Friday, 22 January 2016

Fastest & Simplest European Residency Option Available Today

There are a number of options open for those wanting fast access to Europe. The current Residency by Investment Programmes that are available in Europe includes options from the likes of Spain, 
Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Hungary.  They typically enable the investor and family to live in the country that is providing the programme and to travel on a Schengen visa. They are therefore suited to those that require the flexibility of fast and secure route to Europe if needed, the option to travel without the need to work in Europe.

The speed, complexity and costs do vary and one option in particular has proved to be extremely attractive since its introduction a few years ago and that is the Cyprus Permanent Residency Programme. There have been over 2,000 successful applicants in the last 2 years, however why is it proving to be so popular?  Basically it is very fast, very simple and also more cost effective than the previous options that were on the market.

It has now introduced a fast track service which takes just 8 weeks!! There are no residency requirements, no language requirements and is therefore provides a very fast and easy option for those with funds to invest.  By investing a €300,000 in a new home it is also considerable more cost effective than the Golden Visa options from Spain and Portugal which start at €500,000.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Why Wait 6 Years? Faster, Cheaper and Simpler Access to the UK and Europe

An Alternative to the UK Tier I Investment Visa
The UK Tier 1 Investment Visa has been a reasonably attractive route for wealthy non EU individuals and families to gain access to the UK and European Union for many years. However the cost of this option recently doubled to €2 million, the process and requirements have understandably become more challenging, it includes extensive residency requirements and typically takes in the region of 6 years to accomplish.

This may still be an attractive option for some, however the length of time it takes, the requirement to live in the UK for a minimum of 185 days per year, every year for 5 years, and the language requirements makes it prohibitive for many. So is there a practical alternative that can provide similar benefits?

 The Cyprus (European Union) Citizenship and Passport Programme offers almost identical benefits to the UK Tier 1 Investment Visa route in a fraction of the time, is far simpler and is without any residency or language requirements.

How do the offerings compare in terms of benefits to the investor
They both provide the freedom, security and mobility of a second passport and the possibility to live, work and study anywhere in the European Union. Both offerings include the investors spouse and dependants and the Cyprus offering extends this cover to dependants up to the age of 28 as long as they are in full time education. They both allow extensive travel to over 150 countries. 

Are there any notable differences
Not at the moment as both offerings currently provide Full European Union Citizenship and Passports and the benefits that go with it. On the cover page of the UK Passport it states European Union, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Passport whilst the cover page of the Cyprus Passport states European Union, Republic of Cyprus Passport. However depending upon the outcome of this year’s EU referendum the UK option may be restricted to providing the ability to live and work in the UK only whilst the Cyprus offering will provide complete freedom and access to live and work anywhere in the European union.

Are there major differences in qualification?
The difference in qualification is quite extensive. The UK Tier 1 Investor visa requires the investor to live in the UK for a minimum of 185 days every year for a minimum period of 5 years before an application can be made for Citizenship. It therefore typically takes around 6 years to obtain UK (EU) Citizenship and Passports. There are English language tests and requirements. The minimum investment level has recently increased to £2m (approximately €2.8m) and property investment does not qualify as an allowable investment route despite it being a very popular investment vehicle for international investors.

By comparison the Cyprus offering taking just 3-4 months for Cyprus (European Union) Passports and Citizenship to be issued is lightning fast. There are no residency requirements, no language requirements and one of the major investment options for the fast track route is property investment. At €2.5m it is also a little less expensive.

Citizenship-by-investment raises €2.5bn for Cyprus

CYPRUS’ citizenship-by-investment programme has yielded €2.5bn in revenues for the government since 2013, Interior minister Socratis Hasikos told lawmakers on Friday.

Presenting the ministry’s 2016 budget, Hasikos told the House Finance committee that the programme, which affords wealthy foreigners the Cypriot nationality if they park €5m of deposits into a local bank or invest an equal amount in shares or bonds in Cyprus, or if they buy property worth at least €300,000, has exceeded expectations, but declined to reveal the number of investors who took advantage of the scheme.

Necessary conditions for eligibility to the programme is that the money invested was previously kept abroad, and that the applicant does not work in Cyprus. The Interior minister said this income has helped Cyprus weather the tough times of crisis in previous years, and noted that naturalisation is linked to investments, property sales, deposits, and the trading of shares.

However, Hasikos said, pressure is being applied by the European Union on Cyprus to amend the scheme’s eligibility criteria, which the government is resisting. “We had told the EU that we instituted the programme as a temporary measure to combat the effects of the financial crisis,” Hasikos said. But, he said, the programme is not being abandoned.

Hasikos assured lawmakers that applicants are screened extensively before being granted citizenship. “We don’t approve terrorists or drug dealers – there are thorough checks before a foreigner is naturalised,” he noted.