LONDON, Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Cyprus has topped the list of countries favoured by investors for citizenship according to leading Golden Visa consultants La Vida. “We have seen a marked shift towards Cyprus from the Caribean programmes” according to La Vida CEO Paul Williams.
Cyprus is the only country in Europe that offers a guaranteed passport through real estate investment, issued within 3 months. As a full member of the EU, citizenship in Cyprus grants the investor citizenship of Europe and hence the ability to live or work anywhere in the European Union as a European citizen.
While the Caribbean programmes grant passports that ease travel worldwide, the residency benefits are not as attractive as those in Europe for most investors. The Caribbean programmes offer a cost effective route to a second passport but do not offer the quality and prestige of a European passport. “We are finding our Ultra High Net Worth clients are favouring Cyprus because the investment is secured in real estate while with other programmes the money is often lost in government contributions” says Williams.
Currently citizenship is available in Cyprus by investing €2.5 million in real estate. Second passports are offered by five countries in the Caribbean, St. Kitts, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and the recently launched programme from St. Lucia. Investments through real estate are typically $200,000 – $400,000 with government costs and related fees around $150,000 for a family of four.
Residency in Europe through real estate investment is showing strong growth with four programmes launched in the last few years from Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus.
Gaining citizenship in Europe is a longer process in other countries. In Portugal an investment in real estate of €500,000 grants a Portuguese golden visa for residency and can lead to citizenship after six years. In Spain, at the same investment level citizenship can be applied for after 10 years of residency. The UK recently raised its investment level for the Tier 1 programme to £2 million and has seen a big fall in the number of applications in 2015. However the UK Tier 1 programme grants residency only and citizenship is far from guaranteed.
The benefits to the Cyprus programme are quite clearly the European citizenship. “Many investors are looking at this for their families and their children’s future” says Williams. As a citizen of the EU students have access to European universities at EU citizen rates and of course can later live or work anywhere in Europe. Cyprus also offers a very favourable tax status for those investors looking for a tax haven. Cyprus has also become popular with wealthy American investors looking to denounce their US citizenship to avoid US taxation on their international earnings.
La Vida is currently marketing the One Tower in Cyprus. Set to be the most prominent building on the European coastline “One” is available to reserve off plan at reduced prices before 1st March 2016. La Vida expects One Tower to offer considerable investment potential and capital growth prior to completion. “It is the most prominent building in Cyprus and offers a level of luxury that appeals to the Ultra High Net Worth clients” says Williams.