Golden passports and investment citizenship of the countries of the world: changes in 2023
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Turkey, Spain, Italy and Vanuatu offer citizenship-by-investment or so-called "Golden Passport" programs. Find out about important migration changes coming into effect or expected in 2023
In 2022, some countries that have developed programs for granting citizenship in exchange for investments made changes to the procedure for obtaining a "golden passport". Some of them are already working, and some are still only in projects.
How did 2022 change the world of investment citizenship, and what awaits future investors in 2023?
St. Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis has announced a promotion for applicants for investment citizenship. In particular, from January 1 to June 30, 2023, investors will receive a $25,000 discount for the Investment in a state fund (Sustainable Development Fund) option. In addition, during this period, applications will be considered under an accelerated procedure - in 60 days instead of 90 without an additional fee for urgency.
From January 2023, only approved projects participate in the real estate purchase program. Program participants will not be able to sell the property in the first 7 years after purchase. It is also prohibited to sell real estate to the next participant in the citizenship registration program.
The third change concerns investment in social and infrastructure projects that are approved by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis. The Alternative Investment Option will be replaced by the Public Good Investment Option, or PGIO. The minimum investment amount is kept at $175,000.
In 2023, it became possible to obtain citizenship of Dominica for cryptocurrency. For this, it is necessary to pass the maximum verification on the Huobi crypto exchange. After verification, the applicant will receive a Decentralized Identification (Dominica DID) of that country. Strictly speaking, it is a virtual passport that can be obtained with Dominica Coin tokens. In the future, the government of Dominica promises to issue regular paper passports to token holders.
Also, from September 2022, certain changes regarding the rules for registration of citizenship for the family of investors entered into force in Dominica:
• the investor's brothers and sisters can no longer be included in the "golden passport" application;
• parents, grandparents of the investor can be included in the application if they are over 65 years old;
• children of the investor: sons between the ages of 18 and 30 and unmarried daughters over the age of 25 must study in Dominica universities recognized by the government;
• basic fees are now calculated for a family of 6 people. A flat fee of $25,000 per person will now be charged for the seventh and subsequent dependents;
• real estate investors with families of more than 4 people pay a fixed amount for additional dependents: $25,000 for minors, $50,000 for people over 18 years old.
Order legal advice from a local specialist in visa and migration issues using the link. To receive the service, select the country you are interested in and your citizenship.
In June 2022, Turkey increased the minimum investment threshold for real estate purchases to $400,000. Previously, the minimum investment amount was $250,000.
The General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre of Turkey also approved the new rules for the purchase of real estate, which came into force on January 1, 2023:
• Only one investor can be the owner of the real estate.
• One real estate object for registration of citizenship can be purchased only once.
• It is forbidden to buy real estate from a legal entity if more than 50% of its shares belong to a foreigner or the board of directors has a foreign shareholder.
• You can buy several real estate objects in the amount of $400,000 only if the objects have a ready tapu (property right to real estate in Turkey)
• It is allowed to buy real estate with a mortgage.
• The real estate appraisal report must be drawn up at least three months before signing the preliminary sales contract.
• The rules for transferring funds have been changed.
For more details on the procedure for issuing a "golden passport" in Turkey and the new rules, see the link.
In December 2022, the Spanish leadership made a number of changes to the "golden visa" investment citizenship program:
• Shortened the period of residence outside of Spain for the consideration of the issue of a criminal record certificate - 2 years instead of 5 years. However, the document on the absence of criminal records must, as before, cover a five-year period.
• The validity period of the first residence permit will now be 3 years instead of 2 years. Subsequent residence permits will be issued for 5 years, as before.
• The procedure for considering a business plan when investing in the creation or development of a business project in Spain that meets the country's interests has been simplified. The application can now be submitted online regardless of the place of residence. The specialized ENISA agency will assess the application and issue a residence permit within 10 days.
In 2023, a bill is due to be passed that proposes a number of changes to Italy's Dolce Visa investment program.
• Lower the minimum investment requirements for business investments from €500,000 to €400,000 and for innovative start-ups from €250,000 to €200,000.
• New investment options will appear:
- in pension accounts and private savings plans;
- in real estate (1,500,000€ — housing in megacities, 1,000,000€ — in small towns and 750,000€ — on the condition that less than 25,000 people live in the municipality);
• The rules for investing in socially important projects and government bonds will remain unchanged.
• The investor's family will receive the right to issue a residence permit under an accelerated procedure (currently, the application review period is up to 6 months).
• The bill also provides for an increase in the age limit for dependent children from 18 to 21 years.
• The requirement to have an Italian address upon registration is abolished. It will be replaced by a digital online profile of the investor, through which Italian state structures will be able to contact the foreigner.
• The five-year visa will be issued immediately, without the need to renew it after two years, as is the case now.
The investment retention period in the country will increase from 2 to 5 years.
Citizens of Vanuatu will lose the opportunity to travel to EU countries without a visa starting February 4, 2023. The leadership of Europe made this decision, because in their opinion, the Vanuatu citizenship procedure has a number of shortcomings. In particular, the Vanuatu passport is issued without exchanging information with the applicant's country of birth or residence. That is, people who are included in Interpol's databases could travel through EU countries without a visa with a Vanuatu passport.
Bulgaria stopped its citizenship-by-investment program in 2022, and Montenegro plans to do so in 2023.
When choosing a country to obtain a second passport, you should pay attention to the number of countries that a citizen can freely visit without a visa. Read more about the passports of the countries that were recognised as the best in 2023 here.
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