After the renowned Malta Residency Visa Program (MRVP) phased out at the end of March, it has been replaced by a new residency by investment program, the details of which were announced earlier.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.

Interested in obtaining citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis for you and your loved ones? Contact GLS Private Office and get all your questions answered. We will be happy to provide you with the best tailor-made citizenship solutions.

You can read the original article by clicking on the link.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire world, causing a huge crisis in the global economy and making almost every aspect of human lives completely different. With a pending lockdown, unprecedented borders’ closures, and travel restrictions, our mobility that we used to take for granted has become severely curtailed, which has forced a lot of people to think about their Plan B.

As a result, the demand for citizenship and residency by investment programs has skyrocketed. Among the benefits that a second passport or residency permit of some of the most sought after countries offers there is not only the opportunity to travel visa-free to numerous countries, such as the UK, Schengen, Hong Kong and the majority of others, even in the situation of closed borders, but also access to better healthcare and education, favourable conditions for business, tax incentives, and many others.

During the pandemic, a range of countries running economic citizenship and residency programs have significantly lowered prices and offered more flexible terms in order to attract more investors. For instance, last summer St Lucia introduced a new investment option named “COVID-19 Relief Bond” (a refundable non-interest-bearing government bonds’ investment), halving the minimum investment threshold, thus making it $250,000. After the 5-year holding period expires, the entire investment amount is returned to the investor. Another example is St Kitts and Nevis offering a reduced donation of $150,000 for a family of up to four people, which is the same as for a single applicant. Dominica does not lag behind either: it also cut down the donation amount to $175,000 for families of four. These advantageous conditions have sparked the interest of potential investors seeking to obtain a beneficial Caribbean passport.

For those who would like to live and work within the European Union, such countries as Malta and Portugal are increasingly popular. With brand-new Maltese citizenship by investment program, it has been possible to become a full-fledged citizen of Malta and therefore the EU after only a year of residence. The investment minimum starts from €700,000 (if citizenship is granted after 3 years). As for Portugal, its Golden Visa program is regarded as probably the best residency by investment program worldwide and is much favoured due to its multiple benefits. It does not require living in Portugal permanently while enables applicants to obtain European citizenship in already 5 years. The minimum amount for investment ranges from €250,000 to €280,000 depending on the chosen option. Since the Portuguese government is restricting the real estate option from 2022, prohibiting the purchase of residential properties in major cities, Lisbon and Porto, and coastal areas under the Golden Visa, this has prompted investors to buy properties in the urban centres and by the seaside before 2021 is over. Besides, in 2022 the amounts for other investment options of the Golden Visa program are almost doubling, so many are catching the chance to become Portuguese residents at the current lowered prices.

Lately, Turkey has been gaining popularity among investors, as it provides one of the fastest and simplest routes to secure a second passport. The Turkish citizenship by investment program is very cost-effective, with investment thresholds starting from $250,000, ensures quick application processing (3–4 months), and makes applicants eligible for US E-2 Visa, which allows relocation to the United States. Economic citizenship of Vanuatu is even faster to acquire, granting investors second passports in around 2 months, and has a wide appeal due to the advantages it offers.

The overwhelmingly successful Golden Passport program of Cyprus was terminated last year and is not to be replaced; however, the Montenegrin citizenship by investment program can be seen as a good alternative to that. Joining the EU in 2025, Montenegro will be able to grant strong European citizenship with all the perks that go with it. The program offers a minimum investment of €350,000 and is scheduled to operate only until the end of 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of a second passport or at least a residence permit by investment. Providing economic and social stability, citizenship and residency by investment is an insurance policy against turbulences and uncertainties of the rapidly changing world.

GLS Private Office offers citizenship and residency by investment solutions around the world (5 countries in the Caribbean – St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda), Vanuatu, in Europe (UK, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Montenegro), and Turkey. We also offer tailored ancillary services depending on the clients’ goals.

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. Register by clicking on this link.

Webinar Agenda

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Would you like to acquire citizenship or residency of Malta? Contact GLS Private Office, and we will provide you with all the necessary assistance.

* Licence Number: AKM-AGEN-21

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.

Dear friends,

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. Below we prepared for you an overview of the main developments in the investment immigration sector of 2020.

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.

Best wishes,

Victoria Vella

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.

To register for the webinar, please click on this link. 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.

Dominica continues to put efforts into making its citizenship by investment program more appealing for wealthy individuals from around the world. Following the expansion of qualifying dependant definition, the country’s government has presented details of the changes to the current program, with regard to investment amounts and fees.

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 webinar@glspo.com 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 webinar@glspo.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.

If you would like to take advantage of the amended legislation and become a citizen of St Lucia, contact us at GLS Private Office. Our immigration experts will be glad to answer your questions and provide any possible assistance.

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 2020Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean (St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda) and Vanuatu.

09 July 2020European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs PART 1 (Malta IIP, MRVP, GRP; Portugal Golden Visa, HQA; Greece Golden visa; Montenegro citizenship).

16 July 2020European 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 TimeWebinarLanguageRegister
02 July 2020
13.00 (London time)
Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean and VanuatuRussianRegister
02 July 2020
15.00 (London time)
Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean and VanuatuEnglishRegister
09 July 2020
13.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 1)RussianRegister
09 July 2020
15.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 1)EnglishRegister
16 July 2020
13.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 2)RussianRegister
16 July 2020
15.00 (London time)
European Citizenship and Residency by Investment Programs (PART 2)EnglishRegister

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 webinar@glspo.com.

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.

Our team of immigration experts has vast experience working with St Lucia citizenship by investment program.

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, Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda have 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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