What do Austria, Cyprus and Malta have in common, apart from being members of the European Union? If you answered they are the only EU nations that offer Citizenship by Investment programs you would be 100% correct. But how expensive are those programs, and how would embarking on one benefit your life?
If you are a high-powered business person living in a country in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, chances are you will have heard of Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and be familiar with why people embark on such programs, and the benefits to be had from gaining second citizenship and a more powerful passport than the one they were born to. Only eight countries in the world currently offer CBI programs, and prices differ from $100,000 to €10 million.
Before the advent of CBI, an individual was pretty much stuck with the citizenship they were born with, unless they married a person from a foreign country and then chose to live there, or they became eligible for citizenship after living and working in a country for many years. Until very recently, wealthy people didn’t adopt the approach that many do now, that they can gain a new passport literally as easily as they would buy a new luxury car – or a new jet or yacht for that matter.
Citizenship by Investment
CBI first saw the light of day in the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis way back in 1984, when government officials from that cash-strapped country hit upon the idea of granting foreign investors their citizenship and passport in return for a financial investment. Several other Caribbean countries followed suit over the years with varying degrees of success.
However, it wasn’t until St. Kitts overhauled their by then outdated program in 2007 and made it extremely appealing to high net-worth individuals from third-world nations by tying it in with tax-free banking that CBI really begin gaining traction. The reality was thousands of rich Asians, Africans and Arabs were sick and tired of being both judged and hamstrung by their passport. Suddenly, they were able to purchase a beautiful piece of property in the paradise of a Caribbean island – and receive that island’s citizenship and passport in return.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ CBI program has proved so successful, it is now that nation’s no.1 source of revenue, even though the island is famed for its status as a tax haven. The four other Caribbean islands with CBI programs – Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Lucia – all report similar success stories. Antigua and Barbuda in particular is enjoying high levels of foreign investment, spearheaded by none other than Robert De Niro and James Packer, as it attempts to make good its promise to become the “Dubai of the Caribbean.”
CBI has certainly been great for the Caribbean, and in less than a decade has helped take a region that was destitute and bankrupt and turned into a playground for the wealthy. Thus far, only three European nations have taken the plunge – Austria, Cyprus and Malta. All three are far more expensive than the priciest Caribbean program, but each one offers the “Golden Ticket” of EU citizenship and an extremely powerful passport that guarantees visa-free access to virtually every country worth entering.
Austria – officially the Republic of Austria – can trace its history all the way back to 996 AD, and is one of the oldest established nations in the Western world. A landlocked country, Austria borders Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Liechtenstein. Its centralized location has benefitted Austria immensely historically, and helped make Austria one of the great cultural and economic centers of Europe, which it remains to this day.
Despite a population of less than 9 million, Austria regularly ranks among the top 15 richest countries in the world – virtually unique for such a small nation. Austria boasts a high standard of living and also scores well for healthcare and education. Traditionally Austria has benefited massively from having Germany as its main trading partner, and since becoming a member of the European Union in 1995, Austria’s economy has gone from strength to strength.
Austrian CBI Requirements
Although expensive, Austria’s CBI program is very fast, with full citizenship and passport granted immediately and without the need for residency upon completion of investment requirements. The options available to an applicant are:
- A charitable donation of €2-3 million to the Austrian economy (or)
- A recoverable investment of $10 million in the economy of Austria (plus)
Austrian CBI Benefits
- The Austrian CBI program is super-fast, with Austrian citizenship and passport delivered upon completion of investment
- Family members such as a spouse and children up to 18 years of age can be included in the citizenship application
- The Austrian passport grants its holder visa-free access to 173 countries worldwide which makes it the fifth strongest passport in the world
- As an Austrian citizen an investor and their family will have access to the very best standards of education and health available anywhere in Europe
- Austria is a highly respected EU member state, and as an Austrian citizen an investor is free to live and work without restriction in any European Union country you choose
The beautiful Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is an extremely popular holiday destination which attracts almost three million tourists every year, almost three times its own population, which makes it the 6th most popular holiday location in the world per capita. Not surprisingly, Cyprus’s economy is built around tourism as well as its restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels.
Cyprus CBI Requirements
In order to qualify for the Cyprus CBI program, an applicant must meet one of the following investment requirements:
- Invest a minimum of €2 million into a Cyprus real estate purchase, land development or infrastructure project
- Invest a minimum of €2 million into an established Cyprus business or company
Cyprus CBI Benefits
- The right to live and work anywhere within the European Union, and because Cyprus is a member of the British Commonwealth, the UK also
- The Cyprus passport grants its holder visa-free access to 159 countries globally including Western Europe in its entirety, Canada, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Australasia and much of Africa
- The processing period for a Cypriot passport is extremely fast, averaging around three months upon completion of investment
Like fellow Mediterranean island nation neighbors and fellow Commonwealth members Cyprus, Malta is an extremely popular tourist destination, attracting more than 1.6 million tourists per year, which is almost four times its population. Because of its increasing popularity, Malta has been forced to expand its tourism infrastructure in recent years, resulting in an abundance of high quality hotels, holiday apartments and villas.
Malta CBI Requirements
Applicants are required to make a combination of investments which total around €1.2 million. These investments must be maintained for a minimum of five years. Investment requirements are as follows:
- An applicant must either purchase real estate in Malta worth at least €350,000 – or – lease a residential property for five years with an annual rent of a minimum €16,000
- In addition to the above investment, an applicant must make a financial contribution to the National Development and Social Fund of Malta of the sum of €650,000
- Finally, an applicant must also make a €150,000 investment into Maltese stocks and bonds and stocks which must be held for a minimum of five years
Malta CBI Benefits
There are many reasons why an investor should choose Malta’s CBI program, and here are just some of them:
- An applicant can include their spouse plus multiple family members on their application at no additional cost
- The Maltese passport is the 9th most powerful in the world, and has visa-free access to 168 countries around the world including all of Western Europe (including the UK and Ireland) and parts of Eastern Europe, North and South America including the US and Canada, Southern Africa, areas of Asia, the Far East and Australia and New Zealand
- As an EU member state, Maltese citizens are free to live and work without limitations in any EU country
- Maltese citizens are also members of the British Commonwealth, and are free to enter the UK without a visa
We at 2ndPassports.com pride ourselves on being both market leaders and innovators in the second citizenship/residency industry. Our goal is a simple one; to find the perfect Citizenship By Investment or Investor Visa program for those individuals who are looking to gain the citizenship and passport – or simply the residency – of a country that will grant them a safer, better, more secure life, and grant them greater freedom of movement.
The CBI programs of Austria, Cyprus and Malta deliver those benefits and much, much more. The acquisition of second citizenship to any of these three countries, and ownership of a powerful EU passport will literally be life-changing.
For more information on the CBI programs of Austria, Cyprus and Malta, contact 2ndPassports.com today, via email, WhatsApp or Telegram. If you prefer you can chat to one of our expert representatives directly – you can call us using our encrypted phone and Skype lines. All of our contact details are listed at the top of the 2ndPassports.com homepage.
REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION
Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential consultation.
This is a secure online application protected by SSL encryption