreigners to the country by making it beneficial to become a tax resident there. The programme offers a 10-year tax break on qualifying foreign income if you move your residence to Portugal. What’s more, Portugal doesn’t have an inheritance tax regime, so all your assets can eventually be passed down to your family tax-free.

To qualify as a non-habitual tax resident in Portugal, you need to have a valid residency right in Portugal. This can be done either through a retirement visa, or through the Golden Residence Permit Programme (also known as the Golden Visa).

As a non-habitual tax resident, you will be exempt from tax on certain types of qualifying foreign income in Portugal if it is subject to tax in the country of origin under an existing double taxation agreement (DTA). Income from dividends, royalties and interest all qualifies for exemption from tax provided that:

  • Such income may be taxed in the country of source under the rules of the DTA; or
  • Such income may be taxed in the country of source under the rules of the OECD Model Tax Convention on income and on capital (if no DTA exists) and it does not arise from a Portuguese source.

For example, South African dividends will be tax-free in Portugal. However, these dividends may be taxed in South Africa at either 10% or 15% depending on the relevant shareholding agreements. Pension income in Portugal is taxed at a low rate of only 10%, making the programme highly beneficial for retirees.

This service is offered by our Sable Wealth team on wealth@sableinternational.com.

St Christopher St Kitts and Nevis
Visa Type: Business & Investment

An applicant must make a significant financial investment into the country in return for citizenship for the applicant and their family. To qualify for citizenship, the main applicant must be:

 - over 18 years of age;

 - meet the due diligence requirements; AND

 - make one of the following two investment:

1. A non-refundable donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund starting from USD 150,000; OR

2. Purchase real estate in a government approved project with a value of at least $200,000 with the option to re-sell after seven years.

United Kingdom
Visa Type: Business & Investment

As a South African family with young children, you may be tempted to relocate to the UK or Australia in order to secure a second passport and an international education for your children. This could arise because of the economic and political volatility that exists in the country, as well as the worry that South African tertiary education standards are slipping.

We have an alternative plan, that still meets your objectives of internationalising your children’s opportunities while maximising your own wealth and lifestyle:

  • Remain in South Africa (and keep your amazing lifestyle);
  • Educate your children at a South African school (they’re still of a high standard);
  • Start saving now to put your children through a UK university;
  • Your children obtain a degree at a respected UK university and move onto a Work Permit at the end of their studies. They will naturalise as British citizens within six years of graduating, and be able to pass British nationality down to their children (i.e. your grandchildren), irrespective of where they may be born;
  • You continue with your career(s) in SA and start to restructure your retirement earnings;
  • You could then reconsider your own options when you become internationally mobile (your children are in the UK and you’re no longer beholden to an employer)
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Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

ASK PHILIP GAMBLE NOW!
Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth.

WhatPassport.com is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.