When you decide to move abroad you have to not only organise visas but also to decide what your long term plans are. If you are planning to stay long term then you will probably need to become a citizen.
Citizenship is a big deal. It means having access to free healthcare, education, social services and to a passport. But not everyone has the opportunity to become a citizen of a specific country they are interested in.
In this article, we will compare two different pathways to citizenship – a more direct path which is called citizenship by investment and another route called residency by investment (commonly associated with the golden visa term) which in the long-term can also lead to citizenship.
In order to detail and explain how both pathways work, we investigated and compared two distinct programs. One from the Caribbean and the other from Europe.
Two completely different approaches regarding how their governments try to attract foreign investors, as well as who might be eligible and how they can apply.
We will go into detail about both programs and explain why each is worth pursuing depending on your goals.
Let’s start with the Citizenship by Investment path
The Citizenship by Investment Program in Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda have been ranked high among the best places in the world to invest capital. So it comes as no surprise that the country’s government offers an excellent business environment and a reliable way to secure their new citizens’ investments and interest in the country.
The program allows investors and their families to obtain citizenship in exchange for an investment in the country.
There are four options of investments eligible for the program:
- Non-refundable contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF). Minimum amount $100,000 for a family of up to four.
- Purchase of real estate in one of the developments approved by the government, worth at least $200,000
- Donation of at least $150,000 to the University of the West Indies Fund.
- Business investment of at least $1.5 million, or a share of $400,000 in a $5 million total investment
Investors who can benefit from Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment are those who are looking to establish themselves in Antigua and want to create a strong base and network there. They are seeking out countries that offer attractive tax regimes and where they can easily open businesses or move their existing companies.
It is also ideal for high-net worth individuals who want a strong passport to improve global mobility. The Antigua and Barbuda passport allows visa free travel to over 140 countries, including the European Union, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia.
The process is simple and straightforward. You will be required to submit an application form with your personal information and proof of identity. Once the application has been submitted, it will take about three to six months before you receive citizenship.
As for the Golden Visa route that might also lead to citizenship in a longer-term, let’s now check the Maltese program that gives a Permanent Residency.
The Golden Visa Route: Malta program
Although Malta remains the only country in Europe which offers an expedited route to citizenship, called the Maltese Citizenship Act Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations or also known as Malta Citizenship by Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (CES), our focus here is on the route that can lead to permanent residency and that can be applied for through the golden visa program, or more accurately identified as the Malta Permanent Residency Program (MPRP).
The MPRP aims to attract highly skilled foreign nationals and high-net-worth-individuals from outside of Europe to move to Malta and feed its economy by offering them attractive incentives. It allows them to live and reside in Malta without having to obtain a work permit by providing them with renewable residency rights that lead to permanent residency. Once they get their PR status after five years, they can remain in Malta indefinitely.
To qualify for the MPRP program, individuals will have to meet certain criteria. These include holding a clean criminal record, having valid health insurance, and meeting the minimum qualifying investment, among other things. The program’s minimum investment requirement is €110,000 and can be made through a combination of property investments, government contributions, and a non-refundable charitable donation.
Immigrant investors who are interested in Malta MPRP can benefit from the following advantages:
• A fast track to permanent residency
• No need to apply for a work permit
• Ability to stay in Malta permanently after obtaining PR status
• Access to an incredible healthcare system
• Possibility to own land and build a house
• Possibility to bring along family members
• Possibility to invest in real estate
• Possibility to set up business in Malta
Malta MPRP is ideal for anyone seeking a better quality of life and access to the European Union. The application process is quite simple, and once approved, you will be able to enjoy all these benefits within 12 months.