Obtain {fast}
EU citizenship
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MALTA | CYPRUS | BULGARIA

Martin Luther King

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Citizenship & Freedom

We are all born equal. Or at least that’s what we are made to believe. The bitter truth is however, that throughout the human history, citizenship has been the ultimate divider between wealth and poverty, between freedom and slavery.

Many great people have fought against racism. Only few have tackled the discrimination based on citizenship.

Why bother reading the introduction?


Below, we will explain how to legally obtain full EU Citizenship by Investment through a fast-track procedure. You will find the most current information, such as which countries in the EU have legal Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP), the different requirements, the costs and fees, the associated risks and pitfalls, the legal procedures, the expected success rate, etc. You will also find the advantages of each particular passport, such as visa-free countries, tax incentives, etc. You can skip the introduction part and go straight to the dedicated sections for the CBI (Citizenship by Investment) programs of Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria. We strongly recommend you however to keep reading through the introduction in order to understand better the historical values of the Citizenship and its transition into what we are now used to understand by this term.

Citizenship – the invisible bond between a person and society

Citizenship, according to most historians, is dating back to ancient Greece where it arose together with the first laws. The citizenship during those times, although much different from the legal definition of citizenship now, provided higher status to the citizens in comparison with the non-citizens, thereby allowing the citizens to have free time and to participate in the public life of the "Polis".

The ancient Greek citizens realized the importance of citizenship mainly because of its direct relation to freedom. Although not every non-citizen has been a slave, the citizenship status has been the formal seal of freedom for the ancient Greeks. In times of wars, the citizens have fought together against the enemy to avoid being enslaved by warfare and this has led to the main obligation that comes along with the citizenship status – to defend the "Polis" (later the country).

St Paul arrested as Roman citizen
THE IMPORTANCE OF CITIZENSHIP DURING ROMAN TIMES (ACTS 22:24-29 NLT)
The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed... Paul asked the officer standing there, "Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?"
When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked, - "What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!"
So the commander went over and asked Paul, - "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?"
- "Yes, I certainly am," Paul replied.
- "I am, too," the commander muttered, "and it cost me plenty!"
- Paul answered, "But I am a citizen by birth!"
The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.

Later, the Romans brought the ancient Greek values of citizenship forward, expanding them into the so called right of the citizen to be "free to act by law, free to ask and expect the law's protection". The citizenship right meant also the ultimate right to have "possessions and immunities".

At the end of the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, people transitioned from being subject of the monarchy, usually the king or the queen, into being citizens of a city or country, that later transformed eventually into a nation. The cities had each different laws and legal systems and the citizens had certain rights to choose their officials (later known as "voting right").

Citizenship rights have been dependent on racial criteria throughout the course of the human history. Even in modern times, for example in the USA from 1790 to the mid of the twentieth century, citizenship has been granted only to people of "European descent". The US "Naturalization Act of 1790" stated that "any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof.".

The restrictions to obtain citizenship, based on race, were further "developed" by the Nazi regime in Germany. The fascist ideology led to the invention of three categories with very distinctive rights and duties: "citizens", "subjects" and "aliens". Logically, "citizens" possessed full rights and privileges. Jews, even those born and raised in Germany, were consequentially stripped off their citizenship. German women were considered "subjects" (non-citizen) until they married German citizen.

Citizenship in the XXI century – what a difference a Passport makes

Luckily, the right of citizenship based on race or gender is considered to be non-existent today. Luckily, the right of citizenship is considered to be a basic human right - the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that the right to have or change citizenship cannot be denied (albeit referenced as to "nationality") So far so good.

The real discrimination starts when we compare the rights that are provided by different countries' citizenships. We can divide the rights and obligations of each citizen into two main categories on basis of whether these are applied by the citizen’s own government and laws or by the other countries (where the citizen is considered to be a foreigner). For instance, a Belgian citizen is not a subject to compulsory military service in his country, while a Cypriot male citizen is obliged to serve in the Cypriot National Guard. At the same time, if a Cypriot citizen would need to travel to Kenya, he could enter the country completely visa-free. The Belgian national however would need to apply for entry visa on arrival in Nairobi.

The above example is only illustrative and is in now way a good representation of the real problem that the citizens of country with "low quality passports" have (as both the Belgian and the Cypriot passports are considered to be a "top quality passports" that provide a wide array of privileges to its holders).

chart - passport quality

So what is a "low quality" passport?


A passport is considered to be of "low quality" if it provides limited rights to its holder. One of most important factor to be considered is the number of countries where the passport holder can visit visa-free. As an example, passports issued from countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, Pakistan, etc. are considered to be of "low quality" in terms of visa-free travel. Generally, among professionals in the "global citizenship" industry, it is deemed that a passport that allows visa-free travel to less than 135 countries (a.k.a. passport rank) is considered to be of "low quality". Passport rank of below 100 is usually regarded as "junk".

At the other end of the spectrum, passports allowing visa-free travel to more than 135 countries are considered to be of "good quality". Those edging to the upper border (150-155) and going beyond the 160 mark are considered to be of "ultimate quality". It is worth mentioning that all EU countries enjoy visa-free travel to more than 155 countries worldwide and this is only one of the reason why EU citizenship (and passport) is considered to be the ultimate naturalization choice among wealthy individuals worldwide.

Generally, the most important factors that weight on the "quality" of certain citizenship status are:

travellers staring at rocks
The number of countries one can visit visa-free with his passport is the most widely used criteria to rank the quality of particular passport. The unconditional right to live, study and work in other countries (other than its own) is an even more important virtue of the top-tier passports.
  1. The most important factor is the number of countries (if any), apart from its own, where the citizen can live and work without any formalities (as if it was in his own country). For example, the citizenship of Singapore is considered to be of ultimate quality in terms of number of countries where one can travel visa-free. However, citizens of Singapore can freely reside only within the borders of their (beautiful, yet tiny) country. An EU citizen however, irrespectively from which EU member state, can reside and work freely in any of the other EU countries as well as in large number of other countries, without any formalities.
  2. The second, and probably the most well known factor that is used to rate different citizenships, is the number of countries one can visit visa-free. There are different criteria as to how to count a country as being visa-free for the certain passport holder, i.e. does "visa on arrival" or "eTA" count as visa-free. Therefore there are many different passport ratings, though the results do not differ by much. The top places are traditionally taken by the USA, Canada, the EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It is also important to which countries one can travel visa-free. A visa-free travel to the USA should weight heavier on the passport rating than a visa-free access to a country, as tiny as Lesotho for example.
  3. The next factor to be considered is the consular and diplomatic support one can expect when travelling abroad. For instance EU citizens, irrespectively from which member state they are, can count on full consular support (in case that there is no embassy from the particular EU state) by any EU embassy when travelling abroad. USA consular support is also known to be usually quite effective when servicing US citizens abroad.
  4. The personal safety abroad, when travelling with certain passport, is also an important factor to be considered. Citizens of countries that are involved in international conflicts are usually in danger of being targeted by hostile authorities or even by terrorists. In such cases, it may prove beneficial to travel on passport, issued by a different country.
  5. The perception of citizens of certain countries is another factor that can be of importance when travelling abroad. The world is not a fair place to be and unfortunately citizens of some countries are being discriminated by different means, such as exhaustive border controls, credit card denials, just to name a few. In such cases, showing a passport from a "good country" can make miracles.
  6. Sanctions are important instrument of the great powers (countries) to protect what they deem to be their "democratic values". Unfortunately, as it is often the case, it is the regular innocent citizens who take the big hit. Whether it is restriction to enter certain countries, ban on bank account opening (preventing to do any business outside of their countries) or even full confiscation of assets held abroad, it is the hard working people with the "wrong passport" who suffer the most. Having alternative citizenship (passport) in such cases can be a life changing, even a life saving opportunity.
  7. Taxes are another factor of great importance. Although usually tax obligations are residency, rather than citizenship dependent, holding the right citizenship can provide the opportunity to significantly decrease one’s tax bill. Tax optimization within the EU has led to the "great phenomenon" of EU citizens of high-tax countries, such as Germany, Sweden and France, to seek legal loopholes to become citizens of other EU countries, such as Cyprus and Bulgaria.
  8. Military conscription is also an important factor to consider if one needs second citizenship. Even if obtaining citizenship by investment, one can be drafted if he is of legal age (in some countries even females are subject to military draft). Most EU countries have abolished the compulsory military service; however countries like Cyprus and some others are still having a compulsory military draft.

As we see, the citizenship status is of vital importance for virtually everyone. Especially, the people who need to travel frequently, either for business or leisure, are immensely affected if they hold a "low quality" passport. Is there a solution for this obvious injustice? There certainly is. Read on to find out how you can benefit today from the legal opportunities that exist in some countries.

What you can do now in order to become a "Global Citizen", obtain top quality passport via fast-track procedure, travel the world visa-free and live in your dream country without any formalities?

president Kennedy - Ich bin ein Berlinner
The famous speech of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963 is remembered mostly for his legendary "Ich bin ein Berliner". By today’s standards, he would easily qualify for German citizenship for "special merits". The not so influential however, would be much better off through the "Citizenship by Investment" route.

The general rule that applies in virtually all democratic countries is that unless you are born as their citizen, in order to become one later (almost) instantly, there are 3 (main) possibilities, namely: naturalization by origin, naturalization for special merits and naturalization by investment. We will explain these options below.

Naturalization by origin (Citizenship by origin):

If you have ancestors in a country other than your own, and you believe that this country’s citizenship will allow you more freedom, it’s worth researching whether you can apply for citizenship by origin. If this is not the case, please read about the next options.

Naturalization for special merits (Citizenship for special merits):

Many governments provide almost instant citizenship under their programs for "citizenship for special merits in front of the country". The "special merits" can vary widely and in many cases can even include special merits in the field of sports. For example, some prominent football players are being granted citizenship in order to play for the national teams. Before you jump from excitement though, please note that in order to qualify for citizenship for special merits, you need to really be an exceptional individual and be able to contribute immensely to the country. Most countries that provide such naturalization options approve usually only one or two applications for citizenship for special merits per year. If you are not among the lucky ones, the only feasible option for you to become Global Citizen and enjoy more freedom in your life is to opt for "Citizenship by Investment" (a.k.a. "Investment Citizenship").

Naturalization by investment (Investment Citizenship)

This is the ultimate fast-track citizenship option for virtually anyone with adequate financial resources. Our research made in 2017 showed that 87% of all persons who wished to obtain fast-track alternative citizenship (of better quality) from a country where they have no ancestors (so no citizenship by origin is possible) have chosen the Investment Citizenship route.

chart - requirement for second passport

Why is "Citizenship by Investment" the "hot ticket" for the last 20 years?


With market share of 87% of all fast-track naturalizations (except of course citizenship by origin), the Investment Citizenship is without any doubt, the ultimate solution for everyone with successful business model or other sustainable source of income, to achieve the freedom we should be all entitled to. In the 21st century, international journeys become more and more accessible. Doing business on global level requires extensive travel and any visa restrictions are an enormous hurdle for the internationally oriented entrepreneurs. At the same time, political unrest and military conflicts are resulting to more and more visa restrictions. At the same time, wealth is being accumulated by many businesses and the demand for freedom skyrockets. Logically, the standards for providing Citizenship by Investment by the developed countries (i.e. the EU), are constantly reviewed and strengthened.

We can clearly see from the chart, the trend of the demand for (fast-track) second citizenship. The demand is high immediately after WW2 and then it decreases steadily to the 7% mark in the 80’s. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin wall, it starts rising again. The next steep increase is after the 9/11 attacks and the so called "Arab Spring" revolutions that began in 2010.

Estimates for 2020, show that about 26% from the world population will be in need of another citizenship by then. This means that more than 2 billion people will be willing to invest their wealth in another country in order to obtain freedom through (better) citizenship. Obviously, only a tiny fraction will possess the required resources, but this is still a huge number.

We will explain below what the legal options are at the moment, to obtain fast-track Citizenship by Investment from European Union country. We will compare the pros and cons of each citizenship program and will help you to decide for yourself which program is best suited for your personal needs.

What are the legally available options to obtain European Citizenship by Investment?

Currently, there are only three countries in the European Union that have official Citizenship by Investment programs, namely Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria. These three countries provide each its unique investment options to become EU citizen in about one year time (even faster in some cases). We will explain below all nuances and will give some insights about which one may be the best option for each particular client.

map of Malta

MALTA

Malta is a tiny island in the Mediterranean sea, just off the coast of Italy. Its investment citizenship program is considered to be the most prestigious of all EU programs, however it is also the most expensive one. Citizenship can be granted after twelve months of permanent residency. A serious due diligence process has to be successfully passed through.

map of Cyprus

CYPRUS

Cyprus is another paradise island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean sea with very close links to Greece. The investment citizenship program of Cyprus is known for its speed and the opportunity to invest in beautiful real estate properties in prime locations. Its multi-cultural society makes Cyprus the citizenship of choice for many investors worldwide.

map of Bulgaria

BULGARIA

Bulgaria is the only non-island country in the EU that provides investment citizenship option. The Bulgarian CIP is known for its extremely low cost and liquid investment choices (ie bonds, shares, etc.). Bulgaria has one of the lowest population densities in the EU countries, which is the main reason for the Bulgarian parliament to approve the favorable conditions for the program.

All three countries (Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria) are fully fledged members of the EU, so it makes absolutely no difference which country’s passport one holds, within the borders of the European Union. All three citizenships provide unlimited and absolutely equal rights to its holders within the territory of the EU. In other words, whether having Cypriot citizenship and residing in Germany, Maltese national living in Cyprus, Bulgarian residing in Malta or anywhere else in the EU – the EU citizen rights are absolutely equal in all EU member states.

chart - CIP comparison Malta vs Cyprus vs Bulgaria

How the CIP (as well the citizenships) of Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria fare against each other?


As already stated, the citizenships of the three EU countries provide absolutely identical rights within the EU. In terms of worldwide visa-free travel, the total number of visa-free countries is almost the same for all contestants. However Malta ranks first with 10 points (the maximum score possible), because of its important visa-free regime with the USA. Cyprus and Bulgaria, although Bulgaria leads slightly to Cyprus with a couple of visa-free countries more, score both with 7 points, as this difference is negligible.

The next criteria, although subjective in its roots, is the status (prestige) that comes with each of the three citizenships. All three countries’ citizens are very well respected virtually everywhere in the world, however, based on GDP (per capita), Malta is definitely the one that leads the group as it ranks again first with 10 points. The runner-up is Cyprus with 7 points and the third place is for Bulgaria with 5 points, mainly because of Bulgaria’s communist past (1945-1989).

The speed of the CIP’s (or how fast the applicant will obtain citizenship by investment) is also an important factor to be considered. Malta and Bulgaria score each with 5 points as their CIP’s foresee a timeframe that gravitates around the one year mark. Cyprus fares better with 7 points as it possible to obtain its citizenship in six to eight months.

The last, but not least important criterion is the cost of the three CIPs. Here the absolute winner is Bulgaria with 10 points, as the Bulgarian CIP doesn’t require the applicant to neither make a contribution to the government nor to pay taxes on its investment. Additionally, the Bulgarian investment threshold is lower than the one of Cyprus (can not be compared directly with Malta as the Maltese CIP is "contribution" based). The second place is for Cyprus with 5 points and the final position is taken this time by Malta with only 2 points, because of its very expensive CIP conditions.

Ultimately, both Malta and Bulgaria score 27 points, with Cyprus only 1 point behind. The main conclusion that can be made is that all three countries’ CIPs and citizenships are of approximately the same "value", while Malta is enjoying the highest prestige rating and visa-free entry to the USA, but comes with extremely high price tag for its CIP.

How can we assist you to obtain your European (EU) Citizenship by Investment?

private jet interior
The benefits of holding a top-ranked passport and citizenship are immense. Still, Citizenship by Investment is by definition meant for the financially independent. Our policy is to assist individuals, irrespectively of their current nationality, but only those of substantial means, who can effortlessly afford the required investment (or contribution).

What are the services that we provide?

We provide turnkey citizenship services and we are proud that we have never had a single application for investment citizenship being rejected, neither in Malta nor in Cyprus or in Bulgaria. This is mainly due to the fact, that we are assisting the authorities to perform the required due diligence checks and no corners are being cut at any stage of the citizenship application. We are known to have very strict client acceptance procedures, which is another explanation of our 100% success rate. We will be not able to assist clients who are unable to provide absolutely clear criminal record, nor clients who do not posses the required financial resources and are looking to finance their investment.

The preliminary due diligence

Each of the three countries investment citizenship programs require extensive due diligence in order to comply with the strict standards that are set by the EU bodies. This is probably the most important part of each of the CIP. We work close with the authorities to assist them in assessing correctly each candidate and to issue the adequate legal statement about the applicant’s suitability. We are able to advice the customer of whether his application is likely to be approved or not, in order to save him valuable resources in case the application is likely to be turned down.

Administrative support and full legal representation

We provide all our services on turnkey basis. We will advise the client on all legal aspects of his citizenship procedures. We will then prepare and submit all documents for the application of the candidate. When required by the applicable legislation, the applications will be submitted by licensed lawyer in order to ensure full compliance. We will also represent the client in front of all governmental authorities, and if required, in front of the financial institutions (ie banks).

Financial advice

When required, we will provide financial advice to the client and will explain the pros and cons of the available investment options that are required by each of the relevant CIPs. We will provide professional advice on all tax matters and eventual tax consequences, so the future EU citizen can tackle best his tax issues even prior to his citizenship application being approved.

Money back guarantee

Depending on the citizenship option being chosen, we may be able to provide an unconditional money-back guarantee. In such case, the applicant will be certain that in the unlikely event that his citizenship application will not be approved, we will reimburse all fees being paid, including the state fees.

After-sales support

After the citizenship decree for the client is issued, we will provide additional follow-up services, such as comprehensive tax advice and assistance in formation of local entities, real estate purchase and rental, investment advice, etc. We will also support the client with his dealings with the local authorities in all other aspects.

Malta

landscape of Malta
Citizenship of Malta is considered to be the most prestigious, compared to the citizenships of Cyprus and Bulgaria. Malta also enjoys visa-free regime with the USA, which makes it the favorite choice for individuals who need to travel frequently to the United States.

The requirements of the Maltese CIP

The Citizenship by Investment program of Malta consists of three financial conditions that need to be met:

A) For single applicant:

  1. Contribution to the development of the country for 650 000 EUR;
  2. Investment in bonds or stocks for 150 000 EUR;
  3. Purchase of property for 350 000 EUR.

B) For married couple:

  1. Contribution to the development of the country for 675 000 EUR;
  2. Investment in bonds or stocks for 150 000 EUR;
  3. Purchase of property for 350 000 EUR.

Alternatively, the property purchase of 350 000 EUR can be replaced by a property rental on the island for not less than 16 000 EUR per year.

All above numbers are exclusive of 10-12 % government and processing fees.

The Maltese CIP – frequently asked Questions

How are the new citizens of Malta taxed?

woman playing golf
Club membership, set up correctly, can count as "genuine link" with Malta
  • Taxation in Malta is based on residency rather than on citizenship. Unless the Maltese citizen is residing in Malta, there will be no change in his tax status. However, arranging a tax domicile in Malta can be very beneficial as in Malta there is no inheritance tax, no estate duty, no municipal or real estate taxes, nor a wealth tax.

Can the family members be included in the citizenship application?

  • Yes, the spouse of the main applicant, all children under the age of 18, the financially dependent children under 27 as well as the applicant’s parents over the age of 55 can be included under the Maltese CIP.

Does the applicant need residing in Malta for certain period in order to qualify for citizenship under the Maltese CIP?

  • In general, the citizenship applicant has to reside in the country for some time (ie 12 months) in order to fully comply with the EU guidelines on obtaining citizenship by investment. However, establishing a "genuine link" with Malta will suffice for the purposes of the Maltese CIP.

What is a "genuine link"?

  • Genuine link is the establishment of a genuine connection with Malta, such as donation to a local charity, membership in a club, business activity on the island, philanthropy, etc. If such a link is established satisfactory with the regulations, no lengthy residency term in the country will be required for the purpose of obtaining of Maltese investment citizenship.

How long does the naturalization process take?

  • The whole process takes approximately one year and can be further shortened in most of the cases.

Who is the Maltese CIP most suited for?

  • We believe that the Maltese investment citizenship is best suited for the high net worth (because of the high cost of the program) individuals, irrespectively of their nationality. One of the virtues of the Maltese citizenship is that, because of the multi-ethnic population of the island, all new citizens will fit ideally in the general picture of the "Maltese citizen". In other words, no matter what the new citizen race, language or religion is, it will not raise anyone’s eyebrows at the border checks when travelling internationally. Additionally, Malta is very well respected as a country and travelling on a Maltese passport will definitely make a lot of difference, especially for those who have experienced travel on their "low quality" passports.

How can we assist you to obtain your Maltese Citizenship by Investment?

We guide the client through all stages of the naturalization process until the citizenship decree has been signed. We advise on all aspects of the citizenship application, including the financial and investment requirements in Malta. Our lawyers will take care of all paperwork and submission of the documents to the authorities. We will arrange the, so fear because of its subjectivity, "genuine link" with Malta. At all stages, the client will count on our full support and professional advice. In some cases, our lawyers will also need to visit the client personally at his place of residence in order to accelerate the naturalization process.

Cyprus

church in Cyprus
The CIP of Cyprus provides the unique opportunity to invest in real estate properties on the island and obtain Cypriot citizenship in less than one year. The investment citizenship program of Cyprus is also the fastest CIP, compared to those of Malta and Bulgaria.

The requirements of the Cypriot CIP

The Cypriot Government has implemented a number of incentives to attract foreign investments in the country. The most well known one is the Cypriot investment citizenship program that allows a person to obtain Cypriot citizenship by investing an amount of 2 million Euro in real estate on the island. The different investment options, required for the participation in the Cypriot CIP, are explained below:

  1. Investment in real estate properties, development and infrastructure – the citizenship applicant has to invest an amount of minimum 2 million EUR for the purchase (or construction) of real estate. This is by far the most frequently utilized option;
  2. Participation (either by purchase or establishment) in Cypriot business and company – the citizenship applicant has to invest 2 million EUR in operating business in Cyprus. The business has to be able to maintain material presence on the island and has to employ (full time) at least 5 Cypriot citizens. This option is definitely more costly than the one above and is hence, used rarely;
  3. Investment in Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), financial assets of local enterprise or organization, licensed by the Cypriot Securities and Exchange Commission – this option, similarly to the previous 2, requires the citizenship candidate to invest the same amount of 2 million EUR into AIF of financial assets in form of debt securities;

The applicant can combine any of the above options for as far as the total investment is not less than 2 million EUR. A special investment bonds, issued by the government of Cyprus, may be added to the total investment, for an amount of up to 500 000 EUR.

Another very important condition is the requirement for the applicant to purchase a residential property (has to be held for life-time) for an amount of at least 500 000 EUR. Should the citizenship applicant opt for the real estate investment option (p.1 above), then the price of the residential property will count towards the 2 million EUR requirement.

The Cypriot CIP – frequently asked Questions

What is the time-frame for obtaining Cypriot citizenship by investment?

villa in Cyprus
Real estate in Cyprus is not only profitable investment, but also a pleasure to live in
  • Although it is advertised by many agents that the citizenship will be obtained in 6 months, we consider this term to be overoptimistic. The preliminary due diligence process, the selection of the real estate investment (the most frequently utilized option) and all other administrative preparations (translations, legalization, etc.) will extend the timeframe to 9-12 months. Still, the Cypriot CIP is the fastest investment citizenship program in the EU.

Can the main applicant include his family members with his application?

  • Definitely yes – all children up to the age of 18 and those up to the age of 27, who are financially dependent of the main applicant, can be included in the citizenship application. Additionally, the spouse and the parents of the applicant can be included too. For the parents to be approved, an additional investment of 500 000 EUR in residential property has to be made on top of the main applicant’s investment requirement.

Is the applicant expected (obliged) to provide a clean criminal record?

  • The Cypriot CIP, much alike the programs of Malta and Bulgaria, requires the applicant to have absolutely clean criminal background. That being said, the applicant will obviously need to produce clean criminal record.

Do the required investment amounts (2 million EUR, etc.) include Value Added Tax (VAT)?

  • No, the investment requirements are exclusive of VAT.

Is Cypriot citizenship for life?

  • Yes, provided the required residential property (min. value of 500 000 EUR) is not being sold.

Do I need to reside certain (long) period in Cyprus in order to qualify for the Cypriot CIP?

  • No, no residence term is required in order to obtain fast-track Cypriot citizenship.

How can we assist you to obtain your Cypriot Citizenship by Investment?

Applying for Cypriot Citizenship by Investment requires, alongside the usual bureaucratic steps for the citizenship application, an extensive search for profitable real estate properties. Many citizenship applicants have not only received their EU (Cypriot) passports, but have also scored nice profits on the properties they have bought in order to comply with the requirements of the program (others have obviously lost money and even fortunes in the process). This makes the Cypriot CIP a two-step procedure. We will assist the client from start to end – we will not only help with the property hunt, the purchase negotiations, and the formalities of the deal, but will also provide an investment advice as to the rental potential of the selected properties. For the second step, the citizenship application, we will process the whole file of the citizenship applicant until the citizenship is granted.

Bulgaria

Alexander Nevski church Sofia
The Bulgarian CIP is definitely the most favorable (financially) program among the other EU CIP’s. The required investment can be made in highly liquid financial products, such as bonds and shares, and on top there is no (significant) government fee imposed.

The requirements of the Bulgarian CIP

The Bulgarian investment citizenship program is backed in the "Bulgarian Law for the Foreigners" and the "Law for the Bulgarian Citizenship". The investment requirements are definitely the easiest to be met among the other two EU CIP’s (Malta and Cyprus) and require a 2-stage investments as follows:

I. Permanent residency in Bulgaria:

  1. Investment in Bulgarian government or municipal bonds for an amount of at least 1 million BGN (equal to 511 292 EUR);
  2. Investment in Bulgarian company shares that are officially traded on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange for an amount of at least 1 million BGN;
  3. Investment through Bulgarian investment bank account under management (enabling investments in worldwide debt and equity instruments) for an amount of at least 1 million BGN.

II. Bulgarian citizenship:

  1. An additional investment in Bulgarian government or municipal bonds for an amount of at least 1 million BGN, so the total investment should reach 2 million BGN (equal to 1 022 584 EUR);
  2. An additional investment in Bulgarian company shares that are officially traded on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange for an amount of at least 1 million BGN, so the total investment should reach 2 million BGN;
  3. An additional investment through Bulgarian investment bank account under management for an amount of at least 1 million BGN, so the total investment should reach 2 million BGN.

There are also other options for investment, but they are overly complicated in its core and are extremely rarely utilized.

The explained investments options in p.1 and p.2 above (bonds and shares) can be combined together, while the investment in bank account under management is a separate investment option and can not be combined with the other two.

The most frequently utilized by the applicants for Bulgarian citizenship option is the investment in Bulgarian Sovereign Bonds (p.1) as it provides ultimate security and no financial risk is involved. The bonds can be also sold on the secondary market, so the investor doesn’t need to wait until the bond’s maturity date.

The Bulgarian CIP – frequently asked Questions

For how long is the investor obliged to keep his investment?

Bulgarian stock exchange
Bulgaria’s CIP allows the entire investment to be made in liquid financial instruments
  • The investment in bonds and shares (p.1 and p.2) can be liquidated 2 years after the applicant has obtained his Bulgarian citizenship certificate. In the event that the citizenship is obtained in 18 months after the start of the procedure, the simple math shows that the investment in bonds or shares will need to be held for a period of three and a half years from the start of the procedure. The investment in bank account under management (p.3) has to be held for at least 5 years after the start of the citizenship application.

Is the investment in Bulgarian Sovereign bonds really safe?

  • Government (Sovereign) bonds are considered the safest investment among all other types of investments. Bonds are much safer than deposit with a bank, as the bank is usually a commercial entity that can in theory go bankrupt. In such case, the depositor (or the investor) may lose his savings. A bond guarantees the investor the repayment of the whole capital at the maturity plus all coupons (interests) as foreseen in the bond’s prospectus. Bulgaria, as full EU member, and a country with very low budget deficit and robust financial system has very good credit ratings assigned by all major credit agencies. Please note however, that based on the market conditions (mostly the interest current interest rates), if selling the bonds prior to their maturity, the value of the bond may be both below and above its nominal value.

Are the Bulgarian bonds denominated in BGN (Bulgarian Lev - the Bulgarian national currency) only?

  • The bonds can be denominated in both BGN and in EUR. The investor can opt to invest in Eurobonds denominated in EUR, although the Bulgarian Lev is pegged to the Euro at a fixed exchange rate of 1,99553 so there is either way, no currency exchange risk involved.

Do I have to open bank account in Bulgaria in order to purchase Bulgarian bonds?

  • No, the investment in bonds can be done through your existing foreign bank. It is however often necessary that our financial advisers have to liaise with (or visit) your banker to explain the required paperwork that needs to be issued by the bank proving the investment transaction.

How can the investor be certain that the investment will be returned to him after the citizenship procedure is completed?

  • All invested amount remain on the account of the citizenship applicant. At no time is the client required to transfer his funds to any third party.

How long does the Bulgarian naturalization by investment take?

  • Although the law foresees a timeframe of 12 months, the more realistic term to obtain the Bulgarian citizenship has proven to be around 16 months. The due diligence and administrative procedures are, if not complicated, time consuming and require certain amount of workload.

How can we assist you to obtain your Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment?

We provide turn-key Citizenship by Investment services in Bulgaria. We are the number one provider for consultancy services in the field to high-net-worth individuals. We have established close contacts with all key institutions, responsible for the citizenship application, and can provide the client with extremely fast processing times and, with some of our packages, a money-back guarantee. Our Bulgarian division has never had a single citizenship application rejected – a result we are proud with.

You can find much more detailed information about the Bulgarian Citizenship by Investment program at www.bulgarian-citizenship.org/citizenship-by-investment

ABOUT US

Who we are and what we do

"The Passport" is a project of Citizenship & Investments LLC - Consultancy Company with head office in Sofia, Bulgaria. The company is member of the VD&A group and is providing immigration and citizenship services to high-net-worth individuals from around the world.

With offices across the Globe - in Dubai, Hong Kong and Bulgaria, we are in position to cover all regions of the world, where the "Global Citizenship" values are most sought after. Our specialists are constantly travelling to all corners of the world in order to meet clients or to take part in international events as panelists and speakers of many international investment citizenship gatherings.

We provide services to applicants for EU citizenship by investment of Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria. EU legislation is harmonized among virtually all EU member states and the CIP’s, although unique by its virtues, are quite similar in their legal backing.

Our specialists are also, as part of our packages, advising the customers on different tax related issues, legal compliance with EU rules and regulations, as well as provide comprehensive wealth management advice.

CONTACT US

  • Sofia | Dubai | Hong Kong
  • office[at]investment-citizenship.com