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Second Passport or Residency for Indian Citizens
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, is one of the most active groups in the investment migration market. Currently, citizens of India are able to travel visa-free to 58 countries.
It has been reported that, together, Chinese and Indian nationals make up around 90% of the US EB-5 investor visa market and the clear majority of second passports and residencies sold around the world. Although reasons vary, the principal inducement to seek a second residency or citizenship appears to be based on the ability to travel without the inconvenience of applying and waiting for the issuance of a travel visa.
However, people looking to invest in second residence or citizenship are also conscious of the impact such an investment may have on their personal tax position. Since US citizens, and sometimes residents, are taxed on their worldwide income, investors often look at European countries as a solution.
In particular, Malta is one of the most popular destinations for those looking to acquire second residence or citizenship. As at the date of the publishing of this article, Malta is ranked as the 7th most powerful passport globally, with visa-free access to 159 countries, according to Arton Capital.
Second citizenship is granted in Malta through the ‘Malta Individual Investor Programme’, which requires a donation to be made to the Government of Malta, in addition to a mandatory investment in government bonds and, either the purchase of real estate or a long-term lease commitment. More details relative to the investment requirements can be found here.
Aside from the vast number of countries that Maltese citizens can travel to without a visa, investors often choose Malta due to its reputation as a safe country, with a strong and stable economy that encourages investment and preserves wealth. The rich and diverse history and culture and an enviable Mediterranean climate are also positive factors in this regard. It may come to no surprise that, in 2017, Malta was described as the fastest growing economy in the European Union, with relatively full employment and an ever-increasing amount of expats.
Another EU country which offers citizenship by investment is Cyprus. The Cypriot passport is ranked number 13th globally and will grant its holders visa free travel to 152 countries, according to Arton Capital. It is the fastest EU citizenship by investment programme as applications are processed within 3 months. On the 13th of September 2016, with the aim of encouraging foreign direct investment and attracting high net worth individuals, the Cypriot government sought to revise the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme to make it more attractive.
Some of the principal changes include the reduction of the minimum investment to EUR 2 million (from EUR 2,5 million) and the possibility to include the parents of the main applicant as part of the application. The revised programme also offers its applicants the opportunity to choose between different assets in which to invest the EUR 2 million, namely, real estate, business or establishment, financial assets, or even a combination of the three.
A much more cost-effective solution to citizenship by investment is residency by investment. In this regard, Malta, being a member of the European Union grants its residents visa-free access throughout the Schengen Area. The Malta Residence and Visa programme, which was launched in 2016, is now one of the most sought-after golden visa programmes, albeit one that faces tough competition. Through this programme, eligible investors may be able to obtain a Maltese resident card with all the benefits that come with it. Further information related to the costs, eligibility criteria and benefits can be accessed here.
If you are a citizen of India and would like to learn more about the opportunities of citizenship by investment in Malta and Cyprus, as well as the residence in Malta, contact us for a free private consultation.