The answer to this question depends on three factors that are unique for each applicant: 1) your primary goal, 2) your budget, and 3) your desired time-frame.
1) Primary Goal. What is your primary reason for obtaining an alternative (or second) residency or citizenship in the EU? Are you planning to live or retire in the new country? Starting a business there? Is the goal to provide your family with a better quality of life, or your children with a better education? Or is the second passport meant as a safety net should the situation at home become unsustainable? All reasons are valid – which one is most important to you?
2) Budget. The second major decision factor is your budget. Generally, permanent residency programs are more affordable than citizenship programs because residency benefits are limited to the country that issues the residency visa. Permanent residency of a country confers the right to live in this country indefinitely. Examples of permanent residency programs include Malta (from EUR 120k), Greece (EUR 250k), Cyprus (EUR 300k), Portugal (EUR 350k), and Spain (EUR 500k).
Citizenship by investment programs, on the other hand, result in receiving the EU passport which allows you to live/study/work/retire in any EU member country. Citizenship provides much greater freedoms and security than just permanent residency. Because of these benefits, citizenship programs require a larger financial commitment, starting from EUR 390k (Bulgaria), EUR 800k (Malta), and EUR 2 million (Cyprus).
3) Speed of Application Processing. The third major factor in deciding on a residency / citizenship program is the time it takes to process your application. Permanent residency can take as little as 30 days when coupled with a citizenship application in Malta, for example. If not connected to a citizenship application, permanent residency can require anywhere from three to eight months depending on which country you select.
Application processing for citizenship, on the other hand, can be as short as four to six months in Cyprus, 12-18 months in Malta, and 18 months in Bulgaria. In general, the higher the investment amount, the faster the processing.
Lastly, if you have a lot of time then the lowest cost path to citizenship is by way of naturalization. Options include, for example, Greece, Portugal, and Spain where after receiving permanent residency status you may file for citizenship after living in the country between 6 – 10 years. The risk here is that you cannot be certain that the citizenship by naturalization option is still available that many years down the road as these programs usually depend on whichever political party is in power at that time.
In summary, the program that is best for you depends on your own prioritization of the above factors. Should you be ready to file an application we encourage you proceed now as the EU government in Brussels appears to be in favor of severely tightening application rules and increasing investment minimums as outlined in our previous newsletter. Time is of the essence!
Because immigration by investment program details can change from time to time please inquire with us regarding the latest rules and regulations for the program of your choice.
To start the application process online please register here.
To receive a detailed cost estimate or to schedule a confidential in-office consultation for the Malta citizenship program please complete the Malta Immigration by Investment contact form.
To learn more about the various Immigration by Investment programs available worldwide please visit our portal at www.Global-Residency.com.
If you are still undecided which program is right for you please use our automatic Product Finder Tool to find an option that best fits your budget and timeline.