Even well-off people face significant time expenditures and financial hindrances, to say nothing of stress because of red tape issues during the application process. Long-term visas are not always the solution if you have to make numerous business trips or if you simply like changing your location. Those who value mobility may find acquiring a European passport the optimal solution that will allow you not only to live, study and work in any country of the European Union but also to travel to over 150 countries without applying for a visa.
If you resolve on getting European citizenship, bringing your family to the EU and running your business in accordance with the European regulations, our experts suggest you consider Malta and Cyprus. Another good option providing you with visa-free travelling around the EU is obtaining a passport of Montenegro but we will discuss it in detail later on.
It is essential to understand that mere information on the Internet will not suffice if you consider obtaining a second citizenship, you will definitely need a consultation by a professional immigration lawyer who will not only analyse your chances to get a citizenship and help you to prepare the required documents but will also provide you with impeccable legal guidance during the citizenship by investment application process.
How to Get Citizenship of Malta and a European Passport. Delving into Details
If your business is flourishing and you are a well-off person who has achieved financial well-being due to your intelligence and hard work, Malta will be glad to see you as its citizen. You will simply need to take part in an investment programme the goal of which is to attract foreign investment to the Maltese economy. Three types of investment listed below will secure you an EU passport (note that each of the aspects listed is mandatory).
- Investment in property. You need to purchase a real estate object for at least 350,000 euro or rent a real estate object for at least 16,000 euro per year. You cannot let or sublet this real estate or commercial property, the applicant is expected to possess or use the real estate object for at least 5 years since the date of execution of a purchase or lease contract.
- Non-refundable contribution to the government of Malta. You have a chance to obtain Maltese citizenship if you make a non-refundable contribution in amount of 650,000 euro as the main applicant. A non-refundable contribution for your spouse and minor dependents included in your application amount to 25,000 euro and 50,000 for dependents older than 18 years.
- Purchasing securities. You may acquire a European passport if you invest in government bonds and other types of securities a sum amounting to at least 150,000 euro. These securities should be owned by you for at least 5 years.
Some additional expenses and payments may be required. You should also check if you comply with all the criteria for applicants and for candidates for Maltese citizenship. A qualified legal advisor who is proficient in immigration legislation will help you to deal with it.
Mandatory criteria to meet:
- at least 18 y.o.;
- a letter of guarantee to support each of your dependents older than 18 years (except for the spouse) financially;
- a medical certificate about health condition of all applicants;
- no criminal record and breaches of immigration law;
- a successfully passed due diligence for all applicants older than 13 years;
- regular visits to the country to learn more about its traditions, culture and lifestyle;
- a Maltese temporary residence permit (for at least a year).
Getting Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus. What Do You Need for That?
The authorities of Cyprus are interested in enhancing economic well-being of the country and thus, they generously give opportunities to acquire citizenship of Cyprus and a European passport to everyone who is ready to make sufficient investment in economy of the island. To obtain an EU passport, you need to comply with the requirements of one of the following programmes:
1. Investment in business in Cyprus (purchasing, registration or participation in a company). The minimum contribution amounts to 2,000,000 euro. The company is expected to comply with the following requirements:
- it hires at least 5 employees who are citizens of Cyprus or another EU country;
- it is physically present in Cyprus and it provides its services / runs its business predominantly on the island;
- its employees are permanent residents of Cyprus who live in the country for 5 years prior to application for citizenship of Cyprus;
- investment projects have been developed for Cyprus and are carried out in accordance with the investment plans.
2. Investment in property, infrastructure projects or land development. The applicant is expected to buy a building (a real estate or commercial object) or to build it, or to invest at least 2,000,000 euro in a Cyprian infrastructure object. Land development projects consisting of tourist objects are also possible.
3. Investment in financial securities and alternative investment environment. In order to get a European passport, you need to buy bonds, promissory notes and shares of companies that are physically present in Cyprus and perform active business activities on the island. You may also purchase shares in alternative investment funds for at least 2,000,000 euro. You are expected to own them for at least 3 years, this fact has to be proven by annual audit reports.
4. You may also combine all the options indicated above. The essential requirement is that the sum of all your investments should exceed 2,000,000 euro. This option also allows you to purchase special government bonds for a sum exceeding 500,000 euro.
Other requirements for potential holders of a Cyprian passport are similar to the ones in Malta. There are two significant aspects though that make the procedure of issuing an EU passport in Cyprus different. An applicant should have a temporary residency permit for at least 6 months and purchase real estate property in Cyprus for at least 500,000 euro. You should be a permanent owner of this property and you are expected to live there when you are in Cyprus. The 500,000 spent on this property are included in 2,000,000 euro that you should invest in the Cyprian economy, regardless which investment option you choose.
NOTE that since November 1st, 2023, the programme of obtaining citizenship by investment in Cyprus has been suspended so, you have to consider other economic citizenship programmes.
How To Travel around Europe without a Visa Being a Citizen of Montenegro
It is worth mentioning that currently, Montenegro is not a member of the European Union. However, this country has numerous advantages for well-off investors: they are attracted by the local resorts, political and social stability and a quick process of obtaining citizenship of Montenegro. But in the first place, a passport of Montenegro is worth considering because it gives you an opportunity of visa-free travelling so, this document can also be called a European passport.
You will become a holder of a passport of Montenegro if you do the following:
1. A one-off non-refundable donation to the state fund of Montenegro (100,000 euro).
2. Investment in real estate projects approved by the state. There are three options of investment:
- investment in housing development in northern and central parts of the country (underdeveloped regions) – 250,000 euro;
- investment in housing development in the zones that are attractive for tourists and investors (Podgorica, coastal areas) – 450,000 euro;
- investment in tourism and hospitality providing new jobs – 5,000,000 or 15,000,000 euro.
3. Extra administrative fees (15,000 euro for the main applicant, 10,000 euro for each out of up to 4 dependents, 50,000 for each additional family member). Passport and due diligence fees are also paid separately.
Other requirements to the applicant include no criminal records or breaches of criminal and immigration law, document proving good health condition, confirmation of the legal origin of the funds and proofs of impeccable personal and business reputation.
As you can see, if you are determined to get a European passport in Malta, Cyprus or Montenegro, you will need to consider some nuances of the bureaucratic procedures that you may not be aware of being a resident of another country. That is why help of experienced legal advisers from Imperial & Legal familiar with immigration requirements of each of these countries is necessary. They will find the best option for you and your family within the shortest possible period of time.