The term Golden Visa is used interchangeably for several EU investment visas which offer a simple route to enter the category (providing you had the required funds), easy patch towards settlement and the benefit of an EU residency, in the UK the visa is officially called the Tier 1 Investor visa.
However the term Golden visa is also used to included “Citizenship by Investment” programs, these are programs where instead of investing to obtain a visa, you are effectively skipping straight to the front of the cue and obtaining a Passport instead. The UK does not currently offer such a program however in this blog we will detail the most popular Golden Passport program on offer today (from the island of Cyprus) and how you can make use of it if you want to live in the UK.
What are the requirements of the Cyprus Golden Passport as compared to the UK Golden Visa?
As you may know the UK Golden visa requires you to invest a minimum £2 million GBP in to either UK company shares or UK company loan capital. This means that all of your funds are tied up for the length of your visa (minimum of 5 years). Once you have become a permanent resident then you can sell what is left of your investment. The British passport can be applied for in the 6th year as long as you have spent at least 9 months of the year in the UK, passed an English test as well as a citizenship test.
Comparing this to the Cyprus program requires an investment of €2.15 million EUR, which at the time of writing, with the Pound being at it’s weakest point in history as compared to the Euro, the Cyprus program is in fact a smaller investment. The Cyprus program requires an investment of €2 million EUR in residential property which must be kept for 5 years, after which the property(s) can be sold providing you keep 1 property in Cyprus at the value of €500,000 for life. The remaining €150,000 EUR is given as a donation to the island to help with housing development for local residents.
Applicants for the Cyprus program are granted their EU passport within 6 months of applying for the program and do not need to pass any language tests or meet a residence requirement.
Why should I apply for Cyprus Golden Passport rather than a UK Golden visa?
The main advantage over the UK Investor visa is:
1. You get a European passport within 3-6 months, unlike the UK Investor visa which takes 6 years at the earliest.
2. There is no residency requirement for Cyprus where as the UK Golden visa requires you to stay 9 months of the year in the UK in order to qualify for the passport after 6 years. This is something that many people find difficult to archive
3. The passport will allow you to live and work anywhere in the EU where as the UK passport may not after Brexit.
4. You can include children up to the age of 28 in the Cyprus program but only children under the age of 18 for the UK program
5. You can include parents in the Cyprus program for an additional investment of €500,000. There is no option to do this with the UK Golden visa
6. Once you have the Cyprus passport you are able to live in the UK without a Visa and get a British Passport after 6 years. The same length of time as other UK Golden visa would take, instead you already have an EU passport at hand.
But what will happen to the Golden Visa and Golden Passport after Brexit?
At the time of writing the UK is still in the EU, so anyone with an EU passport is free to enter, live and work in the UK without a visa. The UK government have also stated that this will remain the case for any EU national that enter until the 31st December 2020. This means that the Cyprus program is the only program in the world that would effectively be Brexit proof, in a sense that the passport can be obtained before the 31st December 2020 (not possible under any other program such as Portugal, Spain or Malta) and would allow you to be continue living in the UK without a visa forever, so long as you enter before 31st December 2020.
On the other end of the scale, the UK investor visa has never offered any additional travel rights to the EU. These rights can only be obtained after obtaining a British passport, as such by the time an applicant obtains the British passport they would not be in a position to make use of it in the EU. This is because any transitional deals that were in place such as the one mentioned above, would now had expired.
If you would like to discuss any Golden visa or Citizenship by Investment program please contact us via telephone or email us.
5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546