- Limited-time discount offers for investors in foreign citizenship/ legal residence
- Limited-time offers made by Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Limited-time offer made by Saint Lucia
- The requirement to visit Antigua has been temporarily lifted
- Replacement of the machine-readable passport of Dominica with a biometric passport
- Montenegrin citizenship-by-investment program is not going to be extended
- Changes to the Portuguese golden visa program
- Temporary discount on the American investor’s EB5 visa
- Return of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (Canada)
- Other important recent events in the investment immigration industry
- Rebranding of the Maltese legal residence program
- Changes to the Bulgarian investment immigration program
- Changes to the Malaysian MM2H scheme
- Alternative currencies for ‘purchasing’ citizenship of Vanuatu
- Expert support to investment immigrants
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all spheres of life and the investment immigration industry is not an exception. Some countries offering their citizenship or legal residence to foreign investors are trying to promote their products by offering various discounts. These offers are available only for a short period but they look attractive indeed. There are other exciting opportunities that you can make use of if you are thinking of acquiring foreign citizenship or legal residence. Please read on to learn about the limited-time offers available at the moment, the important deadlines, and other news from the investment immigration industry.
A second passport brings numerous weighty advantages to the holder including improved mobility, access to international banking opportunities, efficient instruments of asset protection and so on. It is never too late to apply for foreign citizenship or legal residence but there are times when you had better act fast. The discount offers that we describe below are not going to be available forever.
The investment immigration industry is rather young (St Kitts launched the first citizenship-by-investment program in 1984) and many elements of national programs have not been finalized thus far. Governments sometimes change the rules, amend their citizenship (legal residence) by investment programs, introduce new requirements and offer new opportunities to foreign investors. International Wealth portal keeps the readers informed about all the recent changes that occur. Below we discuss the discount offers that you may want to consider as well as other opportunities available to those seeking foreign citizenship/ legal residence.
Limited-time discount offers for investors in foreign citizenship/ legal residence
Whether you are looking to become a full citizen of a foreign country or you would like to obtain a legal residence permit abroad, there are some interesting offers to consider. Below we discuss the available opportunities and indicate the deadlines.
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Limited-time offers made by Saint Kitts and Nevis
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of St Kitts offers a discount to a family of four applying for citizenship of the country. Today, a family of four members will qualify for citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis if they make a donation of US$ 150,000 to the state fund. This amount used to be sufficient only for a single applicant before the pandemic and the required donation amount for a family of four is likely to become US$ 195,000 again when the current crisis is over. The opportunity is going to be available until December 31, 2021.
The Government of the Caribbean country is making another interesting offer to those foreigners who would like to make a returnable investment in real estate in St Kitts. Earlier, the applicants for citizenship of the country could invest US$ 400,000 in real property and hold it in possession for five years or, alternatively, they could invest US$ 200,000 and hold the property in possession for seven years.
The requirement that made this option a bit less attractive was as follows: the foreign investor could put money only in Government-approved property. Why did this condition make the option less attractive? Because the foreign applicant for citizenship had to invest in resort complexes exclusively (already completed or still under construction). Now, the resort property seems a bit overpriced and its liquidity might be questionable. Would you be able to resell it after five (or seven) years at the same or a higher price? It is hard to say.
The authorities of St Kitts realize that this investment option is not very popular with foreign applicants for citizenship for the reason given above. This is why they have decided to make the conditions not so harsh. Today, you can buy any residential property in St Kitts that you like. The required investment amount is US$ 400,000 and the possession period is seven years. (Please note that investing in commercial property in the country will not make you qualified for its citizenship.) The offer is going to be in place until November 1, 2022.
Limited-time offer made by Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia offers several routes to its citizenship to foreign investors and one of them is a returnable investment in zero-interest state bonds. Due to the pandemic, the Government of the country offers a 50% discount to those choosing this investment option. Now you can invest US$ 250,000 in state bonds and this will make you qualified for citizenship of Saint Lucia. The authorities of the country guarantee that they will buy the bonds back at the nominal price after five years.
The offer is available until December 31, 2021. After the deadline, foreign investors wishing to purchase state bonds to become citizens of Saint Lucia will have to spend US$ 500,000 again.
Please also note that a single applicant for St Lucian citizenship can make a non-returnable donation of US$ 100,000, which is the lowest amount available in the market. You should bear in mind, however, that some additional administrative costs will also have to be covered.
The requirement to visit Antigua has been temporarily lifted
The authorities of Antigua and Barbuda realize that freedom of movement has been severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, new citizens of the country do not have to visit the islands for the time being. The requirement has been revoked until August 31, 2022.
Normally, the Antiguan citizenship-by-investment program includes the requirement to visit the country at least once during the first five years of holding its passport and stay there for at least five days. No other Caribbean state running a citizenship-by-investment program has such a requirement. That is to say, you can obtain the passport of St Kitts, St Lucia, Dominica, or Grenada without ever visiting the countries. Why do the Antiguan authorities make new citizens visit the country? This may look like a competitive disadvantage but practice shows that foreign nationals paying visits to Antigua and Barbuda often fall in love with the place and want to stay there till the end of their lives.
Replacement of the machine-readable passport of Dominica with a biometric passport
This is obviously not a discount offer but it also deserves your attention. Whether you are planning to obtain a Dominican passport or you already have one, a biometric passport has several important advantages over other passport types. In particular, it cannot be possibly forged. Biometric passports are already issued to new citizens of Dominica and those who hold machine-readable passports can have them replaced before July 2023.
Montenegrin citizenship-by-investment program is not going to be extended
Below we will discuss some important news from other countries that offer citizenship- or residence-by-investment opportunities. As far as the Montenegrin program is concerned, the news may be unpleasant but is not totally unexpected. The authorities of Montenegro were planning to shut the program down on December 31, 2021 from the very start. Some expected that they might change their mind but they did not. If you would like to become an economic citizen of Montenegro, you should apply soon.
The Government of the country is considering launching an alternative citizenship program in the future. Instead of granting citizenship to foreigners in exchange for investments, Montenegro is probably going to offer its citizenship to skilled/ talented/ knowledgeable foreign nationals. So instead of attracting foreign direct investments, Montenegro wants to attract human capital from abroad.
Changes to the Portuguese golden visa program
The Portuguese golden visa (legal residence) program has been extremely popular with foreign investors and this is why we can see an opposite tendency here. Instead of loosening the requirements, Portugal is making them tougher. Beginning January 1, 2022, purchasing real property in Lisbon, Porto, the region of Algarve or any other coastal region will not make you qualified for a legal residence permit in Portugal.
The new rule is introduced with the purpose of redirecting the money flows from well-developed regions of Portugal to less-developed rural areas. We must admit that this move on the part of the Portuguese authorities looks sensible but it might affect the popularity of the local golden visa program.
Similarly to St Lucia in the Caribbean, Portugal offers several routes to legal residence in the country. You do not have to buy real estate there in order to qualify for a golden visa. Instead, you can make a bank deposit or put money in an investment or a venture capital fund. However, the required investment amounts are going to grow in 2022 as well:
- Minimum required deposit in a Portuguese bank is going to grow from 1 million euros to 1.5 million euros.
- Minimum required investment in an investment or a venture capital fund is going to grow from 350,000 euros to 500,000 euros.
Temporary discount on the American investor’s EB5 visa
A foreign investor in the American economy filed a suit against the US Government and following the court case, the EB5 scheme had to return to the requirements that were in place before November 21, 2019.
The minimum amounts of active and passive investments (passive investments can be made via the so-called regional centers) have been lowered from US$ 900,000 and US$ 1,800,000 to US$ 500,000 and US$ 1,000,000, correspondingly. Thus, today, the investment amounts required to qualify for an EB5 visa are the same as they used to be two years ago.
However, experts believe that the reduced investment amounts are not going to be available for a long time. There is no deadline for this regulation but the US authorities can appeal the court decision or the Congress can make changes to the EB5 scheme. In other words, the US Government has legal instruments that may allow increasing the required investment amounts again.
Return of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (Canada)
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) used to be highly popular with foreign investors until it was suspended for reconsideration. It is expected that the rules and the procedures will be amended by April 1, 2023 and the Program will be relaunched. We would like to remind you that Canada offers several immigration opportunities including business immigration and start-up visas.
Other important recent events in the investment immigration industry
Let us discuss other recent events that may be of interest to those seeking economic citizenship of, or legal residence in, a foreign country.
Rebranding of the Maltese legal residence program
Malta Permanent Residency Program (MPRP) was launched on March 29, 2021. It replaced Malta Residency Visa Program (MRVP) that was terminated on the same day.
The MPRP is less expensive than the MRVP. In particular, candidates for legal residence in Malta do not have to make any investments at all. It is enough to pay a fixed state duty and the application processing fee. In addition, you will have to demonstrate having net assets worth at least 500,000 euros to qualify for a legal residence permit.
Changes to the Bulgarian investment immigration program
You can acquire both legal residence in Bulgaria by investment and full citizenship of the country. For this reason, the Bulgarian immigration program can be referred to as a ‘hybrid’ one. The rules of acquiring Bulgarian residence/ citizenship have been changed recently, however.
You can no longer acquire a European residence permit or a European passport by investing in Bulgarian state bonds. The Citizenship of Bulgaria Act was amended on February 16, 2021 and the amendments have been published in the Government Bulletin.
Changes to the Malaysian MM2H scheme
The Malaysian authorities suspended the issuance of MM2H immigration visas in November, 2019 with the intention to modernize the requirements for obtaining legal residence in the country. The program was relaunched in the fall of 2021.
The requirements have become much tougher now. In particular, the required monthly income has grown from 10,000 MYR to 40,000 MYR, which is about US$ 9,500.
The minimum required bank deposit amount has grown from 300,000 MYR and 150,000 MYR for applicants below and above 50 years of age, correspondingly, to 1,500,000 MYR (around US$ 355,000) for applicants of any age.
Previously, there were no residence requirements but now the MM2H visa holder shall spend at least 90 days per year in Malaysia. If the visa holder fails to meet this requirement, the visa will be annulled.
The Malaysian immigration authorities used to accept applications from foreigners of all ages before but now you have to be above 30 years of age to be able to file an application for Malaysian residence. The MM2H visa used to be valid for ten years and now it is valid only for five years.
Alternative currencies for ‘purchasing’ citizenship of Vanuatu
Vanuatu has two investment immigration programs: one for citizens of mainland China and the other one for anyone else. Since recently, you can use more than one bank and more than one currency to make the required donation regardless of which of the two programs you are applying to.
Previously, the donations had to be made in US dollars only. Now the payments can be made in Japanese yens as well as Australian and New Zealand dollars. In addition to that, you can ‘buy’ citizenship of Vanuatu for crypto money but the immigration agent will have to convert it to fiduciary money anyway.
Until recently, foreign nationals applying for citizenship of Vanuatu could make payments to the National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV) exclusively. Today, the following financial institutions can also accept the payments associated with acquiring citizenship of Vanuatu:
- ANZ Bank (Vanuatu) Limited;
- Bank South Pacific (Vanuatu) Limited;
- Bred Bank;
- Van Futeng Bank.
The authorities of the country do not exclude the opportunity to involve more banks in the process at a later point in time. These banks will have to be authorized to accept donations, though.
Expert support to investment immigrants
Any well-to-do law-abiding person can easily use the opportunity to ‘purchase’ a second passport (or two) and enjoy visa-free travel, international banking services, tax planning instruments and many other benefits that legal residence in, or citizenship of, a foreign country brings. All you have to do is file an application for a golden visa/ foreign passport.
However, the available options are plentiful and making the right choice without professional assistance can be difficult. Canada, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Spain, Great Britain, Austria, Slovenia, Cyprus, Turkey, USA, Vanuatu, Antigua, Grenada, Panama and Italy – any of these countries will welcome foreign investors granting them legal residence permits or full citizenship. The wide range of immigration products and the constantly changing rules make expert support in acquiring foreign residence/ citizenship very helpful.
Please contact our immigration experts by any means of communication that you prefer (see the Contact us icon at the top of the page). We always reply promptly!
Our experts will be delighted to help you choose the optimal country where you can acquire legal residence or citizenship. We will base our recommendations on your personal preferences, goals, and financial opportunities. Besides, we will put you through to the best immigration agent in the country of your choice.
What countries currently offer discounts on their golden visas/ passports?
Several discount offers are available at the moment. Citizenship of Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts can be purchased at a reduced price while the pandemic is raging around. The American EB5 visa is also currently available at a discount. Besides, you can apply for a Portuguese golden visa under more beneficial conditions if you do it before the end of 2021.
When investment immigration schemes are going to become unavailable soon?
Citizenship of Montenegro by investment is going to become unavailable after the end of 2021. Experts do not rule out the possibility that other economic citizenship programs may be closed too. Cyprus, for instance, has had to suspend (or even dismantle) its citizenship-by-investment program under pressure from the EU authorities. Analogous pressure is applied to other European as well as Caribbean countries granting citizenship/ golden visas to foreign investors.
Who can tell me about the most attractive offers in the investment immigration market?
International Wealth experts will be happy to give you professional consultations on all investment immigration opportunities. Our advice will help you make the most balanced choice. You are welcome to apply for a free consultation on the matter.