Global economic and cultural integration is building a world without borders. People desire unlimited travel, a stable environment for business, security for their assets and safety for their families. With this demand in mind, schemes for obtaining residence permits in return for investment are being developed, supported by legislation.
A Temporary Residence Permit (hereinafter referred to as TRP) is an ID document that grants the right to reside in the issuer country for a specific period of time (usually 1 to 5 years). The TRP is different from a visa – the latter is a travel document which does not grant the right to stay abroad for lengthy periods of time. A TRP, however, grants its holder unlimited rights to leave or enter the issuer country. If a TRP has been regularly extended, it can be upgraded to a Permanent Residence Permit, and eventually to citizenship.
Each country has its own specific procedures for obtaining a TRP status.
Currently there are several country-specific TRP schemes of particular interest to investors – Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, and Great Britain.
Cyprus was one of the first countries to introduce this type of scheme for investors.
Malta launched its own scheme in 2013. One of its advantages is access to the USA’s Visa Waiver Program.
Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit is one of the quickest and most convenient schemes in Europe.
The UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa is a good option for those who wish to relocate to Europe permanently or secure a prestigious education for their children.
A new trend is emerging to combine a European TRP with citizenship by investment in the Caribbean, which enables investors to enjoy the benefits of both schemes. For example, a UK residence permit combined with a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport grants visa-free entry into the Schengen Area (a UK TRP does not come with this entitlement).
The cost of residency schemes in Europe and the Caribbean is vastly different. European citizenship by investment options require very significant contributions to the issuer country’s economy. Malta stipulates at least 800,000 EUR, Bulgaria – just over 1,000,000 EUR, Cyprus – at least 2,000,000 EUR, Portugal requires 350,000 EUR and Great Britain – 2,000,000 GBP.
An EU residence by investment permit, in most cases, grants its holder neither the right to work, nor access to national insurance and free education for their children. Full citizenship, obtained in time, enables the citizen to undertake official employment in any EU state and benefit from the change of their tax residency. A European TRP grants unlimited residency in the issuer country and up to 90 days a year in other Schengen Area states.
What are the benefits for the investor?
- unlimited residence rights in the TRP issuer country;
- “Plan B” haven in the EU;
- access to quality medical services;
- option to obtain an EU standard driving licence;
- superior education for their children;
- permanent residency and/or citizenship status in the future, subject to certain conditions.
TRP is an attractive option for investors interested in:
- immigrating to the TRP issuer country with a view to becoming a permanent resident;
- creating a “Plan B” haven for the whole family in case of any eventualities in the country of origin;
- changing their tax residency;
- eventually, obtaining permanent residency and/or citizenship status.
Your choice of a specific residence permit scheme depends on your objectives and financial resources.
Our consultants would be delighted to offer you comprehensive support and guidance.