As we are approaching the end of 2021, it is clear that the free world as we knew it before 2020 is no longer our reality for the foreseeable future. With the ongoing pandemic, we continue seeing border closures, health checks, and rotating cycles of lockdowns.
One thing remains certain: being a citizen (or at least a resident) of several countries provides access to the world, safety, and security
On this Christmas Eve, I wish you and your loved ones to have the freedom to decide and execute where to live, educate your kids, do business, travel, and retire.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for putting your trust and confidence in us – your dedicated providers of Global Lifestyle Solutions. We wish you good health, happiness and look forward to working with you in 2022.
All the very best,
Managing director at GLS Private Office
Starting from next year, the European Union (EU) will implement an electronic travel authorisation system ETIAS for arrivals from countries that are not a part of the EU or Schengen Area. The goal of the new system’s introduction is to improve internal security, fight terrorism, and prevent illegal immigration. After it comes into effect, travellers who can currently visit Europe on a visa-free basis will be additionally required to undergo simple security checks and receive an authorisation prior to their entry to EU or Schengen states.
At present, there are over 60 countries (including the UK, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Vanuatu, and Montenegro) whose citizens are permitted to enter the EU and the Schengen Area visa-free. Although there is a limit of up to 90 days for a six-month period, some people stay for longer in Europe, thus violating the regulation. Moreover, recent security concerns regarding the threat of terrorism and the migrant crisis made it necessary to develop stronger tools to track and control the flow of people crossing the EU borders. The EU has consistently affirmed that it wants to make travel within its borders safer.
The set of measures devised by the European Commission to reduce waiting times and the number of procedures as well as to help in solving security problems has resulted in the creation of ETIAS. ETIAS stands for the Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System and has been developed as a form of travel authorisation for visitors from non-EU / non-Schengen states who can currently travel to Europe visa-free. The implementation of ETIAS is intended to serve several purposes: to diminish illegal immigration, accelerate border control procedures, reduce the terrorist threat, and improve the security of the Schengen Area.
Once ETIAS is in force, visa-free visitors will be required to apply for and obtain a travel authorisation, and undergo security checks before their arrival to the EU. For example, citizens of St Kitts and Nevis who can now enjoy visa-free travel to EU countries will be prescreened after they have submitted their application form. The information they have provided will be processed in various databases, such as the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS), the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), and a few others. If the person’s data do not give rise to concerns, an ETIAS will be granted within the first 24 hours upon the application submission. ETIAS is planned to be granted for 3 years or until the expiry date on the travel document registered during the application.
The ETIAS application form will require basic personal information (full name, date, and place of birth, gender, etc.), passport details, criminal record, and visa history. It will cost only €7 paid online through a valid debit or credit card. However, the applicants under 18 and over 70 will not need to pay the fee.
ETIAS is expected to be obtained much simpler than a traditional visa for any of the European countries. It is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2022, and mandatory starting from January 2023. Until then, travelers from visa-exempt countries can enter the EU freely.
Would you like to become a citizen by investment in another country that allows visa-free entry to the EU and Schengen Area? We will be happy to assist you throughout the entire process of citizenship application. We can also assist you in obtaining a passport of the EU which completely excludes the necessity to apply for ETIAS and makes the most of the world visa-free. Get in touch with GLS Private Office today!
Last year, in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, most Caribbean countries running citizenship by investment (CBI) programs introduced more advantageous terms to attract investors, such as reduced prices and even brand-new financial options. St Kitts and Nevis came up with a limited-time offer for its CBI contribution option: families of four have the opportunity to contribute only $150,000 to Sustainable Growth Fund instead of the previous $195,000. Initially valid until January 2021, this offer enjoyed so much popularity with international investors that St Kitts and Nevis’ government adopted a decision to extend its duration to the end of this year. However, it has been recently announced that the discount will not be prolonged for the upcoming 2022.
In 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, St Kitts and Nevis, along with the other Caribbean states, made an effort to encourage investment by offering more beneficial application terms under its CBI program. The twin-island country introduced a temporary discount for the option of donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund. The minimum amount was reduced from $195,000 to $150,000 for families of up to four people, becoming the same as the one for single applicants. Regardless of the number of dependants included in the citizenship application (whether it be one, two, or three), investors with families could benefit from a reduction of $45,000.
Though originally the discount was available only until 15 January 2021, it was a complete success among foreign investors, which prompted the government of St Kitts and Nevis to extend its validity period until 31 December 2021. Nevertheless, this extension promises to be the first and only one: it has been recently reported that no further prolongation of the discount is planned. Mr. Les Khan, CEO of St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship Investment Unit, confirmed that from the beginning of the upcoming year 2022, the minimum donation amount for families would return to $195,000.
However, there is hope that St Kitts and Nevis will bring forward a new special offer in order to incentivise investors to apply for its passport. Even without counting the soon-to-expire price reduction, this Caribbean country runs one of the most cost-efficient (and reputable at the same time) CBI programs worldwide. The Kittitian citizenship entails a fast-track application process, and provides a number of compelling advantages:
Visa-free access to over 150 states, which is more than 70% of the world and includes the UK, Schengen countries, Russia, and Singapore;
A highly favourable tax regime;
Generous business incentives;
An opportunity to receive rental returns if investing into real estate;
No requirement to reside in or visit the country at any point.
Moreover, St Kitts and Nevis allows multiple citizenships. For example, Russian-born billionaire Pavel Durov, the founder of the social network VK and later of highly popular Telegram messenger, was granted citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis in 2013 without having to give up his citizenship of the Russian Federation. Earlier this year he has also become a citizen of France, making him a holder of three passports, with freedom of movement around most of the globe.
The COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe. With a new wave of disease variant named Omicron, and a growing caseload, countries worldwide implement new safety measures or change the existing ones daily, particularly when it comes to international and domestic travel requirements. What is the situation with visiting the major citizenship and residency by investment destinations: St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Vanuatu, Montenegro, United Kingdom, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, and Turkey. Which countries are ready to welcome tourists back and which, on the contrary, have suspended entry? What requirements are there to comply with while travelling? We have prepared this digest article to guide you through the latest in the ever-changing travel rules and regulations.
With exemptions made for nationals and residents of St Kitts and Nevis, only fully vaccinated visitors and children under the age of 18 accompanying a fully vaccinated parent or guardian are allowed to enter the country. To be considered fully vaccinated, at least 14 days must have passed since an individual received the final dose of an approved vaccine: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm or Sinovac. Mixing of the approved vaccines is accepted.
Foreign travellers must take a COVID-19 PCR test no later than 72 hours before departure. On receiving a negative result, they have to complete an embarkation form, upload the test result and certificate of vaccination on the government website within 24 hours prior to entry and download the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app. Proof of having booked a hotel from the approved list is also needed.
Additional tests will be conducted on days 7 and 14 of the visit, at the traveller’s expense. Vaccinated travellers will be tested on day 4. Arrivals are required to stay in an approved hotel and wait for the test results. Besides, a health screening and completing a questionnaire must be done at the place of the entry point.
Although Dominica is open for international tourism, it has established travel protocols specifying entry requirements. According to them, all foreign visitors must submit a negative result of COVID-19 PCR test taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival, as well as complete an online questionnaire at least 24 hours before entry. The Ministry of Health must verify the traveller’s arrival by email, otherwise, they will not be able to board the flight into Dominica. Fully vaccinated visitors also need to provide their certificate of vaccination. As for unvaccinated travellers, they are required to have booked a government-approved “Safe in Nature” accommodation.
On arrival, all passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, have to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test and health assessment. Unvaccinated visitors are subject to a mandatory 5-day quarantine at a “Safe in Nature” property and a second PCR test on day 5. If the result is negative, they are released from the quarantine.
Unfortunately, passengers are not allowed to enter Grenada, the state of emergency has been extended. However, this does not apply to passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated at least two weeks before arrival, as well as their accompanying children younger than 12 years (accepted vaccines are AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), AstraZeneca (SK Bioscience Co Ltd. from Korea), Covishield Janssen, Moderna (Spikevax), Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Sinopharm, and Sinovac). Any passengers arriving from or who have been in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter Grenada.
Arrivals to Grenada must have a “Travel Health Declaration” obtained at least 48 hours before departure. Guests of the country must have a negative result of the COVID-19 PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before departure of the last direct flight to Grenada. This does not apply to children younger than 5 years. One more test for unvaccinated visitors has to be taken upon arrival at their own expense. Besides, they must stay under quarantine for 7 days at a government-approved accommodation. Passengers must undergo medical screening on arrival and download Grenada’s tracing app.
St Lucia welcomes foreign tourists as long as they meet a number of requirements. All tourists arriving in the country, whether they are fully vaccinated or not, must submit a negative result of COVID-19 PCR test taken within the 5 days (120 hours) before arrival. Passengers will be refused boarding if they do not provide the negative test result. Travellers under the age of 5 are exempt from this requirement.
In addition, visitors must complete a registration form 24 hours prior to arrival to receive travel authorisation. They also need to have a confirmed reservation of a government-approved COVID-19 certified property and provide their evidence of vaccination, if any. All incoming passengers are subject to a 14-day quarantine on arrival, except fully vaccinated ones — they are not required to undergo quarantine.
The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are open for arrivals, however, currently, the state of emergency is in force. Passengers older than 5 years entering or transiting through Antigua and Barbuda must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result taken no later than 4 days before departure from the first embarkation point. Fully vaccinated arrivals can present a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken at most 3 days before departure from the first embarkation point instead. Another COVID-19 test has to be taken upon arrival. Passengers older than 18 years must provide a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they received one dose of the vaccine before arrival (the accepted vaccines are: AstraZeneca (SK Bioscience), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Covishield, Janssen, Moderna (Spikevax), Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Sputnik V). All arrivals except for fully vaccinated are subject to quarantine in approved accommodation for up to 14 days. Passengers staying overnight in transit must stay at a hotel or at a designated facility until their next flight. Passengers arriving from or who have transited through Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, and South Africa in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter.
Vanuatu’s borders are currently closed until 31 December 2021. Passengers with citizenship, residency and a residence visa of Vanuatu are exempt from the arrival ban. Arrivals must have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were vaccinated with Janssen at least 28 days before departure or they were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (SK Bioscience), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Covishield, Moderna (Spikevax), Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty), Sinopharm or Sinovac at least 14 days before departure. They must also have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.
Besides, an Online Travelers Health Registration Form has to be completed no longer than 72 hours before departure. A completed Airport Health Screening Formmust be presented to immigration service upon arrival. Passengers are subject to medical screening, a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
Tourists are allowed to visit Montenegro provided they comply with the existing entry requirements. All incoming travellers must submit one of the following:
Negative result of COVID-19 PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival;
Negative result of Rapid Antigen Test taken no later than 48 hours before arrival;
Positive result of PCR / Rapid Antigen Test issued at least 14 days and at most 180 days before arrival and a COVID-19 recovery certificate;
Certificate of vaccination.
These requirements do not apply to passengers younger than 5 years; passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued in Hungary, and their accompanying minors younger than 18 years; passengers who in the past 15 days have only been in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Kosovo (Rep.), North Macedonia (Rep.), or Serbia.
Children under the age of 18, nationals and residents of Montenegro, and passengers with vaccination certificates issued in Hungary are not required to submit any of the documents listed above. Tourists travelling from the UK may enter Montenegro without a test or evidence of vaccination, but they are subject to self-isolation for 14 days. This period can be terminated after six days, with a negative PCR test.
Malta requires its guests to be fully vaccinated. Travellers aged 12 and over must submit a certificate of vaccination, showing that they have received a full dosage of a European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved vaccine at least 14 days before arrival. The approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca. Certificates showing recovery from COVID-19 in the previous six months plus one dose of an EMA-approved two-dose vaccine provided at least 14 days prior to arriving in Malta, are also accepted. It is important to note that certificates of recovery from COVID-19 without a vaccine are not valid for entry.
All arrivals to Malta must complete a Public Health Travel Declaration Form and the online Passenger Locator Form before departure. Travellers without a certificate of vaccination have to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their arrival and are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are suspended.
The UK sets different entry requirements for travellers, depending on their vaccination status. However, there is a rule mandatory for everyone arriving in the country: all visitors must complete a Passenger Locator Form within 48 hours before arrival. Passengers entering or transiting through the UK must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must have been taken no later than 3 days before departure of the last direct flight to the United Kingdom.
Along with this, fully vaccinated travellers need to provide their certificate of vaccination. The approved vaccines are Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson; since 22 November 2021, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Covaxin have been added. Mixing of the approved vaccines is accepted. On arrival, vaccinated guests are also required to take a COVID-19 test on day 2, which should be booked and paid in advance. If the test result is positive, the travellers have to quarantine for 10 days.
Visitors who are not fully vaccinated must submit a negative result of the COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival, as well as book and pay for two more PCR tests. On arrival, these tests are taken on days 2 and 8. Unvaccinated travellers are subject to a 10-day quarantine.
Cyprus allows the following categories of visitors to enter:
Those who have recovered from COVID-19. They are required to provide a Digital COVID Recovery certificate (no other certificates are accepted);
Visitors who have recovered from COVID-19 and received one dose of an approved two-dose vaccine. They have to submit the correspondent certificates;
Fully vaccinated visitors who must provide their certificate of vaccination.
The vaccines recognized by Cyprus are Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sputnik, Sinopharm, and Sinovac. Mixing of the approved vaccines is accepted.
All passengers arriving in Cyprus must apply for and obtain a Cyprus Flight Pass before arrival. Visitors from the Red List countries who have not completed a vaccination program must take a COVID-19 PCR test and provide a negative result. Children under 12 are exempted from this requirement.
Passengers are not allowed to enter if arriving from or if in the past 14 days they have been in or transited through, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, or Zimbabwe. Permitted passengers from these countries must quarantine for 10 days in a hotel arranged by the Ministry of Tourism, at their own expense.
It is possible to travel to Portugal for any purposes from the EU, EEA or UK, as well as from some other countries: Albania, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Moldova, Singapore, Serbia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, and the US. Visitors travelling from other non-EU / non-EEA-countries can only enter Portugal for essential purposes.
All visitors have to complete an online Passenger Locator Card prior to arrival. Passengers who are fully vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine or have recovered from COVID-19 must also present their recovery or vaccination certificate. Unvaccinated travellers are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure or Rapid Antigen Test no later than 48 hours before departure and submit a negative result. Incoming visitors are subject to health screening on arrival.
Flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are suspended. Permitted arrivals to Portugal from these countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days in an approved location and have a PCR test upon arrival.
Passengers from Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, Brazil, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are not allowed to enter Turkey. Arrivals from other countries, except for those under the age of 12, must submit one of the following:
Certificate of vaccination;
Certificate of recovery from COVID-19;
Negative result of COVID-19 PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival;
Negative result of Rapid Antigen Test taken no later than 48 hours before arrival.
Incoming passengers aged six and over, including citizens and residents of Turkey, must complete an online entry form within 72 hours prior to travel.
REMINDER: With the pandemic situation and COVID-19 countering requirements in the countries mentioned above is constantly changing, make sure you follow the news of the country you are planning to visit.
Dominica continues to enlarge the list of countries where its citizens can travel visa-free. This week it has signed a visa-waiver agreement with China, which represents a new stage in the relations between the countries.
Dominica and China established diplomatic ties in 2004 and have enjoyed a long-lasting, profound relationship since then. On 22 November 2021, the two countries celebrated “a significant milestone” by signing an agreement, which would allow their citizens to travel back and forth on a visa-free basis. This agreement has made Dominica the second Caribbean state (after Grenada) whose citizenship by investment (CBI) program provides for visa-free access to China.
“We want to push our bilateral relations to new heights and to facilitate international travel between our two peoples. I wish, with this agreement coming into effect, that the bilateral relations can be heightened further, the people-to-people exchanges can be made closer and we can bring our friendship to a new level,” China’s Ambassador to Dominica, His Excellency Lin Xianjiang, commented.
The visa-waiver agreement takes immediate effect. Thus, from now on Dominica’s passport holders can travel to China without applying for a pre-departure visa.
With this new opportunity, citizenship of Dominica is becoming even more appealing. At the moment, having it opens ways to more than 140 countries visa-free, including the UK, Schengen states, and Singapore, besides China having joined them. Moreover, Dominica’s CBI program offers potential applicants a number of additional benefits, such as a favourable tax regime, a year-round tropical climate, comparably low investment thresholds, the possibility to hold dual citizenship, and many others. It also stipulates a fast-track application procedure that allows investors to obtain the passport of Dominica in around three months and does not require them to visit the island country at any point.
It is important to mention that throughout the year 2021, Dominica has come up with a discount for one of its CBI program’s options. Families of up to four can donate a reduced amount of $175,000 (instead of the previous $200,000) to the Economic Development Fund; investors with spouses can also take advantage of the lowered price and make a contribution of $150,000 (instead of $175,000). It remains unclear if the discount would be extended to 2022, so now potentially is the final chance to apply for the Dominican passport at a reduced price.
If you are interested in the acquisition of Dominica’s citizenship by investment, contact GLS Private Office. We will be happy to answer your questions, advise and provide you with a tailored solution taking into account your needs and expectations.
In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, causing an unprecedented demand for second passports, many countries running citizenship by investment (CBI) programs introduced favourable temporary options and discounts for various investment options. The offers enjoyed so much success that the majority of them were extended until the end of 2021; however, it is expected that most of them will no longer be renewed. Besides, some residency and citizenship by investment (RCBI) countries also providing advantageous options are planning to drastically restrict their terms or even phase out investment immigration programs starting from 2022. In view of the situation, now is the last chance to apply for these programs under the current terms.
With the increasing demand for citizenship and residency by investment due to the ongoing pandemic and overall instabilities of the world, many countries offering RCBI programs presented more favourable terms and discounted prices of their investment options. For example, in 2020 St Kitts and Nevis reduced the required minimum amount of the contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund from the previous $195,000 to $150,000 for families of up to four people. This allowed investors to save $45,000, regardless of the number of dependants included in the application (whether it be one, two, or three). Originally, the discounted price was valid until 15 January 2021, but huge interest from international investors has prompted the country’s government to reintroduce the offer, making it available until 31 December 2021.
Dominica also lowered the investment minimum for families last year: the price of the contribution to the Economic Development Fund was reduced from $200,000 to $175,000 for families of up to four, and from $175,000 to $150,000 for the investor and their spouse. The discount is valid through 2021.
As for St Lucia, it launched a temporary investment option named the COVID-19 Bond Relief, encouraging foreign investors to purchase non-interest-bearing government bonds half-price — at the amount of $250,000 instead of the previous $500,000. This option was initially available until the end of 2020, but due to its popularity, it has been extended until 31 December 2021.
Despite the fact these offers have been prolonged until the end of this year, it is still unknown if they would remain in 2022. Though there is hope for further deadline extensions, the probability that the discounts and special terms would be discontinued cannot be ruled out.
While the situation around the time-limited offers of the Caribbean countries is unclear, the future of some European RCBI programs is already determined: for instance, the Golden Visa of Portugal, currently the most popular residency by investment program in the world, will be significantly restricted from the next year. The major changes will affect its real estate investment option. From 1 January 2022, the purchase of residential properties in Lisbon, Porto, and coastal areas of the country will be banned for the Golden Visa applicants, and the prices for properties in other locations are expected to skyrocket. Moreover, the investment minimums of the other options under the Golden Visa program will also rise substantially.
Below are the changes related to the investments under the Golden Visa program of Portugal.
As regards the Montenegrin citizenship by investment program, it is valid only until 31 December 2021 and then will be closed without further renewal. With its low investment thresholds and soon-to-come EU membership, Montenegro grants investors highly affordable second passports with concomitant freedom of movement within the Schengen Area and the possibility to obtain EU citizenship in several years. Thus, the closure of the program will seriously narrow down the choice of available RCBI European destinations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, citizenship and residency by investment have gained immense popularity: many people facing quarantine requirements, border closures, and numerous travel restrictions have re-evaluated their priorities and started seeking second passports and residence permits of other states in order to restore and even expand their mobility. Besides having the benefit of choosing where to live and work, RCBI provide a number of other privileges for qualifying investors. Among them is visa-free travel to most countries of the world, tax incentives, greater opportunities for operating a business, access to high-quality education and healthcare, not to mention more security with a “Plan B” in case of political upheaval or economic turmoil.
In light of the forthcoming changes and shutdowns, and taking into consideration that an average application takes around 1,5 months to prepare for submission, there are only a few weeks left to take advantage of the special prices offered by the Caribbean countries, Portugal, and Montenegro. Do not miss out! Contact us at GLS Private Office, as soon as possible and we will be delighted to answer your questions, provide all possible assistance and customise the most suitable solutions for you.
Due to the travel restrictions and border control measures caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Antigua and Barbuda has temporarily adjusted its citizenship by investment program by suspending the requirement to spend five days in the country during the first five years after obtaining its citizenship. The suspension will be in effect until 31 August 2022.
Antigua and Barbuda, a twin-island country lying at the converging point of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, offers one of the most competitive and cost-effective citizenship by investment (CBI) programs not only in the region but also in the world. One of the program requirements is to visit Antigua and Barbuda for a minimum of five days within the first five years after obtaining the economic citizenship of the country. In August 2020, Antigua’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) announced that the five-day visitation requirement would be temporarily discontinued for one year due to the COVID-19 outbreak that led to numerous travel restrictions and emergency measures. As the COVID-19 keeps spreading around the globe, with travel disruption still in place, the Antiguan CIU has extended the suspension of the requirement for one more year — until 31 August 2022.
The CIU’s decision is favourable for investors who have not had the opportunity to visit Antigua and Barbuda and whose qualifying five-year period expires before 31 August 2022, as they could have their citizenship revoked for violating the citizenship by investment program’s rules in case the requirement remained in force.
Moreover, earlier this year Antigua and Barbuda allowed investors to take the oath of allegiance remotely, without the need to travel to the country. Previously, eligible applicants had to take the oath in person, in the islands, but due to the ongoing pandemic and border closure, the Antiguan CIU made it possible to conduct the ceremony online, through a videoconference, or at Antigua and Barbuda’s consulates in other countries.
Considered one of the most sought-after and beautiful Caribbean destinations, Antigua and Barbuda is known for its 365 award-winning beaches, one for each day of the year, a scenic coastline ringed with coral reefs, and year-round tropical climate. The twin-island nation also enjoys advanced banking and financial services and top-notch communication infrastructure, ensuring the growth and sustainability of the economy. Due to the timely measures to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19, Antigua and Barbuda has stayed a safe haven, mostly unaffected by the coronavirus disease: thus, throughout 2020, the country had only159 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
A non-refundable contribution to the National Development Fund. The minimum amount of the contribution is $100,000 for both, a single applicant and families of up to four, which makes this option highly advantageous for investors seeking to include family members in the application;
A non-refundable contribution to the University of the West Indies Fund. Established in 2020, this is the newest — and the most family-oriented option of Antigua’s CBI program that requires investors with five or more family members to donate $150,000. It must be mentioned that as part of this option’s offering, any family member under 29 years old can study for a year at the University of the West Indies free of charge;
A purchase of government-approved real estate with a minimum price of $200,000.
Would you like to become a world citizen with a passport of Antigua and Barbuda? Kindly contact us, and we will be happy to arrange a consultation, provide you with detailed fee schedules, and guide you through the entire route to the coveted passport.
The world pandemic continues to restrict global travellers. While some countries are opening borders and ready to meet tourists, other countries are getting back to embarking on lockdowns. We have studied verifiable sources to prepare an article where you can find out the latest requirements for visiting major destinations for citizenship and residency by investment.
Sad news for those of you who have been looking forward to travelling to the Caribbean countries, as the restrictions in the Caribbean region are back in action. Currently, it is almost impossible to get to some islands, while the pandemic restrictions in others have become far stricter.
Passengers are not allowed to enter St Kitts and Nevis. However, this does not apply to nationals and residents of St Kitts and Nevis; passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival; passengers who are younger than 18 if they travel with their parents who have been fully vaccinated (vaccines accepted are: AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Janssen, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech).
Flights from Brazil, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom are suspended. It is also worth mentioning that all travellers must complete an entry form before arrival, and download the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app. All arrivals to Saint Kitts and Nevis are required to spend the first 14 days of their trip in a hotel on the approved list, while vaccinated arrivals are required to stay in an approved hotel only for 4 days, if tested negative on day 4. If the test result is negative on the 9th day, it is possible for the tourists to leave for approved activities.
Passengers entering Antigua and Barbuda must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must have been taken not later than 7 days before departure from the first embarkation point. This does not apply to passengers younger than 12 years. Anyone arriving in Antigua and Barbuda is advised to self-monitor and might be required to quarantine based on screening results. Visitors must stay only in approved accommodation for the first 14 days.
What is also crucial is that all arriving passengers will need to complete a health declaration form, which is to be shared with Port Health Authorities. Passengers arriving from or who have been in Brazil, India, or South Africa in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter Antigua.
Fortunately,Dominicais among the countries that opened their borders to foreigners. In order to enter the country smoothly, you must take some requirements into account. First of all, each person arriving in Dominica is required to fill a health questionnaire no more than 24 hours before arrival as well as to present a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours. Besides, all arrivals to Dominica from high-risk countries are required to quarantine for 5 days in an approved location. Anyone testing positive upon arrival will be required to quarantine for a longer period. Vaccinated arrivals will be tested upon entry, and if the test is negative, they will be exempt from quarantine. If all the test results are negative, Dominica’s visitors can freely visit public places.
Tourists can also visit St Lucia, though they have to meet a number of requirements.
Passengers over the age of 18 must complete the “Travel Registration Form” at least 7 days before arrival and a travel authorisation letter confirming that their hotel stay has been verified. Passengers over the age of 5 must have a printed negative COVID-19 PCR test taken not later than 5 days before arrival. Visitors must also present a printed Health Screening Form upon arrival.
When arriving, foreigners (except for arrivals from the CARICOM bubble, who must self-quarantine for 14 days) are required to stay in a certified hotel for the first 14 days and leave only for certified activities and tours. Vaccinated arrivals are not required to quarantine.
As of 31 July 2021, all persons entering Grenada either by air or sea must be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccination at least two weeks before their arrival. Though, this requirement does not extend to nationals and residents of Grenada and children aged under 13. Also, passengers must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued not later than 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point.
Apart from that, passengers must have a “Pure Safe Travel Certificate” obtained before departure. Visitors must agree to take a PCR test, paid for in advance, when they arrive, as well as spend up to 14 days in quarantine at a government-approved hotel, and to download Grenada’s tracing app.
Tourists from all over the world are welcome to visit Montenegro, though there are still some restrictions for foreigners coming over. Passengers must have: a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued not later than 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point, or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test result issued not later than 48 hours before arrival, or a positive serological -IgG antibodies test result issued not later than 30 days before arrival, or a positive COVID-19 PCR test result issued at least 14 days and not later than 90 days before arrival and a recovery certificate specifying that the passenger is not contagious, or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival. If these requirements are not adhered to, passengers are subject to self-isolation for 14 days. Nationals and residents of Montenegro without one of the following documents are also subject to self-isolation for 14 days.
These requirements do not apply to passengers younger than 5 years; passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued in Hungary, and their accompanying minors younger than 18 years; passengers who in the past 15 days have only been in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Kosovo (Rep.), North Macedonia (Rep.), or Serbia.
Restaurants, bars, cafes, businesses and attractions in most of Montenegro are open, therefore visitors can enjoy their vacation while adhering to social distancing and wearing mask requirements.
Malta has recently introduced extremely harsh restriction measures. It has opened its borders only for vaccinated travelers from some countries (included in the amber list). Other vaccinated arrivals, or those who recovered from COVID-19, may not enter Malta. Permitted unvaccinated arrivals to Malta will be required to self-quarantine. Permitted unvaccinated arrivals to Malta, must present a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours. They are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Nationals and residents of Malta and arrivals from amber list countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken not later than 72 hours before arrival, digital EU Digital Covid Certificate (EU DCC) showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival, or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued by Malta, Turkey, Dubai, Serbia, Qatar, Albania, Gibraltar, Jersey and Guernsey, Switzerland, the USA or the United Kingdom showing that they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arrival (vaccines accepted are AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Janssen, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNTech). Visitors must also complete Passengers a “Public Health Travel Declaration Form” and “Passenger Locator Form” and present them upon arrival.
The UK is ready to welcome visitors from other countries. At the same time, there are certain restrictions. Passengers who have been in or transited through Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Rep., Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia or Zimbabwe in the past 10 days upon arrival have to quarantine in an approved hotel in the UK for 10 days at their own expense.
Passengers from countries other than mentioned above must take a COVID-19 test on day 2 and day 8 after arrival at their own expense. There also should be a payment confirmation. However, if passengers come from countries like Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Bermuda, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cayman Isl., Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Dominica, Falkland Isl., Faroe Isl., Germany, Gibraltar, Grenada, Hong Kong (SAR China), Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Malta, Montserrat, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal (only Madeira), Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, St. Helena or Turks and Caicos Isl., they are required to take the test only on day 2.
Most countries are included in the Amber List. On 8 June, Portugal has joined them, being taken off the Green List because of growing coronavirus case rates. Those coming from the Amber List countries are also required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, with the test having been taken prior to departure, complete the “Passenger Locator Form”, and undergo repeated tests on days 2 and 8 after their arrival. They must quarantine for 10 days.
All arrivals must also complete a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” and obtain a negative COVID-19 test result taken not later than 3 days before departure of the last direct flight to the United Kingdom.
It is possible to travel to Cyprus from the following countries, after applying for a Cyprus Flight Pass not later than 48 hours before the departure for: residents of Cyprus, their spouses and children, arrivals from the EU and Schengen member countries, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Georgia, Armenia, Rwanda, North Macedonia, Albania, Armenia, Serbia, Vatican. Passengers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued in Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (People’s Rep.), Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Fed., San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA or Vatican City can also travel to Cyprus.
Arrivals to Cyprus must present a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours. Arrivals from red countries will also be tested upon arrival. Visitors from green countries and fully vaccinated visitors are exempt from testing requirements.
Unfortunately, Portugal is still closed for non-essential travel from most countries, and internal restrictions are changing with changes in infection rates. Portugal is open for air travel from the EU, Schengen, and the following countries only: Australia, China, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, Israel, United States, Japan, Rwanda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Moldova, Brunei, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Kosovo, Montenegro, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine. Arrivals from high-risk EU countries and other third countries may only enter for essential reasons. Passengers entering or transiting through Portugal must have: a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken not later than 48 hours before departure from the first embarkation point; or a negative COVID-19 NAAT, PCR or RT-PCR test taken not later than 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point; or an EU Digital Covid Certificate (EU DCC). Besides, all arrivals must complete a passenger locator form in advance. Permitted arrivals to Portugal from South Africa, Brazil, India, and Nepal are required to quarantine for 14 days in an approved location. Unvaccinated arrivals from the UK are required to quarantine for 14 days too.
Turkey has opened most of its borders, except for the border with Iran. Flights from Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal, South Africa and Sri Lanka are also suspended. Until 31 August 2021, all arrivals to the country over the age of 6 are required to present a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours, and undergo screening of symptoms (vaccinated arrivals are exempt). Arrivals from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Iran, Singapore, or the UK, are required to present a test, regardless of vaccination status. What is more, passengers arriving from a country other than Egypt, Iran, Singapore, or the United Kingdom, could be subject to a PCR test at their final destination in Turkey.
Besides, anyone arriving in Turkey without test results might be required to self-quarantine or quarantine in a government facility. A completed 72 hours in advance “Traveler Entry Form” must be presented at check-in and upon arrival.
Italy is currently open for travel from the EU and some other countries, while domestic restrictions are gradually being lifted. Until 30 August 2021, only arrivals from EU member countries, Schengen member countries, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Jordan, Kosovo (Rep.), Lebanon, Moldova (Rep.), Monaco, Montenegro, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, Israel, United States, Canada, Japan are allowed to visit Italy. Flights from Brazil, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India are suspended. Family members and partners of Italian citizens may also enter, and are required to fill a relevant declaration. It is also worth mentioning that passengers travelling on business, passengers returning via Italy to their country of residence, students, and military personnel are also allowed to enter the country. All permitted arrivals, except those from San Marino and Vatican City, will be required to fill a travel declaration form before arrival.
All arrivals are required to present a negative PCR or antigen test, no older than 48-72 hours. Passengers could be subject to self-isolation for 5 or 10 days and to a COVID-19 antigen or molecular test at the end of self-isolation. Vaccinated and recovered arrivals from the EU, Schengen, the US, Canada, Japan and Israel, may present a certificate instead.
Greece has also opened its airports for travel from a limited number of countries: the EU, Schengen, and several others. Domestically, restrictions are being eased again, following a decrease in infection rates. Visitors from Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China (People’s Rep.), Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea (Rep.), Kosovo (Rep.), Kuwait, Lebanon, Moldova (Rep.), Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia (Rep), Qatar, Russian Fed., San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Turkey, USA, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Vatican City (Holy See) are allowed to travel to Greece. Merchant seamen, military personnel, and students also have an opportunity to get to the country.
Anyone arriving in Greece is required to complete a Passenger Locator Form 24 hours before arrival. A confirmation email or a QR code generated after having completed the form must be presented upon arrival. Apart from this, all arrivals to Greece are required to present a negative PCR or RT-PCR test, no older than 72 hours, or an antigen test no older than 48 hours. Random rapid tests are conducted at the border. Arrivals who are fully vaccinated, or recovered from COVID-19, may present proof of vaccination/recovery instead.
Borders of Spain are opened for vaccinated travelers. For arrivals from EU and Schengen member countries, as well as arrivals from the following countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Israel, Japan, United Kingdom, Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, United States, Taiwan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Moldova, Brunei, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Kosovo, Montenegro, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine it is possible to travel to Spain unvaccinated. Arrivals from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia or South Africa are not allowed entry, including those who have been vaccinated. Also, passengers arriving from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Namibia, or South Africa are subject to quarantine for 10 days.
Passengers travelling to Spain must have: a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken not later than 48 hours before arrival; or a negative COVID-19 NAAT test taken not later than 72 hours before arrival; or a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Janssen, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, Serum Institute of India, Sinopharm or Sinovac at least 14 days before arrival; or a COVID-19 recovery certificate issued at least 11 days after the positive COVID-19 test result. All arrivals are required to fill in an FCS form beforehand.
REMINDER: With the pandemic situation and COVID-19 countering requirements in the countries mentioned above is constantly changing, make sure you follow the news of the country you are planning to visit.
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During this Q & A session with the organisers of the Bodrum Investor Conference, Victoria Vella shared her views on the Turkish real estate market, on obtaining Turkish citizenship by investment, and how the program compares to the ones offered by the rest of the world. Victoria also provided her opinion on how the pandemic has affected her company and what she looks forward to at the upcoming Bodrum Investor Conference.
Turkey’s citizenship by investment program is one of the most affordable and versatile CBI programs in the world. It provides an easy route to acquiring citizenship for the entire family, featuring a fast-tracked and straightforward application process, and offers a number of benefits, such as visa-free access to more than 115 countries, the opportunity to relocate and run a business in the United States under the USA E-2 Investor Visa, and many others.
Our Managing Director Victoria Vella, who is a guest speaker at the upcoming Bodrum Investor Conference, shares a few thoughts on the Turkish CBI program and its pros and cons in comparison with other investor immigration programs. Read Victoria’s interview to find out more.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically scaled up remote working. As it has become the norm for millions of employees worldwide and is transforming into a more permanent reality, Malta followed the steps of other countries and announced a new residence program targeted at digital nomads. The program offers foreign nationals the opportunity to work on a remote basis while living in Malta for up to a year, with the possibility of renewal.
The boom in remote working has encouraged many countries to launch their digital nomad residence programs; among them, are Antigua and Barbuda, Georgia, Portugal, Croatia, Barbados, Costa Rica, Estonia, the Bahamas, and many others. These jurisdictions offer foreign citizens seeking to relocate the freedom to reside wherever they wish within a certain country while working online. Following the examples of these states, Malta has recently introduced a residency program that specifically targets digital nomads. The new program known as the Nomad Residence Permit (NRP) allows non-EU nationals to reside in Malta for up to a year while working anywhere on the globe.
However, the program sets a number of eligibility criteria for applicants. To qualify for the Nomad Residence Permit, they must qualify for one of the following requirements:
Have a valid work contract with a company registered and located outside Malta,
Be a partner / shareholder of a foreign company,
Offer freelance services for clients based in a country other than Malta and have contracts with them.
In all cases, applicants have to provide proof that they meet the minimum monthly income requirement, which is €2,700 (gross). This threshold increases if the applicant includes their dependent family members such as a spouse and/or children in the NRP application. The application is €300 for the main applicant, plus €300 for each dependent included.
In addition, qualifying applicants need to have a valid passport and local or international health insurance coverage for the entire stay duration. They are also required to hold a property lease or purchase agreement in order to confirm that they have accommodation in Malta. It is important to mention that the main applicants are subject to a thorough due diligence check.
Digital nomads applying for the NRP are issued an initial visa valid for 6 months, which can be later extended to a residence permit with a one-year validity period. The Nomad Residence Permit is renewable after it expires.
Being one of Europe’s most appealing destinations, Malta already hosts around a thousand digital nomads. It is perfect for remote workers, businesspersons, and freelancers willing to settle down in an economically developed country with rich culture. Warm Mediterranean climate, foreigner-friendly environment, excellent telecommunication system ensuring stable Wi-Fi connection, multiple co-working spaces, favourable tax regime (personal income is not taxed if generated abroad) are only a few advantages that Malta has to offer digital nomads from all around the world. Moreover, its NRP program is currently the most cost-effective in Europe, so it is a great chance to reside in the Mediterranean paradise working remotely.
Would you like to relocate to Malta as a digital nomad? We are happy to assist. Contact GLS Private Office, and we will answer your questions and provide you with the most suitable solution.
Despite the volatility of the pandemic situation, a growing number of countries reopen their borders and welcome tourists back. This article will help you to find out how to travel to the major destinations for citizenship and residency by investment in 2021: the Caribbean countries: St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada; European countries: Montenegro, Malta, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Portugal; we also added Turkey and the Maldives to this list.
The Caribbean countries have long been well-loved vacation spots for visitors from around the world. Though they have reopened their borders for international tourism, some restrictions remain in effect.
Tourists are allowed to visit St Kitts and Nevis (SKN), but have to adhere to a number of requirements. First of all, all passengers arriving to St Kitts and Nevis are obliged to provide a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result in English. The test must have been taken no more than 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. Besides, air travellers must complete a “Customs, Border and Health Entry Form” before arrival, and install the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app. Arrivals to St Kitts and Nevis are also required to spend a 14-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel; however, they are allowed to go to restaurants and visit tourist attractions.
The island country of Antigua and Barbuda is open to tourists, too. Nevertheless, all incoming individuals are subject to certain requirements. They have to submit a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result while the test must have been taken at most 7 days before departure from the first embarkation point. This does not apply to passengers younger than 12 years. All arrivals must also be staying in the approved accommodation. Arrivals who have provided a negative RT-PCR test result or vaccination certificate are required to quarantine for 7 days. The latest vaccine dose must be given at least 2 weeks before departure.
It is important to mention that all passengers arriving in Antigua and Barbuda need to complete a health declaration form to be shared with Port Health Authorities. While staying in Antigua and Barbuda, visitors are required to live in their private homes or in public quarantine facilities, and wear a tracking bracelet.
Dominica has long been ready to welcome tourists back. International passengers, however, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued no earlier than 72 hours before arrival along with a travel clearance issued prior to the departure. Arrivals from high-risk areas need to go into a 5-day quarantine and then be retested. In case of the negative test results, Dominica guests may visit public places freely.
St Lucia has also opened its borders to foreign nationals. In order to enter St Lucia, tourists must obey the following requirements.
Incoming passengers need to complete the “Travel Registration Form” no earlier than 7 days before arrival and have a printed copy of the auto-response email received after the submission. This rule does not apply to passengers younger than 18 years. Besides, arrivals to St Lucia are required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result while the test must have been taken no more than 5 days before departure. This requirement, however, is not applicable to visitors younger than 5 years. On arrival, individuals have to submit a travel authorisation letter verifying their accommodation at a hotel. In addition, there are certain demands on the stay in St Lucia: thus, arrivals must be staying in designated properties for the first 14 days.
Tourists are also welcomed to visit Grenada, provided that they meet a number of requirements. First and foremost, arriving passengers must submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. Moreover, they are required to have obtained a “Pure Safe Travel Certificate” before departure (the document can be downloaded from the government website of Grenada). It should be mentioned that passengers younger than 6 years are exempted from these requirements. International tourists must also have a booking confirmation from a specially designated hotel, where they need to spend a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. After 5 days in Grenada, they have to get retested. In case their PCR test result is negative, tourists may visit public places freely.
Although Montenegro has been willing to welcome foreign passengers again, it has imposed a range of requirements for entry. First, they are obliged to provide either a negative result of PCR or rapid (antigen) test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure, or a proof of vaccination. It is worth mentioning that citizens of Montenegro, as well as arrivals from Albania, Belarus, Russia, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, and Serbia are exempted from this rule. If arriving to Montenegro without providing test results or proof of vaccination, passengers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
For the time being, Malta has set certain restrictions for all incoming passengers, regardless of their vaccination status. Malta has identified three lists of countries (Green, Amber, and Red) specifying the entry requirements.
Passengers arriving to Malta from the Green List countries are not subject to swab testing on arrival. The only requirements they have to comply with are thermal screening at the airport and filling a self-declaration form requesting travel information within the previous 30 days. At present, no countries are included to the Green List.
Air passengers arriving to Malta from the Amber List countries need to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result before boarding. The test must have been taken during the previous 72 hours. In case the negative PCR test result is not submitted, a swab test on arrival or after a 14-day quarantine is mandatory. Since 1 July, it is expected that a certificate of full vaccination (the latest dose of vaccine must be given 14 days before or earlier) can be presented instead of the required negative PCR test result, provided that the certificate in question will be patterned after or will be a EU Digital COVID Certificate which is still subject to approval by the European Union. Arrivals to Malta must also complete a “Public Health Travel Declaration Form” and “Passenger Locator Form”.
The following countries are on the Amber List: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Сhina (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan included), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vatican City.
Any country not mentioned or not included in either lists (the Green or Amber ones) will automatically be classified as a Red List Country. Travelling to Malta for the passengers from the Red List is only allowed if they are Maltese citizens or have Malta’s valid residence permit.
It is also important to note that any person travelling to Malta is required to have stayed in any corridor country from the Green and Amber Lists for no less than 14 days prior to arriving in Malta, and must be able to provide a proof of this stay. Arrivals to Malta must not pass through transit airports in “Red Zones”.
The United Kingdom has also eased international travel restrictions, allowing entry of visitors from certain countries. Currently Britain has a number of requirements for tourists to follow.
The UK uses the same country classification as Malta, with Green, Amber and Red List designations. At the moment only a few countries are in the Green List, namely Singapore, Israel, and Iceland. Individuals arriving from these states have to provide a negative result of COVID-19 PCR test taken before departure, complete a “Passenger Locator Form”, and get retested on the second day after arrival. They do not need to undergo quarantine unless their second test result is positive, or it is found they have travelled with someone infected, according to NHS Test and Trace information.
Most countries are included in the Amber List. On 8 June, Portugal has joined them, being taken off the Green List because of growing coronavirus case rates. Those coming from the Amber List countries are also required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, with the test having been taken prior to departure, complete the “Passenger Locator Form”, and undergo repeated tests on days 2 and 8 after their arrival. They must quarantine for 10 days.
The Red List includes the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turkey. Tourists from these countries are not allowed to enter the UK; entry is only possible for UK citizens or residents who must complete the above-mentioned form and provide a negative PCR test result along with self-isolation in a government-approved hotel.
Cyprus welcomes tourists from the following countries (provided that they have applied for a Cyprus Flight Pass): EU and Schengen Member states, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Georgia, Armenia, Rwanda.
Approved arrivals from countries not mentioned above will be required to go into a 14-day quarantine. Incoming passengers are obliged to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result while the test itself must have been taken no more than 72 hours before departure. This does not apply to passengers younger than 12 years.
Currently, the calamity situation is in force in Portugal. In the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores, both local authorities have enacted some specific measures. Passengers arriving to the Madeira archipelago must meet one of the following requirements: 1. Submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result with the test having been taken within 72 hours prior to departure;
2. Provide a medical document certifying that its holder has recovered from the COVID-19 disease by the time of landing, issued during previous 90 days;
3. Provide a certificate of COVID-19 vaccination with reference to the period of immune response activation contemplated in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC);
4. Be tested on arrival and go into preventive self-isolation until the test result is issued;
5. Spend 14-days self-imposed isolation at home or in a hotel.
Passengers arriving to the Azores archipelago are obliged to undergo SARS-CoV-2 screening within 72 hours prior to departure. The test must be performed by means of the RT-PCR methodology and show a negative result. It must identify the person tested and contain the name of the laboratory, the test performance date and the responsible person’s signature. The test result need to be submitted before boarding on paper or in electronic version.
If a person is staying in the country longer than 7 days, (s)he must contact local health service to undergo another SARS-CoV-2 test on the 6th and 12th day from the date the first test performance
Arrivals from high-risk countries are required to go into a 14-day quarantine in an approved accommodation.
If travelling to Turkey, tourists must meet certain requirements. Visitors must submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. Arrivals from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, UK, Latvia, Luxembourg, Ukraine, and Estonia are no longer required to provide a negative test result on arrival. Direct flights from Brazil and South Africa are suspended, if they are not for humanitarian and repatriation purposes.
The Maldives are open to visitors as long as they follow the country’s requirements. First, arriving passengers have to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result while the test must be taken at most 96 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. Transit passengers must get retested. The test result must contain the passenger’s name as well as the name and address of the testing laboratory. Besides, tourists must have a booking confirmation from a specially designated hotel for the entire period of their stay. They also need to have a “Traveller Health Declaration” completed 24 hours before departure. Passengers are also required to go into a 14-day quarantine.
REMINDER: With the pandemic situation and COVID-19 countering requirements in the countries mentioned above being constantly changing, make sure you follow the news of the country you are planning to visit.
The Montenegro citizenship by investment program, which was launched in 2019, is only effective until 31 December 2021 and will not be renewed, therefore there is no better time to apply for Montenegrin citizenship than right now. Known as the jewel of the Balkans, Montenegro is a perfect destination for investors looking for the opportunity to live in a beautiful and up-and-coming European country. With its strategic location on the Adriatic Sea, steadily growing economy, and high potential for further development, Montenegro focuses on creating a favourable business environment and improving the living standards. The country is on its way to joining the EU in 2025 and has an E-2 Treaty with the US, which enhances its prestige in terms of regional and global competitiveness. Due to these and a number of other benefits, the Montenegrin citizenship by investment program is an attractive value option. It is a fast-track route to obtaining a solid European passport, offering affordable property prices and low tax rates as well as providing visa-free access to more than 120 countries.
The Montenegro citizenship by investment program has been running since 2019, offering qualifying applicants the possibility to travel to more than 120 countries visa-free, freedom of movement within the EU and the Schengen Area, advantageous tax regime, business incentives, and a number of other benefits. There are no physical presence and language requirements and no restrictions on dual citizenship. Moreover, Montenegro has an E-2 Treaty with the United States, which allows applicants and their families to relocate to the US for the purpose of owning and operating a business. It is also worth mentioning that the Montenegrin passport is ranked the 47th top passport in the world.
Under the Montenegrin citizenship by investment program, qualifying applicants are required to make a two-step investment, namely to donate a minimum of €100,000 to the government fund of Montenegro and purchase government-approved real estate from €250,000. Speaking of the real estate requirement, investors must choose one of two options: a property with the value of at least €250,000 located in the northern part of Montenegro, or a property valued at €450,000 located in the southern part of Montenegro or in the capital city. These investment thresholds are among the lowest in Europe, making the citizenship by investment program of Montenegro highly affordable.
The citizenship by investment program of Montenegro has been set for a three-year period and is to expire on 31 December 2021, with the limit of 2,000 applications in total. Unfortunately, it is not planned to relaunch the program after it terminates, therefore granting Montenegrin passports in exchange for investments will be soon ceased. The rest of 2021 is the only available time to apply for citizenship of Montenegro (and the EU in the nearest future).
Since having declared its independence from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro has advanced in social and economic development, earned the status of the most prosperous country of the Balkans, and become a new luxury tourism destination in Europe. Today, Montenegro belongs to the fastest-growing economies around the globe and is a full member of the United Nations, NATO, the World Trade Organisation, and the Central European Free Trade Agreement. It is also on track for EU membership, likely to join the Union in 2025.
Often referred to as “the Gateway to the Balkans”, Montenegro can boast of its strategic geographical location with the direct access to the Adriatic Sea and has the top seaport in the region — Porto Montenegro, which is also home to one of the world’s best yachting marinas. Combining outstanding natural beauty and up-to-date infrastructure, Montenegro is a perfect place to live in, which is highly appreciated by potential investors from abroad.
How to access the Montenegro Citizenship by Investment Program
With its unspoiled natural beauty overlooking the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Grenada attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. For those who seek relocation or a solid second passport, the island country provides one of the most reputable citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean. As the program’s real estate option is in high demand among investors, Grenada has a wide selection of government-approved properties to offer: from shares in beachfront resorts to luxurious private villas. More qualifying properties are on their way, and investors are invited “to secure a shareholding” in future development projects. Ora Caribbean developers have recently presented a new advantageous offer for investors looking to obtain Grenadian citizenship by investment with the maximum return on investment — 100% share redemption after five years of ownership.
An idyllic tropical paradise, Grenada is a desired destination for lots of people from all over the globe, including tourists, students and, of course, investors. The island nation has been running its citizenship by investment (CBI) program since 2013, allowing wealthy individuals to acquire Grenadian passports in exchange for investing into the country’s economy. The CBI program comprises two investment options, such as a non-refundable contribution into the National Transformation Fund, and purchase of government-approved real estate. The latter option is highly popular among qualifying investors, not least because it enables them to receive dividends and to sell their property after the compulsory holding period.
If choosing to obtain Grenadian citizenship through real estate purchase, applicants are required to make an investment from $220,000 into a designated property, whether it be a resort, hotel complex, condominium, villa or apartment. Depending on their goals and the property purchased, they are granted shared or full title ownership. A considerable amount of the investment can be recovered in several years, which makes the real estate option particularly beneficial.
Grenada has multiple properties for investment to choose from. For example, among them is the award-winning, world-class five-star luxury hotel resort named Silversands. Described as an “expansive project with 9 stunning, beachfront and hillside villas, and an opulent resort complex comprised of 43 rooms and suites” by its development company, Ora Caribbean, Silversands provides a vast selection of investment opportunities.
However, Ora Caribbean does not intend to rest on its laurels, with their new development projects around the corner. To encourage investors to purchase shares in the properties under construction, the developer has introduced an unprecedented offer, namely 100% buy-back guarantee of the purchased share at its new project called Beach House by Silversands. After the 5-year holding period expires, Ora Caribbean will redeem the investor’s share for 100% of the initial investment amount, thus reducing the property cost to zero (with the exception of mandatory government and other associated fees). Moreover, the investor will benefit from spending seven days per year at any Silversands resort during the five years of the share-holding period.
This buy-back offer is already steadily increasing the popularity of Grenada’s citizenship by investment program, providing a unique refund opportunity along with other benefits, such as warm tropical climate all year round, visa-free access to more than 150 countries (including Russia, China, the EU, and the UK), E2 Visa Treaty with the United States which allows qualifying businessmen and their family members to live and work in the US, favourable tax regime, and many others.
Would you like to take advantage of the 100% redemption offer by Silversands, and become a citizen of Grenada at a nominal price? Hurry, as the number of available shares at Beach House by Silversands is limited to 75 in total, and they are selling fast. Contact GLS Private Office, and we will be delighted to assist you with your application.
One of the richest countries in the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had long been a beckoning but unattainable destination for those seeking Emirati citizenship: though the Gulf state welcomed foreigners from around the globe and granted them visas and residence permits, it prohibited issuing passports to foreign nationals and did not recognise dual citizenship. However, 2021 has made the situation different. The UAE has recently changed its immigration legislation, for the first time allowing eligible foreigners to obtain citizenship of the Emirates. Among potential UAE passport holders could be “investors, specialised talents and professionals”. Moreover, the changes are assumed to lead to a number of migrant-friendly reforms.
For a long time, the UAE had banned dual citizenship and restricted granting Emirati passports to foreigners, but 2021 has turned the tide: earlier this year the Emirati government introduced major changes to the country’s immigration laws, making it possible for non-Emirati nationals that can contribute to the UAE economy to obtain the country’s citizenship while retaining their original one. These unparalleled changes, which were thought impossible in the past, have made the Emirates the first Gulf country to allow dual citizenship.
The amended legislation aims to attract a flow of foreign investments as well as talent that can contribute to the UAE’s economy suffering from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and drop in oil prices. According to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, “investors, specialised talents and professionals including scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, authors and their families” would be eligible for granting the UAE passports. Their spouses and children would also benefit from the desired citizenship.
It must be mentioned that the new legislation does not imply any application procedure; candidates for citizenship would be nominated by the UAE federal authorities and approved by the local courts, the executive councils of each Emirate (total of seven) and finally the UAE Cabinet.
To be eligible for Emirati citizenship, candidates must meet certain criteria, specific for each category:
Investors are required to own real estate in the UAE;
Doctors, engineers, and scientists need to have more than ten years of practical experience and expertise in unique or high-demanded areas;
Artists and creatives have to be pioneers in their fields with at least one international award;
Inventors must hold one or more patents approved by a well-respected international body.
The new legislation is also targeted to facilitate acquiring citizenship by expatriates, who make up around 90% of the UAE’s population. Earlier they had to apply for and renew residence permits, being tied to their employment status.
It is expected that creation of a more foreigner-friendly environment will be a further step in attracting investments and talent from abroad. Though the UAE is a conservative Islamic country, such reforms as loosening alcohol and gambling restrictions, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, permitting full ownership of foreign business, and decriminalizing homosexuality are supposed to be on their way.
The UAE passport is considered one of the most powerful in the world in terms of global mobility, offering visa-free access to more than 170 countries. Famous for its high quality of life, the UAE does not concede to the First World states, and can boast of superb infrastructure, low crime rates, minimal taxation, subsidised education and healthcare, and excellent public welfare. Moreover, its diversified economy and booming manufacturing sector make the UAE a perfect location for business.
Are you considering becoming a citizen of the United Arab Emirates? Contact GLS Private Office, and we would be happy to answer your questions and find the best tailored solution for your aspirations. Should you wish to consider other available citizenship programs, read about them on our website and let us know if you are interested.
After the renowned Malta Residency Visa Program (MRVP) phased out at the end of March, it has been replaced by a new residency by investment program, the details of which were announced earlier. Entitled the Malta Permanent Residency Program (MPRP), it allows non-EU nationals and their families to live, work and study in Malta in exchange for a number of investments and provides an opportunity to obtain Maltese — and consequently the EU’s — citizenship in several years.
To qualify for Maltese residency, applicants are required to make a range of investments: a contribution to the government fund, a charitable donation, and investment in real estate. The amount of contribution into the government fund depends on whether the applicant has chosen to purchase a property or rent it. The minimum contribution amount is €68,000 for those who opt to buy a property and €98,000 for those who prefer leasing.
In terms of real estate investment, applicants must rent a property for a minimum annual cost of €10,000 if it is located in the southern part of Malta or Gozo, or €12,000 in case it is located in any other part of Malta. Alternatively, investors may opt to purchase a property with a minimum value of €300,000 in the south of Malta or Gozo, or €350,000 located in any other part of the country. The investment has to be maintained for a period of at least five years.
It is important to mention that when buying real estate investors would have to pay additionally stamp duty at the rate of 5% of the property price. However, the government of Malta has introduced a limited-time offer, reducing the stamp duty rate to 1.5% for the first €400,000 spent. To take advantage of this offer, an applicant has to give their consent to purchasing the property until 1 June 2021 and sign a corresponding contract until 1 December 2021.
Under the MPRP, applicants are also required to donate €2,000 into a local registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic non-governmental organisation registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations.
Besides, investors must be “in receipt of stable and regular financial resources, sufficient to maintain themselves and their dependants, without recourse to the social assistance system of Malta”, and have assets valued not less than €500,000, provided that at least €150,000 of them are in the form of financial assets.
The new Malta Permanent Residency Program has been in operation for around a month and already gained success among investors. It offers multiple benefits to residence permit holders, such as high living standards, mild and warm Mediterranean climate, tax efficiency, favourable business environment, freedom of movement within the Schengen Area, the opportunity to travel visa-free around the European Union, and many others. Moreover, it provides the possibility to apply for citizenship of Malta and therefore the EU in several years of residence.
The MPR program of Malta is not the only investor immigration program offered by Malta. In fact, this tiny EU country has the most choice for HNWI immigration. Should you wish to get your Maltese citizenship fast (in one or three years of residency) we recommend you consider the new citizenship by investment program of Malta. If you wish to become a Maltese tax resident and benefit from Malta’s favourable tax regime, we suggest you consider the Global Residence Program of Malta.
Are you interested in a residency status in Malta with all benefits that come with it? Get in touch with GLS Private Office, and we will be happy to answer your questions and guide you towards the coveted residence permit.
* AKM Licence Number: AKM-AGEN-21
In November 2020, Cyprus’ Golden Passport, one of the most sought-after citizenship by investment programs in Europe that had been in operation for more than six years and welcomed hundreds of investors, was terminated. No other alternative has been proposed yet, which narrows the number of ways to apply for Cypriot citizenship. It is very likely that obtaining the desired passport through naturalisation route will shortly become more difficult and drawn-out. Luckily, Cyprus offers an investment-based permanent residency program that can be the initial step towards the island’s citizenship, and it has recently been revised and supplemented with new investment options.
After Cyprus had dismantled its highly popular Golden Passport program, it aims to compensate for the economic losses by expanding the investment opportunities. In order to attract more investors and their families, the Cypriot government has revised and amended the permanent residency by investment program. On 24 March 2021, the island’s Ministry of Interior announced the updated requirements of the program.
In addition to the previously existing option of purchasing residential properties, there is a range of new ones. Earlier investors were required to buy only a first-time sale property or a set of properties (two housing units from the same developer) starting from €300,000 (VAT not included). Now it has become possible to purchase commercial real estate, such as hotels, offices, and shops, for the same minimum investment amount — €300,000 (plus VAT). Therefore, investors are allowed to buy both categories of real estate, residential and commercial, at their own discretion, provided they meet certain criteria.
Another option that has been added to the program is an investment into Cyprus’ business enterprises. Applicants can purchase a share of a local company, subject to the following requirements: it must be registered and have a physical presence in Cyprus, as well as employ at least five people. The minimum investment amount is also €300,000. It is worth mentioning that being a stakeholder of such a company enables the investor to receive dividends.
Moreover, qualifying applicants can choose to purchase a share in a Cypriot investment fund for the same investment amount of €300,000. The funds must be invested into collective investment undertakings, which mitigates the applicant’s individual risks. To keep the residence permit valid, the investment has to be maintained throughout the duration of the residence permit.
The requirement to have deposited at least €30,000 in a Cypriot bank has now been cancelled. Instead, there is the following obligation: an investor has to confirm they do not have any intention to be employed in Cyprus, besides holding the position of Director in the company they have invested into, without being paid a salary.
The variety of investment options Cyprus has introduced allows investors to pursue different financial goals. Moreover, the minimum investment threshold under the Cypriot permanent residency by investment program is lower than in most European countries running similar schemes, which makes this program highly competitive. Furthermore, holding a Cypriot residence permit enables an applicant to potentially become a fully legitimate citizen of Cyprus and therefore the European Union. Needless to say that by joining the Schengen Agreement shortly, the island will provide freedom of movement within the Schengen Area. These and many other benefits offered by the permanent residency by investment program of Cyprus make it very attractive for investors from all around the globe.
Would you like to apply for permanent residency of Cyprus? Contact GLS Private Office, and we will be happy to answer your questions and find a solution that suits all your needs.
Last year St Kitts and Nevis introduced a special limited-time offer under its citizenship by investment program, reducing the amount of contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund for families of up to four from $195,000 to $150,000. Initially, the discount was available only until 15 January 2021, but due to its popularity, it has recently been extended until the end of 2021. Moreover, St Kitts and Nevis has made it possible for investors to purchase any residential properties from $400,000 at their choice rather than government-approved real estate.
St Kitts and Nevis brings back its limited-time offer: the minimum investment amount within the Sustainable Growth Fund contribution option for families of up to four people is now reduced to $150,000 again. Though at first it was not planned to extend the discount after its expiration, a huge demand from CBI investors has triggered the island country’s government to reintroduce the special offer.
The real estate option under the citizenship by investment program of St Kitts and Nevis has been updated too. On 6 April 2021 the Citizenship by Investment Unit of St Kitts and Nevis has announced that from now on investors would be allowed to purchase residential properties (“private homes”) valued more than $400,000 at their own choice; previously, qualifying applicants could only purchase government-approved real estate. The new amendment has enabled investors to choose whether to buy authorised properties or non-government-approved private housing in any location of St Kitts and Nevis.
The purchase of residential real estate is also time-limited and is available until 1 November 2022. The property with the overall cost exceeding $400,000 (the value of the land is not included) has to be owned and must not be resold for at least five years.
Since its launch is 1984, St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment program has been attracting investors and their families from all corners of the world, offering them an easy and cost-efficient route to a secure, highly trusted second citizenship. Citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis provides numerous advantages, such as global mobility with visa-free entry to over 150 countries including the EU, the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore; a favourable tax environment without income, inheritance and wealth taxes; good business opportunities; no visit or residency requirements; return on investment; and many others, not to mention it is an excellent “Plan B” in times of uncertainty and unexpected turbulences (for example, during the coronavirus pandemic). The entire application process is fast and hassle-free, and enables applicants to obtain passports in around three months.
You can read the original article by clicking on the link.
To say that the coronavirus pandemic has completely changed our lives would be an understatement. Travel restrictions and lack of confidence about the future have encouraged many people to look for their backup plan, which resulted in a dramatically increasing demand for investment-based residence permits and passports.
In the article for the online business magazine “Invest Foresight”, Victoria Vella, managing director of GLS Private Office and expert in economic immigration, explains how the pandemic has impacted investment options offered by certain countries, gives an overview of the most popular citizenship and residency by investment programs to date, and describes their features and benefits.
Citizenship and residency by investment programs (CBI & RBI) have now become even more popular than before the pandemic. Not only they offer excellent healthcare, tax incentives, education and business opportunities, allowing visa-free travel to numerous countries even in the situation of closed borders, and provide other multiple advantages, but they are also an insurance policy against turbulences and crises of today’s unstable world. Moreover, during the pandemic, certain countries running CBI & RBI programs have made them more affordable and attractive for potential investors. Furthermore, Brexit triggered certain programs to become more appealing than before.
We are happy to announce that on 25 March at 14.00 UK time we will be running a joint webinar by GLS Private Office and Fiduciary Wealth Management. Victoria Vella and Paul Correa, experts in investment immigration with solid international experience, will be comparing the top CBI & RBI programs offered by European, Caribbean countries and Vanuatu with the attractive residency options available for HNWI in Gibraltar. The participants will receive the most up-to-date and relevant information on the programs and will be able to ask all the relevant questions.
The webinar is free of charge and will be in the English language.
Topics covered by Victoria Vella:
Citizenship by investment vs residency by investment: pros & cons
The most popular citizenship and residency by investment programs in Europe
Citizenship by investment in the Caribbean region and Vanuatu
How to choose the most suitable RBI & CBI program based on your goals and budget
Topics covered by Paul Correa:
Two residency types for HNWI in Gibraltar: Self-Sufficiency and Cat-2
Why Gibraltar residency for HNWI is especially appealing now due to the new post Brexit Treaty
How to apply for citizenship of Gibraltar
We will be happy to see you at the webinar and to answer all your questions.
Second citizenship and residency by investment of different countries are in high demand among businessmen, top managers, and rentiers all around the world, because such programs allow applicants to obtain legal passports or residence permits in Europe quickly and easily. However, even if a person is wealthy, there still remains a risk of being denied citizenship or residency. In the article I explain why this happens and how to increase the chances of acquiring the coveted second passport, as well as recommend countries with the highest rates of application approval. You can read the article by clicking on the link.
From my experience working with citizenship and residency by investment programs for around 10 years, applicants are most often denied citizenship or residency by investment in the following situations:
They have a criminal record or are involved in pending litigations in their home country;
The source of their income has not proved to be legitimate;
They have provided unreliable personal information, or falsity/concealment of information has been proved. For example, the name of an applicant was found on sanctions lists, or information not meeting the standards and requirements of the country came to light;
They have outstanding denials of visa or residence permits to those countries, which are visa-free with a new passport;
They have provided fake documents: fictitious income certificates, falsified employment contracts, etc.;
They have failed a due diligence check and have not provided a reasonable explanation for the situation.
It is obvious that being honest is very important when submitting documents. But what to do in the latter case? What embarrassing information about you can be found on the Internet? I can assure you that although due diligence checks are thorough and individualised, the stamp “Denied” is not applied as soon as the first negative information found.
Note that immigration units all over the globe use databases such as World-Check to check candidates for citizenship and residency. Officials can also resort to services of private detective agencies that scan the entire background of a person. Based on the results of the check, an applicant can be denied a “golden visa” or second citizenship.
If officials find suspicious information about you, first thing they usually do is send you a request for an explanation. The sooner you respond, the better. And it is important to explain your position in detail and provide documents refuting the information found. Choosing the right immigration expert plays a major role, as a highly-qualified and experienced professional knows how to respond to the government’s requests properly without arousing additional questions and contributes to an approval of the application.
Reasons for citizenship or “golden visa” denials can be different, and foreseeing all factors on your own is complicated. One of the ways to prevent yourself from being denied residency or citizenship by investment is to contact a reliable company that will help you select the most suitable immigration program.Children of the main applicant or his / her spouse below 29 years old (if children are of legal age, they must be unmarried and financially dependent on the main applicant);
Countries with minimal risk of denial
Europe is one of the most sought-after and favourable destinations for obtaining residency or citizenship by investment. However, the European Union has repeatedly shown concern about the immigration programs because of possible money-laundering or corruption. At the moment, the European Commission is wary of citizenship by investment programs, since a person can become an EU citizen with all the rights and freedoms arising from this status. This is why due diligence checks are becoming more rigorous and the terms of applying for citizenship are getting stricter. This leads to higher risks of a denial.
At the same time, this increases the reliability of the programs. For example, Malta’s citizenship by investment program is the first and only officially approved by the European Commission. Malta remains one of the most popular countries for obtaining second citizenship, offering visa-free access to almost190 countries. Last autumn Malta’s Individual Investor Program (IIP) closed after reaching its cap of 1,800 applications.
In November 2020, Malta replaced it with a new citizenship by investment program. However, the conditions for participation have been tightened. An insufficient period of residence on the island can be a reason to deny citizenship: according to the program requirements, an eligible applicant has to have resided in Malta for one or three years before applying for citizenship.
Another citizenship by investment program is run by St Kitts and Nevis, a small island country in the Caribbean Sea that set the stage for the entire investment immigration industry back in 1984. The Kittitian passport opens a way to more than 150 countries. This is a huge benefit even in normal times, and during the pandemic when many borders are closed, it has become enormously in demand, enabling freedom of movement among countries legally. In the Caribbean, there are currently five citizenship by investment programs in operation: in St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Lucia. Moreover, similar programs are also offered by Vanuatu (Oceania), Montenegro, and Turkey. Passports of these countries provide their holders with a range of advantages such as the opportunity to travel visa-free to a number countries varying from 120 to 180, simplified entry to the US or Canada, an attractive tax regime. The minimum cost of participation in the citizenship by investment program in the Caribbean starts from $100,000.
Due diligence procedures of all these countries are very thorough. Nevertheless, speaking of the countries where due diligence procedures are currently a little bit less scrutinous, Vanuatu and Turkey can be named. Investors who would like to acquire coveted second citizenship with a lower denial probability should pay attention to these two countries.
Reasons for denial of citizenship
Let’s consider possible reasons for citizenship denial using the example of Malta’s new citizenship by investment program. These reasons are indicative, because the Maltese government developed the rules of its latest immigration program (the newest of the existing ones) based on the global experience and the entire 37-year history of similar programs. The same rules apply to other citizenship by investment programs. An applicant can be denied citizenship if:
They or any of their dependands are or were indicted of an offence before an International Criminal Court or have been arraigned at any time before an International Criminal Court;
They or any of their dependants are listed with the Interpol or Europol;
They or any of their dependants are an actual or potential threat to national security, public policy or public health of Malta;
They or any of their dependants have been charged with or found guilty of crimes, related to terrorism, money laundering, etc.;
They or any of their dependants have been charged or found guilty of criminal offences including paedophilia, rape, defilement of minors; etc.;
They or any of their dependants have been found guilty of, or at any time during the processing of the application, have been interrogated or are suspected of, or have criminal charges brought against them for any criminal offence;
They or any of their dependants are politically exposed person and have the opportunity to abuse their official position for illicit enrichment;
They or any of their dependants are, or are likely to be, involved in any activity which may cause disrepute to the Republic of Malta;
They or any of their dependants have been denied a visa to a country with whom Malta has visa-free travel arrangements and have not subsequently obtained a visa from that same country;
They or any of their dependants are named or listed in international sanctions applying restrictive measures on them.
The law implies that during the first five years after citizenship granting, the Community Malta Agency may request the applicant to provide additional documents and even to undergo an interview. I emphasise that even after the cherished passport has been obtained, it still can be revoked if any of the above reasons start applying. It is very important to obey the law.
How to prevent yourself from being denied citizenship, residency, or permanent residency
I recommend observing the following universal steps:
Be mindful when choosing a company to handle your citizenship application. Having qualified lawyers with years of experience working with citizenship and residency programs handling your case is a great advantage.
Make sure that the company you chose implements an internal due diligence check and informs you about possible risks for denial of residency or citizenship in advance.
Provide truthful and detailed information. If you think that any facts in your background might affect the decision on your application in a negative way, reveal them to the immigration company. With proper document planning, in most cases, you can avoid not only denial but also questions on your application from the citizenship or residency unit.
Though the incredibly popular Malta Individual Investor Program is no longer available, the Maltese government offers foreign investors other routes to gaining the island’s passport. At the end of 2020, new regulations came into force, making it possible to obtain citizenship after one or three years of residence in Malta through the newly established citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services. The residence by investment program (MRVP), however, has also undergone major changes ― government bond purchase was excluded and the amount of contribution increased.
The government of Malta amended the current legislation having introduced a new program of granting the country’s citizenship by investment ― in exchange for exceptional services by direct investment. The corresponding law, entitled the Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations, 2020, was published on the official government website and came into effect on 20 November 2020.
To be eligible for Maltese citizenship, applicants are required to have held a residence permit of Malta for a certain period and make a range of investments to support the country’s economy. Among them are a non-refundable contribution to the Government Fund, real estate purchase or leasing, and charitable donation in the amount of €10,000.
The minimum contribution threshold depends on how soon it is planned to apply for citizenship ― in one or three years after the residence permit has been granted. If an applicant qualifies for citizenship after a year of residence in Malta, he / she has to make a contribution of at least €750,000. In case an applicant plans to gain citizenship after three years of residence, the minimum amount of investment is lowered to €600,000.
In order to qualify for citizenship, applicants are also obliged to purchase real estate valued no less than €700,000. An alternative for purchasing property is property leasing for a minimum period of 5 years, with the annual cost starting from €16,000.
Besides being a Maltese resident and making the necessary investments, applicants will have to meet another requirement ― going through the newly established eligibility assessment (similar to the previous due diligence check). This implies reporting on the source of income and providing the confirmation of their legitimacy. The procedure has become even stricter than before, as Malta aims to eliminate risks of money-laundering, terrorism funding and other potential risks. This procedure is a four-step process regulated by the Maltese government. It consists of a compound due diligence assessment and an internal assessment using a newly developed Risk Matrix, which has been designed to ensure that applications are properly examined and assessed with transparency and consistency. It comprises seven categories evaluating identification and verification; business and corporate affiliations; politically exposed persons; source of funds and wealth; reputation; legal and regulatory matters; and relative impact on the main applicant’s immediate network. The fees paid under eligibility assessment are €15,000 for the main applicant and €10,000 for each dependant.
As for dependants who may qualify for Maltese citizenship, the following family members can be included in the application:
Spouse of the main applicant;
Children of the main applicant or his / her spouse below 29 years old (if children are of legal age, they must be unmarried and financially dependent on the main applicant);
Parents and grandparents of the main applicant or his / her spouse above 55 years old, financially dependent on the main applicant.
It is also worth mentioning that, within the new legislation, the number of applications to be approved is limited to total 1,500, with no more than 400 successful applications per year.
The launch of citizenship for exceptional services program is not the only initiative introduced by the Maltese authorities. The beginning of 2021 was marked by major changes in the Malta Residency Visa Program (MRVP), is new name is the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP). On 18 January new investment terms were announced. MPRP is expected to replace MRVP over the coming weeks, subject to the Maltese Parliament approval.
Previously, the program included three necessary investment directions: government bond acquisition, real estate purchase or leasing, and a non-refundable contribution into the government fund. Now such an option as purchase of government bonds has been removed while a new requirement has appeared. Applicants have to contribute €2,000 to “local, registered philanthropic, cultural, sport, scientific, animal welfare or artistic NGO registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations”.
The minimum fees for property investment have been raised ― from €270,000 to €300,000 for the real estate purchased in the south of Malta and Gozo, and from €320,000 to €350,000 in central and northern parts of Malta. The non-refundable contribution amount has also been changed, becoming €28,000 for those who choose to purchase property and €58,000 for those who prefer leasing.
There is a range of other alterations concerning restructuring of citizenship and immigration service bodies and agent activities. The Malta Individual Investor Agency, which ran the previous citizenship program of Malta (IIP) until the end of last September, has been closed, and a new agency, named the Community Malta Agency, has been established instead. The new entity will handle all citizenship-related matters.
After Cyprus had abolished its Golden Passport Program at the end of last year, no other citizenship by investment scheme was offered as an alternative. Though it is still possible to obtain Cypriot citizenship through naturalisation, acquiring the coveted passport is becoming more complicated in general. At the beginning of February, Interior Minister of Cyprus introduced a new bill, according to which qualifying applicants would have to speak Greek at the intermediate level and know the basic history and culture of Cyprus, in addition to the previously existing requirements.
The Golden Passport Program of Cyprus, which had been running for over six years and gained overwhelming success, was terminated in November 2020. Despite its popularity, the scheme will not be replaced, according to President Nicos Anastasiades. This made it much more difficult for prospective foreign investors to obtain Cypriot passport and use multiple advantages that went with it: the opportunity to travel visa-free to more than 180 countries, freedom to live and work in any spot of the EU, attractive tax regime, access to free healthcare and education, etc.
One of the remaining ways to acquire Cypriot citizenship is by naturalisation. To be eligible, applicants must meet a range of requirements, the number of which is expected to grow. On 6 February 2021, Interior Minister of Cyprus Nicos Nouris submitted a bill to Parliament proposing reconsideration of the criteria for foreigners willing to apply for Cypriot citizenship by naturalisation. As provided by the bill, in addition to the already existing requirements, there will be new ones, namely the command of the Greek language at the intermediate (B1) level as well as basic knowledge of the history and culture of Cyprus. Moreover, qualifying applicants must have decent housing and financial resources sufficient to support themselves and their dependants, without the need to resort to social welfare funds.
Aside from that, applicants will be required to have continuously resided in Cyprus for 12 months prior to their application, with a preceding residence period of 10 years, and have spent no less than 7 years on the island in total. Criminal record and trying to enter Cyprus illegally will prevent applicants from obtaining the sought citizenship. However, the bill allows for exceptions. The new criteria will not apply to people who can provide high-level services to Cyprus such as scientists, artists, and athletes.
If the Cypriot government approves the bill, the entire procedure of obtaining the island’s citizenship will be more complicated and drawn-out. It will take applicants a decade to become Cypriot citizens, while the Golden Passport Program enabled citizenship acquisition in around 6 months. Though the latter will not be resumed, citizenship by investment schemes of other countries offer comparable benefits and are worth paying attention to. For example, economic citizenship programs of the Caribbean states (St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda) and Vanuatu set low investment minimums (from $100,000), ensure easy and rapid application processing, and allow investors to travel visa-free to more than 130 countries around the globe. Turkey’s investment immigration scheme provides a fast-track route to citizenship in one of the main world economies, with superb healthcare and education systems, favourable business environment, and advantageous tax rates. Malta grants its citizens high-class living standards, global mobility, and the opportunity to gain the EU passport in around one year. Montenegro also offers European citizenship, and is planned to join the EU in 2025. This is when all citizens of Montenegro will also become EU citizens.
It must be mentioned that some of the programs above have limited duration: the Montenegrin citizenship by investment scheme, in particular, is likely to be valid only until the end of 2021. Furthermore, the example of Cyprus has proved that even a successful investment immigration program can be revoked at very short notice. This underlines the importance of timely application for second citizenship while the corresponding program is still in operation. As there is a current trend of the world countries to steadily move towards closing their borders, NOW is the time to get your citizenship by investment, while it is still possible.
Some of the main advantages of citizenship by investment:
Visa free travel to most of the world countries;
Plan B for the times of uncertainty;
Investments only from $100,000 onwards
Global business opportunities;
Access to the best medical facilities around the world;
Tax planning opportunities;
Possibility to plan your dream retirement;
Education in the best schools and universities.
If you would like to take advantage of the available citizenship by investment opportunities, contact GLS Private Office. We will provide you with full and up-to-date information on the ongoing programs, help you choose the most suitable one, and provide all possible assistance on your way to obtaining your second passport.
Earlier Portugal announced that it was going to set restrictions on the most popular investment option under its Golden Visa Program, real estate purchase option, by excluding Lisbon, Porto, and coastal regions from the list of possible property investment destinations. The new regulation was planned to come into effect on 1 July 2021, making it impossible for investors buying real estate in the designated areas to apply for the Golden Visa of Portugal from then on. Last week, however, the Portuguese government finally revealed details of the program’s renewed terms, having introduced further amendments.
A number of changes have been made to the Golden Visa Program, which will come into force on 1 January 2022. The major ones pertain to increase minimum investment amounts for some options; determination of regions available for property purchase under the program; extension of the period for application submission by the preceding rules.
To qualify for the Golden Visa of Portugal, an investor is required to either purchase government-approved property at a stated price, or transfer a certain capital amount for the purpose of the chosen option (bank deposit, venture or investment fund, enterprise, cultural or scientific institutions), or create employment opportunities for locals. Due to the new regulations, the investment thresholds in some of the options will be raised by one and a half times. Thus, the minimum amount to invest in science and research activities as well as into a venture / investment fund will increase from the previous €350,000 to €500,000. The same alteration will apply to the enterprise option: incorporation of a new company or increasing the share capital of an already existing one will demand from an applicant to invest at least €500,000 instead of prior €350,000 (the creation of five permanent jobs sustained for a period of three years is still a necessary condition). As for bank deposit, the minimum investment amount will rise from €1 million to €1.5 million.
There were talks previously that prices for real estate under the Golden Visa Program would skyrocket from 1 July 2021. However, the minimum investment amounts for real estate investment have not undergone any amendments, remaining the same as before: €280,000 for a property in a low-density area, €350,000 for a property constructed over 30 years ago or located in an area of urban renovation, and €500,000 for a property at the discretion of an investor. It is worth mentioning though that since the beginning of next year Lisbon and Porto along with coastal areas will no longer be available for residential property purchase for the purpose of the Golden Visa acquisition. To become eligible for the Golden Visa, investors willing to buy residential property will have to purchase real estate across the interior of Portugal and its two autonomous regions: the Azores and Madeira. The commercial properties will remain eligible for purchase in all the parts of Portugal even after 1 January 2022.
The remaining months until 1 January 2022 are a perfect opportunity to take advantage of purchasing upscale properties in bustling metropolitan cities of Lisbon and Porto or charming seaside towns and resort areas. Moreover, there is a good chance to save from €150,000 to €500,000 if investing in other options offered by the Golden Visa Program.
The Golden Visa of Portugal is one of the most desirous destinations for investment immigration in the EU. Some of the main advantages of the Golden Visa are:
No need to reside in Portugal. There is a requirement to stay in Portugal only for 7 days in the first year, 14 days in the consecutive 2 years;
After 5 years, there is a possibility to become a citizen of Portugal and the EU with minimum requirements;
Travel within the Schengen zone is allowed with the Golden Visa. After citizenship acquisition over 180 countries become visa-free with Portuguese citizenship;
Portuguese Golden Visa allows all the family members to live, work and study in Portugal;
Portugal offers an attractive personal tax via non-habitual tax regime.
If you would like to get the Golden Visa of Portugal while the old rules are still applicable, contact GLS Private Office. We will be glad to provide you with all the necessary information, answer your questions, and assist you with your application.
At the end of last year, it was announced that Portugal’s residency by investment scheme, widely known as the Golden Visa Program, would undergo considerable alterations, among which is the prohibition of real estate purchase in Lisbon and Porto. Approved by the country’s Council of Ministers in December, the corresponding law is to come in force on 1 July 2021.
The Golden Visa Program of Portugal was launched in 2012 and has gained enormous popularity among foreign investors, who appreciate its multiple advantages such as visa-free access to the Schengen Area countries, beneficial tax regime, the right to reside, work and study in Portugal without the obligation to reside permanently in the country, minimum stay requirements, the possibility of family reunification, high-quality healthcare and education systems, and superb infrastructure. Moreover, after five years of holding the Golden Visa an investor may apply for Portugal’s permanent residence or citizenship, which allows them to live and work in any country of the European Union, and travel visa-free to over 180 countries of the world. Almost ten thousand investors have received their Golden Visas of Portugal to date.
Under the Golden Visa Program, there are three main investment options: capital transfer, creation of employment opportunities for Portuguese nationals, and real estate purchase. The latter is the most sought-after investment option, generating over 90 per cent of the total program revenue. Such a strong demand in real estate acquisition in Portugal resulted in a dramatic spike in property prices, particularly in two largest cities of the country, Lisbon and Porto.
To restrain rapidly growing prices and incentivise foreign investors to buy real estate in less-favoured areas, the Portuguese government reported last year that Porto and Lisbon as well as other popular coastal locations would be excluded from the Golden Visa Program destinations. The Portuguese Council of Ministers considered and approved the corresponding legislation in December 2020. In January, it was announced that the new rules would come into effect on 1 July 2021. From then on, investors purchasing real estate in Lisbon, Porto and the coastal regions will no longer be eligible to participate in the program. To qualify for the Golden Visa, they will have to buy properties across the interior of Portugal, particularly in lower density areas. Apart from that, it is expected that the minimum prices for properties to qualify for the Golden visa of Portugal will also dramatically increase since 1 July 2021.
It is worth mentioning that Portugal’s government stated that a transition period for these changes in the Golden visa scheme would be set until 2022. This is supposed to allow investors to complete their current applications after the deadline expires.
It is important to take into account that with the UK having left the EU due to Brexit, the British nationals have become unable to relocate to Portugal freely from 1 January 2021. Now UK nationals are allowed to apply for the Golden Visa as non-EU citizens. The program will grant them the right to reside and work in Portugal as which was taken away by Brexit.
If you would like to buy excellent real estate in one of Portuguese vibrant urban centers or lively beachfront regions before the new regulations come into force, the time to act is now! Contact GLS Private Office, and we will help you find a suitable option, provide necessary support and render all possible assistance in submitting your Golden Visa application.
Russia’s State Duma passed legislation allowing foreigners to visit the country with an electronic visa, thus avoiding in-person visa application. Under the new regulations, electronic visas will be granted for a term of up to 60 days with the allowed period of stay of up to 16 days.
According to the explanatory note, the law “aims to introduce a universal single-entry electronic visa for short-term stay of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation for tourist, business and humanitarian purposes, from 1 January 2021 onwards.”
An electronic visa, or e-visa, is not a completely new visa format for Russia. Since 2017, nationals of 18 foreign states have been able to obtain single-entry e-visas to visit Russia’s Far East. In 2019, the e-visa covering was expanded St. Petersburg and its surrounding region (Leningrad Oblast) and Russia’s Western exclave of Kaliningrad.
E-visas are going to be introduced for entry to each region of Russia. The government has approved the list of countries whose citizens are eligible to use electronic visas from 2021. It consists of total 52 countries and includes China, South Korea, Japan, EU countries and non-EU Schengen states, Turkey and many others. The UK, Canada and the US are not included in the list yet.
An electronic visa does not require an invitation and is issued free of charge. Its processing will take no more than four calendar days. The single-entry e-visa is valid for up to 60 days following a successful application. However, the duration of the stay must not exceed 16 days. Such a visa can be applied for on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs online portal or via a special mobile application.
It was assumed that e-visas would be issued starting from 1 January 2021, but at the moment the issuance has been put on hold until a special order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the Press Office of the Ministry’s Consular Department, such measures are due to the coronavirus disease threat.
Would you like to know more about the new e-visas? Contact us at GLS Private Office, and our experts will provide you with the all the necessary information and assist you in preparing the required documents to apply for e-visa once it becomes possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 engulfed the entire world and affected almost every area of people’s lives. However, the investment immigration industry mostly benefited from the coronavirus spread: in response to the international travel restrictions, the demand for second passports skyrocketed. Moreover, a range of Caribbean countries running economic citizenship programs started offering better terms and prices for their programs. In 2021, some of them have terminated the earlier introduced offers while others have decided to prolong the advantageous offers.
Last summer St Kitts and Nevis introduced a limited-time offer on one of its citizenship by investment (CBI) program options. The amount of the contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund was reduced from $195,000 to $150,000 for families of up to four people. The reduced price became the same as for single applicants, regardless of the number of dependants included in the application. The discount expired on 15 January 2021, and has not been extended since. There is hope that this year St Kitts will make another announcement, which will benefit the CBI investors around the world. According to the country’s Prime Minister, Timothy Harris, the government will continue improving the legal framework in order to support St Kitts’ economic citizenship industry.
Following St Kitts and Nevis, in July 2020 Dominica also announced the reduction in prices for families. The country decreased the amount of the contribution to the Economic Development Fund from $200,000 to $175,000 for families of four people, enabling the main applicant to include three dependants in the application at the same price. The contribution threshold for families consisting of the main applicant and their spouse was lowered to $150,000, replacing the previous $175,000. It is worth mentioning that these changes adopted in 2020 are valid this year too.
In May 2020 St Lucia introduced a new non-interest-bearing government bond option, named the COVID-19 Relief Bond, as a temporary investment option to help the economy of the country to deal with the pandemic. Thus, the minimum amount of the bond purchase was halved, becoming $250,000 instead of the original $500,000. This option was initially planned to be available until the end of 2020, but it has been extended until 31 December 2021. It is noteworthy that the government fee that was reduced from $50,000 to $30,000 last year also remains discounted in 2021.
High adaptability and а flexible discount system of these states’ citizenship by investment programs are not their only advantages. Fast and simple application processing, favourable tax treatment, no requirements for residence, a warm tropical climate with never-ending summer are just a few among numerous benefits that these Caribbean countries can offer their economic citizens. Furthermore, nationals of St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and St Lucia are privileged to travel to more than 130 countries around the world on a visa-free basis, which is much in demand during the pandemic. Last but not least, these passports are perfect insurance policy tools against the uncertainties and turbulences of the current world we live in.
Would you like to become a citizen of one of these beautiful Caribbean countries, and maintain your freedom during the pandemic? Contact GLS Private Office, and we will provide you with all-round support in obtaining your second citizenship at a discounted price.
2020 has been a serious challenge for all of us. The coronavirus pandemic caused tremendous damage to the global economy, and to individuals’ lives. On the bright side, the COVID-19 had a positive impact on the investment immigration industry; the demand for citizenship and residency by investment increased. The worldwide closures of external borders, travel bans, and the economic crisis incentivised HNWIs to have a Plan B in the form of a second passport and residency by investment. The interest of investors prompted many countries with economic citizenship programs to offer more favourable program requirements.
During these uncertain times, we continued working hard to provide our clients with the best opportunities related to achieving their goals through Global Lifestyle Solutions. We look forward to supporting you in staying true Global Citizens in 2021 despite all the challenges that the new year will bring. As the threat to freedom of movement and the lifestyle we are used to is ever-growing, our promise to you is to remain your trusted service provider offering you fast and reliable solutions in 2021.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the investor immigration and ancillary services which will improve your mobility, provide you and your family with the insurance policy for a peace of mind, and offer your next generations the best start in life, please do not hesitate to contact us. We assist you with citizenship, residency by investment acquisition, education in the best schools and universities, international bank account opening, worldwide property purchase, various concierge support, and much more. Our ancillary services are limited to the extent of your wish. Anything that can be priced, qualified, and quantified, we are ready to research, negotiate, and manage.
To your health and freedom in 2021.
Managing director at GLS Private Office
2020 has been marked by many restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them were internationally closed borders and the worldwide ban on travel. In this situation, a second citizenship or residence permit in a reputable jurisdiction has become more than a luxury; it has become a vital necessity, as it allows free movement even with closed borders, and provides more choice of high-quality healthcare and better social safety and security.
What could be a better Christmas gift to yourself and your loves ones than a gift of Freedom?
Apply for a second citizenship or European residency by investment, and give your family the Freedom to live, work, study, receive medical care etc in any place you like in the New Year.
Sign up for our final webinar of the year: “Top Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs of 2020”.
During the webinar Victoria Vella, managing director of GLS Private Office and a pioneer of the economic immigration industry, will:
present an overview of the best citizenship and residency by investment programs available in Europe and around the world;
provide up-to-date and detailed information on the main changes that happened in the citizenship and residency by investment industry this year;
announce all the special offers within the programs valid only until the end of 2020;
help you choose the program best suited for your needs;
answer all your questions during or after the event.
The webinar will take place on December 3, 2020 at 15.00 London time (GMT). Participation is free of charge. All our guests will receive a Christmas gift from the company — a significant discount on legal services of GLS Private Office.
We look forward to welcoming you at our webinar.
To your Freedom in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected positively the investment immigration industry: many countries have made some beneficial changes to their economic citizenship programs to maintain them competitive. Antigua and Barbuda is no exception, as the country has set an expanded definition of qualifying dependants, allowing applicants to include more family members in the application. Another new opportunity for investors is the introduction of a brand new program named “Nomad Digital Residence” (NDR). Under its terms, eligible applicants will gain a special resident status and will be able to stay for up to two years with a possibility to work from any spot of the country on a remote basis.
Earlier this month the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua and Barbuda published a memorandum, in which an expanded definition of dependants was presented. Now unmarried siblings of the main applicant and / or his / her spouse can be included in the application.
However, siblings are not the only new dependant category ― future spouses of the main applicant and of the dependant children can qualify for citizenship, too. The amended legislation also allows including future children of the main applicant’s children in the application (provided that the child is fully supported by the main applicant).
The fee payable on the application is $50,000 for the main applicant’s spouse-to-be; $10,000 for children of a dependent child below 5 years old; and $20,000 for children of a dependent child aged 6-17.
The age restrictions for financially dependent children, parents and grandparents of the main applicant and / or his / her spouse have been eased: the required age for children has raised to 30 years old (instead of previous 28 years old), and the age limit for parents has been lowered to 55 years old (compared to prior 58 years).
Another chance for investors to stay in Antigua and Barbuda is the new visa program. Having followed Barbados, Aruba, Bermuda, Georgia, and Estonia offering visas for remote employees and entrepreneurs from all over the globe, Antigua and Barbuda announced the launch of “Nomad Digital Residence” program. According to the Honourable Gaston Browne, the nation’s prime minister, the NDR is designed for people who “meet the requirements of their employers or their clients while working remotely”. The program allows applicants whose employers are based outside the islands to qualify for residence permits valid for two years. “Digital nomads” are required to earn at least $50,000 per year and demonstrate that they have the means to financially support themselves and any accompanying dependants.
The cost of the participation in the program is $1,500 for a single applicant, $2,000 for an applicant with a spouse, and $3,000 for a family of three or more. Along with the application, a non-refundable NDR visa fee is paid. Successful applicants have to maintain health insurance and pay local market rates for access to healthcare during their stay. They are also subject to coronavirus testing.
Antigua and Barbuda has been almost unaffected by the COVID-19, with less than 100 cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. Such a safe environment makes the dual-island country a very attractive destination for investors seeking an opportunity to safeguard themselves and their families from the coronavirus spreading. Among other advantages of Antigua and Barbuda as a residence location, are: warm tropical climate, 365 beaches, beautiful evergreen landscapes, modern amenities, and numerous recreation services. The high-quality telecommunication system enables a superb Wi-Fi and cellular coverage, therefore, as mentioned by Mr. Browne, “you can work in any part of the world from Antigua as if you were in your office or home.”
Would you like to obtain citizenship or residence permit of Antigua and Barbuda or to find out about other popular investor immigration programs? On 3 December at 15.00 in London our managing director Victoria Vella will run the final webinar of the year “Top Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs of 2020”. During this free of charge webinar Victoria will share with you information on the most interesting investor immigration programs of the EU, the Caribbean and the rest of the world with limited time offers valid only until the end of 2020. Moreover, all the attendants will receive a special New Year discount on legal services of GLS Private Office. Register by clicking here.
The government of Portugal has announced several important changes in the country’s Golden Visa Program. One of them is a restriction to purchase property in Lisbon and Porto under the real estate option of the Program. Foreign investors seeking Portugal’s residency will have to consider buying properties outside these most popular cities. Another amendment concerns birthright citizenship ― from now on children born to foreign parents who have lived in Portugal for a year will be eligible for Portuguese citizenship.
Portugal Golden Visa Program was introduced in 2012 and has achieved immense success among investors from around the globe, becoming one of the most popular residency by investment scheme of its kind. It allows applicants to receive a resident status without having to reside in Portugal, and offers countless benefits, such as visa-free access to over 180 countries, favourable tax regime, freedom of movement within the European Union, excellent healthcare, education and business opportunities, and many others.
The real estate option of the Golden Visa has been in high demand and covers more than 90 percent of the total investments generated under the Golden Visa Program. Qualifying applicants can purchase either selected property in any part of the country with a minimum value of €500,000 or property constructed over 30 years ago, located in an urban rehabilitation area and valued at least €350,000. The investment threshold can be reduced to €280,000 if the property is located in a low-density area (less than 100 people per km2).
The majority of investments is targeted towards the property in developed areas. Two largest cities of Portugal, Lisbon and Porto, are a particular investors’ interest and account for two-thirds of the total real estate investments. As a result, the prices for property prices in these cities are steadily increasing.
To encourage investors to purchase real estate in other cities as well as rural areas, the Portuguese government has proposed excluding Lisbon and Porto from the Golden Visa Program destinations. According to a publication on 6 October 2020 by the Agency for Investment and Foreign Trade of Portugal (Aiecep Portugal Global), the Portuguese government is likely to enforce these restrictions already in at the end of this year. These restrictions were due to come into force earlier this year, however due to the pandemic they had been postponed. Therefore, it is expected that applicants purchasing property in Lisbon and Porto will soon not be able to qualify for Portugal’s residency by investment.
Another significant news is the birthright citizenship of Portugal. Starting from 11 November, children born in Portugal to foreign parents, at least one of whom has resided in the country for a year, are eligible for Portuguese citizenship. Earlier new-born children were granted citizenship only if one of their parents had lived in Portugal for two years or more. The effect this change will have on Portugal’s Golden visa holders is that if a parent has held the Golden visa for over a year, their newborn child will be able to get Portuguese citizenship at birth, even if the parent has only resided in Portugal for the minimum 7 days required by the program. This amendment makes Portuguese Golden visa the only such program offering jus soli without the long residency requirement.
Would you like to purchase high-quality property in the most popular and top-ranked Portuguese cities before the country’s government has implemented the restriction? Contact GLS Private Office, and we will assist you in applying for your Golden Visa of Portugal.
To maintain the competitiveness of the citizenship by investment programs during the Coronavirus pandemic, a range of Caribbean states expanded the definition of qualifying dependants by adding a new “sibling” category over the past months. Following St Lucia and Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis has recently announced that main applicants and their spouses will be allowed to include their siblings in their applications too.
To be eligible to qualify for citizenship, a sibling must meet the following requirements:
be a brother or a sister of the main applicant and / or his / her spouse;
be 30 years old or younger;
be unmarried and childless;
be financially supported by the main applicant and / or spouse of the main applicant.
The siblings of the main applicant and / or spouse also will have to undergo a due diligence procedure as per existing regulations. St Kitts and Nevis does not provide investors with the opportunity of adding siblings to the previously approved applications, and it is only possible to include them in applications submitted from now on.
The fees required to add a sibling in the citizenship application are $20,000 under the Sustainable Growth Fund option and $40,000 under the real estate purchase option.
The new change has made St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment program the fourth Caribbean CIP that facilitates the inclusion of siblings in the application as qualifying dependants. This is the latest amendment in the program in 2020. Earlier this year St Kitts and Nevis reduced the contribution amount from $195,000 to $150,000 for families up to four. This offer is effective only until 15 January 2021.
The citizenship by investment program of St Kitts and Nevis has been existing since 1984 and is highly reputable and popular among investors from all around the globe. The expansion of the dependant category, however, makes it even more attractive. If you would like to obtain citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis at the most affordable price, the best time to apply for it is now. Contact GLS Private Office, and we will be delighted to offer you the best possible solution.
In August Ronald Warsal, the Chairman of the Vanuatu National Citizenship Commission (VNCC), announced that the country’s combined citizenship by investment program had collected $84.6 million over the past three months. The raised funds is likely to be the highest revenue generated by the CBI programs within such a time period and came close to the total 2017 revenue. According to Mr. Warsal, the attracted investments will be aimed at supporting Vanuatu’s economy that has suffered heavily because of the Covid-19 pandemic and devastating Cyclone Harold.
It is estimated that the Vanuatu’s CBI program will bring another $52 million to the country until the end of the year, making the total of approximately $137 million. Despite the fact that the island had to close its borders in March due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the number of citizenship applications has skyrocketed. As mentioned by Mr. Warsal, the VNCC has approved more than 100 applications each month in 2020.
The increased demand for Vanuatu passports has resulted in tightening of security and due diligence measures by the government of the country. The purpose of this move is to ensure that applicants have no criminal records, to instill more transparency in the program so that only the most diligent clients can obtain Vanuatu citizenship.
Mr Warsal announced that the country’s government instructed the VNCC to develop two additional investment immigration programs “in order for investors who wish to pay for citizenship to also invest in the country”. Though the details have not been released yet, it is assumed that a real estate option can be introduced.
One of the most recent citizenship by investment programs in the world, Vanuatu’s CBI program has been growing rapidly since its launch in 2017 due to the numerous advantages it offers: the opportunity to travel visa-free to more than 140 countries, favorable tax environment, relatively low investment threshold, fast application processing. The program’s success has driven the interest of some other countries in Oceania, which may launch their own economic citizenship programs in the near future.
Would you like to acquire the citizenship of Vanuatu? Contact us at GLS Private Office, and we will be delighted to provide you with all the information required.
The British government has recently published its latest guidelines on the new immigration system, which will come into force on January 1, 2021 after the transition period in the UK-EU relations has ended.
While the transition is underway, EU citizens have an opportunity to move to the UK under the current simplified immigration rules. Once the new legislation has come into effect, freedom of movement will remain for citizens of EU countries, the European Economic Area and Switzerland. They will be able to come to the UK visa-free and spend no more than six months in one visit in the UK. However, should EU citizens wish to work or study in the UK, they will have to obtain a relevant UK visa.
One of the major changes to the current immigration system of the UK is the implementation of a “point-based system”. This means that such factors as language proficiency, qualification and work skills will be taken into account by the Home Office when considering granting visas to foreigners who wish to work in the UK. To be eligible to apply for a visa, applicants will need to gain 70 points overall. 50 points are obligatory and are awarded for having a job offer from “an approved employer” at an “appropriate skill level” and being able to speak English. One of the easiest routes to gain the rest of the required points is by securing a job offer with an annual salary of at least £25,600. Applicants may also gain extra points for having a PhD degree or being offered a job in which Britain has a shortage (in this case meeting the minimum salary threshold is not necessary).
As far as the visa application procedure is concerned, it will be simplified for the EU citizens. There will be no requirement to submit biometric data such as fingerprints, and it will be allowed to provide photos taken on a smartphone when applying for a visa. Third-country citizens will still need to obtain visas under the new immigration system by visiting visa centres in their countries of residence and by providing their biometrics data.
Despite Brexit-related uncertainty, the UK remains one of the top most attractive global immigration destinations. Once of the easiest programs for foreign HNWI wishing to emigrate to the UK remains the UK Investor visa, however the number of applicants for this immigration program keeps on dropping year by year, which is likely to be attributed to the decision of the UK to leave the EU.
Should you have any questions regarding the UK relocation possibilities, contact us at GLS Private Office. We will be glad to provide you with all the required assistance.
One of the major amendments is reducing the amount of contribution to the Economic Development Fund for a family of four ― from $200,000 to $175,000. It is worth noting that in order to benefit from the reduced fee the family structure should comprise of “the main applicant, the spouse of the main applicant, and two other dependants other than a dependant who is a sibling of the main applicant or of the spouse of the main applicant”.
Under the new rules, siblings of the main applicant or his / her spouse at the age of 18-25 can be included in the citizenship application for an extra fee of $50,000.
The contribution amount for a single applicant remains the same as before ― $100,000. As for the main applicant’s spouse, the investment amount has been also reduced from $75,000 to $50,000.
According to the most recent circular issued by Dominica’s Citizenship Investment Unit, the required amount for each “dependant other than the spouse of the main applicant or a sibling of the main applicant or of the spouse of the main applicant who is aged 18 to 25” is $25,000.
The remaining fees for processing, certificate of naturalisation, and due diligence are unchanged. The real estate investment fee has not undergone any changes either, and the minimum threshold to participate in the citizenship by investment program of Dominica remains $200,000.
Dominica is an attractive destination for investors from around the world. Located in the Caribbean Sea, the island is known for its warm climate, unparalleled nature beauty, black sand beaches and a great number of hot springs and waterfalls all over the island. Dominica’s citizenship by investment program has been operating since 1993 and is the second oldest of its kind and one of the most reputable in the world, as it offers a multitude of advantages. Among them are the ability to travel visa-free to almost 140 countries including Western and Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, and Singapore; an attractive tax regime; no requirement to speak English, to have an interview before or after the citizenship acquisition or to reside in the country.
Would you like to benefit from the changes to Dominica’s citizenship by investment program and become its citizen? Contact us at GLS Private Office, and we will provide you with the best possible solution for you. Interested in knowing more about what Dominica offers and how it compares to the other investor immigration programs? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and get an up-to-date presentation on the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs from our recent webinar presented by our Managing director Victoria Vella on 2 July 2020.
The webinar series on Investor Immigration solutions from around the world run by Victoria Vella, Managing director at GLS Private Office, are over now. During these events which lasted for three weeks (from 2 July until 16 July 2020) we have been educating our clients on the main aspects of the best citizenship and residency by investment programs worldwide. Victoria was sharing her expert opinion about these programs, compared them to each other and provided her honest view on their offerings. Victoria Vella is a pioneer of the investment immigration industry and has been advising HNWIs on the prime investor immigration strategies for almost 10 years.From now on the contribution amount remains the same regardless of the number of people included in the citizenship application of up to four. However, the total cost of the citizenship application is a bit higher due to the application, passport, due diligence fees, and legal service cost.
The webinars had many attendees and a number of questions got answered during the events. All the three webinars were held in Russian and also in English languages which allowed GLS to tailor the presentations to the needs of the audience based in Russia & CIS and internationally.
The series started on 2 July with a webinar on investment immigration in the Caribbean region (including St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, St Lucia) and Vanuatu, followed by webinars addressing European citizenship and residency by investment programs. On 9 July the citizenship and residency by investment programs of Malta, Portugal, Greece and Montenegro were discussed in detail, and during the final webinar on 16 July the programs of the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Turkey and Spain were covered and compared.
The questions, which had not been answered during the events due to the time limits, were answered at a later stage during private conversations of the attendees with Victoria Vella. We would like to thank all the attendees for their active participation in our webinar series. We hope you enjoyed the webinars and received all the necessary information.
If for any reason you were unable to attend the events and would like to receive the presentations from these webinars, kindly email us at email@example.com. We plan to host regular webinars on different topics interesting for our clients. Therefore, if you would like us to prepare a presentation on your topic of interest, kindly get in touch. Moreover, should you wish to have a private 30-minute free of charge consultation with Victoria Vella and get all your questions answered over the phone, kindly let us know and we will arrange it for you.
Last week St Kitts and Nevis announced certain changes to its citizenship by investment program, namely reducing the amount of the contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund for families up to four. The cost has been lowered from $195,000 to $150,000 and is valid until the end of 2020. According to the circular issued by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), this action was taken “in light of the significant global economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic and efforts by the country to find creative ways to stabilize the economy”.
From now on the contribution amount remains the same regardless of the number of people included in the citizenship application of up to four. However, the total cost of the citizenship application is a bit higher due to the application, passport, due diligence fees, and legal service cost.
St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment program was established in 1984 and is the oldest program of the investment immigration industry. It has been popular for decades owing to its numerous benefits such as the ability to have dual citizenship, an attractive tax regime, and no requirement to be residing in the country. St Kitts and Nevis’ passport allows to travel visa-free to over 150 countries, including Schengen states, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. The islands’ warm and sunny climate and beautiful Caribbean nature also attract investors worldwide.
If you would like to benefit from the reduced contribution fee and obtain St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment, contact GLS Private Office. Our immigration experts will answer your questions and help you file all the necessary documents hassle-free.
Due to the unstable economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Caribbean countries are doing their best to keep their investment immigration programs competitive. Similarly to the some other Caribbean citizenship by investment programs, St Lucia’s program has also undergone important changes. St Lucia implemented a few changes to its Citizenship by investment program due to Covid-19 a couple of months ago. And on 17 June 2020 the government of the country implemented further changes by adopting the Citizenship by Investment (Amendment) Act No.4 of 2020, having expanded the definition of qualifying dependants.
The new changes concern, in particular, family members who may be included as dependants in the application for citizenship. Thus, the maximum age of a child of the main applicant and / or his / her spouse has been increased from 18 to 21, and no other requirements such as confirmation of financial dependence shall be met. As for adult children of the main applicant and / or spouse, the maximum age at which a child over 21 can qualify as a dependant has been raised from 25 to 30. Act No. 4 allows such a child not to be attending a higher education institution — being financially supported by the parents is sufficient.
The same applies to parents of the main applicant and / or spouse. In order to qualify as dependants, they must be fully maintained financially. Living together with the main applicant and his / her spouse is no longer required, and the minimum age of a parent has been lowered from 65 to 55.
Another noteworthy change is the introduction of a completely new dependant category — siblings. A brother or a sister of the main applicant, provided that he / she is single, below the age of 18 and has received the consent of his / her parent or guardian, may be included as a dependant in the application.
Moreover, Act No. 4 specifies addition of any other family members to an existing application once the main applicant has acquired St Lucia’s citizenship, regardless of the investment option chosen. The citizenship can be granted to a child born or legally adopted and a spouse married after the main applicant’s becoming a citizen of the country. Under the new legislation, there is no requirement to submit a post-citizenship application within five years from the date of the original application submission.
Furthermore, in the case of unforeseen circumstances the main applicant is allowed to make investment and pay related fees within the extended time period instead of standard time limits. This concerns both original and post-citizenship applications.
Act No. 4 has opened up a range of new opportunities for investors and their families and made St Lucia’s citizenship by investment more appealing than ever before.
Last week Dominica introduced considerable changes to its Citizenship by Investment Program. By having expanded the definition of qualifying dependants the country’s government made it possible for main applicants to include previously unqualified family members. According to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the changes “are meant to accelerate family reunification”.
The new changes allow children of the main applicant and spouse aged 18 to 30 not to be attending an institution of higher education or to be living with the parents. Now it is enough to merely demonstrate that the main applicant or their spouse support the child financially. The same is the case for parents and grandparents of the main applicant. Within the new rules, there is no requirement for parents and grandparents to be living together with the main applicant and the financial support by the main applicant or their spouse is sufficient to be included in the application for citizenship.
It is worth noting that in the latest changes to the citizenship by investment program the government of Dominica introduced a new category of family members who can be included in the application ― siblings. Either biological or legally adopted siblings related to the main applicant or their spouse can be considered as qualifying dependents, provided that they are over 18 years old, single, and childless.
The changes also concern naturalisation of new family members. Spouses married and children born after the main applicant has obtained Dominica’s citizenship can become the country’s citizens as well. It is specified that these provisions are valid for both main applicants and dependants.
Another amendment is the simplified procedure of adding other family members that could have been included as dependants in the original application, regardless of the chosen investment option.
All dependants at the age of 16 or more are obliged to pass multi-tiered due diligence checks to qualify. In the case of including any additional dependants other than a newborn child, main applicants must repeat the due diligence checks, if a calendar year has passed since the original submission.
The changes in the Citizenship by Investment Program have made the conditions of obtaining Dominica’s citizenship even more attractive. If you are interested in becoming an economic citizen of this country, contact us, and we will be glad to assist you.
Would you like to learn more about Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Program? On the 2nd of July we are running a webinar, during which our managing director Victoria Vella will provide you with the most precise and up-to-date information on the investment immigration programs of the Caribbean region and Vanuatu. Register by clicking here.
In these webinar series from 2 July until 16 July 2020 we will be discussing the global citizenship and residency by investment solutions from around the world.
02 July 2020 – Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean (St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda) and Vanuatu.
09 July 2020 – European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs PART 1 (Malta IIP, MRVP, GRP; Portugal Golden Visa, HQA; Greece Golden visa; Montenegro citizenship).
16 July2020 – European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs PART 2 (UK Investor Visa, Innovator Visa, Sole Representative Visa; Ireland Immigrant Investor Program, Cyprus CBI, Spain Golden visa, Turkish CBI).
Choose the webinars you are interested in attending, the language (English or Russian) and register below. We look forward to welcoming you at the webinars.
Date and Time
02 July 2020 13.00 (London time)
Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean and Vanuatu
02 July 2020 15.00 (London time)
Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean and Vanuatu
09 July 2020 13.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 1)
09 July 2020 15.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 1)
16 July 2020 13.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 2)
16 July 2020 15.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 2)
The Portuguese government has significantly simplified procedures for granting and renewal of residence permit applications. A corresponding order was published on the Presidency of the Council of Ministers’ website on the 26th of May, 2020. The document allows to considerably reduce attendance time at the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) offices for 250,000 foreign citizens, who can now file applications online instead of visiting the SEF offices and are not obliged to provide new evidence for visa exemption.
According to a SEF representative, the order provides “mitigating the consequences that resulted from the health emergency situation, adopting exceptional and temporary measures that allow for a recovery of pending issues and an efficiency gain in the document management of foreign citizens.”
Thus, for a decision on residence permit extension applicants do not have to attend SEF in person and can submit the application through the SEF online portal instead. SEF will subsequently carry out all the necessary checks to confirm the applicant’s trustworthiness and verify the fulfilment of his / her financial obligations. After paying taxes, the applicant will receive the residence permit at his / her fiscal address.
Portugal’s Golden visa has been one of the most popular residence by investment programmes in Europe since its inception in 2012. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic, Portugal showed a historic increase in applications for Golden visas in May 2020. Thus, visa approvals in May exceeded the figures of the previous four months combined, making the total EUR 146.2 million of invested funds. These impressive results are unprecedented, and it is thought that the Golden visa program will continue to grow in popularity among clients from China, South Africa, Russia, Brazil and others.
If you are interested in becoming a Portuguese resident and subsequently a citizen, now is the best time to file your application. Contact us at GLS Private Office, and we will help you obtain Portugal’s residence by investment the fastest way.
Would you like to learn more about the available residency by investment programs in Portugal? On the 9nd of July Victoria Vella, managing director of GLS Private Office, will host a webinar, during which you will receive the most up-to-date information concerning the country’s available immigration programs for HNWI. To register for this webinar, kindly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maltese government has recently announced that the country’s citizenship by investment programme is about to reach its cap. The Malta Individual Investor Agency will be accepting applications for citizenship under this programme until the 30th of September 2020. Less time is allotted for applications for residence, which are going to be accepted only until the 31st of July 2020.
Malta first launched the IIP for foreign nationals willing to acquire the island’s citizenship in 2014, and since then the programme has been a huge success among wealthy people from all around the world. However, it will be exhausted within nearest months, once it has reached its 1,800 application cap. The current programme will afterwards be discontinued and, as stated by the government, will require a revision. This information was circulated among the agents of the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) and appeared on the IIP website, “those individuals who obtain a residence card, but do not manage to submit a citizenship application by the 30th of September 2020, may be considered under new regulations that the Government is considering.”
The investment threshold of the renewed programme is expected to increase, and overall immigration conditions are forecasted to become more complicated. This prompts investors to apply for the Maltese citizenship within the shortest possible time.
Under the IIP requirements, an investor must obtain a residence permit first. Consequently, a full set of documents for due diligence and an application for citizenship are to be submitted after the residence permit registration has been completed.
To apply for residence, it is necessary to visit Malta in person to provide biometrics data. Malta is planning to resume airline services with 19 countries from the 1st of July. Thus, the time to file the residence application is swiftly running out.
The government of St Lucia this month has announced significant amendments to the country’s citizenship by investment program with a view to supporting the economy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and attracting foreign investors up to the end of 2020. These include 50% discount on the minimum investment required to apply for citizenship through the acquisition of Government Bonds.
St Lucia’s citizenship by investment program was launched in 2015 and since then has been internationally successful. Investors may choose to contribute to the National Economic Fund (NEF), purchase real estate, invest in government bonds or start an enterprise project.
The program has become more affordable for investors due to the latest changes. The most notable of them is the introduction of a new non-interest-bearing bond option, named the COVID-19 Relief Bond. This option is available to invest in only until the end of 2020, and it facilitates the citizenship acquisition by halving the minimum investment threshold, making it $250,000. The bond holding period depends on the amount invested and the number of applicant’s qualifying dependants.
Thus, a single applicant will be able to purchase the bond with a five-year holding period for $250,000. For an applicant with one dependant the bond amount remains the same, but the holding period is extended to six years. Applicants with up to four dependents will pay from $250,000 to $300,000 for the bonds with seven-year and five-year holding period respectively. The bond purchase price increases by $15,000 for each additional qualifying dependent (fifth and more). The investment amount is refunded in full at the end of the holding period. The government administrative fee has been also reduced from $50,000 to $30,000, and processing fees have been waived.
The changes in St Lucia’s citizenship by investment program have positively affected the National Economic Fund too. The minimum contribution amount for a single applicant has not been amended and is still $100,000, but an applicant with a spouse will be able to receive a 15% discount, thus contributing $140,000 instead of $165,000 to the NEF. A family of four members will contribute $150,000, down from the previous $190,000. $15,000 is added to the contribution requirement for any additional dependents beyond the family of four.
Another noteworthy amendment concerns new-born children of St Lucia’s economic citizens. The government has drastically reduced the fee for registering a child below 12 months old — from $25,000 to $500.
St Lucia offers very competitive investment options, which are worth considering when choosing the jurisdiction for second citizenship. St Lucia’s passport allows to travel to over 130 countries visa-free and it has fast processing times of 60-90 days. It allows inclusion of dependent children below 25 and parents over 65 years old. All the application process can be done remotely in the comfort of your home. No travel to St Lucia is required.
During the Coronavirus lockdown, the Citizenship Unit of St Lucia continues to be operational. Currently, submission of files is made via the online portal and the additional documents can be sent via email with the hard copies to follow once the lockdown is over.
Contact us today and we will be happy to answer all your questions regarding this program and provide you with all the necessary information.
The European Commission (EC) has recently expressed concerns over Malta’s citizenship by investment programme, claiming it poses certain risks of money-laundering and corruption. In the latest letter sent to the Maltese government the EC recommended to “phase out” the present scheme. Didier Reynders, EU Justice Commissioner, confirmed that the Commission urged Malta, along with Cyprus and Bulgaria, to step back from the current citizenship schemes, though he acknowledged that they nonetheless remain matters of national competence.
In response to the EC statement, the government of Malta issued a reply pointing out that it had made a clear decision to restart the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) once the existing one has reached its cap limit, while it would be “open to ideas that could further improve the programme”.
According to Edward Scicluna, Finance Minister of Malta, 80% of the IIP revenue will be used to support the island’s economy and business during the Covid-19 pandemic. In comparison, only 30% of the programme financial resources is usually credited to the state Consolidated Fund. The current Coronavirus pandemic and economic distress happening all over the world have increased Malta’s dependence on the IIP more than ever before.
Malta has been running the IIP for foreign nationals who are willing to obtain the island’s sought after citizenship since 2013. Throughout this time, the programme has been extremely successful among UHNWI worldwide. The minimum investment threshold for participation in the scheme is approximately €1 million. The overall investment amount consists of a non-refundable contribution into a designated Government fund, a purchase of property or a property rent for a minimum of 5 years, and an investment in Maltese government bonds. Among other requirements in order to qualify for Malta IIP, investors are required to pass a strict four-tier due diligence assessment and show their genuine interest in Malta as a place to live in. Citizenship of Malta through the IIP can be granted in around 14 months from the date of application.
It is expected that, once the present IIP reaches its capacity, the investment threshold of the revised programme will increase. This incentivises interested private clients to make haste on their decisions to become Maltese citizens. Malta has one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, a strong national health system and good-quality education. It is strategically located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and has a warm and mild climate. Malta offers all its citizens many benefits including the opportunity to live, study and work in any EU country. Maltese citizens may also relocate to the UK as long as the Brexit transition period is still ongoing.
COVID-19 is affecting everyone, and the citizenship by investment industry not immune to it either. In the hope to overcome the economic crisis caused by the epidemic, several countries providing citizenship by investment (CBI) programs introduced a few temporary measures to carry on with their operations and to sustain processing of applications.
The Caribbean countries St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Dominica, GrenadaandAntigua & Barbudahave adapted quickly to the COVID-19 challenges by announcing that they are moving their processing online. All applications and supporting documents will now have to be uploaded online on secure CBI portals. No physical applications and supporting documents should be submitted to the CBI offices at this stage. These documents would have to be submitted at a later stage to verify that the documents are genuine.
Vanuatu, a country in the south-western Pacific Ocean, has so far adopted a different approach as it carries on business as usual with a few minor changes. The Secretary-General of the Vanuatu Citizenship Office announced on 25 March 2020, that the office of Vanuatu’s Citizenship Commission will stay open and that all the submitted applications under both citizenship by investment options will be considered as usual. However, although Citizenship Certificates will continue to be issued to successful applicants, they will not be posted for now, as air traffic to and from Vanuatu is currently suspended until the end of April 2020.
The government of Cyprus has decided to speed up the processing of citizenship by investment programmes pending applications, in the hope to boost the economy. The government is also considering to remove the 700 naturalisations per year limit on Cyprus CBI applications in 2020. Moreover, Cyprus government is discussing introducing a remote procedure of citizenship applications, similar to the Caribbean countries.
We are experts in citizenship and residency by investment worldwide, and we will be happy to answer all your questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on the citizenship applications and any other requests you may have. We continue to operate as usual and assist clients in becoming Global Citizens during the pandemic. Stay safe, we will take care of the rest.
In an unprecedented move by most governments to fight the widely-spread Coronavirus, the world countries are rapidly closing their borders. It creates a massive shift in plans and lifestyle for the majority of people. All the main events are cancelled for this year, people are strongly advised to self-isolate for an unknown period of time. The EU has shut down its borders for ALL non-EU citizens. Similar measures have been implemented by Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.
Many countries are swiftly imposing imprisonment and monetary penalties for those who do not obey the quarantine rules. Even tougher measures might be introduced which will jeopardise lives of many people, as they lose jobs and are forced to go bankrupt. This scenario was impossible to imagine even a month ago. Now it is our new reality and no one knows how long it will last…
In such situations of uncontrolled panic, the security of multiple passports is of paramount importance:
1) Being a citizen of several countries provides you with a choice of where to be. Second passport = mobility you have even during global emergency situations.
2) Multiple passports allow to leave quarantine zones and to move the family into a safer place with a more developed medical system.
3) Governments of many countries organise evacuations of their citizens from the high-risk areas and into safer locations despite closed borders.
The insurance policy of multiple passports plays an essential role in securing lives and providing choices for globally-minded people no matter how turbulent the times are.
The entire application process can be performed remotely with the grant of citizenship in as little as 2 months. Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship programs could provide these solutions.
We are experts in worldwide citizenship by investment programs, and we are open for business. Let us help you in securing this vital insurance policy called second citizenship.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones, and remember that the Coronavirus threat too shall pass…
Antigua & Barbuda has announced important changes to its Citizenship by Investment Program. The new changes are aimed at making the program more attractive to clients.
Below are the key changes introduced by Antigua & Barbuda Government and effective from 1 April 2020.
The National Development Fund (NDF) option becomes slightly more expensive for families of 4 people or more. The Government Processing fee for the NDF option is currently set at $25,000 for a family of up to four people. This fee will become $30,000 for a family of up to four people effective from 1 April 2020. Therefore there will be a fee increase of $5,000.
The Real Estate Investment option becomes more affordable. The current Government Processing Fee for the Real Estate Investment option is $50,000 for a family of up to four persons. The fee will be cut to $30,000 making this option more attractive for foreign investors.
Ban on Iraqi citizens is lifted. Effective 1 April 2020, Antigua and Barbuda lifts ban on Iraqi citizens, which means that citizens of Iraq irrespective of where they live, will be able to apply for Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment.
Antigua remains the most affordable citizenship by investment program for family applications among all the Caribbean countries.
Get in touch with our citizenship by investment experts and receive all the most up-to-date information about the Antigua & Barbuda citizenship.
On 18 February 2020 the Home Office has introduced new Immigration rules valid from 31 December 2020.
Below we will go through the main changes under the new rules, which will affect the Investor Immigration sector.
1. The UK immigration will operate on a points-based system, whereby the foreign immigrants would have to score 70 points to get the UK visa. Among the requirements will be a knowledge of English and a secured skilled job offer with a salary of over £25,600/annum.
2. EU visitors will be able to come to the UK as visitors for up to 6 months. However, they will not be able to settle, work or study in the UK.
3. The new system will treat the EU and non-EU citizens equally when it comes to visa applications, which is not advantageous for EU citizens at all.
4. EU nationals living in the UK by 31.12.20 will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK.
5. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter the UK and live here as they do now.
Below are some of the main implications of the immigration changes in the UK for the Citizenship by investment industry globally.
1. For the EU citizens planning to relocate to the UK, it is important to move permanently to the UK before the end of 2020 to be able to qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme without the need for any additional visas, language test requirements and other new rules.
2. The Irish Residence by investment program is likely to become more popular as Irish passport holders will be able to continue living in the EU and the UK without changes. Find out more about the Irish Residence by Investment program here.
Caribbean citizenship by investment programs will benefit from this division and the upcoming immigration battle between the UK and the EU as citizens of these countries will continue travelling to the UK and the Schengen states visa-free. More information on the Caribbean programs can be found here.
Grenada stops accepting applications for citizenship by investment from citizens of Iran and North Korea.
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Unit has recently confirmed that Grenada will not be accepting applications for citizenship by investment from applicants with Iranian and North Korean passports. Therefore, if you hold a passport of either of these countries, kindly be alerted and choose a different route to citizenship.
Up until recently Grenada was the only country in the world offering citizenship by investment to citizens of all the countries. Other countries in the Caribbean assess the eligibility of clients with these nationalities on a case by case basis.
Currently also citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen face issues when applying for citizenship by investment because of the country of their origin.
Brexit has been the topic of heated discussion since June 2016. Three and a half years later, it is finally happening. Britain will formally stop being part of the EU today. What does it mean for holders of European and UK passport in terms of travelling?
Nothing is changing yet, as since tonight an 11-month transition period starts. The freedom of travel between the EU and the UK will continue until the end of the year. Therefore, for instance, if you are a holder of Maltese or Cypriot passport, you can continue to enter and stay in the UK. Moreover, since Malta and Cyprus are part of the Commonwealth it is likely that citizens of these countries will continue to enjoy visa free travel to the UK even beyond the transition period: similarly to the other Commonwealth countries which are part of the Citizenship by investment scheme – St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia. Citizens of these countries can stay in the UK for up to six months in one visit and can stay in Schengen for up to 90 days in 180 days.
The most notable change following Brexit so far is that the UK decided to change the colour of its passport. It is currently burgundy, but will become blue later this year. UK passports used to be blue up until 1988, when they got replaced with the burgundy colour following the common format introduced by the EEC.