EU passports are often regarded as the best in the world. In fact, 17 of the world’s top 25 passports according to Arton’s Passport Index are in the European Union. The reason that passports from the European Union rank so highly on various passport indexes is because, depending on the passport country, you can travel visa-free to at least 148 countries (Croatia) or to as many as 161 countries (Germany). In addition, an EU passport gives you the right to live, work, and travel anywhere within the European Union.
The attractiveness of passports from the European Union has made immigration programs such as the UK Tier 1 Visa Program very popular. This was prior to Brexit. Hence, now many investors are seeking alternative options to get the benefits of an EU passport.
The Malta Individual Investor Program is a popular route, offering investors the opportunity to obtain citizenship to Malta. This program has numerous perks, including visa-free travel to 152 countries, but most importantly in the context of our examination of the EU passport as the golden standard-Malta is a member state of the European Union, meaning, one would have the ability to obtain the right to travel, live, work, and study visa-free anywhere in the European Union through this program. Malta is also a member of the Schengen Area. Therefore, passport holders are able to travel visa-free, among other benefits, between the 26 member countries.
Another option for obtaining an EU passport is the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program offered by Elevay. With this program, you can obtain a second citizenship which gives the unrestricted right to live, work and study in Europe within four to six months. Not only that, but the Cyprus passport gives successful applicants visa-free travel access to 147 countries.
Cyprus, although not currently a member, does have visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. This area includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
But this “golden standard” doesn’t come without a significant price tab. To qualify for the Malta Program, applicants must meet the following investment requirements: First, the acquisition of real estate with a minimum value of €350,000 to be held for at least 5 years; or lease of a residential immovable property in Malta for a period of 5 years, at an annual rent of at least €16,000. In addition, investors must also make a contribution to the National Development and Social Fund. The amount required is based on the number of dependents included in the application, but starts at €650,000. And finally, the applicant must make an investment in stocks or bonds in Malta of at least €150,000 for a minimum of five years.
To qualify for the Cyprus Investor Program, applicants must invest a minimum of €2 million in either real estate, shares, bonds, donation or a combination.
With Malta and Cyprus presenting options for obtaining the coveted EU Passport, investors have multiple avenues to consider when searching for greater freedom of movement. Knowledgeable citizenship and residency planning companies, such as the Dubai-based company Elevay, will guide you through the available programs and help find the path that is right for you and your family. To receive a free, no-obligation consultation, please fill out the form below.