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The number of foreigners who want to obtain a second passport keeps increasing. Commonly they opt for a European country. Here one can find high living standards, economic stability, and security ensured by the law. And visa-free access to a good number of countries is an added bonus.
We asked experts at the Imperial & Legal
company specializing in immigration whether it is possible to get European citizenship quickly.
“The easiest way is to invest. The immigration laws tend to be favorably disposed towards those who are willing to invest in the local economy. However, even under these circumstances do not expect to acquire citizenship the day after you have signed all the papers.”
The majority of the European countries are willing to grant a residence permit to investors. It allows staying in the country and enjoying all the benefits, for example, traveling visa-free around the Schengen area. But it is more difficult to get a passport. It usually takes 5-6 years to get. The two exceptions are Cyprus and Malta. You can be granted a passport there in 6 months or in a year” says Vasily Kluev, the Chief Customer Officer at Imperial & Legal.
We will elaborate on citizenship by investment programs in these countries.
Malta citizenship by investmentMalta is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea. There is no tax on property, and the country enjoys a favorable business environment. The official languages are Maltese and English. The country is a member of both the EU and the Schengen Area. Malta citizenship gives you visa-free access to 170 countries, including the USA. Not just the applicant, but also their whole family can get a Maltese passport:
- Grown-up children under 26 (provided they are not married and do not have any stable income)
- Parents and grandparents (over 55, financially dependent on and staying with the applicant)
The minimum investment required for naturalization is €1,150,000. It consists of three compulsory parts: Government contribution. It is a non-refundable €650,000 contribution to the national budget. If you want to get citizenship for the whole family, you need to add €50,000 for each adult and €25,000 for each minor. Investment in real estate. Unlike most countries, here you can not only purchase a property but also take it on the lease (the minimum period is 5 years).
The minimum threshold for purchasing is €350,000, for renting – €16,000 per year. You can’t lease it out or sublet it. Investment in securities. There is a list of governmentally approved financial assets for this program. The list includes government bonds, debt securities, stocks, and shares of Maltese companies, investment units.
The minimum investment here is €150,000. Such investments must be retained for at least 5 years. As soon as all the accounting and legal documents are prepared, you will get the Maltese residence permit. In a year’s time, you will be able to apply for citizenship. It is not necessary to stay permanently in the country. But it would be a good idea to visit it a couple of times and show your interest in the local culture.
After all the diligence and background checks, your naturalization will be permitted by the relevant bodies.
“Currently, Cypriot and Maltese investment programs are not the cheapest, but the easiest ones from the perspective of obtaining citizenship. These countries have minimum requirements for the applicants and the passport can be given in a relatively short time. However, immigration laws do change over time. And they tend to become stricter. I recommend to those who really consider applying for European citizenship to do it without a delay,” says Vasily Kluev.