Various countries on the continent have programmes that allow foreign citizens to invest their way to residency. So where best to buy into? A study by the citizenship consultancy firm Henley & Partners analysed various programmes around the world, ranking them by value and quality, among other metrics. Here are the 10 European nations that performed best overall.
January 2020 … Is it easy to gain residency?
You’ll need to have plenty of spare cash to gain residency in most of these places. But these permits allow visa-free travel across the Schengen Area, which includes most EU nations.
Topping the list is Austria, which, according to Henley & Partners is “one of the most attractive countries in the world; an ideal combination of economic stability, a clean and safe environment, and an excellent infrastructure.” It offers a number of residence and citizenship permits, including a non-work related one for “persons of independent means” provided you have liquid assets worth at least €40,000 (£33,760) and a university degree.
The minimum you can get away with in Portugal, one of the oldest countries in Europe, is €500,000 (£450,000); buy a house for that price and you’re in. Alternatively, transfer €1 million (£846,000) into a Portuguese bank account or create 10 jobs in the country.
Invest, invest, invest. Italy’s latest visa program, which launched in 2017, requires that you either put €2 million (£1.6 million) into government bonds, donate €1 million to a philanthropic cause, invest €1 million in a private limited company, or, the budget option: a €500,000 investment into an “innovative” Italian start-up.
Low tax rates (permanent residents pay just 15 per cent) and a sunny climate make Malta an attractive destination for those seeking EU citizenship. Buying a €275,000 (£232,000) property is enough to get your foot in the door. And could this country be Europe’s most underrated culinary destination? Our expert thinks so.
Easy peasy. Here, merely securing a job in Belgium can be enough to qualify for residency, thus negating the need to invest. The process is on a case-by-case basis and takes from three months to complete. Fancy a visit?
Get a job offer from a Swiss employer and you’re in, provided you can prove you are “indispensable”. Otherwise, you simply have to show that you’re financially independent with sufficient income or wealth to cover your living costs. This figure varies hugely (it’s a complex system) but you can be sure it’s high.
A country crying out for investment, Greece offers residency to anyone purchasing properties with a total value of at least €250,000 (£211,000), which can get you a nice little bolthole somewhere hot. And you don’t even need to live there full time; subletting is allowed, as are timeshares. This visa also allows the owner to establish a Greek business.
Like neighbouring Portugal, resident permits for Spain can be obtained by purchasing a house worth €500,000, which will get you a lot of bricks and mortar in some parts of the country. Alternatively, aspiring residents could opt to invest €2 million in government debt.
Property again, this time to the tune of €250,000 (plus a five per cent government fee), which should be enough to get you a temporary residence permit. Like forests? You’ll be spoiled in Latvia, nearly half of which is covered in trees.
As well as benefiting from visa-free travel across the Schengen Area, residents of Monaco are not obliged to pay income tax, capital gains tax or wealth tax. To secure residency foreigners must deposit a minimum of €500,000 into a bank account, which must stay with the bank during the residency period.
3 June 2020 – Statistics from the German government have revealed a considerable uptick in the number of foreigners who became naturalized German citizens last year. On Wednesday, the Federal Statistical Office announced that 129,000 foreigners were granted German citizenship in 2019, 16,600 (15 percent) more than the previous year, marking the highest level of naturalization since 2003, Frankfurter Rundschau reports.
Those who were granted German citizenship came from 183 countries. Most individuals, around 16,200 who were granted citizenship, were Turkish nationals. “Overall, however, only 1.2 percent of the Turks who were potentially eligible for naturalization actually received German citizenship,” the Federal Statistical Office noted. Naturalization potential refers to the proportion of people who meet most of the criteria required to become a German citizen.
The number of Britons granted German citizenship also increased considerably from previous years to 14,600, mostly likely due to the Brexit situation. Naturalizations of people from Poland stood at 6,000, Romania (5,800), Iraq (4,600), Ukraine (1,800), and Syria (1,000). Roughly 1/3 of all the naturalized people in 2019 came from an EU member state.
EU Member States granted citizenship to over 800 thousand persons in 2017 Moroccans, Albanians and Indians were the main recipients
In 2017, around 825 000 persons acquired citizenship of a Member State of the European Union (EU), down from 995 000 in 2016 and 841 000 in 2015. Of the total number of persons obtaining the citizenship of one of the EU Member States in 2017, 17% were former citizens of another EU Member State, while the majority were non-EU citizens or stateless.
The largest group acquiring citizenship of an EU Member State where they lived in 2017 was citizens of Morocco (67 900 persons, of whom 83% acquired citizenship of Italy, Spain or France), ahead of citizens of Albania (58 900, 97% acquired citizenship of Greece or Italy), India (31 600, over 53% acquired British citizenship), Turkey (29 900, over 50% acquired German citizenship), Romania (25 000, 32% acquired Italian citizenship), Pakistan (23 100, 45% acquired citizenship of the United Kingdom), Poland (22 000, 63% acquired citizenship of the United Kingdom or Germany), and Brazil (21 600, 74% acquired citizenship of Italy or Portugal). Moroccans, Albanians, Indians, Turks, Romanians, Pakistanis, Poles and Brazilians represented together about a third (34%) of the total number of persons who acquired citizenship of an EU Member State in 2017. Romanians (25 000 persons), Poles (22 000) and Britons (15 000) were the three largest groups of EU citizens acquiring citizenship of another EU Member State.