Comparative Analysis of Us vs Europe Citizenship by Investment Programs

The US offers a Green Card by investment for a minimum $900,000 investment under its EB-5 visa category

Comparative Analysis of Us vs Europe Citizenship by Investment Programs
Comparative Analysis of Us vs Europe Citizenship by Investment Programs
Matteo Tisato - 08 June 2021

As the global economy begins to recover from a challenging year, countries around the world are in a race to attract investments. One of the simplest ways to do this is to attract high-net-worth individuals to their shores, where they can spend, invest, and pay taxes to benefit the national economy. The US Immigrant Investor Visa program, for example, has brought in billions of dollars in revenue and has created thousands of jobs at absolutely no cost to the US taxpayer. So, what are the options?

United States EB-5 Investor Visa

The United States offers a Green Card (permanent residency) by investment for a minimum $900,000 investment under its EB-5 visa category. A single investment can include an entire family, provided the children are under the age of 21. The investment must create ten jobs and the funds must be traced to legitimate sources. While it is possible to make and manage the investment yourself, the overwhelming majority opt to invest with a Regional Center. These government-authorised organisations pool investor cash and are permitted a more generous way of counting the job creation. Conducting due diligence on the Regional Center and its investment project is vital to mitigate any risks to your Green Card and having your invested capital returned. The permanent residence offers the freedom and flexibility to live, work or retire anywhere in the United States and can be converted to citizenship provided physical presence conditions are met.

Italian Investor Visa

There are a variety of ways to invest your way to Italian residency, the price depends on which option you select. Capital requirements start from as little as €250,000 after the Italian government reduced the price to boost investment in the wake of the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The government also recently introduced an annual flat tax of €100,000 per annum to lure high-net-worth individuals to make Italy their home for tax purposes. After holding Italian residency for ten years, a person can apply for Italian citizenship.

  • at least €250,000 in an innovative start-up company incorporated in Italy;

  • at least €500.000 in equity instruments of companies incorporated and operating in Italy;

  • at least €2 million in government bonds issued by the Italian Republic;

  • philanthropic donations of at least €1 million, in the field of culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes

As well as the investment route, Italy also offers an Elective Residency Visa, which allows foreigners to establish their residency in Italy if they can prove they have a passive income of €32,000/annum earned outside of Italy to live on.

United Kingdom Tier One Investor Visa

The United Kingdom has its residency-by-investment program, which is more expensive than most others on the market. You must be able to prove that they have at least £2 million ready to invest in share capital or loan capital of actively trading UK companies. The program initially offers temporary residency for the first three years, which can be extended to five, at which point you can apply for permanent residency – termed “indefinite leave to remain”. The amount of time you need to wait to apply for indefinite leave to remain can be shortened if you invest more money as follows:

  • £2 million – five years to permanent residency

  • £5 million – three years to permanent residency

  • £10 million – two years to permanent residency

To obtain citizenship, an applicant must have been in the UK for five years and held indefinite leave to remain for at least one year. This means that for a £2 million investment it takes six years to become a citizen, but for the other investment levels you can become a British citizen in six years

Turkish & Grenada Citizenship by Investment

One of the most cost-effective citizenship programs in Europe is Turkey. Applicants must invest just $250,000 in real estate or hold $500,000 deposits in a Turkish bank for at least three years. Turkey is a transport hub and emerging financial center at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. For Indians, one of the main benefits of Turkish citizenship is that it provides access to the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to the United States. The E-2 Visa allows a person to own and operate a business in the United States but is not currently open to citizens of India. By first becoming a citizen of Turkey, Indians can avail themselves of this sought-after visa. An even more popular gateway to the E-2 Visa for Indians is Grenada in the West Indies. With investment requirements starting from $150,000 and processing times of less than three months, Grenada offers the fastest and most cost-effective route to this visa. Grenada also offers access to a strong passport and a stable and growing economy near the United States.

The author is a Senior Immigration Analyst with Davies & Associates

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author’s own, and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.