EU citizenship by investment

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Citizenship by Investment in the EU

 

Obtaining European Union citizenship through investment is a popular and legal process that offers significant benefits to investors and their families in exchange for substantial financial contributions.

Investments in real estate or other assets provide a pathway to obtaining citizenship in one of the European countries. This process is governed by the legislation of each specific country and entails certain conditions and requirements that investors must meet.

Acquiring EU citizenship through investment not only ensures asset protection but also serves as a “backup plan” for families and businesses. In addition to attractive economic and tax conditions, EU citizenship grants access to extensive opportunities for business, education, and travel.

In this article, we will thoroughly examine the advantages, legal aspects, conditions, and features of obtaining citizenship by investment in various European Union countries.

Advantages of Obtaining EU Citizenship

✔ Free residence in any EU country for the entire family

✔ Social benefits (healthcare, European pensions)

✔ Education for children in prestigious European universities either free or at reduced cost

✔ Asset and capital protection

✔ Favorable treatment from banks for their residents

✔ Opportunities for professional development and employment in any European country

✔ Tax benefits for “new” citizens

✔ Transfer of tax residency to a reputable jurisdiction

Citizenship through Real Estate: Conditions and Requirements

 

Obtaining EU citizenship through real estate investment is available in Malta. This process is regulated by the Maltese Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment program.

The citizenship by investment program in Malta offers foreign investors and their families the opportunity to obtain Maltese citizenship based on significant financial contributions to the country’s economy, including investments in real estate. This program provides substantial benefits, such as the ability to travel freely within the Schengen Zone, the right to reside and work in any EU country, and access to high-quality healthcare and educational services.

Although the program requires substantial investments from the applicant, it is currently the fastest way to obtain EU citizenship. However, one of the program’s requirements is that the applicant and family members included in the application obtain citizenship through naturalization and must have Maltese resident status for at least 12 or 36 months before receiving a Maltese passport.

This residency period is necessary to meet all legal and administrative requirements. The process involves thorough due diligence, financial transparency, and compliance with all program conditions to ensure full adherence to European Union legal standards.

The investment requirements for the program include several key aspects:

Read more about how to obtain Maltese citizenship

Citizenship in the EU through investment

 

Unlike the relatively quick process of obtaining Maltese citizenship through investment, in other EU countries, it is not possible to “buy EU citizenship” as there are no programs that provide immediate passport and citizenship acquisition.

In countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Cyprus, the process of obtaining a second passport through investment involves several stages. Initially, investors are granted temporary residence (TR) or permanent residence (PR), and then, upon meeting specific conditions, citizenship may be obtained.

Investment programs such as the “Golden Visa” or “Investor Visa” offered in these EU countries represent a less costly (compared to Malta citizenship by investment) way to obtain TR or PR for the entire family, with the subsequent possibility of converting this status into EU citizenship.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these countries and their programs.

Comparison of Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programs in European Countries

Кипр недвижимость

Cyprus Citizenship through Residency

Cyprus’s “Golden Visa” program is one of the most attractive in the European Union, offering investors and their families a reliable path to EU citizenship. The program provides immediate permanent residency (PR) for investments starting from €300,000. Investments can be directed towards purchasing residential or commercial property, shares in Cypriot companies, or investments in private investment funds.

After residing in Cyprus for five years, investors and their families can apply for citizenship, granting access to the benefits of EU citizenship, including freedom of movement, employment rights, and access to education and healthcare services across EU countries.

The “Golden Visa” program of Cyprus also offers the following key advantages for investors and their families:

Greek Citizenship through the Golden Visa

Greece’s “Golden Visa” program is highly sought after among investors, offering a unique opportunity to obtain European Union citizenship through investments in real estate or other assets. To participate in the program, one must purchase property in Greece or make investments in Greek companies or government bonds amounting to at least €400,000.

Under the program, a five-year residency permit (PR) is issued, which can be renewed indefinitely, provided all requirements are met. Another advantage of the program is the ability to apply for EU citizenship after living in Greece for seven years.

Greek citizenship grants passport holders visa-free access to 189 countries worldwide, offering limitless opportunities for travel, business, and education.

Portuguese Citizenship through the Golden Visa

Foreign citizens have the opportunity to obtain residency and subsequently Portuguese citizenship through investments under the Golden Visa program. The program allows applicants to apply for citizenship after 5 years of residence, provided certain conditions are met, including proficiency in Portuguese language. A Portuguese passport grants holders visa-free access to 190 countries worldwide.

Minimum investment amounts to participate in the Golden Visa program start from €250,000 as a donation towards national heritage preservation, arts, and culture, or €500,000 in investments in an existing business or investment fund. Purchasing real estate in Portugal is no longer a viable option for obtaining the Golden Visa.

The program also provides access to education, healthcare, and other social services.

Испания

Spanish Citizenship

Spain also offers the opportunity to obtain citizenship through participation in the Golden Visa program, by investing in promising sectors of the country’s economy.

To qualify for the Golden Visa, investors can invest in a Spanish business project that contributes to job creation, technological and/or scientific innovation, or has socio-economic impact. Unfortunately, purchasing real estate in Spain does not grant residency status.

The program is designed for investors aiming to become full-fledged members of Spanish society, with full access to the benefits of European Union membership. Citizenship and a Spanish passport can be obtained after 10 years of residency in the country.

Holders of Spanish passports have visa-free access to 193 countries worldwide. However, it’s important to note that Spain does not recognize dual citizenship, so applicants may need to renounce their current citizenship.

Италия

Italian Citizenship through Investor Visa

Italy also offers an attractive investment program that opens the path to citizenship and obtaining an Italian passport.

The program provides various investment options: from investing in innovative startups, with a minimum amount of €250,000, to increasing the share capital of Italian companies, requiring an investment of at least €500,000. Charitable donations starting from €1 million are also possible.

Italian citizenship can be obtained after 10 years, provided the applicant demonstrates sufficient proficiency in the Italian language and successful integration into Italian society.

Italy ranks second in the global “Passport Index”. Holders of Italian passports enjoy visa-free access to 193 countries worldwide.

Франция

French Citizenship

France has introduced an excellent alternative to the Golden Visas in the EU — the Talent Passport category “Business investor” for entrepreneur investors.

Residency is granted immediately for 4 years with the right of renewal and leads to French citizenship in just 5 years.

Holders of a French passport can travel visa-free to 193 countries worldwide, making it one of the most powerful passports in the world.

For the Investor category, a minimum investment of €300,000 in tangible or intangible assets is required.

For those wishing to actively participate in business in France, the investment amount is reduced to €30,000.

Choosing a Country for Residency and Investment

As evident, many countries offer attractive investment opportunities that can lead to residency status and ultimately citizenship. The choice of country for such investments depends on several factors: economic stability, tax benefits, quality of life, and business opportunities. It’s also important to consider the personal preferences of the investor and their family.

In recent years, Cyprus, Greece, and Malta have become particularly popular destinations. These countries have programs for obtaining residency through real estate investment, as well as relatively fast-track citizenship processes. An advantage is that these countries recognize dual citizenship, so you won’t need to renounce your current citizenship.

Our specialists are ready to provide you with detailed consultation and assistance in choosing the optimal path to your desired status.

Feel free to contact us!

Our team of experienced lawyers and immigration law specialists offers assistance to individuals seeking residency status in the EU.

We also provide services related to business, taxation, investments, and real estate.

 

 

Feod Group Services

 

Founded in 1992, Feod Group assists clients in obtaining residency status in the EU and offers comprehensive services in investment, business registration, and international taxation.

Immigration Services

Legal and Business Services

With our assistance, you can become an EU resident, effectively invest, and develop your business while benefiting from professional legal and consulting support.

 

Learn more about all services provided by Feod Group

 

FAQ
Where can I obtain EU citizenship through property purchase?

You can quickly obtain EU citizenship through property purchase in Malta within 12 or 36 months of residency. The property purchase cost for citizenship starts from €700,000 + a non-refundable contribution of €600,000 or €750,000 + a donation of €10,000.

Cyprus and Greece also offer investment programs leading to citizenship through property purchase:

  • Cyprus: Property costs from €300,000, citizenship in 5 years
  • Greece: Property costs from €400,000, citizenship in 7 years
In which country can I obtain European citizenship quickly?

Malta offers citizenship through a special investment program in 12 or 36 months of residency. Portugal, France, and Cyprus – citizenship in 5 years, Greece – citizenship in 7 years, Italy and Spain – citizenship in 10 years.

What type of property can I purchase in Europe to obtain citizenship?
  • In Malta, residential property purchases starting from €700,000 are eligible.
  • In Cyprus, purchasing new residential or commercial property from €300,000.
  • In Greece, purchasing residential or commercial property from €400,000.
What is the process for obtaining citizenship?

Each country has its own requirements and procedures, but the general process involves:

  • Consultation: Meeting with our specialist to evaluate options and receive professional advice.
  • Investment Option Selection: Assistance in choosing the appropriate investment or property option in Europe that meets citizenship program requirements.
  • Investment: Legal support throughout the investment process.
  • Document Submission: Application preparation with clear instructions and support for gathering and preparing all necessary documents.
  • Residency Status: Upon document submission, obtaining residency status, the first step towards citizenship.
  • Citizenship: After residing for a specified period and completing all checks and procedures, competent authorities decide on granting citizenship.
Can I invest in commercial property to obtain citizenship later?

Yes, in countries like Cyprus and Greece, you can invest in commercial property and qualify for permanent residency (PR) under the “Golden Visa” programs. These programs allow investors to reside in the country and eventually obtain citizenship.

How long must I hold property to maintain citizenship?

The duration for holding property to maintain PR and obtain citizenship depends on the specific rules and conditions of the “Golden Visa” programs in each country. Typically, you need to retain ownership until applying for citizenship. After obtaining citizenship, property ownership requirements no longer apply, and you may sell your property while retaining citizenship.

Article author

Anastasia Taran Head of Corporate Services
Ukraine
In 2013, she graduated in law from the National University «Odessa Law Academy» with honors and received a Master of Law degree. Anastasia Taran has experience in international and contract law, as well as corporate and tax law in Europe. Within the framework of Feod Group, she specializes i...
In 2013, she graduated in law from the National University «Odessa Law Academy» with honors and received a Master of Law degree. Anastasia Taran has experience in international and contract law, as well as corporate and tax law in Europe. Within the framework of Feod Group, she specializes in immigration and corporate law of European countries, particularly:
  • family and corporate immigration solutions.
  • establishing a business in Europe.
  • personal and corporate taxation in Europe.
  • opening accounts in European banks.
  • obtaining a tax resident status.
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Why clients choose Feod Group

Since 1992, Feod Group has been providing a wide range of legal, business and immigration services in Europe, the USA and other countries of the world.

The company has accredited western lawyers, experts in various fields of law and jurisdictions of the world.

Having offices in Europe and the USA, Feod Group provides rapid paperwork and maximum customer comfort.

We provide our clients with related services, such as relocation and adaptation abroad, organizing family relocation abroad, enrollment of children in schools and many other services.

 

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🔹 Personal income tax in Europe in 2024: Rates and methods of minimization

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George Georghiou
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Chryso Christofidou
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