2018 Key Changes to Citizenship by Investment Programs

The CBI industry has seen some dramatic changes to investment migration and citizenship programs during the year 2017. The Citizenship by investment industry is seeing a rapid growth year by year and the demand for second passports just keeps on increasing.

After the 2017 Hurricane season, CBI programs in the Caribbean have become cheaper and much more affordable.

The following are the latest updates for 2018 for golden visas and citizenship by investment programs.

St Kitts and Nevis introduced Hurricane Relief Fund with contribution requirement of $150,000 as a limited time offer expiring on March 30, 2018.  St Kitts and Nevis signed visa waiver agreement with Russia and Indonesia. St Kitts passport tops the Henley 2018 Passport index among other CBI passports in the region with the maximum visa free countries.

Antigua and Barbuda slashed its NDF prices by 50% to just $100,000 from $200,000 after Barbuda was destroyed by Hurricane seeking money for recovery efforts.  Antigua also  lowered the processing fee for the real estate and business investment option for a family of four to US$50, 000.  Canada revoked visa waiver agreement of Antigua and Barbuda in 2017, citing its concerns with the CBI programme.

Saint Lucia announced amendment to its CBI program removing limit of applications and lifting the $3 million asset requirement. The qualifying investments for single application under National Economic Fund is $100,000 and $165,000 for Family application.

Dominica  EDF contribution remained the same at $100,000, but Dominica announced cut due diligence fee, processing fees, naturalisation fee, and also increased age limits for dependents and grand parents until March 2018, making the process easier.

Grenada reduced its investment contribution to $150,000 for NTF Single applicant. No changes in the family option or real estate. Grenada also increased the age of dependent children (26 to 30) and grand parents (55 to 65) making the application process easier. Grenada signed visa waiver agreement with Russia, UAE

Malta Individual investor program to be extended once the 1800 cap is reached. The IIP scheme requires around 900,000 euros investment to get Maltese passport after 1 year. Over 1200 families received Malta passport under the IIP scheme and the Prime Minister has announced the IIP scheme has brought half a billion to Malta. Malta also offers a golden visa program for 300,000 euro investment.

Cyprus after the Guardian exposé, announced it may cap its citizenship program and will enforce rules to limit promotion of the program. The minimum investment for citizenship in cyprus stands at 2 million euros. Cyprus also has a golden visa scheme

Greece remains the cheapest golden visa program program requiring a minimum 250,000 property purchase to qualify for five year residence permit.  Golden visa investment in Greece crossed 1.5 billion and over 1600 visas issued. The demand for Greece golden visas increased by 40% in 2017

Vanuatu DSP program gained more popularity among chinese and other investors. Vanuatu requires $220,00 for single applicant and  $280,000 for family citizenship. Vanuatu Government finally announced bitcoin will not be accepted for its citizenship by investment program.

Hungary ended its residency bond program on March 31, 2017. This program offered permanent residence against buying 300,000 worth of bonds.

Montenegro to launch its own citizenship by investment program soon. The Government has issued tender for Special investor program but no word on when the CBI program will start officially.

Moldova has amended laws to offer citizenship to investors, but the program is not officially open yet, but may open the future

Portugal Golden visa investment in real estate crossed 3 billion euros in 2017. Portugal introduced 2 new capital transfer schemes requiring 350,000 euros under ARI program.

Italy announced new golden visa program with investment minimum of 500,000 euros on startup innovative businesses.

Spain’s golden visa program also becoming popular with rich russian and chinese investors buying properties in Spain for 500,000 euros and qualify for golden visa. Golden visa investment over 2 billion euros poured in Spanish real estate, and over 2200 investors receiving residence permits

United Kingdom grants tier 1 entrepreneur (£200,000) and tier1 investor visas (£2m) which are immensely popular. granted a total of 3,428 tier1 investor visas to main applicants from 2008 to Q1 2017. Tier 1 investor program requires 2 million pounds for residency in the UK.  Chinese, Russians and Americans are the major investors in tier1 investor program, data shows. Over 15,000 entrepreneur visas issued according to statistics.

Australia offers permanent residency through significant investor scheme requiring A$1.5 million . Over 90% of high net worth applicants are from China and Hong Kong.

New Zealand $1.5 million investor scheme is growing in popularity and has attracted major investments from China, UK and USA. New Zealand has enacted new legislation restricting foreigners without residence buying property in New Zealand because of the soaring property prices and big demand.

United States – Eb-5 gets frequent extensions, despite being immensely popular, 88% of chinese applications are pending, approvals much faster for other countries. Over 10,000 EB-5 visas issued for FY 2017. EB-5 currently requires $500,00 or $1 million.

Canada’s application intake period for quebec investor program $800,000 , closes on February 23, 2018. The quota is set to only 1800 applicants with long waiting periods.

Ireland’s immigrant investor programme increased its minimum of €1,000,000 venture capital funding into an Irish business committed for three years. The demand for irish passports have soared following the Brexit vote. The philanthropic donation route is cheaper by half requires €500,000

Netherlands offers “golden visa” through foreign investor program in Netherlands. The scheme requires minimum amount of €1,250,000 in a company that is based in the Netherlands. Investing in real estate for private occupation is excluded.

Germany also offers new residency program to foreign investors who invest €250,000 euros in German businesses.

Singapore has $1.25 million investor scheme which offers permanent residency in the country

Malaysia also has a MM2H residency program in Asia. It just requires $130,000 bank assets to receive long term visa for 10 years.

Thailand also has special golden residence visa scheme which gives 5 year visa for $15,0000, 20 year visa for $60,000.

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