The most cost-effective citizenship by investment in Europe [2023 Guide]

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs are government initiatives that allow foreign individuals to obtain a country’s citizenship through a significant investment in its economy. These programs have gained popularity in recent years as they provide benefits for both the countries offering them and the participating investors.

While not strictly CBI programs, several European countries provide residency by investment (RBI) or “Golden Visa” programs that can eventually lead to citizenship. This article reviews some of the best options available today, looking at these areas:

  • Explanation of citizenship by investment programs
  • Factors to consider when choosing a citizenship by investment program
  • Cost-effective citizenship by investment programs in Europe
  • The Latvia residency by investment program
  • The Malta residency by investment program
  • The Cyprus residency by investment program
  • The Greece residency by investment program

Explanation of citizenship by investment programs

The aim of CBI and RBI programs is to attract high-net-worth individuals who can contribute substantially to the country through investments in sectors such as real estate and business ventures in exchange for citizenship status. These investments stimulate the economy, create jobs, and support infrastructure development, among other positive impacts.

Each country offering a CBI or RBI program has its own specific rules and requirements, usually including a minimum investment amount and a choice of investment options. Due diligence processes and background checks are also conducted to scrutinise applicants and ensure they meet eligibility standards.

Factors to consider when choosing a citizenship by investment program

When choosing a CBI or RBI program, several factors need to be considered, including:

  • Investment options: Different programs offer various investment opportunities, such as real estate, business ventures, or government bonds. It is essential to evaluate which investment aligns with your interests and financial goals.
  • Cost: The required minimum investment, processing fees, and additional costs vary across programs. Assess your financial resources to determine which program is most suitable for your budget.
  • Residency requirements: Some golden visa programs require minimal physical presence in the country, while others demand a specific period of residency. Consider the time commitment and your willingness to relocate if needed.
  • Tax arrangements: Check out the tax system in the country, including personal income tax, corporate tax, property tax, and inheritance tax. Consider the potential tax liabilities arising from acquiring citizenship or residency, especially if you plan to reside or conduct business in the country.
  • Quality of life: Consider factors such as safety, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and overall standard of living in the country.
  • Reputation and transparency: Research the reputation and transparency of the CBI or RBI program. Ensure it has a legitimate and reliable process, with no history of fraudulent activities or security risks.

By carefully examining these factors, you can make an informed decision about which investment program best aligns with your personal and financial objectives.

Cost-effective citizenship by investment programs in Europe

These are currently the most affordable options in Europe:

  1. Latvia’s residency by investment program requires a minimum investment of €250,000 in real estate developments or government bonds, plus additional fees. There is also a business investment option of just €50,000.
  1. Malta’s residency and visa program (MRVP) offers a pathway to citizenship for a minimum investment of €300,000 in property (or a minimum annual rent of €10,000). It also includes a minimum donation requirement of €28,000 to the government. There are additional fees amounting to a minimum of €42,000.
  1. Cyprus’ Golden Visa program allows residency with a minimum investment of €300,000 in real estate, local business or government-approved investments, plus additional charges.
  1. Greece: Greece’s Golden Visa program offers residency for a minimum real estate investment of €250,000.

All these figures are subject to change, and it is essential to consult each country’s specific requirements and any additional fees. Additionally, the timeframes for processing and receiving citizenship might vary across programs. Ask Huriya Private for help with all matters relating to the latest options and the application process.

The Latvia Residency by Investment Program

The Latvian residency by investment program, also known as the Latvia Golden Visa, offers non-European Union nationals a chance to obtain Latvian residency through various investment options. The program allows investors and their families to live, work, and travel within the Schengen Area.

Key requirements of the Latvian residency by investment program include choosing one of the following investment options:

  • Real estate: Investors need to purchase property valued at a minimum of €250,000 in Latvia, in addition to paying a 5% state fee on the purchase price.
  • Government bonds: You van invest €250,000 in Latvian government bonds, held for at least five years, plus a fee of €25,000.
  • Subordinated capital: With this option, you can invest €250,000 in special-purpose interest-free bonds, plus a government fee of €38,000.
  • Business investment: This option requires a €50,000 investment in a Latvian company that pays at least €40,000 annually in taxes, plus a €10,000 government fee.

The Malta Residency by Investment Program

The Malta Residency by Investment Program, also known as the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP) grants the right to reside, settle, and stay indefinitely in Malta, with the possibility of obtaining citizenship after living there for a specified period and meeting other requirements.

The main requirements and fees for the MPRP include the following:

  • Property investment: Applicants can either purchase a property in Malta (minimum €300,000 in South Malta or €350,000 in the main region) or rent a property (minimum €10,000 per year in South Malta or €12,000 per year in the main region). The property must be retained for at least five years.
  • In addition to the property investment, investors must make a contribution of €28,000 (if the property is purchased) or €58,000 (if the property is rented) to the Maltese government.
  •  In addition, investors need to make a donation to a non-governmental organisation of €2,000.
  • There is also a non-refundable administration fee of €40,000, plus a €2,000 contribution to a non-governmental organisation, along with due diligence fees of €7,500 per dependent (with the exception of spouses).
  •  You will need to demonstrate that you have capital assets of at least €500,000, from which a minimum of €150,000 must be in financial assets.

Applicants undergo strict due diligence and background checks to ensure they have no criminal records and meet other eligibility requirements.

After fulfilling the residence requirements, you may be eligible to apply for Maltese citizenship through the standard naturalisation process.

The Cyprus Residency by Investment Program

Cyprus’ residency by investment program, also known as the Cyprus Golden Visa Program, is a popular option for investors looking to obtain EU residency status.

Investors must select one of the following investment options:

  • Acquisition of new residential property worth €300,000
  • Purchase of up to two non-residential properties (new or old) worth €300,000.
  • Investment of €300,000 in a Cyprus business employing at least five people.
  • Investment of €300,000 in one of the Cyprus Investment Fund Association schemes.

In addition to the relatively low investment requirements, investors are only required visit the country once every two years. The application processing time is usually swift, too, taking two to three months, and it is possible to apply for citizenship by naturalisation after five years.

The Greece Residency by Investment Program

Greece’s residency by investment program, commonly known as the Greek Golden Visa Program, enables investors and their families to live, work, and travel freely within Europe’s Schengen Area.

To be eligible, investors must purchase a property or properties valued at a minimum of €250,000 in Greece. The property can be residential or commercial, and multiple properties may be combined to reach the required minimum investment.

Alternatively, you can make a €400,000 investment in a government-approved fund or bonds, and there is a €800,000 option, too.

The residence permit is initially valid for five years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the investment is maintained. The visa covers the investor’s spouse, children up to the age of 21, and, in some cases, parents and parents-in-law. There is no minimum residency requirement.

The Greece RBI grants residency, not citizenship. To acquire Greek citizenship, investors must fulfil additional requirements, including living in Greece for a specified period and demonstrating an adequate knowledge of the Greek language and culture.

Conclusion

There are several affordable CBI and RBI schemes available today, including residency programs from Latvia, Malta, Cyprus and Greece. However, before making a commitment, it is essential to engage experienced and reputable professionals, such as lawyers and migration consultants, to guide you through the application process and ensure a smooth, compliant experience.

As a starting point, contact Huriya Private today to discuss your requirements.