Do you miss the freedom to travel for business, study, and family reasons? Because of the pandemic, lockdowns, and quarantine all over the world, many global nomads with international businesses and lifestyles are looking for reliable temporary or permanent solutions. The Golden Visa programs have always been the best and fastest opportunities for obtaining investors’ temporary and permanent residence permits. This article reviews professional insights on how to choose the right option that would meet your specific needs and expectations.
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Reasons to obtain a Golden Visa / Residence-By-Investment permit solutions
The Golden Visa programs are offered by some countries across the world in exchange for donations or direct investments in the national priority projects, real estate, and development funds. Economic immigration incentives have been designed by some countries years ago. Their successful experience was observed and much appreciated by some other states that also followed their example. This trend has rapidly developed into an investment immigration industry providing the host jurisdictions with the much-needed development funds and offering successful candidates a lot of advantages.
Why do you need a Golden Visa? The main advantages can be clustered into 3 categories:
The main advantages
The freedom to travel internationally The freedom to work, study or settle in the host country The opportunity to have your Plan “B” By becoming residents of some countries, investors get visa-free access to the relevant countries and even regions (for example, residents of one of the Schengen states are free to move around 26 European countries like their nationals). Apart from the right to legally move to the jurisdiction of your choice, you can then apply for a second citizenship by naturalization (in some cases, you will not even need to permanently reside in the host country to do so). In short, you can untie for yourself new investment and lifestyle opportunities by obtaining a foreign residence. It is difficult to say what the future of our world will be. So much has changed over the past months of the pandemic – lockdowns, furloughs, construction suspensions, disruption of ties and supply chains, work and business run from home, social distancing, new shopping/consumption behavior, new travel rules, other new normal patterns. Therefore, prudent private persons have decided to apply for residency or second passports abroad. This step helps to revise one’s vision and risk management strategy and distance oneself from the ‘hot beds’ of uncertainty and threats, move to a safer destination.
Criteria for choosing a Golden Visa / Residence-By-Investment solutions
From Portugal and Greece to Paraguay and the Bahamas, the abundance and variety of the Golden Visa options complicate the task of choosing the right economic immigration tool. Given below are just a few examples.
GOLDEN VISAS AND RESIDENCE PERMITS: SOLUTIONS FROM INTERNATIONALWEALTH EXPERTS
When choosing a Golden Visa program in a target jurisdiction, you can rely on the criteria prompted by the InternationalWealth experts. More customized advice is available to you during a free private web-based consultation.
The first criterion when choosing a Golden Visa is the type of residence offered to the candidate and the possibility of obtaining a passport of the relevant country in the future. Let’s consider these factors in more detail.
- Temporary vs permanent residence: Some states (e.g., Spain and Italy) issue temporary residence permits to investors. Some jurisdictions (e.g., Paraguay) offer permanent residence permits that usually come with more rights and opportunities than temporary visas. In particular, registration of permanent residence, as a rule, accelerates the acquisition of a second citizenship.
- Second passport: Some states allow immigrant investors to obtain citizenship. Such programs (for example, the Greek program of residence by investment) usually require the annual renewal of the resident card before a second passport is issued. However, some states prohibit holders of an investor’s residence permit / permanent residence to apply for citizenship. An example is the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP), previously called The Malta Residence and Visa Program (MRVP). But the Maltese offer should not be omitted in your research. For example, if the laws of the applicant’s homeland do not allow dual citizenship, the MRVP resident card becomes a rather interesting option.
The following types of investment can help you qualify for the status of a resident investor: refundable, non-refundable, combined (a hybrid of the first two options). However, in the case of refundable investments, the candidate, as a rule, assumes an obligation to retain the purchased asset in ownership for a certain period. Applicants are offered the following options:
- To transfer a non-refundable donation: This option is often the most financially affordable and easy to perform. The candidate is invited to make a gratis contribution to a public fund/charitable organization. The offer is not profitable but rewarding in another way: such funds/charitable organizations often forward money to infrastructure construction and refurbishment projects, education and healthcare development programs, social support to those in need. In other words, an immigrant investor contributes to the accelerated socio-economic development of the host economy and welfare. Permanent residence through a donation is offered, for example, by Ireland.
- To purchase some residential/commercial real estate: This option is considered the most popular one, as it provides certain benefits. Please note: the real estate value usually grows during the period of mandatory ownership of the property. In other words, an immigrant investor is likely to earn some capital gain in the event of resale of the asset in the future. An additional source of income is the rental of commercial/residential real estate. Montenegro, Turkey, Greece are recommended by experts as the most attractive destinations for investments in real estate for Golden Visas. But the list of recommended countries is much bigger. Prof hint: some jurisdictions (e.g., Portugal) allow to invest only in pre-approved development projects, assets, real estate in certain locations.
- To buy government bonds and deposits: these are the safest refundable investment options. But the financial return on investment tends to zero. For example, by transferring funds to a deposit bank account in Portugal or by purchasing government bonds in Spain, the candidate receives a European residence permit, as well as the bank/state guarantees of a refund after the mandatory ownership period.
- To invest in the business, new jobs, shares: These options are considered the least popular because they combine high risks and more demanding requirements. For example, when applying for an American green card for business investments under the EB5 scheme, the candidate has to accept that the waiting period will be long (due to country quotas), the procedures will be rather complicated, and a risk of fraud will be quite likely. A residence permit through the creation of jobs and the purchase of shares of for-profit companies is offered by the above-mentioned Portugal and some other states.
When choosing a Golden Visa by the price (the minimum entry amount of the contribution/refundable investment required), you should keep in mind that the cheapest offers come from relatively unpopular states. For example, to obtain permanent residence in Paraguay, you will have to deposit less than USD 10,000 with a local bank. Dutch residence by investments will cost EUR 1.25 million.
When choosing a refundable investment project, you should be ready to retain the acquired asset in your ownership for the mandatory period – so as not to lose the status of a resident. For example, in Portugal, investments need to be held for five years, after which the residence permit is allowed to be changed for permanent residence/citizenship.
Simplicity and speed
The host jurisdictions, as a rule, oblige immigrant investors to provide evidence of no history of a criminal record, the results of a medical examination (paper confirming the absence of confirmed or suspected infections and diseases), confirmation of the sufficiency of the legally earned financial resources (in the amount that would be enough to pay bills during their stay in the relevant state). Besides, when choosing a Golden Visa, you should compare differences in the qualifying rules set by the jurisdictions, and be aware of the scope and duration of the verification of the candidate’s compliance.
- Physical presence/in-person visit before a resident card issuance: Some states allow applicants to obtain a resident card remotely. However, candidates are often required to visit the host state at least once for biometric screening and some other formalities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Greek authorities and other jurisdictions have declared their intention to conduct the checkup at a distance, but the relevant arrangements have not been made yet.
- Physical presence after issuing a resident card: A Portuguese residence permit by investment is an excellent choice for people who need maximum mobility: successful candidates need to spend one week a year in Portugal to keep the resident card valid. The United Kingdom Investor Residence program, on the contrary, obliges a successful applicant to move for at least 183 days a year to the United Kingdom as the main place of residence.
- Compliance verification: European countries that issue residence permits to investors, as a rule, conduct the most in-depth compliance checks following the instructions of the official Brussels. Competitors from other regions, such as South America, often conduct less stringent checks of applicants. That is why the wait time is shorter.
- Speed: The duration of the application processing procedure varies widely. For example, Spain issues a permanent residence permit within a few months, since the administrative processes are properly debugged and optimized. The United States, on the contrary, obliges some applicants for an EB5 investor green card to wait for years. This is due to the quotas set for different countries (they quickly get exhausted).
- The ease and speed of naturalization: The minimum time a resident by investment would need to obtain a second citizenship is three years (in Paraguay), the maximum – twenty years (in Andorra). When preparing to change your residence permit for citizenship, you will be required to demonstrate knowledge of the national language used in the host country. Additionally, candidates are often required to pass tests in History, some Laws, other aspects required for successful integration in the local culture and society. Do you speak English fluently and do not want to learn a new language? Then you should apply for some Golden Visa program offered by any English-speaking country (for example, Ireland). Please note that slow naturalization is likely to add new challenges. For example, in case of changes in the local government, the authorities may decide to cancel the program of citizenship by investments.
Are you too impatient? If so, you should choose citizenship by investment
The wide range of Golden Visas and the abundance of various incentives that every host country offers may complicate your task of choosing the right option. There are several types of incentives:
- Plan B: advantages of some countries are their sustainable political systems based on the principles of democracy. For example, Portugal / Malta. It is obvious that only a few investors will decide to create a “spare airfield” in a jurisdiction where freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and freedom of will are only declared, and not guaranteed in reality; economic shocks are commonplace; and political instability is likely.
- Lifestyle: Are you tired of megacities? Would you like to increase the overall level of comfort and enjoy life in a resort region? You should pay attention to the resort destinations that offer residence permit / permanent residence programs to investors. Their winning advantage is a combination of the pleasant climate and the developed tourist infrastructure. Greece and Malta are excellent examples. The United Kingdom with its rainy climate and overcrowded cities is unlikely to qualify as a resort.
- Border crossing: Host countries guarantee immigrant investors access to their own territory. But in some cases, resident cards are accepted by neighboring states as border crossing cards. For example, the Golden Visas offered by some European jurisdictions open access to the Schengen zone without additional formalities, and the residence permit of Ireland allows you to freely visit the territory of the UK.
- Fiscal matters: Uruguay, Portugal, Greece, and some other countries offer immigrant investors additional benefits and lower personal income tax on income from local/foreign sources. Please note: to receive this and similar incentives, you will probably have to register a local tax residence if you have stayed in the host state for more than 183 days annually.
- Investment, banking, business: Resident cards simplify interaction with banks and doing business on the territory of the host state. Often, the status of a resident allows you to avoid restrictions imposed on other foreigners buying real estate. Having obtained permanent residence permits in a reputable jurisdiction, clients enjoy better interaction with banks in any part of the world.
Other important aspects
When choosing a residence-by-investment or a golden visa program, it is recommended to take into account some additional criteria, including, among other things, the following:
- The period of validity of the resident card: Investing in a resident card issued for the maximum possible validity period allows you to minimize the time and costs of reissuing the document in the future. You can consult with the experts of InternationalWealth to choose a residence permit / permanent residence with the maximum validity period.
- Image/prestige: It is obvious that the permanent residence permit in Paraguay is less prestigious than, for example, the permit issued by the Republic of Malta. As a rule, investments in European immigration programs leading to a second EU passport in the future can be a prestige/image booster.
Free consultation on how to choose the right Golden Visa . Residence-By-Investment solutions
Nowadays, the investment immigration programs are gaining even greater popularity as many wealthy and prudent people feel a need to protect their business from political and economic risks, ensure a better future for children, and create a “spare airfield” in a developed country.
Do you have adequate resources to invest? Excellent! Then your opportunities to choose the right Golden Visa are ample. But remember: it is quite difficult to compare investment immigration programs, given the abundance of variables. Besides, you should compare the programs by advantages that are available immediately after receiving a resident card and benefits that can be obtained in the long term.
Contact the experts of InternationalWealth for advice on choosing a golden visa. Experienced experts always study the client’s profile (needs, opportunities, circumstances) to be able to customize their advice in choosing the optimal scheme of investment immigration. Experts will help you fill out and compile a winning application portfolio and guide you through the procedures smoothly and confidently.
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