As far as citizenship by investment programs go in the EU, there are only two official programs: Cyprus and Malta.
Cyprus or Malta?
For the Maltese program, you need to pay a lot of money, that you will never get back (650 000 EUR). By the time it’s all done you’ll be out for more than a million euros. It is quite a big amount to put towards a new passport, no matter how much money you have.
In Cyprus, you can do real estate investment, and be able to get a citizenship. In a bunch of ways, this is among the most attractive citizenship by investment programs. It offers a good EU passport.
You will need to tie 2 million euros into real estate purchase and donate an additional 150 000 euros to the government contribution funds.
The downside is that lots of those properties will be drastically overpriced, so you will probably lose a lot of money in the process. On the other hand, unlike the Maltese program, you do not have to simply donate lots of money. Government donation is significantly lower in this case. You can get your new passport in about 3 months.
What about unofficial EU options?
There are some less known EU citizenship programs. Those are Hungary, Slovenia, maybe Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria (which is way more hassle).
If you are not concerned about the EU, then there are numerous more options, including Georgia and Ukraine.
All of those are unofficial, and you will not be able to gather lots of data about them online. If you are interested in finding out more, feel free to contact us. We can help you get most of the citizenships mentioned above.
Tightening the Cyprus program
As you can probably imagine the EU is not really happy about these types of programs. They don’t like that some countries are labeling European citizenship as something you can buy. Also, they warn that this type of program can be used by many dishonest individuals that shouldn’t be able to have access to Europe.
It turned out that some of those concerns are valid.
In Cyprus, they had lots of cases of Russians who were using this scheme to launder money. Because of this Cyprus introduced more detailed due diligence for every individual applying, and they raised the price.
Cost used to be 2 million euros investment into real property, but now they introduced contributions to the government, which are an additional 150 000 euros.
Pros and cons of Cyprus
Cyprus is an island country that has lots to offer. Also, in this country, lots of things depend on connections. An unofficial story is that much can be done if you know the right people. This seems to be the case in lots of countries in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe. This can be both pro and con depending on your looks on things.
We were here in November and the weather was perfect. It was summer weather, so it doesn’t surprise why many want to come and purchase property here. It’s some of the best weather in Europe. Awesome weather is definitely a pro.
Cyprus is an EU member, which gives you access to EU infrastructure. You are a couple of hours plane ride away from all European capitals.
Some disadvantages might have to do with language and the fact that most official documents are in Greek.
The English language is widely spoken so you don’t have to worry about that. Definitely more than in Bulgaria, for example.
Aside from getting citizenship, you can also get residency by investment in this country.
Residency by investment in Cyprus
You will need to purchase the property of at least 300 000 euros in order to get residency by investment in Cyprus.
If you look at places where it’s easy to get residency in the world, where you will get favorable taxes, you will notice that something is almost always missing.
It’s either tiny places like San Marino or Andorra, where there’s not much to do, or it’s countries where you wouldn’t want to be.
Lots of people don’t like the idea of Paraguay or Uruguay as places to live. Many think that Thailand is quite dumpy and don’t want to set up a residency there. Cyprus seems to be the middle ground.
You will get to live in a developed EU country, without being destroyed with taxes. As a foreigner, you can get big discounts on taxes, so potentially you can end up in a very favorable situation.
After living in Cyprus for 7 years, you’ll be able to qualify for their citizenship by naturalization.
If you have any questions about Cyprus, or any other citizenship by investment reach out to us. We are happy to help you figure out which place is the best for you to go. We also do company set up in Cyprus.