Author page: Best Citizenships

St Kitts sanctions Russia and Belarus for CBI Programme

St Kitts sanctions Russia and Belarus for CBI Programme

The Cabinet of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis voted to replicate and implement in full the sanctions imposed by the European Union, United States and United Kingdom against hundreds of named Russian and Belarussian individuals and entities. In solidarity with US and European efforts to isolate the Russian government for its military invasion, the CBI has implemented a pause on citizenship…

How Dominica Applies Due Diligence?

How Dominica Applies Due Diligence?

The Dominica Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme mandates strict due diligence processes and robust vetting of potential investors. Reputable international due diligence agencies are engaged by Governments to ensure that only reputable individuals can successfully receive the economic citizenship of Dominica. The correct functioning of Dominica’s CBI Programme depends on the proper performance of thorough due diligence, as it serves to protect the population of Dominica and its international partners from illicit actors. Dominica is world-renowned for being…

Turkey Raises CBI property investments to $400,000

Turkey Raises CBI property investments to $400,000

The Government of Turkey has made a decision to increase the minimum real estate investment to qualify for citizenship to USD 400,000 from the previous USD 250,000 requirement. The decision was taken at a presidential meeting and soon will be published in gazette. No changes were made in minimum USD 500,000 deposits in banks, state bonds or in companies. Turkey…

Must I hire an Agent for CBI/Golden visa?

Must I hire an Agent for CBI/Golden visa?

Hiring an accredited agent is an important part of the application process, to make things easy for you if you are out of the country. It is a must to appoint an government licensed agent with Citizenship by investment, however for golden visas, this is optional, you can directly apply apply at consulates or immigration office. Citizenship by Investment You…

Latvia cancels golden visa program

Latvia cancels golden visa program

toThe Latvian government has decided to end the golden visa scheme which offers fast track permanent residency in exchange for investments. This was announced by the Latvian prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš during a meeting with journalists on Mar 29. The Ministry of Interior is currently working on legislative amendments to end the golden visa program aftermath of the Russia’s invasion…

Doors Fast Closing for Citizenship by Investment

Have Golden passports lost their shine? Is the CBI bubble about to burst? It appears doors are fast closing for citizenship by investment programs by 2025.

The CBI bubble picked up mainstream attention since 2010. Over the years golden citizenship schemes have received criticism and negative publicity.  Global political events such as Russia-Ukraine war had a profound effect on citizenship by investment (CBi) programs adding more fuel to fire with increased pressure from US, Canada and EU to shut down such schemes. The European commission has criticized the golden passports sold to rich russian oligarchs, saying EU values not for sale.

Twelve EU countries currently operate residence by investment schemes. The minimum investment levels range from €60,000 to €1,250,000. A study has estimated that more than 130,000 people have obtained residence or citizenship in EU countries via these schemes with the total investment estimated at €21.4 billion from 2011 to 2019.

So far, member states such as Bulgaria, Cyprus already passed legislation to end golden citizenship schemes. The United Kingdom, Latvia have announced closure of golden visa schemes.

The European Parliament adopted on 9 March 2022 a report with proposals to the Commission on citizenship and residence by investment schemes, in which it calls for fully phasing out investor citizenship schemes across the Member States and for strictly regulating different aspects of investor residence schemes.

Limiting Golden citizenship programs

EU proposals call for shutting down all CBI schemes including operated by third countries by gradually phasing them about by 2025. The Citizenship by investment (CBI) schemes, under which third country nationals obtain citizenship rights in exchange for a sum of money, undermine the essence of EU citizenship. The report proposes an EU-level tax on the revenues Member States generate with the schemes, as well as the improvement of EU legislation on anti-money laundering to close any potential loopholes.

The EU proposals has also list imposing short stay visa waiver suspension on third countries operating investor citizenship schemes with Vanuatu becoming the first victim. The Visa waiver agreement to visit Schengen area to all Vanuatu passport holders issued from 2015 is already active. The Commission is closely scrutinising investor citizenship schemes of third countries that could be used to circumvent the EU short-stay visa procedure

Golden Visa Regulations

The European Parliament asks for EU rules to help tackle money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion, including:

  • stringent background checks (also on applicants’ family members and on sources of funds), mandatory checks against EU databases, and vetting procedures in third countries;
  • reporting obligations for member states, including a “notification and consultation” scheme to allow other member states to object; and
  • requirements for minimum physical residence (for applicants) and active involvement, quality, added value, and contribution to the economy (for their investments).

Russia’s invasion on Ukraine

War is a game changer making the widespread abuse of golden citizenship schemes

Some Russian or Belarusian nationals who are subject to sanctions or are significantly supporting the war in Ukraine might have acquired EU citizenship or privileged access to the EU, including to travel freely in the Schengen area. The issuance of residence permits under investor residence/citizenship schemes to all Russian and Belarusian nationals.

Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, Didier Reynders, said: “European values are not for sale. We consider that the sale of citizenship through ‘golden passports’ is illegal under EU law and poses serious risks to our security. It opens the door to corruption, money laundering and tax avoidance. ”

No Travel for Traffickers Act

The US has also joined the party opposing golden passport programs.  Reps. Burgess Owens (UT-04) and Steve Cohen (TN-09) introduced the No Travel for Traffickers Act, bipartisan legislation to revoke a country’s eligibility for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program if they participate in citizenship-by-investment, the practice of selling passports in exchange for economic investment.

The No Travel for Traffickers Act would:

  • Ban participation of countries that sell passports from participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
  • Mandate that the Executive Branch list publicly all countries with citizenship-by-investment or “Golden Passport” programs.
  • Direct the Executive Branch to cooperate with the United Kingdom and the European Union to eliminate Schengen area visa-free travel for countries that sell passports.
  • Prohibit the use of U.S. taxpayer funds to vet “golden passport” applicants so taxpayer dollars cannot be used to enable these corrupt programs.
New Developments with Golden Citizenship and Residence Programs

New Developments with Golden Citizenship and Residence Programs

The Year 2022 has turned out to be a twisting year for the investment migration industry, specifically with citizenship and residence by investment programs. The EU is committed to end all citizenship by investment programs by 2025 and has asked member states and third countries to gradually phase them out. The Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to important developments…

Ban on Russians applying for Golden Visas

Ban on Russians applying for Golden Visas

The Western countries have targeted Russia’s wealthiest by limiting the sale of golden passport program by imposing restrictive economic measures and financial sanctions including a ban on SWIFT financial system. This means from now on, Russian nationals will be banned from applying for ALL citizenship by investment and Golden visa programs. Malta, Greece and Portugal already announced suspension of golden…

Full Benefits and Rights with EU citizenship

Full Benefits and Rights with EU citizenship

The EU Citizenship is one of the most tangible greatest achievements of the European Union and sits at the core of a common European identity based on equality, non-discrimination and inclusion. In the latest flash Eurobarometer survey, 8 out of 10 respondents were aware of their citizenship rights and generally respondents showed high support for freedom of movement and increased…

Annual Report on Maltese Citizenship for Investments

Annual Report on Maltese Citizenship for Investments

The Maltese Government has published annual reports to public ensuring full transparency on the citizenship by investment programme. These reports are published by Office of the Regulator Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services which are available from 2014 to 2020 The Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services (GCES) is intended as an enabler to allow for the grant of Maltese…