Vanuatu is one of the youngest players in the investment immigration market. The country’s citizenship by investment program was launched in 2014 and has become one of the fastest growing programs in the Citizenship by Investment market. The passport is ranked 41st in the Henley 2021 Passport Index, with visa free access to 130 countries. Here are some of the advantages of the program:
1. Freedom of movement.
The holders of Vanuatu passport have visa-free access to 130 countries. There is a zero possibility of you being questioned by authorities at any airport or port upon arrival to the UK, Singapore and the Schengen Area. This makes travel much easier, saves the time you previously spent on obtaining travel documents.
Furthermore, the residents of this Pacific state are allowed to stay in the Schengen countries without visas for up to 90 days within any 180 day period, and for 6 months a year in the UK.
2. Favorable tax environment.
The country’s tax system is based on the principles of loyalty. There is no tax on the global income, inheritance and capital gains. According to the World Bank, Vanuatu is one of the top 100 countries in terms of ease of doing business.
3. No need to fly across the ocean to get a passport.
It is not necessary to come to the islands halfway around the world neither before nor after issuance of a passport. Documents may be submitted in Hong Kong or Dubai. Citizenship application is handled exclusively through a licensed agent. The list of agents is approved by the government.
4. Confidentiality of the application process.
Information on obtaining the second passport is discrete and is not reported to the country of first citizenship. Vanuatu recognizes dual citizenship.
5. Transparent application procedure.
Before submitting a package of documents, the applicant pays due diligence fees and 25% of the required contribution. The remaining part of the contribution must be paid only after the government approves the application.
6. Passport for the whole family in a very short time.
Along with the main applicant, Vanuatu citizenship may also be granted to a spouse, children under 25 years and parents aged 65 and above.
There is no other country except Vanuatu where the application process is this quick. Even in the Caribbean, it takes from 3 to 5 months. The duration of the citizenship application process in Vanuatu is two months.
7. Citizenship is granted for life.
Dependents together with the main applicant obtain citizenship for life. However, as far as passport is concerned, it is issued for a period of 5 years with the right of subsequent extension for a five-year period. There is no need to visit the island to renew a passport. Citizenship may be passed down to descendants (inherited).
Cost of a Vanuatu passport
The Vanuatu passport program attracts investors primarily due to the relatively low investment threshold and short application process. By the way, this is the only immigration program that is available in Oceania.
To participate in the program an applicant is required to contribute at least $130,000 to the country’s National Development Fund. This is a non-refundable contribution. The total cost of Vanuatu passport depends on the number of persons included in the application and on the amount of additional fees to be paid by the investor.
Travel restrictions for South Africa as countries ban entry over Covid-19 variant. What options do you have?
A number of countries have announced travel bans to and from South Africa, citing fears of the new Covid-19 variant discovered in the country.
At the end of December, the UK’s Health and Social Care secretary Matt Hancock moved to ban travel between the two countries, citing the second variant as a key concern.
This week Denmark said that it has also include South Africa on its list of ‘banned countries’. “The entry ban for foreigners who do not reside in Denmark and travel from South Africa is in place from 6 January 2021 until and including 17 January 2021,” it said.
Other countries which currently have restrictions in place on South Africa include Israel and Turkey.
Countries such as the Netherlands and Ireland had originally blocked travel but are now allowing South African travelers limited access provided they provide a negative PCR test on arrival.
Is it time for a plan B? Have you considered a Golden Visa?
Here are 5 reasons to invest in a Golden Visa (residency or citizenship by investment):
• Political and economic instability are the primary reasons people seek a second citizenship.
• Freedom of travel
• A second citizenship or residency offers the recipient more opportunities for travel without the hassle and rigorous paperwork requirements of a standard visa.
• Tax benefits
While tax benefits vary from country to country, many countries offer exceptional tax benefits for their citizens.
Business and investment opportunities
Most countries reserve access to their business markets for their citizens, a second citizenship undoubtedly unlocks a host of new business and investment opportunities.
A plan B for economic instability
The world can be unpredictable, should your own country find itself subject to financial, political, or economic instability, a second citizenship or residency affords you the opportunity to protect your assets by transferring them to a more stable nation.
Have you considered investing in a Golden Visa? Call +41 44 586 73 10 or email email@example.com to book a free consultation regarding Golden Visa property investments.
Property Investment Fundamentals – Rental Demand
This one’s a no brainer. If there’s not a high rental demand, why are you going to want to invest in a property there?
Answer: you’re not.
So it’s important to make sure that whatever location you’re looking into whether that’s domestically or overseas, there’s a good rental demand.
An easy way to find this information out would be to speak to agents who specialize in the area, city or country, you are looking to invest in and find out from them what the rental demand (that is for both short term Airbnb type rentals and longer term rentals) is like. It may even differ from street to street – yes, that can happen. But getting in touch with the local experts would be the first obvious tip.
You could also have a scour through property portals and see how long properties took to let out in the location you’re interested in. Airbnb and the paid service AirDNA provide area, city and country details for short term rentals globally. If the demand is high, properties will get snapped up quickly and for a decent rental yield too.
If you are interested in investing in real estate and gaining residency or citizenship call +41 44 586 73 10 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a viewing or free advice regarding Golden Visa investments.
2020 has been a tough year everywhere and Switzerland is no exception. Having made it through the first wave barely touched, Switzerland saw a sudden ramp-up in cases of COVID-19 in October and is now headed for a new lockdown with stricter measures to check the virus' rise.
But it hasn't been too bad a year for the Swiss housing market. Official statistics show residential prices broadly stable, though there are some differences of emphasis between different sectoral and geographical markets.
Renting or buying a property? What do residents tend to these days?
Halfway through the year, house prices had risen just 0.61% year-on-year, and that represented a slight fall from Q1 levels - not surprising given the coronavirus emergency. This left Switzerland looking broadly stable, with minimal price movements.
The third quarter saw the pace pick up a little, with stronger demand particularly in Suisse Romande - Geneva, Vaud, and Valais very strong, and Ticino/Tessin also showing strength.
Data on advertised real estate suggests that Swiss residents are swapping from renting to owner occupation and from apartments to houses, if they can afford it. Apartment rents fell 0.6% in November, while house rental prices increased by 1.7% month-on-month, and house prices were up 6.7%. (These figures are of course based on asking prices, not finalised transactions.)
According to Credit Suisse, apartments outside the major city centres are seeing a perfect storm of bad news. The vacancy rate may sound low at 1.72% (London, by contrast, usually runs above 2% and New York is hitting 6%) but in fact the total number of vacant flats rose again this year, for the eleventh year in succession. Low interest rates and low returns on other investments have pushed investors into the rental market, which is now heading for oversupply - except in the city centres which remain highly covetable, and expensive. There's less than a quarter of a percent of property vacant in Zurich!
Construction has been focused on the rental apartment sector, rather than on owner-occupied housing. This doesn't bode well for rental apartment prices, but the dearth of newbuild single-family units should help keep single-family house prices looking good. Combine tight supply with the post-pandemic preference for more space and private gardens, and it looks as if 2021 will be the Year of the House in Switzerland.
What should we expect of the market as a whole for 2021?
Geneva bank Edmond de Rothschild expects the Swiss market to show an increase in volume next year - but admits prices could be soft.
Developments that were delayed by COVID-related building site close-downs will probably come on the market between now and Q2 2021, following a period of relatively tight supply. The sudden increase in properties being marketed could soak up a lot of demand, and it wouldn't be surprising to see temporarily lower pricing levels.
However, any pricing decline is likely to be a temporary deflation, rather than a crash.
Switzerland has one property index that is quite unusual - the UBS 'bubble index' which analyses the risk of a boom-and-bust. The bubble index was up in Q3, but that's mainly due to the pandemic exacerbating imbalances in the market. And of course, house prices are not sustainable if you take the current, lockdown-affected, GDP statistics as your basis. Even so, on balance the market is in 'risk' but not 'bubble' territory - highly valued, but not so much so that UBS thinks a crash is likely.
It's also worth pointing out that credit applications, outstanding mortgages, and construction supply are all in neutral territory, so the Swiss market is not exposed to high debt, or massive oversupply - both of which, for instance, affected the Spanish market in the credit crunch.
UBS points out that economic recovery is expected to be fast once vaccines start being rolled out to the population. The only area that UBS has any concern over is Zurich and central Switzerland, where the house price to income ratio is stretched and rental yields are low.
It has now confirmed a new lockdown for winter 2020-2021; even before that, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs was forecasting a 6.2% fall in GDP. But in the longer term, once we get through to late spring and early summer 2021, the country looks set for recovery, and the housing market should be pulled along behind GDP.
Things to consider both for buyers and sellers
One thing that agents will be looking at very closely next year is space. Floorplans will become very important as lockdown-weary homebuyers look for big spaces, flexible live/work areas for telecommuters, and balconies or rooftop gardens (in apartments). Houses with good amounts of garden space will be particularly keenly sought after.
At the same time, there may be a move away from city centres towards the periphery, and away from the major cities to smaller satellite towns. This wouldn't be unlike what's already happening in France and could mean that transport access becomes a slightly lower priority for many buyers.
So, while house prices in Switzerland may not move a huge amount, it's likely the market in 2021 will be qualitatively different from what it was in 2019. Buyers will be looking for different features, in different places… but at broadly similar prices.
As Brexit finally sends the UK and EU in separate directions, nationals of both entities find themselves in a peculiar position; EU nationals residing in the UK must now apply for settlement, while UK citizens residing throughout the EU must follow suit and obtain resident permits one way or another. Except, of course, the Irish.
The citizens of the only English-speaking EU country, which enjoys unique ties with both the UK and the EU, find themselves in an enviable position, as they can roam both the areas visa-free under the Common Travel Area (CTA) agreement.
The Common Travel Area and the right to reside in the UK
The CTA is an agreement between Ireland and the UK which provides citizens of both nations with unparalleled rights such as the right to work, study, vote in certain elections, access social welfare benefits and health services, and, the right to travel freely between the two countries.
In May 2019, both the Irish and UK governments reaffirmed their continued commitment to maintaining the CTA and the associated rights under all circumstances. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both governments ensures the special status will continue even after free movement ends on the 31st of December 2020.
Under the CTA’s umbrella, Irish citizens do not require a visa or any form of residence or employment permit to enter or remain in the UK. Irish citizens wishing to continue residing in the UK are not required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme; as under the CTA, they have the right to live, work, and access public services in the UK.
Ireland’s EU status post-Brexit
Ireland remains a vital member of the union and continues to benefit from an EU membership’s economic and political stability. As EU citizens, Irish nationals may continue to live and work freely in any EU Member State.
Irish citizens continue to enjoy other privileges like access to the European Health Insurance Car providing them health care while traveling throughout the EU. For students belonging to Irish institutions, they have access to Erasmus+ and the right to study in the EU. Other perks for Irish nationals include waived mobile phone roaming charges when traveling within the EU.
Qualifying for the Irish IIP Program
Investors interested in the Irish IIP may choose from four different investment options; all providing a pathway towards Irish residence, and eventually, citizenship. These options are:
1 – Enterprise Investment:
A minimum investment of €1 million towards an Irish enterprise, held for no less than three years.
2 – Endowment:
A philanthropic donation at the sum of €500,000 areas of public interests of Ireland such as arts, sports, health, culture, or education.
3 – Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT):
A minimum investment of €2 million towards an Irish REIT listed on the Irish Stock Exchange to be held for at least three years is required.
4 – Investment Fund:
Similar to the Enterprise Investment option, a €1 million investment in an approved fund for a period of at least three years, such funds must be regulated and approved by the Central Bank.
This diversity provides investors with more options so they can choose what suits them best. The most popular option by far, however, is the enterprise investment, with little surprise there as it offers a safe venture, simple exit strategy, and a nifty ROI. In the time between 2015 -2019, a whopping 77.2% of all applicants chose the enterprise investment option, followed by the endowment option at 12.2%.
The reasons the enterprise investment option dominates the IIP landscape are quite clear, in addition to the safety and profitability it provides, the enterprise investment option is a clear cut pathway to meet the preferences of the Irish government; as the government has highlighted preferred areas of investments such as nursing homes, social housing projects, and primary care centers. Those who invest in the fixed asset sector in these areas are not only perfectly positioned to gain approval but are safeguarding their investments as well. This risk-averse route means that the ultimate total cost of the program comes down to zero Euros, literally.
The Irish IIP versus Golden Visa options in Europe
Compared to other Golden Visa Programs in Europe, the Irish IIP program outshines its peers. The Irish IIP’s investment options are a great example of this, especially when investing in enterprises, as the holding period of 3 years is low compared to other European investment migration options (Greece for example requires an indefinite holding period), while the exit strategy is simple and straightforward, no need to hassle yourself with liquidating your investment; you just simply get your money back.
Not only is it simple and safe, but you can make a good ROI when choosing a strong investment option, much like the ones we offer at Prime Land Ventures. Both of our Endowment projects and our Social Housing projects are safe investments that derive income from the Irish state, 100% repayment guaranteed.
In terms of the country itself, Ireland enjoys one of the lowest corporate tax rates at 12.5% while Malta, Spain, Portugal, and Greece command a much higher tax rate at 35, 25, 21, and 24% respectively; for entrepreneurs and investors alike, this makes the Irish IIP program a desirable proposition.
IIP best option post-Brexit
There are many advantages to the Irish IIP in comparison with Golden Visa Programs in Europe. The ability for Irish citizens to freely travel, reside, and study in both the UK and EU post-Brexit however, makes the program stand out among its European counterparts.
Ireland’s competitive corporate tax rate and the IIP’s enterprise investment pathway provide business investors with an added incentive from both a professional and financial perspective.
If you have more questions about the Ireland IIP Program or would like to speak further, please do not hesitate to call +41 44 586 73 10 or email email@example.com
What has changed in Malta’s immigration policy?
The amendments that came into force on November 20, 2020, effectuate a new route of receivingMaltese citizenship ‘by Naturalisation for Exception Services by Direct Investment’. From now on, you’ll be able to obtain a Maltese passport in one or three years after securing a residence permit.
According to the new rules, the certificate of Maltese citizenship can only be provided to 400 main applicants per year. The overall number of main applicants within the new programme should not exceed 1,500.
What do I need to do to get a Maltese passport?
A candidate for Maltese citizenship should:
Make a donation of €600,000–€750,000 to the national fund
Purchase Maltese property at a minimum cost of €700,000 or rent the property at €16,000 per year
Make a voluntary donation of €10,000.
Here are more details.
The minimum donation sum depends on whether the investor is planning to apply for citizenship in one or three years after receiving the residency.
If you’d like to obtain the passport in three years (36 months), the donation will amount to €600,000. If you’d like to take the fast track and obtain the citizenship of Malta in one year (12 months), the minimum donation will amount to €750,000. For dependents of the main applicant, the sum of donation to the Maltese national fund will constitute €50,000.
The investor can purchase property at the minimum cost of €700,000 or rent property at a fee of €16,000 per year. The minimum investment term is five years from obtaining citizenship.
How fast can I become a citizen of Malta?
If you take the fast track to citizenship, you’ll get the passport in 14 months.
Before I get the passport I’ll need to obtain residency. Is this right?
Yes, according to the law of Malta, candidates for citizenship must receive a residence card and hold it for 12 months. Candidates get an electronic ID - eResidence card. Once you obtain it, you become a Maltese resident.
Can I obtain Maltese passports for my whole family?
Yes. The Maltese government has met the investors halfway and raised the age for financially dependent children who are eligible for citizenship - from 27 to 29 years.
Thus, investors can get a Maltese passport for themselves, their spouses, financially dependent and unmarried children under 29 years old (children with disabilities without limitations), parents and grandparents of the main applicant and their spouse (older than 55 years old).
According to the new rules, not only the main applicant, yet all dependent adults should apply for residency. The non-refundable investor’s fee on this stage will amount to €5,000, €10,000 - for family members.
How is the immigration process organised?
Obtaining Maltese citizenship is a transparent and streamlined process. You should contact the immigration specialists. Prime Land Ventures experienced lawyers will help you pick the right investment option, prepare all the documents, check them thoroughly and submit the application.
The processing of Maltese citizenship includes several stages. You need to:
Apply for residency
Undergo the due diligence check
Get approval from the Maltese authorities and make the investment
Apply for naturalisation (citizenship)
Take an oath of allegiance within six months from getting the passport.
The Maltese citizenship is granted for life and it is transferable by inheritance.
Is it difficult to pass the due diligence check?
Don’t worry! All law-abiding candidates for the Maltese passport are able to successfully pass the due diligence. The authorities of Malta will research the origin of your capital and other security-related issues (the check is performed on all family members as well).
Prime Land Ventures specialists will prepare the necessary paperwork and help you through the entire due diligence process. According to the new rules, the due diligence check costs €15,000 for the main applicant and €10,000 for each family member.
Great. What other perks does the Maltese citizenship offer? Aside from an EU passport?
The Maltese passport has many benefits:
You’ll become a citizen of an EU member state and will be able to visit 182 countries without a visa, including the EU, UK, US and Canada. During the global crisis and pandemic, an EU citizenship will allow you to travel the world and boost your quality of life. You will no longer depend on the ever-changing rules and limitations.
You’ll be able to live, work and study in any of 28 EU countries.
You will obtain passports for your family.
You’ll benefit from the relaxed taxation regime. Maltese citizens do not pay taxes on revenues generated outside of Malta, dividends, inheritance or wealth.
Will I have to pass any exams to get a Maltese passport?
No, there are no language or history exams required for future Maltese citizens.
Prime Land Ventures experienced lawyers and consultants will analyse your needs and budget preferences, help you find the best investment option and obtain a second citizenship with the guaranteed result.
Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides held a speech before the Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs of the House of Representatives and announced that Cyprus had applied for Schengen membership in September 2020. “The government has submitted the application for security reasons and we are now expecting the European Union to come and start its evaluation process which is divided in five parts,” said Christodoulides.
As of today, Cyprus is one of the EU states applying for Schengen membership along with other non-members. Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia, for instance, have already undergone the multi-tier evaluation process and are waiting to be accepted as Schengen members. Experts believe that Cyprus will inevitably make part of the Schengen zone. All facts say in favour: Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, since 2008 Cypriots have used Euro as the official currency.
Analysts forecast a major surge in Cypriot property rates after Cyprus becomes a Schengen member and recommend foreign investors to buy real estate in the country before prices go up.
Limassol is the city that generates most demand in terms of residential property. 37% of all sale-purchase transactions are performed in Limassol. Foreign buyers are also interested in apartments, villas and houses in Nicosia, Paphos, Larnaka, Famagusta and some other towns. Market analysts maintain that Cypriot property yields solid profits. Those letting apartments in Cyprus for rent may count on the ROIs of 2.5%–6,5%.
The Prime Land Venture experts will help you pick the best offer of the Cypriot market based on your budget, circumstances and preferences.
At Prime Land Ventures, we’ll ask you a few key questions so you can make a decision:
1. What is your budget for buying a Cypriot property?
2. What would you like to purchase: apartments, studio, villa, townhouse, suburban house?
3. How many bedrooms are you looking for?
4. Which part of Cyprus are you interested in? Do you have any regional preferences?
5. What attracts you more: dwelling in a big city, suburb or countryside?
6. Which city infrastructure is vital for you? Does proximity to shops, offices and restaurants matter?
7. Are you looking for schools or kindergartens nearby?
8. What is your key objective for property investment?
You’re planning to stay in your Cypriot home on a permanent basis
You will be spending holidays or extended periods of time in your Cypriot dwelling
You’re looking to get lucrative ROIs from your property.
The Prime Land Ventures property experts will help you define your goals and will answer any questions on Cypriot property.
From November 11, 2020, children of foreign parents will be entitled to Portuguese citizenship by birth, provided that at least one of the parents had resided in Portugal for at least one year. This is stipulated in the amended law on citizenship published by Portugal’s governmental edition Diário da República.
Previously, children born to foreign residents of Portugal could obtain citizenship by birth in case at least one of the parents had resided in the country for a minimum term of two years. By the new rules, this term has been decreased to one year.
Experts believe this update will enable Portuguese residence permit holders who remained in the country for at least a year to secure citizenship of Portugal for their children on their birth. This opportunity will be available even to foreign residents who only spent 7 days in the first year in Portugal (as the physical presence rules require).
Due to this change in legislation, Government Approved Portugal’s Residency by Investment programme will become the only EU scheme that allows foreigners to obtain citizenship by birth for their children without the need to reside in the country for any significant time.
The Portuguese authorities had already expanded resident rights in the past. In 2018, Portugal passed an amendment to the law on citizenship granting the right for naturalisation to foreigners who legally resided in Portugal for five years. The authorities apply the new rules verbatim: holders of Portuguese residence permits who meet a minimum presence requirement are considered legal residents and have a right to obtain citizenship.
The growing popularity of Portugal’s Residency by Investment programme also correlates with fact that Portuguese citizens will soon be able to obtain E-2 US visas and relocate to the US. Last year, the US House of Representatives passed the law known as AMIGOS (Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing Our Success) that would enable citizens of Portugal to apply for E-2 visas. This law will come into force upon approval of the US Senate and President.
The Residency by Investment programme of Portugal launched in 2012 brought over €5.5 billion to the country’s economy. Based on analysts’ reports, most members of the Portuguese immigration programme invest in property.
Portuguese residency allows you to live, work and study in any EU member state and cross the borders of 26 Schengen countries without a visa.
Just as its name implies, dual citizenship simply means that you are simultaneously a citizen of two different countries. While some may view a secondary citizenship as just another document for the bank safe, dual citizenship is so much more than that. A second residency offers freedom, security, and a wealth of other benefits. However, to be fair, there are some downsides as well. It’s also important to note that every country has different rules for its citizens, so before applying, you may want to familiarize yourself with residency rules that apply to you.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, here are a few pros and cons of dual citizenship:
Discounting COVID restrictions and border closures, a United States passport will grant you visa-free access to 185 countries as does a British passport. And while that may sound like an impressive number, neither passport qualifies as the most powerful, nor have they since 2015.
In fact, according to the Henley Passport Index, the original and most trusted source for global rankings of a passports power, the most powerful passport in the world belongs to Japan. Those who hold a Japanese passport can travel to 191 countries visa-free or with visa-upon arrival access. Japan is followed closely by Singapore, which grants its holders visa-free access to 190 countries. Currently, The United States and The United Kingdom sit at number seven in the rankings for the most powerful passport in the world, along with Switzerland, Norway, and Belgium. Afghanistan ranked last on the list, only granting access to 26 other nations.
So what makes a powerful passport anyway?
The Henley Passport Index ranks passports on the basis of a mobility score, or how many countries the passport grants you access to visa-free (and hassle-free). Generally speaking, the higher the mobility score, the stronger the passport.
How powerful is your passport?